'One Child' Has One Decade (at Least)


The Chinese government, which last month indicated that it was considering changes to its oppressive limits on family size, now says its "one child" policy will be maintained for at least another decade, despite a looming gender imbalance and shortage of young workers:

"The current family planning policy, formed as a result of gradual changes in the past two decades, has proved compatible with national conditions," Mr. Zhang [Weiqing, minister of the National Population and Family Planning Commission] said in a front-page interview published Monday in China Daily, the country's official English-language newspaper.

"So it has to be kept unchanged at this time to ensure stable and balanced population growth."

Mr. Zhang said that 200 million people would enter childbearing age during the next decade and that prematurely abandoning the one-child policy could add unwanted volatility to the birthrate.

"Given such a large population base, there would be major fluctuations in population growth if we abandoned the one-child rule now," he said. "It would cause serious problems and add extra pressure on social and economic development."

In the December issue of reason, I considered the consequences of the "one child" policy for Chinese parents, Chinese girls, and adoptive parents in other countries.