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UN told of China's'primary problem'

A TOP Chinese family planning official has told the United Nations that if China had not implemented its family planning policy, its population would have exceeded 1.7 billion last year.

Taking the floor at the 42nd session of the UN Commission on Population and Development on Tuesday, Li Bin, China's minister in charge of the National Population and Family Planning Commission, said: "At present, China has a total population of 1.328 billion. Without the implementation of the family planning policy, total population in China would have exceeded 1.7 billion in 2008."

Overpopulation is one of China's primary problems, said Li, adding that thanks to family planning efforts, the total fertility rate of Chinese women (the average number of children that would be born to a woman over her lifetime) had gone from 5.8 in 1970 to below replacement level in 1991 and was now around 1.8.

Li said China had also raised average life expectancy from 68 at the end of the 1970s to 73 at present, reduced the infant mortality rate and the mortality rate of children under 5 to 14.9 per thousand and 24 per thousand respectively, and reduced the maternal mortality rate to 34.2 per 100,000.

China also increased the average per capita education attainment of people aged 15 and over from 4.5 years to 8.5 years in 2007, and achieved a 99.3-percent coverage rate nationwide with regard to universal access to 9-year compulsory education.

The rural poverty population had been reduced from 250 million to 40.07 million, which helped accelerate the global poverty alleviation process, Li said.

China's family planning policy has been in effect for more than 30 years. It limits most couples to one child in urban areas and two in rural areas.


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