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60% Netizens Condemn Infringement of Family Planning Policy by Rich

More than 60 percent of Chinese netizens think it is unfair for rich and famous people to have more children than family planning policies allow, a newly released survey found.


The online survey of 7,917 internet surfers, co-conducted by China Youth Daily and, showed that 68 percent of respondents said extra children for rich or famous people was a major problem.


The well-off don't care about the cost of an unplanned birth, they said. Some of them submit forged documents saying their first child suffered from a congenital disease, others "buy" the birth permit for a second child to make the unplanned birth legal.


The survey showed that 61 percent of respondents consider this unfair. "How can they violate the national policy just because they have more money?" an anonymous respondent asked.


Half the respondents said childbearing rights should be the same for everybody.


Zhang Weiqing, director of the National Population and Family Planning Commission, said last year that to maintain the current low birth rate, the family planning policy must not change.


"The rich and famous have no privileges in relation to unplanned births," Zhang said.


China has maintained a "one-child" family planning policy since early 1970s. The one-child policy has helped reduce the country's population by more than 300 million and postponed the arrival of the 1.3-billion population mark by four years, officials said last year.


Zhai Zhenwu, professor with the Population and Development Studies Center in Renmin University of China, said the phenomenon of unplanned births among the rich reflects imperfect family planning regulations and systems.


"Fining the violators is a way of trying to control the birth rate. But if the rich are not deterred by fines, no other methods exist to prevent them from having more children," Zhai said.


He said unplanned births among rich people would not affect population control because they represent a small proportion of society. However, the phenomenon could impact social equality and exacerbate social conflicts caused by the widening gap between rich and poor.


China's population, which hit 1.3 billion in 2005, is expected to expand by eight to 10 million annually in years to come.


(Xinhua News Agency January 23, 2007)

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