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China To Maintain Current Family Planning Policy, Minister Says

“China will stick with its current family planning policy to maintain the country’s low birthrate but will make an effort to fine-tune it, … Wang Xia, minister of the National Population and Family Planning Commission, [said] at a national conference in Beijing on Monday amid widespread speculation that the one-child rule on the Chinese mainland might soon be relaxed,” China Daily reports. “‘Maintaining a low birthrate remains a top priority in 2013 and beyond. But policy implementation has to fit into local situations,’ she said,” the newspaper writes. “Many people, including academics, have called for relaxing the policy to better meet new demographic challenges such as a rapidly aging society, a skewed gender ratio and a rising labor shortage,” the newspaper notes. “China adopted a family planning policy, which limited most couples to just one child, in the 1970s,” China Daily writes, adding there are exceptions for rural couples if the first child is a girl and for urban couples who are both only children (Wang/Shan, 1/16).