04/07/2010, 00.00
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A Beijing university fires law professor for having two children

Discrimination and punishment still meted out to people who break family planning laws. A university in the capital fires professor for having a second child. The ‘One Child’ policy is undermining China’s economic growth.
Beijing (AsiaNews) – A Beijing law professor has been dismissed because his wife gave birth to a second child in violation of the country’s infamous ‘One Child’ policy, adopted in the 1970s to cut down drastically population growth. His dismissal again puts the spotlight on China’s population family planning programme, which the government ostensibly plans to review.

Chinese Human Rights Defender reported that Yang Zhizhu, an associated professor in the Faculty of Law at China Youth University for Political Sciences, was fired on 26 March because on 21 December 2009 he became a father for a second time.

On that same date, China Youth University officials issued a set of guidelines stipulating punishments for school employees who violated Beijing municipal family planning regulations.

Yang also wrote articles and began a blog to challenge the current family planning regulations as well as the school's penalties, which include a three-year ban on promotions for violators as well as a one-year suspension as a disciplinary action.

Since the late 1970s, China has enforced a ‘One Child’ policy. Couples are limited to one child (two in the countryside if the first child is female) and lawbreakers can be heavily fined and subject to discrimination at work.

In addition, abortion has been promoted as a population control method. For years, population control officials have also carried out forced abortions and sterilisation.

However, the policy is gradually undermining China’s economy. According to the Labour and Social Security Ministry, 23 per cent of the population will be over 60 by 2030, that is 351 million new pensioners to be maintained by the government. The proportion of working to non-working population will thus tip in favour of the latter. At present, three people work for every pensioner. In 20 years, that ratio will be two to one.

Labour shortages are already a problem in a country with a population of 1.3 billion people, especially in the golden belt that goes from Guangdong province to Shanghai.

The problem is so acute that Xie Lingli, director of Shanghai Population and Family Planning Commission, has called on families to make more babies.

Shanghai, china’s largest city, has three million over 60, or 22 per cent of the population, a percentage that is expected to reach 34 per cent by 2020.

By 2050, the US Center for Strategic and International Studies expects China to have 438 million people over 60 and 100 million over 80.

At present, the ratio between people in working age and people over 60 is 1.6 to one. In 1975, it was 7.7 to one.

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