7 - Population, Consumption and Social Services
7.1 Full consideration should be given to the population
factor at all planning and decision-making stages. The relationship between
population, resources, environment and development should be appropriately
coordinated so as to lessen population pressures, which is an important
aspect of ensuring sustainable social and economic development in the socialist
7.2 China has made well-known achievements with
regard to population control due to her positive and effective population
control policies and family planning management and services. Nevertheless,
three major problems (viz., the extremely large population base, low levels
of competence, and the unbalanced population structure) are now and will
continue to be urgent issues for a rather long time in the future.
7.3 Changes in consumption patterns, like population
growth, play an important role in the sustainable development of the economy.
Rational consumption patterns not only benefit a growing national economy,
but also reduce various pressures arising from population growth and protect
and improve the environment upon which humankind depends. Unfortunately,
however, the rapid growth of population together with non-sustainable consumption
has become a tremendous burden on the supply of limited energy and resources.
In particular, low-efficiency but high-consuming production and irrational
domestic consumption have caused severe damage to the environment, thus
affecting the conditions for improving living standards and even for sustaining
human life itself.
7.4 Based on an enhanced understanding of the aforementioned
issues, the Chinese Government plans to take necessary measures and actions
to alter traditional irrational consumption practices and encourage more
reasonable and sustainable consumption behaviour. Special attention should
be focused on consumption in poverty-stricken and backward areas. Strategies
should be developed to change inappropriate consumption patterns and lessen
the burden on resources and the environment, so as to improve economic development
and living standards and to alleviate poverty.
7.5 The Chinese Government has determined that
striving for a sustainable, rapid and healthy development of national economy
is a strategic goal. "Continuously improving living standards, strictly
controlling population growth and strengthening environmental protection"
has become fundamental tasks to be completed during the accelerated process
of reform and opening up to promote economic development and all-round social
progress. Family planning and environmental protection are regarded as basic
7.6 To satisfy the needs of a growing population,
the Chinese Government attaches great importance to improving people's food,
clothing and housing conditions, to enriching entertainment, physical education,
health care, as well as to the development of tertiary industries and social
services in order to provide people with full and convenient services. As
the national economy rapidly develops, these demands will become more urgent.
7.7 Population, consumption and social services
involve a wide range of issues and aspects. Therefore this chapter is interrelated
with or cross-referenced to other chapters, therefore it should be studied
with other chapters in mind. While drawing up programme areas, due consideration
should be given to issues such as employment, human resources development,
urbanization of population, health care, the protection of women and children,
average per capita consumption, consumption structure, etc.. Similarly,
in the preparation and execution of the other programme areas, the impacts
of population, consumption and social conditions should also be taken into
7.8 The following 3 programme areas are included
in this chapter:
A. Control of Population Growth and Improvement
of Competence Level
Basis for action
7.9 As a developing country with a large population,
China is faced with the arduous tasks of dealing in a coordinated way with
population control, resource utilization, environmental protection and economic
7.10 In the 1990's, China is facing its third peak
in the birth-rate since the founding of the People's Republic of China.
It is estimated that the Chinese population will approach 1.3 billion by
the year 2000 and 1.5-1.6 billion by the middle of the next century.
7.11 With this continuous growth in total population,
the labour force will be increasing steadily. A relatively higher rate of
economic development must be maintained and more job opportunities should
be created to meet the demands of the increasing labour force. There is
an urgent need to formulate strategies and take actions to deal with the
disparity between greater supply of and less demand for labour.
7.12 A decrease in the birth rate is changing the
age structure of the population, and there will be a tendency towards an
ageing population. By the end of 1991, the Chinese population at or above
60 years old stood at 100 million. By the turn of the century, the number
will be 130 million, or approximately 10 per cent of the total population.
7.13 A large proportion of the Chinese population
has a relatively low level of education. The semi- illiterate and illiterate
population numbers over 180 million (1990), 36% of which are employed in
rural areas. Therefore, improvement of education is fundamental to rural
people being able shake off poverty and live a more comfortable life.
