China marks Day of 1.3 Billion

Agence France presse

Beijing, January 6:

The ‘Day of 1.3 Billion’ officially arrived in China today with state media hailing the merits of the government’s stringent “one child” family planning policy in focusing on the birth of the nation’s 1.3 billionth citizen.

The lucky baby boy was given a certificate by the central government just after his birth at the Beijing Hospital early today, proclaiming him the 1.3 billionth person in the world’s most populous country. The National Bureau of Statistics calculated that the fateful day would arrive on January 6, 2005 based on the country’s 20,800 births a day, the Beijing Times reported. That the birth occurred appeared to be a political decision based on the hospital’s daily average of 20 births, the paper said. More important was the government’s effort to underscore the enormous pressures that the population places on China’s resources and on employment. It highlighted the need to continue the controversial family planning policy that allows for only one child for most urban couples, but which in recent years has become less coercive. “Experts say that without government intervention, China’s population would today top 1.5 billion,” the China Daily.