Family Planning in China

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Family planning in China
1. China: one of the largest populated countries in the world
As one of the largest populated countries in the world, China needs to consider the carrying capacity of its land and water resources. Some experts suggest that a population size of 1.6 billion is the carrying capacity of China. One responsibility of medical doctors should be to support the establishment of a national population target. The Chinese traditionally prefer early marriage, early child-bearing, and large families. Each married women usually raises between five and six children. The Chinese say: "...more children means great happiness". Due to poor health care, natural disasters, and long periods of war, the population of China increased from 250 million to 500 million within approximately 200 years. Since health care has been improved, as well as the ability to supply enough food, the population exploded between 1950 and 1980. The population increased from 500 million to 1000 million in only 30 years. Limited resources cannot support the heavy population burden. China has about as much territory as the United States, but much less arable land. The per capita cultivated land of China is one-eighth that of the United States. Fresh water is another scarce resource in China. With 2800 billion cubic meters of fresh water, China ranks sixth in the world; however, it ranks eighty-eighth in fresh water per capita. Even worse, the distribution of fresh water is poorly matched to the distribution of land. Considering all resources, experts suggest that a population size of 1.6 billion is the carrying capacity of China. Many economists believe that 700 million to 1 billion is the optimum population size for accelerating economical development in China. This is the reason China has held a tight family planning program over the past 25 years.

Table.1. Birth rate in China
Table.1. Birth rate in China

Year| Birth rate| Death rate| Natural growth rate|
1950| 36.0| 18.00| 16.00|
1961| 18.02| 14.24| 3.78|
1970| 33.43| 7.60| 25.83|
1980| 18.21| 6.34| 11.87|
1990| 21.06| 6.67| 14.39|
1996| 16.89| 6.49| 10,40|

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Fig.2.
Ratio of China's land and population in the world
Fig.2.
Ratio of China's land and population in the world

Fig.3.
Arable land and per capita cultivated land in the world
Fig.3.
Arable land and per capita cultivated land in the world

Fig.1. Population growth in China
Fig.1. Population growth in China
China
2. Current family planning policy in China

China's current family planning policy was made to meet the needs of a special period. Because of the huge population base and large annual increase, central government needs to establish a national target and policy. China is a big country, the economic level of development and cultural background vary considerably in different areas. Because of the family planning regulations made by local governments, there is great diversity in China and increased flexibility for minorities. At present, the Chinese Family Planning Policy guidelines are as follows: * Controlling the rapid population growth and reducing birth defects. * Late marriages, later births, and fewer babies; couples are encouraged to have only one child. In rural areas, the birth of a second child should be spaced 4-5 years from the first. lt took time for the Chinese government to recognize the population problem. In the 1950s, some leaders of the Chinese government preferred a large population. The government paid no attention to the population. In the 1960s, although the contraceptive pill had been introduced in China, national family planning programs were not implemented. Rapid population increase and fertility remained at very high levels in the late 1960s, leading the Chinese government to reduce the population growth rate, a key element of the National Economic Development Plan in 1973. In the 1970s, the principle of the family...
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