Opinion / From the Readers

Family policy adjusts to the times

(China Daily) Updated: 2014-02-11 08:57

Comment on "Family planning policy enters new era" (China Daily, Jan 24)

In early years of New China, people were encouraged to have more children to meet the great demand for workforce in society. But for more than three decades beginning in the late 1970s, China followed a strict family planning policy, which allowed most couples to have one child, to restrict a population boom that could have eaten into its limited resources.

By the turn of the second decade of the new century, however, the disadvantages of the strict family planning policy became increasingly evident. Compared with the old generation, the single-child generation is less inclined to share social responsibilities or lend a helping hand to others. On a personal note, as the only child of my parents, I have always felt that I lack certain social traits.

In a wider context, a low fertility rate undermines economic development for lack of adequate workforce and leads to an aging society. An aging society, coupled with the lack of enough working age people, could be very harmful for any country.

China is a country with complex social and economic structures, and each mechanism is organically associated with another. As an old Chinese proverb goes, "pulling one hair will move the whole body," the reform of family planning policy is expected to make a lot of difference even if it takes a long time.

Hanbin Zhang, via e-mail

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