From Reuters, today:

China, worried about an ageing population, is studying scrapping its controversial one-child policy but will not do away with family-planning policies altogether, a senior official said on Thursday….

China says its policies have prevented several hundred million births and boosted prosperity, but experts have warned of a looming social time-bomb from an ageing population and widening gender disparity stemming from a traditional preference for boys….
Officials have also cautioned that population controls are being unravelled by the increased mobility of China’s 150 million-odd migrant workers, who travel from poor rural areas to work in more affluent eastern cities….

From The Times Online today, fascinating yet tragic inside info:

When Mao’s enormous baby boom generation reaches retirement age in a few years, Chinese officials fear that their families will be unable to provide financial and social support.

One child being left to care for two parents and four grandparents is known as the “4-2-1” problem, and threatens to put severe strain on communities in a country which lacks a formal social security system to care for the elderly.
The policy has also produced an unnatural gender imbalance, as couples use legal and illegal means to ensure that their only child is a son. There are 117 men to each 100 women in China compared with the 108:100 imbalance in India, where sons are also preferred and female foetuses are sometimes aborted or baby girls left exposed to die.
Chinese officials estimate that by 2020 there will be 30 million men known as “bare branches”, unable to find a wife to marry and have their own child.

Another consequence of the one-child rule has been the creation of a generation of “little emperors”, indulged and cosseted boy children who are often overweight, arrogant and lacking in social skills.

china%20babies%202.jpgAlso from The Times Online, in a separate article today:

China’s political leadership is considering ending the country’s hated “one-child” policy because it is damaging the economy and creating a demographic timebomb, a senior minister admitted today.
Zhao Baige, Vice Minister of the National Population and Family Planning Commission, revealed that there is concern at the highest levels that the policy is already tearing apart the fabric of society.

[HT: Drudge; photo credits: Times Online]

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