Overview

Modern China, with a 1985 population of 1.04 billion (World Development Report 1987), is by far the most populous country on earth, though its surface area of 9.56 million square kilometers ranks it third in size (behind the former Soviet Union and Canada). Ninety-five percent of the population live on less than 50 percent of the total area, primarily along the great river systems of the east and southeast, and only 22 percent of those in the population are classified as urban residents. The climate covers a broad range of patterns, extending from the hot, humid, and wet provinces in the south and southeast to those provinces in the north and northwest, which are for the most part dry and subject to hot summers and cold winters. By 1985 China's per capita gross national product in current dollars was estimated at U.S. $310 (World Development Report 1987). Approximately 33 percent of the gross domestic product was derived from agriculture, down from about 39 percent in 1965. An estimated 74 percent of the labor force was in agriculture, 14 percent in industry, and 12 percent in services in 1980 (World Development Report 1987).

China's population growth has slowed dramatically. In 1956, Ma Yin-chu, China's well-known economic expert, urged the government to introduce population control, and to slow down population growth. But China's leader, Mao Zedong (Mao Tse-tung) rejected this advice vehemently. In 1965, however, the slogan was "yige bushao, liangge zheng-hao, sange duole" ("One [child] is not too few, two [children] are just right, three are many"). By 1972, population control was justified by eugenic arguments: "quality instead of quantity." The slogan was (and still continues) shaosheng yousheng ("few births but superior births"; or "few lives but superior lives"). A policy announced in 1978 was designed to achieve a stable population at the 1.13 billion level by the year 2000, and in 1979 the one-

child policy was introduced. From 1965 to 1980, the annual population growth rate averaged 2.2 percent; and from 1980 to 1985, 1.2 percent. Owing to a slower rate of decline in the birth rate it is now estimated that China's population may stabilize at 1.6 billion by around the middle of the twenty-first century.

By 1985, life expectancy at birth was estimated to reach 69 years, and infant mortality had dropped to about 35 per 1,000 according to the World Bank (1987). In specific regions, however, the rates were quite different. In the People's Daily of April 26, 1989, the government admits that in about 300 of the poorer regions infant mortality averages 100 per 1,000. UNICEF estimates infant mortality rates at 190 per 1,000 for Tibet.

Despite a large number of small nationality groups who speak many different languages, China has a relatively homogeneous population. Approximately 93 percent of the population are Han, or ethnic Chinese. Most of China's peoples speak one of the two major spoken languages, which, though quite different, share the same written characters.

Pregnancy And Childbirth

Pregnancy And Childbirth

If Pregnancy Is Something That Frightens You, It's Time To Convert Your Fear Into Joy. Ready To Give Birth To A Child? Is The New Status Hitting Your State Of Mind? Are You Still Scared To Undergo All The Pain That Your Best Friend Underwent Just A Few Days Back? Not Convinced With The Answers Given By The Experts?

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