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Family planning policy to remain

Updated: 2013-03-12 07:02
By Zhao Huanxin ( China Daily)

Official plays down speculation that restructuring plan will lead to change

There will be no change to the country's family planning policy, a public sector reform official said one day after a key government restructuring plan was unveiled.

"The pressure facing residents and resources still persists in our country with such a huge population," said Wang Feng, deputy head of the State Commission Office for Public Sector Reform.

The country will keep its basic state policy on family planning after the creation of a new commission through the merging of the health ministry with the National Population and Family Planning Commission, Wang told a news conference on Monday in Beijing.

Family planning policy to remain

Following the restructuring, work in the field of family planning will be beefed up, not weakened, as implementation of the policy continues to be a chief responsibility of Party and government heads, he said.

The proposed national health and family planning commission will strengthen implementation of the family planning policy regarding institutions, personnel and functions, he added.

Without the policy, launched more than 30 years ago, the Chinese population could be 400 million higher than the current level.

In his last Government Work Report at the opening of the annual legislative session on Tuesday, Premier Wen Jiabao said that in response to changes in the size and structure of China's population, the country should solve problems related to the size, health, structure and geographical distribution of its people and promote long-term, balanced population development.

Sunday's restructuring plan axes the National Population and Family Planning Commission and shifts its population policy-making functions to the influential National Development and Reform Commission.

There has been speculation that reforming the family planning commission will bring about a relaxation of the policy.

But officials and experts were quick to dampen such expectations.

"I don't see there is any necessary link between the two," Vice-Minister of Health Huang Jiefu told the media when asked if the governmental overhaul intimates loosening of the population policy.

Zhu Lijia, a professor at the Chinese Academy of Governance, said he didn't think that shifting the National Population and Family Planning Commission's policy-making function meant the country would relax its policy in the short term, China Business News quoted him as saying.

Speaking at the news conference, Wang Feng also said that the introduction of private capital in railway construction and operations will help break the monopoly in the industry and bring in competition.

Wang said it has been difficult for private capital to enter the railway system as the existing Ministry of Railways functions as a government department and an enterprise.

Under the restructuring plan, the Ministry of Railways will be split, with its regulatory powers going to the Ministry of Transport, while its operations go to a commercial entity.