7.14 In the last 20 years, the Chinese Government
has taken a series of measures and achieved remarkable progress in areas
such as reducing the pressures imposed by population growth upon the environment,
increasing public awareness of population policies, raising contraception
rate, improving prenatal care and birth practices, improving education and
health care for children, and improving educational levels throughout the
7.15 Since the 1980's, the reform and opening-up
process has given rise to population flows and migrations. Such movements
prove to be both necessary and beneficial to economic prosperity and social
progress. Therefore, corresponding strategies and measures should taken
to better steer and manage the floating segment of the population, to coordinate
distribution of population and availability of resources in urban and rural
areas, and to better deal with new and difficult problems encountered in
the urbanization process.
7.16 In rural areas, and particularly in poverty-stricken
areas, special efforts should be devoted to family planning issues, such
as, the prevention of early marriages and of early and excessive births,
and of marriages between close relatives. At the same time, measures should
be taken to transform in a fundamental way backward educational conditions
and to raise educational levels.
7.17 Every effort will be made to keep the average
annual rate of population growth within 1.25 per cent by the year 2000.
The total birth rate will be reduced from 2.3 in 1990 to below 2.0, the
average birth rate in developed countries at present. It is expected that
the Chinese population will be stabilized at around 1.5 or 1.6 billion by
the middle of next century. The population policy includes genetic counselling,
childbirth counselling, and education about child-rearing practices with
the aim of improving general health and educational levels. Research will
be conducted on the problems associated with an ageing population.
7.18 By the end of the century, illiteracy amongst
young and middle-aged women will be basically eliminated, and the goal of
9 years of compulsory education will be basically achieved. At the same
time, levels of education throughout the country will be improved by enhancing
various forms of education and vocational training, including the education
of women and children.
7.19 Population control policy and environmental
- (a) The family planning policy will be continued
so as to reach the objectives for population control. Based on China's
present condition and level of economic development, consideration must
be given to the control of the birth rate, to raising health and educational
levels, and to the solution of problems associated with an ageing population.
A comprehensive plan will be formulated for achieving rational growth,
improving levels of competence and optimizing the composition of the population;
(b) Research and analysis on the current population,
including the migrant population, will be conducted in order to provide
a sound basis for making decisions on issues such as population control,
job creation and urbanization. Inter-sectorial collaboration will be strengthened,
and more opportunities for educational activities and exchanges of information
amongst people from different backgrounds will be presented in order to
increase public awareness of opportunities to participate in the control
(c) Government capabilities in terms of population
management will be strengthened through clear definition of obligations
and the adoption of well-coordinated management mechanisms.
7.20 Family planning and health care of women and
- (a) The quality of family planning services will
continue to be improved and new effective contraceptives will be widely
introduced. Various kinds of high-quality services and information about
family-planning and the health care of women and children will be provided
to all married couples. Prenatal and postnatal care will be improved. Special
attention will be paid to couples in backward areas to ensure their regular
acquisition of information about contraception, contraceptive devices and
technical services as required;
(b) Family planning should be combined with the
health care of women and children; activities will be encouraged to create
happy and harmonious families; the implementation of family planning policies
must be closely related with activities in improving living standards;
(c) There should be better training of personnel
engaged in family planning and health care work so as to improve their
efficiency in providing family planning services by increasing their knowledge
base and their mastery of new techniques;
(d) Family planning should be closely linked to
poverty alleviation efforts in poor regions; poor households that have
strictly followed family planning practices should be favoured and rewarded.
