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Beijing to continue family planning policy.

2009-01-16 10:54

  Beijing authorities are likely to continue with its family planning policies at least for the short term, despite concerns over the country's growing aged population, a senior municipal official said.

  "I think family planning as a fundamental national policy will exist for another 20 years, when the country's population reaches a projected peak of 1.5 billion," Deng Xingzhou, chief of the capital's family planning commission, said on Monday.

  "We have set a goal to keep the capital's population under 18 million by 2020, but based on current growth, it is sure to exceed that," he said.

  The city's population reached 16 million by the end of last year.

  "So we have to come up with new policies in line with macro control over the total population, for a healthy development of the city in the long term."

  The number of registered households in the capital is projected to increase by 40,000 to 50,000 each year, while that of the migrant population is estimated to grow at more than 100,000 annually.

  "Migrant workers from rural areas have been an important reason for the expanding population," Deng said.

  However, Beijing will not impose restrictions aimed at the migrant population as they have contributed to the capital's progress, said Wang Haiping, vice-director of the city's development and reform committee.

  Still, the authorities will introduce economic measures to restrain fast-paced population growth. The moves will be geared toward rational distribution to alleviate population pressure in central urban areas, Wang told a press conference yesterday.

  Beijing authorities will also introduce measures later this year that include greater penalties for those who break family planning rules requiring most couples to have one child.

  "As the public feels strongly against those who have more children just because they can afford to pay the fines, we are thinking of collecting much higher social maintenance fees from those who go against the policy," Deng said.

  In Beijing, the fine for those who break family planning rules is computed based on the average income per capita, usually about three to eight times of that figure. The per capita income in the capital was 24,725 yuan (3,600 U.S. dollars) for urban residents and 10,747 yuan for rural residents last year, official figures showed.

  To date, Guangdong and Hubei provinces have taken the lead in the country to impose expensive fines on violators of family planning rules. In 2007, an entrepreneur from Xiaochang county of Hubei was fined 760,000 yuan for having a second child.

  Wang Jian, a law professor with the University of International Business and Economics, said bigger fines for wealthy violators of the family planning policy were necessary.

  However, expensive fines or administrative means should not be the only ways to stop people from having more than one child, said Renmin University professor Mao Shoulong.

  "All should be equal under a unified, national population policy," Mao said.

  Source: China Daily

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