January 16, 2009

Majority of Chinese Women Want More Children

Authorities in China report that seven in ten of the nation's women would like to have more than one child.

The report was based on a government survey, conducted in 2006 but released only now, that found 70 percent of women wish to have two or more children.

However, China's one-child-only policy is not likely to be eased.  And couples that have more than one child typically pay fines and may even face workplace discrimination.

Authorities claim the policy has prevented hundreds of millions of births and improved the overall wealth of China's citizens.

The nation has the world's largest population, with more than 1.3 billion people.

The government has restricted many families to only one child since the late 1970s, however couples in many rural areas are permitted a second child if their first is a girl.  Different birth-control policies also apply to some ethnic-minority groups, while economic constraints may play a role in limiting the size of other families.

The China Daily reported the results of the survey, which found that parents prefer both a son and a daughter, at least.

"Our research shows that 70.7% of women would like to have two or more babies," the China Daily quoted Jiang Fan, China's vice-minister of the National Family Planning Commission, as saying.

The survey also revealed that 83% of women preferred both a son and a daughter.

"Some mothers think only-children suffer from loneliness and can become spoiled," Fan was quoted as saying.
Lin Ying, a 26-year-old magazine editor, told the China Daily that she wanted to have two children in the next five years.

"Only children often grow up to be self-centered," she said.  

However, the commission said China would meet its goal to maintain its population within 1.36 billion by the end of 2010, despite the survey

"China's family planning policy underpins the country's economy and demographics," the China Daily quoted Li Bin, minister of the commission, as saying.

China's birth-control policies have been enormously controversial throughout the world as enforcement involves forced abortions and other abuses. The policy has also been faulted for its gender preferences, as a historical preference for boys has persuaded many parents to abort girl fetuses.

The high number of China's only-children are often referred to as "little emperors" for the amount of affection and gifts bestowed upon them.