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 U.N. World Population Conference: China's Views on Major issues Of World Population

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U.N. World Population Conference: China's Views on Major issues Of World Population

Source: Peking Review, No. 35, August 30, 1974
Transcribed by www.wengewang.org

    THE United Nations World Population Conference opened on August 19 in Bucharest with representatives from over 130 countries and regions taking part. The opening session was addressed by President Nicolae Ceausescu of the Socialist Republic of Romania. The conference elected Romanian Foreign Minister George Macovescu, head of the Romanian delegation, president of the conference and 31 other representatives as vice-presidents. Chairman for the three committees and a working group were also elected by the conference.
 The Chinese delegation was led by Huang Shu-tse and his deputy Li Ting-chuan. Huang Shu-tse spoke at the plenary meeting on August 21, Following is the full text of his speech;
   It is a pleasure for the Delegation of the People's Republic of China to be here to attend the World Population Conference and have discussions and exchange views with representatives of other countries on questions of world population. Allow me, in the name of the Chinese delegation to express our heartfelt thanks to the Government and people of Romania, our host country, for the warm hospitality they have accorded us and to extend our warm congratulations to George Macovescu, Head of the Romanian Delegation to the World Population Conference, on his election as president of the conference.
 We are sincerely glad that representatives of national-liberation movements and organizations have been invited to attend this conference as observers and we express our warm welcome to them.

I

 The World Population Conference is being held at a time when the international situation is developing in a direction more and more favourable to the people of the world and unfavourable to imperialism, particularly the superpowers, The whole world is advancing amid great turbulence. The Sixth Special Session of the U.N. General Assembly, a session to study the problems of raw materials and development, held not long ago marked a new stage, the stage of deep-going development, in the struggle of the countries of the Third World and the people of all countries against colonialism, imperialism and hegemonism. The World Population Conference should carry on and develop the militant spirit of combating imperialism and hegemonism as manifested at the Sixth Special Session of the U.N. General Assembly. The population problem is inseparable from political and economic problems. The Programme of Action on the Establishment of n New International Economic Order adopted by the U.N. General Assembly at its special session calls upon the World Population Conference to make its contribution to facilitating the establishment of a new international economic order. It is our hope that we representatives from different countries will make joint efforts to realize this aim. The Chinese delegation is ready to do its part towards this end.
 The Chinese delegation hereby solemnly declares that the Royal Government of National Union of Cambodia under the leadership of Samdech Norodom Sihanouk is the sole legal government representing the Cambodian people. The Lon Nol clique, being a handful of national scum of Cambodia, long repudiated by the Cambodian people, can in no way represent the Cambodian people. The presence of the representatives of the traitorous Lon Nol clique at this conference is entirely illegal. Moreover, we solemnly state that the Provisional Revolutionary Government of the Republic of South Viet Nam is the genuine representative of the south Vietnamese people and is fully entitled to attend this conference. The World Population Conference should invite the Provisional Revolutionary Government of the Republic of South Viet Nam to send its representatives to attend the conference. It is most unreasonable that representatives of the Saigon authorities should unilaterally take part in this conference.
   Now, the Chinese delegation would like to set forth its views and opinions on some current major issues regarding the world population.

