Xinjiang implements new uniform ethnic family planning policy

By Cao Siqi Source:Global Times Published: 2017/7/31 21:48:39

Northwest China's Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region has started implementing a uniform family planning policy for all ethnic groups, a move which experts said will promote ethnic equality.

According to a revised regulation on Xinjiang's family planning policy, regional ethnic minorities could no longer enjoy as lenient a family planning policy. It states that starting July 28, all urban couples in the region have been allowed to have two children, while rural couples can have three.

The regional government had previously allowed urban Han couples to have one child while urban minority couples could have two. That meant rural minority couples could have three children, one more than rural Han couples. 

"The change reflects the country's respect for ethnic equality. This move should be expanded to other places, especially in minority areas, depending on local conditions," said Huang Wenzheng, an expert on demographics.

La Disheng, a professor at the Party School of the Communist Party of China Xinjiang regional committee, added that this policy is consistent with China's ethnic policy of equality of all nationalities in the region.

An article written by a former deputy director of State Ethnic Affairs Commission published in the Guangming Daily in 2015 said that China's system of ethnic regional autonomy is not the autonomy enjoyed by one minority, and that the autonomous region is not a place owned by one mino rity.

In July 2014, Zhang Chunxian, then the region's Party chief, wrote an article in the semi-monthly State magazine Qiushi Journal that all ethnic groups in Xinjiang should be held to the same family planning policies as part of efforts to lower regional birth rates.

Wang Peian, vice minister of the National Health and Family Planning Commission, said in Urumqi in July that the commission will invest about 35.5 billion yuan ($5.2 billion) to support Xinjiang's health development in the next five years. "Xinjiang's health care is facing many difficulties," Wang said, noting that four prefectures in South Xinjiang suffer from poverty, rapid population growth and serious public health deficiency.

Xinjiang's population as of 2016 was 23.98 million, according to Xinjiang government data.

Xinjiang's regional statistics bureau said the latest population census in 2010 showed that there were 8.7 million Han people in Xinjiang, accounting for 40.1 percent of the total, and an increase of 16.77 percent compared to the 2000 survey. Meanwhile, around 13 million minorities live in Xinjiang, an increase of 19.12 percent.

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