China under pressure to allow couples to have 2 kids: professor

Pressure is growing on the Chinese government to revise its one-child policy to allow couples to have two children amid rapid economic change, says a sociologist at Nanjing University.

Pressure is growing on the Chinese government to revise its one-child policy to allow couples to have two children as the country undergoes rapid economic change, says a sociologist at Nanjing University.

Prof. Zung You Wa told CBC News that the one-child policy introduced 25 years ago is coming under strain because it is widely viewed as no longer suitable for a country in which many middle-class couples can afford to have two children.

If the law is not changed, he said it is expected to cause serious economic,social and demographic problems within a decade.

It could slow China's double-digit economic growth and it could mean that there are fewer people of working age to support elderly parents and grandparents as the population ages.

"This policy really took effect in the 1980s, but China has changed so much since then," Zung said in translation.

The one-child policy is already difficult to enforce in such booming cities as Nanjing and Shanghai, where there is an emerging middle class, several physicians told CBC News on condition of anonymity.

Wealthy Chinese people can afford to pay the fines, and in practice, the one-child policy is more strictly enforced in the country, where abortions are believed to be more common.

The policy has also led to an imbalanceof boys over girls, sincea traditional preference for boys has led to abortions of female fetuses and abandonment of baby girls.

Reuters news agency reports that there will be 30 million more men of marriageable age than women by 2020.

Zung said many Chinese people also believe the law goes against human nature.

He said the policy has created a family structure in which there are two sets of grandparents, one set of parents and an only child to care for them all. It also deprives children of siblings, he said.

"The best birthrate for China would be to allow people to have two children," he said.

Although the Chinese government refuses to recognize it, Zung saidit will have to change the law because the demographics cannot be sustained.

Nanjing University, one of the oldest institutions of higher learning in China, is located in Nanjing, the capital of Jiangsu province ineastern China.The cityisabout 300 kilometres from Shanghai.