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Fam Plann Perspect. 1979 Nov-Dec;11(6):348-54.

Birth planning in China.



This comprehensive discussion of China's population problems and policies by a high-ranking official is translated, introduced, and annotated by an American social scientist. Between 1949 and 1978 the Chinese population increased from 540 million to 960 million, an average annual rate of growth of 20 per 1000. The rapid increase is recognized as detrimental to capital accumulation, raising of the educational level, and improving the standard of living. The goal of zero population growth by the end of the century will be pursued by reducing the natural increase rate from 12 to 5 per 1000 by 1985, and then to zero by the year 2000. The decline will be difficult because the crude birth rate has already gone from 40 to 18.34 per 1000, and also because half the population is under 21. To bring the natural increase rate to 5 per 1000 by 1985, all 3rd and higher parity births must be eliminated. At present multipartity births account for about 30% of all births. In order to achieve zero population growth a substantial number of couples must be persuaded to have just 1 child. Measures called for by China's leadership to meet these goals include strengthening party leadership and accountability, propaganda and education, developing legislation to reward those who comply but penalizing those who don't, improving medical skills and access to contraception, and establishing powerful planned birth staffs. The article ends with a justification for a vigorous population control effort in spite of Marxist doctrine, on the grounds that previously the extent to which producers are also consumers had been underestimated.

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