BEIJING, China, January 23, 2013 ( – A top Chinese family planning official has dashed any hopes that the One Child Policy will be abolished, or even modified significantly, any time soon.

“We must unwaveringly adhere to the One Child Policy as a national policy to stabilize the low birth rate as the primary task,” stated Wang Xia, Chairman the National Population and Family Planning Commission, at a national conference on January 14.

“We need to keep the One-child policy and keep the national birth rate low . . . It's our priority,” he said.

Chinese national media quoted expert opinions that “the current low birthrate is not stable, except for a few very advanced major cities,” and that if the One Child Policy was relaxed, “the current low birthrate would definitely rebound significantly.” 

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Wang’s announcement came amidst criticisms by demographer Gu Baochang and statistician Ma Jiantang, who have argued that the declines in the labor force due to the policy are endangering China’s economic future.  Ma Jiantang said, however, that China should look into “an appropriate and scientific family planning policy,” according to a Reuters report.


Reports in Western media in recent months have claimed that China is abandonig the policy after the China Development Research Foundation (CDRF)—a think tank affiliated with the Chinese government—recommended that China gradually phase in a two-child policy over the next three years

But Reggie Littlejohn, President of Women’s Rights Without Frontiers, a human rights organization dedicated to fighting China's One Child Policy, said that while it is true that criticism of the policy is growing, that doesn't “warrant jumping to the conclusion that the policy is at an end.”

“Such critics generally do not mention human rights abuses as the reason for reform.  Nor do they advocate abolition of the policy, but rather gradual modification by transitioning to a two-child policy,” she pointed out. “Their concern is for the potentially devastating, long-term economic and demographic consequences of the policy.”

But Littlejohn said the debate shouldn't be about whether China should have a one or two child policy. The problem, she said, “is the coercion with which this limit is enforced.  Even with a two-child policy, women will still be subject to forced abortion if they get pregnant without a birth permit.”

“Also, a two-child policy fails to discourage gendercide, the sex-selective abortion of baby girls.  In areas where couples can have a second child if the first is a girl, gendercide is rampant.”

Littlejohn concluded, “Wang Xia’s strong pronouncement should end speculation that China will abandon the One Child Policy in the foreseeable future.  Forced abortion up to the ninth month of pregnancy, and gendercide – the sex-selective abortion of baby girls – will continue until all coercive birth limits are abolished.  We at Women’s Rights Without Frontiers are dismayed by this news, but will redouble our efforts to end this hideous crime against humanity.”

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Read a translation of the Zhong Xin China News Agency report


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