1.  Fundamental Assessment of the Present World Population Situation
   Over the last few decades, along with the development of the political and economic situation in the world, there has been a fairly rapid population growth in the world, particularly in the Third World. The Third World now has a population of nearly 3,000 million, which is more than 70 per cent of the world's population. How to see this fact in a correct light is the first thing we must be clear about. One superpower asserts outright that there is a "population explosion'* in Asia, Africa and Latin America and that a "catastrophe to mankind'' is imminent. The other superpower, while pretending at some conferences to be against Malthusionism, makes the propaganda blast that "rapid population growth is a millstone around the neck of the developing countries*" Singing a duet, the two superpowers energetically try to describe the Third World's population growth as a great evil. If this fallacy is not refuted, there will be no correct point of departure in any discussion on the world population,
 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 miracles. Man, as worker and as creator and user of tools, is the decisive factor in the social productive forces. Man is in the first place a producer and only in the second place a consumer. Historically, the valiant, industrious and talented people of Asia, Africa and Latin America made outstanding contributions to human civilization. But over a considerable period of time, the colonialists and imperialists subjected the Asian, African and Latin American countries to brutal aggression and enslavement. They not only plundered enormous social wealth from Asia, Africa and Latin America, but also engaged in human traffic and evicted or slaughtered local inhabitants. Africa alone has lost as many as 100 million people in this way. The social productive forces in Asian, African and Latin American countries were seriously sapped. The population of some countries and nations declined drastically, and large tracts of land were laid waste. After prolonged and heroic struggles waged by the people in Asia, Africa and Latin America., a large number of countries in these regions have successively won political independence and achieved marked progress in developing their national economy and culture as compared with the past. Along with this development the population has grown rather quickly. This is not at all a bad thing but a very good thing. In the situation of "great disorder under heaven," in which the broad masses of the people are increasingly awakening, the large population of the Third World constitutes an important condition for strengthening the struggle against imperialism and hegemonism and accelerating social and economic development. Today, the people of the Third World have become the main force combating colonialism, imperialism and hegemonism and are becoming an increasingly mighty force in safeguarding national independence and developing the national economy.
 It should be pointed out that on its road of advance the Third World is still confronted with numerous difficulties to be overcome through persistent struggles. In many countries that have won political independence, their economic life-lines are still controlled by colonialism and imperialism, and no fundamental change has been effected in the old economic structure. In particular, owing to intensified oppression and exploitation by the two superpowers, these countries have been unable to make full use of their vast manpower resources, and unemployment and poverty still exist there. But we are confident that the historical trend — countries want independence, nations want liberation and the people want revolution — is irresistible. Whatever twists and turns and difficulties there may be along their road of advance, final victory belongs to the people of Asia, Africa and Latin America and of the world as a whole. On the basis of an unremitting fight against the aggression, interference, subversion and plunder by imperialism and hegemonism and persistent defence of political and economic independence, there will arise an Asia, Africa and Latin America with a big population and a great wealth of products, where life will be abundant and culture will flourish.
 The superpowers raise the false alarm of a "population explosion" and paint a depressing picture of the future of mankind. This reminds us of the notorious Malthus, who, more than 170 years ago, when the population of the world was less than 1,00ft million, raised a hue and cry about "over-population" and the impossibility for the growth of production ever to catch up with that of the population. He drivelled that even with "the best directed efforts of human industry,'* China could hardly "double the produce ... in any number of years,'* Today, the world population has more than quadrupled that of Malthus' time, but there has been much greater increase in the material wealth of society, thanks to the efforts of the broad masses of the people in surmounting numerous obstacles. In the twenty-odd years since her founding, the People's Republic of China has increased her products manyfold. The creative power of the people Is boundless, and so is man's ability to exploit and utilize natural resources. The pessimistic views spread by the superpowers are utterly groundless and are being propagated with ulterior motives.

