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|作者：原作者: … 文章来源：南方周末 点击数：8349 更新时间：2009/4/16 (第教学周)|
I don’t believe relaxing the policy will result in disarray
Southern Weekly: So is this why you have offered the phrase: “Advocate one, allow two, put an end three, and give incentive to having none?”
Ji Baocheng: Research reports on China’s strategic development for population has said from the beginning that if the peak population [not including Hong Kong, Macau or Taiwan] is kept around 1.5 billion, the national birth rate over the next thirty years should be maintained at 1.8 [children per couple]. Any higher or lower will be detrimental to the coordinated development of economy and society.
I believe this assessment is correct. The birth rate should be maintained at about 1.8. With a country as big as ours, family planning as been a national policy and maintaining a low birth rate level is an absolute necessity. There can be no wavering on this point.
However, according to the research done at Renmin University of China the situation has changed. The average birth rate in the countryside is 1.9 and in the cities it is 1.23. The national average is 1.6, which is lower than 1.8 and much lower than the level of 2.1 needed to replace the next generation.
So what does this 1.8 really mean? “Advocate one, allow two, put an end to three and give incentive to having none.” This is 1.8.
Our research shows that, for a variety of reasons, 5% of people in cities do not have children at all. 95% have one. Among this 95%, 52% of a sample survey said they would be willing to have a second child if allowed. If the policy was changed and we take into account this effect, at most 80% of people would have a second child. This would be a birth rate of 1.6 per couple. People in rural areas will likely have two and when this happens the half of the population will be located in cities and the other half in rural areas [currently 45% live in cities]. The average would then be 1.8.
The three sentences at the beginning of this statement I am advocating are actually from a policy that was implemented in the 1970s. There was a common saying at the time: “One is not many, two’s just right and three’s too much.” Later on the “two is just right” part was thrown out.
At the time this policy was implemented with a lot of success. It was done during the Cultural Revolution, so there wasn’t as much force like there was in the ‘80s, but it was able to bring the total birth rate down from six to about three, which means it was reduced by half in about eight or nine years. That’s simply amazing. At the time I was in Yichang, Hubei and I felt that it didn’t require that much effort at the grass roots level.
Southern Weekly: Some people may worry that if a second child is allowed that disorder will follow, that things will return to the days when families had five or six children each.
Ji Baocheng: There are probably some people who would say I’m too optimistic. I don’t believe the situation will return to what it was at the beginning of the ’60 when each family had an average of six children. How can young people do this today? Even young people in remote regions wouldn’t be able to do this. The market economy has impacted every corner of society, changing the way people think. People can’t possibly avoid being drawn into this process. It’s impossible not to be affected by it.
I can say that if we were still a largely illiterate society that allowing a second child would probably be difficult to manage. But urbanization and universal education have already provided a more rational and a mature social environment for allowing a second child.
Research on population studies has shown a negative correlation between education level and birth rate. Japan and Korea are countries with a very high population density. They have no family planning policy but the birth rate is only about 1.3. This is based on the influence of socioeconomic development on education and the way people think. Of course they also have their social security systems.
We also have practical experience domestically with a two child policy. Think of Jiuquan, Gansu; Yicheng, Shanxi; Chengde, Hebei; and Enshi, Hubei, all of which have implemented this, yet still have maintained low birth rates. I feel that this concern is unnecessary.
Also, a two child policy does not mean a totally lax approach. Will we still need family planning? Of course we will. Will we still need a Family Planning Commission? I think it will still be needed. The difficulty level of family planning work will not necessarily decrease very much and the work load will still be quite large. We need to prevent a spike [in births], but I don’t think the possibility of this happening is very great.
The key to whether or not this policy will be successful is being able to put an end to having a third child. This is the hard part. But I don’t think this problem will be as hard to deal with now as in the past because of urbanization and a universally high level of education. When I think about the ‘70s, most of the time was occupied by the Cultural Revolution, yet the rate fell rather quickly from six to three.
Allowing a second child is in line with the wishes of the vast majority of people. I believe a very small minority wants to have three. Even in the countryside people won’t necessarily be willing to have a third. The Family Planning Commission will have to do a lot of work, but I don’t think it will be that difficult.
What’s more important is through this policy the relationship between the government and the people will be more harmonious. Family’s will be better. Marriages will probably be more stable. Children will grow up healthier. There will be less of a burden on the shoulders of educational offices. Perhaps I personally just over romanticize the issue. I’m always hopeful that we can make our family planning a much “sweeter job.” [laughter]
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