Chinese Officials Clash on Birth Control

Statements from Beijing recently have made the future of China’s unclear. Last month, Zhao Baige, Vice Minister of the National Population and Commission stated that top leadership was considering loosening restrictions on family planning regulations. But as Financial Times reports, Zhao’s boss, Zhang Weiqing, this week reaffirmed that there would be no “wavering” from the current policy.

The sharply conflicting statements from National Population and Family Planning Commission leaders have thrown a spotlight on the political and social sensitivities surrounding birth controls in the world’s most populous nation.

“Birth planning is a basic national policy that China has stuck to for a long time. There can no wavering, only stability,” Zhang Weiqing, population control commission minister, was reported on Thursday as saying.

Despite Zhang’s statement, many are concerned over the consequences of a rapidly aging population who depend on the younger generation to care for them.

Among Beijing’s most pressing concerns is a looming doubling of the proportion of people over 60 to about one in five by 2030.

China’s weak welfare and health systems are ill-equipped to serve an ever-larger army of elderly that will put strains on a national pension fund already facing a shortfall estimated at $350bn

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