China Sees Wealthy Families Escape One-Child Law as Economy Rises

International   |   Steven Ertelt   |   May 7, 2007   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

China Sees Wealthy Families Escape One-Child Law as Economy Rises Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt Editor
May 7
, 2007

Beijing, China ( — Chinese officials are concerned that the strengthening economy there is giving rise to more reasons to be worried about overpopulation. The Asian nation instituted a one-child family planning policy in the 1970s that limits couples to one child and has led to forced abortions and human rights abuses.

Rich couples have always been able to get around the law by having a second child and simply paying the fines that would bankrupt most families.

But as the nation’s economy improves and more families enter the middle and upper class, a greater percentage of the population can afford to have another child and get around the law by paying the fine.

Zhang Weiqing, of the National Population and Family Planning Commission, told the official government news service about these concerns on Monday.

He said the nation could experience a "population rebound" as more Chinese flout the policy.

He told the Xinhua news agency that a survey it conducted found that people in upper income levels are more frequently having a second child and that 10 percent of all rich Chinese families have had a third child as well.

Chinese citizens are also getting around the law by marrying early.

The China constitution prohibits men from marrying until the age of 22 and women until they are 20 to help encouraged later, and fewer, children.

But Zhang told the Chinese media that "early marriages are still prevailing in some parts of the country, especially in rural areas, which goes against the family planning policy."

He said that couples in rural areas, where two children are allowed, are also underreporting the birth of girl babies because they prefer sons to carry on the family line and work the family farm when the parents die.