7.21 Education and raising levels of competence:
- (a) Educational opportunities for women should
be increased and improving the conditions for women to be educated should
receive particular attention; scientific and technical training should
be provided to women of childbearing age, together with information about
birth control policies; women should be encouraged to take an active part
in social and economic activities and to voluntarily engage in family planning;
(b) Men should be encouraged to share more family
responsibilities, particularly, for family planning;
(c) Cultural and educational activities should
be further expanded in rural areas, and rural people's educational levels
should be raised; traditional concepts about childbearing should be altered
to lower birth rates and to avoid endogamous marriages;
(d) Efforts should be made to promote ethical
and moral education and to encourage good social ethics; efforts should
also be made to gradually educate people in urban and rural areas about
environmental protection, improving ecological systems, and the rational
use of resources, and to increase public awareness of population issues
and the protection of natural resources and the environment.
7.22 Ageing population and development of human
- (a) Economic development in local communities
should be promoted; the structure of production in rural areas should be
improved; guidance should be provided for the development of the township
and village enterprises (TVE); there should be active promotion of the
development of tertiary industries. Adequate opportunities for employment
should be provided to women so they can improve their economic status;
(b) Research should be conducted on how to develop
and utilize the ever-increasing labour forces; research should especially
consider the inter-relationship between surplus labour in the countryside,
the migrant population, the urbanization of the population and the development
of TVE enterprises. Measures should be taken to make rational and efficient
use of both human and natural resources;
(c) A social security system should be established
for elderly people. A well-organized network providing medical care and
social services to the elderly in local communities should be further improved.
Efforts should be made to put in place a comprehensive social security
system in order to better deal with the problems associated with an ageing
7.23 Establishment and improvement of overall data
collection and information systems:
- (a) An information and management system for
population statistics and indicators should be established based on computerized
data-banks at national, regional and local (counties, towns and villages)
levels so that population data and related information can be effectively
distributed to guide and improve family planning management and services
at grass-root levels. An integrated national decision-making support system
(DSS) and an artificial intelligence system will be established gradually;
(b) Techniques for collecting high-quality data
will be improved and research on developing technology for objectively
evaluating the quality of population data will be conducted. Efforts will
be made to train more qualified population management staff;
(c) International cooperation and academic exchanges
should be strengthened in order to establish and develop standards for
data formatting and software, to ensure that data-banks are compatible
with those in information centres found in other countries so that their
data can be accessed at both national and regional levels.
7.24 Formulation and evaluation of policies:
- (a) Consideration should be given to the demand
for natural resources, the generation of wastes and balancing ecological
systems, when policies concerning human settlements are being formulated;
(b) In the process of working on environmental
protection and economic development, governments at all levels should take
into account both the direct and indirect impacts of population fluctuations
and evaluate their influence on population characteristics;
(c) When formulating economic policies, due consideration
should be given to the impact of an ageing population on labour supply,
the demand for resources, family incomes and support capabilities;
(d) There should be policies to guide the migrant
population and studies should be made on problems associated with population
migration and shifts in labour forces in order to prevent the over-concentration
of the population in urban areas and to reduce massive pressures on the
(e) When various policies and programmes resulting
from environmental degradation or destruction are being formulated, special
attention should be paid to the protection of women and the disabled.
7.25 Regional cooperation and the exchange of experiences:
B. Establishment of Sustainable Consumption Patterns
Basis for action
7.26 Since the founding of the People's Republic
of China, people's consumption patterns have been changing from having the
basics towards having a more comfortable life. On the whole, consumption
by the Chinese people is still at a low level. Per capita income in China
is rather low. According to statistics in the World Bank's development report
of 1991, China's GNP in 1989 was US$ 350 per capita (using 1980 exchange
rates), thereby placing China in the category of countries with a lower-middle
level of annual income.
7.27 Consumption trends in China are not always
appropriate and consumption patterns are somewhat lopsided. This is most
apparent in the fact that food consumption still dominates, while consumption
in recreational and other areas is relatively low; there is a problematic
relationship between population growth and diminishing resource availability.
On a per capita basis, the availability of natural resources, such as fresh
water, farmlands, forests, and mineral resources, is far below the world
average. In particular, there is a sharp reduction of non-renewable natural
resources, which is severely hindering the sustainable development of the
national economy. China is facing growing pressures as people's consumption
levels are rising.
