China needs to adjust its one-child family planning policy to fight a worsening gender imbalance and an aging population with too few children, experts said.
The photograph reflects the gender imbalance story of China. More boys than girls were in this kindergarten in Beijing on Friday when a China Daily photographer visited it. [China Daily]
"I think to properly adjust it during the twelfth five-year plan period (2011-2015) will be beneficial to both families and the whole society," said Yuan Xin, a professor with the Population and Development Institute of Tianjin-based Nankai University.
China has 33.31 million more men than women among the population born during 1980-2000. The ratio of males to females at birth has kept rising since the 1980s. The normal range worldwide is 103 to 107 males born for every 100 females born. In China, that ratio reached 120.56 last year, Yuan said.
Only Tibet has a normal male/female birth ratio. The ration in all other provinces and regions is skewed, and is most serious in Jiangxi, Anhui and Shaanxi provinces, he said.
"This gender gap is unprecedented in the history of the populous countries in the world, and will continue to widen in the short term," he said.
China launched its nationwide, one-child family planning policy in the 1970s. Though it prevented 400 million births, it has been criticized for leading to gender imbalance, a large elderly population and a scarcity of working-age people.
"The country has successfully achieved the goal to prevent its population from growing too fast, which was set in its first population policy advocating 'one child for one couple'," Hu Angang, one of China's leading policy advisers, said in an article he published on the Economic Information Daily on Thursday.
"From now on, we should launch a new population policy advocating 'two children for one couple', with the objective of preventing a rapidly aging population with too few children in the future.”
Zhai Zhenwu, director of population and sociological studies at Renmin University in Beijing, agreed that the 30-year-old policy needs adjustment. The central government has already begun researching and drafting a new population policy, he said.