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No Relief From Local One-Child Rule

SHANGHAI will strictly follow the nation's family planning law and is not inclined to ease current restrictions, city government spokesman Chen Qiwei said at yesterday's regular weekly news conference.

Some local population experts suggested at a recent forum addressing the problems of an aging society that the government might consider removing all restrictions on having a second child. There were more than 3 million registered Shanghai residents age 60 or over at the end of last year - about 137,400 more than in 2007.

Removing restrictions would also help level the gender imbalance, forum participants said. Some parents have aborted female fetuses to ensure a male heir.

Responding to questions about the forum, Chen said that the present rule stipulates that only couples who were the only children in their family can have a second child and that no changes are in the works.

But even if the rules were relaxed, the outcome might not be a new baby boom anyway. Many parents may decide to have only one child because of the high costs of raising a family, experts said.


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