7.28 Increases in levels of consumption and adjustments
in proportions of expenditure should be based on rational consumption patterns.
China will not follow the development model of industrialized countries
which have achieved high economic growth and lifestyles through high consumption
at the expense of high use of natural resources and serious environmental
pollution. China will develop in accordance with her own realities. Appropriate
consumption and a low energy-consuming production system should take form
in a gradual manner and eventually the Chinese people's standard of living
will become rise, based on a more positive and rational approach to consumption.
7.29 By the year 2000, people's lives should be
more comfortable. By then, there should be no further per capita increase
in consumption of energy and raw materials, and there should be a reduction
in the pollution of the environment by hazardous wastes.
7.30 Adjustments in spending patterns and diversification
in consumption should be encouraged so that consumption requirements for
different living standards will be basically met.
7.31 The principle of payment according to one's
work should be practised while taking due consideration of equal opportunity
and efficiency. Action should be taken to minimize differences in levels
of consumption, to narrow the gap between the rich and poor and to pursue
a shared prosperity.
7.32 Productive forces should be developed to establish
an efficient system of production involving low energy consumption and less
pollution, so that the quantity, quality and diversity of resources for
sustaining life can be improved.
7.33 A product structure which appropriately matches
rational consumption patterns should be developed in order to:
- (a) Expand value-added food processing, increase
the production of nutritious and green food so as to raise the quality
and nutritional levels of foods;
(b) Develop the production of durable consumer
goods and broaden consumption; promote the sale of new consumer goods;
(c) Actively explore the potential in rural markets
for durable consumer goods;
(d) Encourage a moderate growth in vehicles for
transportation, vigorously develop the construction industry;
(e) Promote development in townships and villages
and the commercialization of housing; increase per capita residential space;
(f) Through centralized planning, emphasize improvements
in the quality, decoration and convenience of rural housing; work to construct
well-laid out and clean new towns, with well- equipped facilities and convenient
(g) Vigorously encourage the development of tertiary
industries so as to make people's lives more comfortable and convenient.
7.34 Reform of the present distribution system
should be promoted to solve problems resulting from the unfair distribution
of incomes and social resources, and to engender positive attitudes to work.
The principle of payment according to one's work should be supplemented
by other means of distribution as required, and, consideration should also
be given to distribution based on fairness and efficiency. The main points
of reform include:
- (a) Lifting price controls on agricultural products,
agricultural by-products and raw materials, thereby strengthening the market
(b) Reforming the financial and taxation systems
in order to narrow income gaps between urban and rural areas, between low
and high income groups, and between the eastern, central and western regions
(c) Readjusting the distribution of income between
central and local governments, between the state and enterprises, and between
enterprises and individuals to ensure that the central government has adequate
financial resources; rationally combine taxation with the distribution
of profits and link income with individual performance in enterprises;
(d) Stabilizing incomes, supplementing basic wages
with housing and price subsidies, and guaranteeing adequate basic wages;
(e) Increasing the transparency of personal incomes
so that excessively high incomes can be adjusted through taxation.
7.35 The government should guide and promote improvements
in individual expenditure patterns, as well as encouraging diversity in
spending. It is proposed that:
- (a) Tax and other measures be used to control
consumption of unhealthy products such as cigarettes and hard liquor and
to encourage thrift while discouraging waste;
(b) Rational consumption be promoted by formulating
appropriate policies to control spending by government agencies and enterprises;
(c) The structure of enterprises be adjusted to
hasten the development of tertiary industries, to increase jobs and individual
incomes, to improve living standards of people, and to meet their needs.
C. Actively Developing Social Services and Tertiary
Basis for action
7.36 With the opening and reform process and an
accelerated pace of economic development, social services and tertiary industries
are playing an increasingly important role in people's lives.
