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 China's Position on the Population Problems Expounded

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China's Position on the Population Problems Expounded

— Speech by China's Observer at the Special Session of the Population Commission of the United Nations

Source: Peking Review, No. 12, March 22, 1974
Transcribed by www.wengewang.org

HSU LI-CHANG, Observer of the People's Republic of China to the Third Special Session of the Population Commission of the United Nations, expounded China's position on the population problems in his speech at the March 11 morning's session.
   The Third Special Session of the Population Commission opened on March 4 and closed on March 15. The main task of this session was to prepare for the World Population Conference to be held in Bucharest from August 19 to 30, 1974. Twenty-seven member states and observers from more than 30 countries attended the session.
   During the discussion on a draft of the "World Population Plan of Action" to be submitted to the World Population Conference, Hsu Li-chang said: "The population situation of a country is determined by her social system. At present, many countries have population problems, such as unemployment, starvation, high morbidity and mortality. All these problems should be examined in the context of the given political-economic conditions, instead of by an abstract approach separated from those conditions. What is the root cause of the population problems existing in many countries today? Some people attribute them to the quick and excessive growth of the population. According to them, big population is the cause for slow economic development, inadequate resources, pollution of the environment and a miserable life in the families of the developing countries. . They maintain that the excessively large population of the developing countries in Asia, Africa and Latin America is the 'root cause of all problems' in the world."

Fundamental Cause of "Population" Problems

   Hsu Li-chang continued: "In our view, such assertions are entirely wrong for they are totally inconsistent with the actual fact. The fundamental reason why there are poverty and 'population' problems in some developing countries is the hegemonism, aggression and plunder perpetrated by imperialism, colonialism and neocolonialism, especially the two superpowers."
   The Chinese observer pointed out: Poor countries are not poor from the very beginning, nor is a large population the cause of their poverty. They are poor because of brutal plunder and exploitation. At present, population densities in most, of the developing countries are lower than the developed countries. How can it be said that their population is too large?
 We maintain that of all things in the world, people are the most precious. Once the people take their destiny into their own hands, they will be able to perform any miracles. Take China for example. Under the leadership of Chairman Mao Tsetung and the Communist Party of China, the Chinese people have overthrown the rule of imperialism and its lackeys, become the masters of the country and are building socialism independently and through self-reliance. Over the past two decades and more, although China's population has grown from around 500 million to more than 700 million, our economy has developed faster and not slower; our resources have become richer and not poorer; our environment is gradually improved and not worsened and our people's living standard has been raised step by step and not lowered. With the emancipation of the people, man and woman are equal. They help and love each other, work together and strive to build a new society. This historical fact has fully borne out the truth that the question of feeding the people-can be solved through revolution plus production. The view that a large population is the "root cause of all problems'" is wholly untenable.
   Now let's take a look at the developed countries. Some of them claim to be very rich, but there are also age-old serious population problems. The population there grows very slowly, yet millions are unemployed and tens of millions are struggling on the verge of starvation. Regardless of the fate of the people, the ruling circles in those countries carry out aggression and expansion abroad and ruthless oppression and exploitation at home. Certain people, out of ulterior motives, arbitrarily pin the label of "population explosion" on developing countries of Asia, Africa and Latin America and even seek to blame them for the "disasters" of unemployment and poverty in their own countries. How absurd this is!

Crucial Task in Solving Population Problems

 Referring to the correct way to solve the population problems, Hsu Li-chang said: "If the developing countries are to solve their population problems, their crucial task is to combat imperialism, colonialism and neocolonialism and superpower hegemonism and power politics, win and safeguard national independence and develop national economy and culture through self-reliance. Each country should formulate her own policy In the light of her own population situation. The Chinese Government is pursuing step by step a policy of planned growth of population. But we believe that a population policy can be properly formulated and effectively carried out only when foreign aggression and interference are prevented, political and economic independence are secured and the people have become the masters of the country. Some people say that the population policy should 'be given the first place' and 'plays the decisive role'; they even regard the birth control programme as a panacea. This is putting the cart before the horse and is wrong. Some people make use of such views to cover up the imperialist crimes of aggression and switch the general orientation of the struggle of the world's people against imperialism, colonialism and hegemonism. This is what we resolutely oppose."
   "It is China's consistent position to combat imperialism, colonialism, neo-colonialism and superpower hegemonism, and support the developing countries in their struggle to safeguard national independence, develop independent national economy and improve and raise the living standard and cultural level of the people step by step. It is also the common demand of the Asian, African and Latin American developing countries and the earnest desire of the broad masses of the people of the world," he said. "We are of the opinion that this session and the forthcoming World Population Conference should give full expression to this just demand of the developing countries which constitute two-thirds of the world population. At the same time, full expression should also be given to the just demands of the vast majority of the people in the developed countries for winning and protecting their right to work, improving their living conditions and ultimately eliminating the root cause of unemployment.” he added.

Future of Mankind Is Infinitely Bright

   Hsu Li-chang pointed out that some people, basing themselves solely on demographic forecasts, had painted a black and depressing picture of the future of mankind. More than a hundred years ago, when the world population was less than 1,000 million, Malthus raised a hue and cry about "overpopulation" and the impossibility for the growth of production ever to catch up with that of population. Today, more than a hundred years later, the world population has more than trebled, but there has been even greater growth of the material wealth of society, thanks to the efforts of the broad masses of the people in surmounting numerous obstacles. In the short span of the 20-odd years since her founding, the People's Republic of China has increased her industrial and agricultural production several times, her rate of production growth exceeding that of her population increase. "History is progressing, and mankind is advancing. We are fully confident that the future of mankind is infinitely bright," he said.
   "The formulation of population policy and target, census and the publication of statistics are internal affairs within the sovereignty of each country and should be handled by each government in accordance with the wishes of its people. It is inappropriate and unfeasible for the United Nations World Population Conference to lay down unified regulations. International cooperation in the field of population matter must be carried out in conformity with the principles of complete voluntariness of the parties concerned, strict respect for state sovereignty and promotion of self-reliance on the part of the recipient countries," he stressed.
  
  
  

 
 
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