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Beijing not to change one-child policy
By Li Fangchao (China Daily)
Updated: 2004-10-21 00:46

The capital city's family planning policy will not be readjusted, at least in short term, officials from the Beijing Municipal Commission of Population and Family Planning confirmed that Wednesday.

This is in response to circulated requests over whether Beijing will ease rules for couples who wish to bear a second child. Several other cities including Shanghai, which fears its aging society, eased such rules recently.

China implemented its one-child policy for family planning three decades ago, especially in urban areas. Only couples in certain categories can have a second child.

At present, couples who want a second child must meet the principles prescribed in the Beijing Municipal Population and Family Planning Regulation.

An anonymous official from the commission stressed that these requirements are still effective and no big change is likely to occur in the near future.

The current regulation, which took effect in September of last year, is the newest edition.

The new onemade some micro adjustments to the old one, which was issued in 1991.

For example, the old regulation stipulated that a couple could only apply for a second child at least four years after the birth of their first child and the woman side should be no less than 28 years old.

But in the new one, couples who want to have a second child just need to meet either one of the two requirements.

Shanghai, the largest metropolis in China, revised its family planning policy and relaxed its restrictions of the requirements a couple needed to meet to have a second child.

The requirement of the four-year interval was removed from the regulation.

Sources with the Shanghai Municipal Population and Family Planning Commission says that the number of couples who applied to have a second child has seen a dramatic increase since the new policy was adopted on April 15 of this year.

And experts in Beijing also called for the quick adjustment of the family planning policy in the future.

Nearly 100 million families in China are single child families, accounting for almost one-third of the total number of families, according to Mu Guangzong, a researcher with the Population and Development Studies Centre affiliated with Renmin University of China.

"Such a vast number of single child families can be described as families with risk and may have potential dangers,"he said, "these families are often very fragile. The child is usually the centre of the families."

"If something disastrous happened to the child, the whole family as well as the relatives would collapse, too."

A survey conducted by the centre showed that the average expectation of the number of child of couples from both rural and urban areas is 2.05 child.

"That means most families consider to have two children would be ideal," he said.

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