China defends one-child restrictions

China has defended its controversial one-child policy, saying the world's most populous country is fighting an uphill battle against a swelling population.

    Figures show 119 boys are born in China for every 100 girls

    Pan Guiyu, deputy director of the State Population and Family Planning Commission, said on Thursday that the policy had avoided 300 million births over 30 years, the equivalent, she said, to the population of Europe.

    "The good effects are very apparent," she said. "But can we relax now? I should tell you we are still facing a grave situation."
       
    China launched the one-child policy in the early 1980s to curb its population, now over 1.3 billion, but the restrictions have bolstered a traditional preference for baby boys and have come under fire from Western countries and human rights
    activists.

    Zhao Baige, vice-minister in charge of the commission, said earlier this month that the one-child policy had been misunderstood in the West, that in rural areas it allows for two children and in minority communities, there are no restrictions at all.
       
    But she noted that the policy has caused a disparity
    between the male and female population.

    Sex-selective abortion is banned, but ultrasound has made it easier to know a baby's gender in advance, increasing the chances for aborting girls.
       
    Chinese traditionally prefer sons because they are seen as more able to provide for the family, and government figures show 119 boys are born in China for every 100 girls.

    SOURCE: Reuters


    YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

    'We scoured for days without sleeping, just clothes on our backs'

    'We scoured for days without sleeping, just clothes on our backs'

    The Philippines’ Typhoon Haiyan was the strongest storm ever to make landfall. Five years on, we revisit this story.

    How Moscow lost Riyadh in 1938

    How Moscow lost Riyadh in 1938

    Russian-Saudi relations could be very different today, if Stalin hadn't killed the Soviet ambassador to Saudi Arabia.

    Daughters of al-Shabab

    Daughters of al-Shabab

    What draws Kenyan women to join al-Shabab and what challenges are they facing when they return to their communities?