01/16/2009, 00.00
CHINA
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Chinese women oppose one-child-policy, want more children

Official sources indicate that seven women in ten would like to have two or more children. China’s one-child policy is increasingly viewed as impacting negatively on families and even children. The authorities continue however to insist that it is necessary.
Beijing (AsiaNews/Agencies) – China’s National Family Planning Commission (NFPC) has found that 70 per cent of women want to have two babies or more. Under the country’s rigid family planning law Chinese couples are restricted to one child, except for rural residents, members of ethnic minorities and parents who are themselves only children.

“Our research shows that 70.7 per cent of women would like to have two or more babies,” said Jiang Fan, NFPC deputy minister. “Some mothers think only-children suffer from loneliness and can become spoiled.”

The results are embarrassing to the authorities who have always tried to advertise the idea that one child was what most people wanted.

The survey, which was conducted in 2006, was released only yesterday.

Li Bin, minister responsible for the NFPC, said never the less that the authorities are likely to stick to their family planning policies. For her “China's family planning policy underpins the country's economy and demographics.” The government’s goal remains 1.36 billion people by the end of next year.

For would-be violators breaking the one-child policy can be costly in financial terms but also in job discrimination.

In several cases the authorities have also forced women to have an abortion, especially in the provinces.

China introduced this family planning policy in the 70s, but it has not been spared from criticism. In fact, it has led to selective abortions since most families would rather have boys than girls. The net effect has been an unbalance with a 107-100 male-to-female sex ratio at birth.

Likewise it has led to profound social changes, first and foremost to the extended family which as late as the mid- 80s could have up to four generations under the same roof. Now the nuclear family prevails instead.

Another consequence has been a demographic decline with increasing labour shortages that in a few decades might lead to fewer people supporting an ever larger number of elderly.

The policy has also affected more people at the bottom of the social ladder since fines on violators tend not to deter richer families. In fact wealthier couples tend to have two children, with one in ten having even three.

What is more, information has come to light, causing scandals, that many top party officials have used their position to break the ban.

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