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Team to Reverse Sterilization on Quake Parents

China's family planning authority are to send a medical team to conduct surgery to reverse sterilization operations on parents wanting another child in China's earthquake zone.

Zhang Shikun, director of the science and technology bureau of the National Population and Family Planning Commission, said, "The team, comprised of experts on childbearing, will conduct surgery in the quake-hit areas to provide technological support for those wanting to give birth to another."

The team was part of the commission's plan to provide free reproduction services, including counseling, guidance, surgery, and the implementation of artificial reproduction technology, for those who wish to have another child, she said.

Under China's "one child" policies, parents who lose a child or have a disabled child are allowed to have a second baby.

According to documents issued by the earthquake relief headquarters of the State Council and the commission last month, families whose children were killed or disabled in the May 12 earthquake should be considered in accordance with local population and family planning regulations.

China's "one-child" policy, which has been in effect for more than three decades as a policy and then a law, has prevented an estimated 400 million births. It limits most urban couples to one child and rural couples to two.

The death toll in the 8.0-magnitude quake on May 12 rose to 69,130 as of Friday noon, while 17,824 were listed as missing, according to the Information Office of the State Council.

The Sichuan provincial Population and Family Planning Commission estimated about 7,000 dead and 16,000 injured were the only children of their families, although exact statistics are still being compiled.

The commission's minister Li Bin said at Friday's national meeting on quake relief that "All families with their only child killed or disabled in the quake should be incorporated into the special assistance system."

"Regular subsidies will be issued to these families to alleviate the financial difficulties brought about by the quake," she said, stressing that the commission was making efforts to enable the subsidy to reach their hands "at an early date".

And free counseling and technical service on childbearing should be provided to those who wish to have another child, she said.

She also demanded subordinate agencies to bring to full play the advantage of their public service network to provide assistance to these families.

(Xinhua News Agency June 7, 2008)

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