7.37 Before 1990, China had 17,413,000 service
establishments, 56,000 industrial enterprises within the commercial sector,
117,000 receiving depots for resource reclamation employing 36,390,000 people.
There were 170,000 financial institutions, with approximately 2,000,000
staff. Total insured value reached 17.5 billion yuan, covering a wide range
of sectors such as industry, agriculture, business, foreign trade, science
and technology, culture, education, sports, etc. In the last 10 years, tourism
has undergone a rapid development, and 249 tourist attractions and 14 sightseeing
routes are now open to world visitors. In 1992, tourism earned US$ 4 billion
from 38,116,100 foreign tourists and 330 million domestic tourists. Tourism
in China is a relatively mature industry. A comparatively well-developed
meteorological service system has been set up across the country. The information
industry and consultative services are developing rapidly. At present, the
service industry has a variety of economic sectors, traditional businesses
have been revived, new businesses are being established at a rapid pace
and trans-sectorial groups of enterprises are coming into being one after
another. All these are playing important roles in flourishing markets, speeding
up the distribution of commodities, improving quality of people's lives,
building up the state's financial resources, earning foreign currency and
giving fresh impetus to the development of national economy.
7.38 For the time being, tertiary industry in China
constitutes a small portion of total GNP, far behind that in developed countries
and in many developing countries as well. With the rapid development of
the national economy, tertiary industries should also grow. Developing commercial,
financial, insurance, tourism, legal, accounting, auditing and social services
are fundamental for guaranteeing sustainable development.
7.39 At present, the major problems hindering the
development of tertiary industries in China are outmoded ways of thinking,
lack of policy guidance, weak management, lack of well-trained service staff
and incomplete service networks.
7.40 The objectives for development in social services
and tertiary industries in China are as follows:
7.41 The Decision of the State Council and Central
Committee of the Communist Party on Acceleration of Tertiary Industries
should be implemented.
7.42 Commercial and commodity circulation sectors
should increase their marketing abilities and improve the retail trade system.
A wholesale network for industrial and agricultural products and by- products
should be established. Efforts should be made to increase capacities for
storage and transportation and to accelerate the establishment of a goods
distribution network. The construction and operation of environmental protection
facilities should be facilitated and noise pollution should be controlled.
7.43 New routes for tourist attractions should
be opened up, and tourist resources should be protected to promote pollution-free
and environmentally-sound tourism. Tourist-oriented road transportation
facilities, airports and related services (including catering establishments)
should be constructed. Appropriate ways should be found to solve problems
in sewage disposal, refuse collection, goods transportation, waste disposal
and to strictly control sources of hazardous pollution at scenic spots.
7.44 Efforts should be made to strengthen management
of the catering sector, to enforce laws and regulations with regard to sanitary
conditions and food quality, to improve the quality of services, and to
encourage healthy, nutritious and pollutant-free green food.
7.45 The exchange of goods in the market should
be better organized through establishing a comprehensive distribution network
and also establishing a system for managing and regulating the circulation
of goods and for ensuring the elimination of counterfeits and inferior products.
7.46 Social insurance should be further developed,
and special attention should be paid to the elderly and to disaster insurance.
A social security system should be established.
7.47 A financial system, appropriate to the social
system and including a sound stock market to promote the development of
the financial sector, should be established in China.
7.48 Pollution resulting from the development of
tertiary industries should be controlled, particularly in such trades as
animal-slaughtering (waste water), storage (pesticides), food processing,
catering and manufacturing which emits toxic gases.
7.49 The information industry will be greatly improved
through the formulation of favourable policies and regulations; in particular,
the process for establishing a basic national geographical information system
should be accelerated and an information service system will be created
for providing necessary scientific, technological and managerial information
to both urban and rural users.
7.50 Legal, accounting, auditing, and other consultation
services should be developed.
Text Browser Utilities:
Paper Home Page, Back, Next]
Address: 109 Wanquanhe Road, Haidian District, Beijing 100089,
People's Republic of China