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Henan tips birth of 100-millionth

The most populous Chinese province, Henan, expects to have its 100-millionth citizen by next July.

The province's Population and Family Planning Commission made the prediction on Friday ahead of yesterday's 20th World Population Day.

Henan predicted the symbolic birth was likely to come between noon of July 7 next year and the morning of the next day.

Reaching the number has been delayed by 13 years, said Meng Xiancheng, head of the Henan commission, as the province avoided 33 million births over the past three decades, thanks to China's one-child family planning program.

The population of Henan stood at 99.18 million at the end of last year, accounting for 7.4 percent of the country and 1.5 percent of the world.

The large population poses a challenge to the province, Henan's Communist Party Chief Xu Guangchun said.

"We must strictly control the birth rate and make sure the population is below 107 million in 2020.

Birth control

"We cannot slack on this issue, or else we could have hundreds of thousands of extra births in the twinkling of an eye," Xu said.

In Henan, local people are well rewarded if they voluntarily answer the country's call on birth control. Rewards ranging from land and education preferences have reinforced birth control efforts.

Li Meixiang, a 42-year-old woman in Duandong Village, Mengzhou City, had been approved to have another child besides her 14-year-old daughter.

However, she gave up the quota to continue enjoying the benefits of one-child status and received as reward a patch of land to build a new house.

The large population has become a big burden for the development of Henan, diluting the wealth and resources of residents, said Wang Xianzhi, director of the Institute of Population and Development Studies at Henan Institute of Education.

The province's incentive-oriented family planning policy has won extensive support, but it is still not enough to stop the current baby boom, said Wang.

"The 100-millionth citizen is a warning," she said.


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