According to The China Daily the city of Guangzhou is heading towards a demographic and economic disaster because of its rapidly ageing population. In reaction the city has has developed its own policy encouraging families to have more than one child.
The spokesman for the China National Family Planning Commission, Yu Xuejun, indicated that China has just begun to feel the effects of an aging population, and said that it is appropriate for some of the larger cities to encourage their residents to have more than one child.
By 2010, Guangzhou will be home to more than 1 million people aged 60 or over, the commission has estimated. But its homes for the elderly will be able to accommodate only 40,000. There are currently some 945,000 people aged 60 and above, accounting for almost 13 percent of Guangzhou’s total population. According to the city’s 11th five-year development plan for population, employment and social security, by 2010, Guangzhou will have a population of more than 10.9 million, whose average life span will be 78, the commission said.
In addition, the one-child policy has led to a dramatic imbalance in the numbers of men and women in China, with many couples selectively aborting female children in favour of males.
Despite the new decision by Guangzhou to encourage two-children families, in many parts of China, especially the rural areas, the one-child policy is brutally enforced. In May 2007 a campaign began in the province of Guangxi, during which many women were forced to abort children, and others were punished with heavy fines for violating the one-child policy.
In a number of parts of China, riots broke out in protest against the campaign. Those living in rural areas have also been disgruntled by the unequal enforcement of the one-child policy between the rural areas and the city, with the larger cities being much less strict in its enforcement than other parts of the country.