Chinese Reproductive Policy at the Turn of the Millennium: Dynamic Stability

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Abstract

In the 1990s, as fertility fell below replacement, China's state birth planning program began reforms, first to improve its state-centric approach to birth limitation and then to incorporate some elements of a more client-centered approach. In 2000 and 2001, as part of a regime shift toward “rule by law,” China both further institutionalized and further reformed the program. A March 2000 Decision and a December 2001 Law reaffirm the need for state planning of population and births but mandate a shift in both methods and goals. Methods should shift from direct to indirect regulation, reducing negative effects such as coercion and corruption and increasing positive benefits such as helping poor women develop. Goals should shift from just limiting births toward also delivering reproductive health services. Reforms are occurring also through supporting regulations and changes of procedure within existing regulations. These policies chart a new course for implementation over the next decade.

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