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Book Chapter

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China Briefing


Realizing the extent of runaway population growth in China and the associated threat to the realization of overall domestic economic development, China's leadership of 1980 set the goal of holding the country's population within 1.2 billion by the year 2000. With few exceptions, the government called for all couples to have only 1 child. By 1990, different localities and regions had implemented their own policies. The state still held all urban couples with a single female child could have a 2nd child after a 5 year hiatus; a 3rd child was forbidden regardless of the sex of the 2nd child. The 1990 population census showed China's population had grown to 1.13 billion by July 1 and by year's end was over the 1.143 billion. The population is even likely to exceed 1.3 billion by the year 2000 and grow to 1.6 billion by the middle of the 21st century. This revelation sparked new calls for action and population control. In May 1991 the Chinese Communist Party Central Committee and State Council declared that population policy would not change, but that it should be strictly implemented especially in the countryside. A new family planning propaganda campaign was in evidence in many towns and villages in the summer of 1991, but nothing yet indicates whether the campaign proved successful. Sections discuss in greater detail the evolution of the birth planning policy and implementation of the one-child policy.

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