03/11/2005, 00.00
CHINA
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One child policy and the fear of zero growth

If no changes are made to China's population control policies, the country will experience a disastrous social decline, reaching zero population growth by the year of 2040.

Beijing (AsiaNews/Agencies) – Li Honggui, vice president of the China Population Society and China Family Planning Association, has called on the government to change its population control policies. In his opinion, changes are necessary because China will realise zero population growth by the year of 2040.

At zero growth, China's social structure will be radically modified, he said. When this happens, "the age structure of population in China will also experience dramatic changes. The percentage of people who are above 65 [. . .] against total population will rise to 12 per cent."

At that point, the government will have to change its social policies. It will have to make major adjustments to its national population policy if it wants to avoid a disastrous social decline.

Till then the population will still grow and reach the 1.5 billion mark by 2040. Only then will it start to decline. This means that over the next 30 years, eight to ten million people will be added every year to the overall population. In 2004 the population grew by 7 million.

Speaking before the national People's Congress on March 5, Prime Minister Wen Jiabao reiterated the importance of the government's population control policies and its commitment to pursuing them.

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