2.  On She Causes of the Population Problem And Ways of Solving It
 At present, there Is in many countries a population problem, which finds its concrete expression in unemployment poverty, starvation, a high mortality rate, etc. The central task of our discussions at this conference should be to ascertain the causes of this problem and find ways of solving it.
 The condition of the population of a country is determined by its social system, and the political and economic conditions prevailing at home and internationally. Is it owing to overpopulation that unemployment and poverty exist in many countries of the world today? No, absolutely not. It Is mainly due to aggression, plunder and exploitation by the imperialists, particularly the superpowers. The two superpowers are the biggest international exploiters and oppressors of today and the chief culprits responsible for unemployment and poverty in the world. The Declaration on the Establishment of a New International Economic Order adopted by the U.N. General Assembly at its sixth special session points out that the widening gap between the developing and the developed countries is due to the old international economic order which^ increasingly aggravates the inequalities, and that alien domination, foreign occupation, colonialism, racial discrimination, apartheid and neo-colonialism in all its forms were the greatest obstacles to the full emancipation and progress of the developing countries. In our opinion, the primary way of solving the population problem lies in combating the aggression and plunder by the imperialists, colonialists and neo-colonialists, and particularly the superpowers, breaking down the unequal international economic relations, winning and safeguarding national independence, and developing the national economy and culture independently and self-reliantly in the light of each country^ specific conditions and differing circumstances and raising the living standards of the people.
 It is well known that large numbers of relative surplus population and widespread poverty exist in the superpower countries too. In one superpower country millions are jobless and tens of millions live in poverty. And in the other, which flaunts the label of socialism, the gap between the rich privileged stratum and the poor working people grows wider and wider, the bureaucrat monopoly capitalists fire workers at will, and the livelihood of the broad masses of workers is insecure. This state of affairs is wholly the result of the ruthless oppression 'and exploitation which the superpowers practise at home.
 In recent years, the struggle of the Third World against imperialism and hegemonism has been surging forward vigorously, and the struggle of the people in the developed countries and the superpower countries against ruthless oppression and exploitation is on the upsurge. These two irresistible tides converging together are ever more powerfully pounding at and shaking the foundations of imperialism and hegemonism, thus paving the way for the eradication of unemployment and poverty throughout the world.
 The two superpowers are most afraid that the real cause of unemployment and poverty should be uncovered and that the broad masses should clearly see the correct way of solving this problem. So they have concocted various fallacies which they loudly and repeatedly propagate everywhere.
 The claim that "over-population is the reason why the have-not countries are poor” is a worn-out tune of the superpowers. What a mass of figures they have calculated in order to prove that population is too large, the food supply too small and natural resources insufficient! But they never calculate the amount of natural resources they have plundered, the social wealth they have grabbed and the superprofits they have extorted from Asia, Africa and Latin America. Should an account be made of their exploitation; the truth with regard to the population problem will at once be out. Their multitude of population statistics will not help them a bit either. The average population to a square kilometre is only 12 in Africa, and 15 in Latin America. Though population density in the developing countries of Asia is a bit higher, it is nonetheless lower than that in the developed countries of Western Europe. How can it be said then that the have-not countries are poor because of over-population? They claim that poverty can be overcome by reducing the rate of population growth. If so, why are there still so many jobless and underfed people in the two superpower countries where the rate of population growth is relatively low and population density fairly small?
 Social-imperialism asserts that ''only economic development with my aid can solve your population problem." This is a ruse, ft goes without saying that economic development is necessary for a country to emerge from poverty and solve its population problems. The point is that what social-imperialism calls "economic development" is nothing but a fraud, as it is not coupled with the fight against imperialism and hegemonism and a change in the unequal international economic relations. Let us ask': Don't you talk glibly of "economic development"? Why do you fly into a rage at the mention of establishing a new international economic order? Why do you try your utmost to maintain the old international economic relations and obstruct the economic development of the Third World countries? Don't you talk glibly of "aid"? Why do you take advantage of others’ difficulties to reap fabulous profits, relentlessly press for the repayment of loans and practise blackmail? In practising neocolonialism, you have outdone the other superpower. Your so-called "aid" can only mean intensified control and plunder of the Third World countries, with the consequent aggravation of their unemployment and poverty.
 The allegation that "over-population in the developing countries is threatening the security of the world1' is a completely false accusation that reverses right and wrong. One may ask: Was it over-population that led to the wars in Indochina, the Middle East and other areas or to the armed occupation of Czechoslovakia? Is it owing to over-population that oppressed nations and oppressed people have carried out just wars for independence and liberation? No, wars of aggression are launched by the imperialists, particularly the superpowers. The oppressed nations and oppressed people are driven by the imperialists, colonialists and neo-coloniatists to take up arms, resist aggression and fight for liberation. Every day the two superpowers talk about "detente," but are actually creating tension. Every day they talk about "disarmament," but are actually engaged in arms expansion. Wherever the two hegemonic powers contend, there is no tranquillity. Their attempt to shift the blame for menacing world security on to the Third World serves only to further reveal their own sinister motives.
 The deplorable conditions of unemployment and poverty in old China are universally known. Under the leadership of Chairman Mao Tsetung and the Chinese Communist Party, the Chinese people, through a prolonged struggle, overthrew imperialism, feudalism and bureaucrat-capitalism which weighed on them like three big mountains, and have since carried on socialist revolution and socialist construction and in a relatively short time succeeded in eliminating unemployment left over from old China. In the twenty-odd years since the founding of the People's Republic, China's population has increased nearly 60 per cent, from about 500 million to nearly 800 million. Yet, in the same period, annual grain output has more than doubled, rising from 110 million to 250 million tons, and the output of textiles and other industrial products has increased manyfold. At present, the area under cultivation in China is only slightly more than 10 per cent of her total territory. There are enormous potentialities untapped since there remain vast areas to be reclaimed, and the per hectare yield can still be greatly raised. At present the living standards of our people are still rather low, yet everyone is ensured of employment, food and clothing, and the livelihood of the people is steadily improving. The broad masses of the Chinese people have never displayed such a high degree of initiative and creativeness. In building socialism, China's vast manpower resources are being used in a planned and rational way. Facts of China's history have completely exploded the various fallacies spread by the superpowers with regard to the population problem and fully borne out "the truth that revolution plus production can solve the problem of feeding the population," as set forth by Chairman Mao Tsetung.

3.   On the Formulation and Implementation Of a Population Policy
 Our emphasis on combating imperialism and hegemonism and developing the national economy and culture as the primary way of solving the population problem does not imply that in our view a population policy is of no consequence. Here we would first like to point out that the formulation and implementation of population policies, the setting of population targets, the carrying out of census and the publication of statistics arc entirely within the scope of the internal affairs and sovereignty of each country, which must be decided by each government in the light of the specific conditions of its own country. Some countries need to lower, and others to raise, the rate of population growth to a proper extent. No uniformity should be imposed since conditions vary from country to country- Any international technical co-operation and assistance in population matters must follow the principles of complete voluntariness of the parties concerned, strict respect for state sovereignty, absence of any strings attached and promotion of the self-reliance of the recipient countries. We are firmly opposed to the superpowers intervening by any means In the population policy of other countries on the pretext of what they call "population explosion" or "over-population." We are firmly opposed to the attempt of some international organizations to infringe on the sovereignty of recipient countries by conditioning aid on restricting their population growth rate. After overthrowing the rule of the imperialists and their lackeys, we in China have secured the prerequisites for the planned development of the national economy as well as (he planned regulation of the rate of population growth. On the basis of energetically developing production and raising the living standards of the people, China has developed medical and health services throughout the cities and countryside and strengthened the work of maternity and child care, thus reducing mortality on the one hand and regulating the birth rate through birth planning on the other. Our birth planning is not merely birth control, as some people understand it to be, it comprises different measures for different circumstances. In densely-populated areas, late marriage and birth control are encouraged on the basis of voluntariness, while active treatment is given in cases of sterility. In national minority areas and other sparsely-populated areas, appropriate measures are taken to facilitate population growth, while birth control advice and help are given to those parents who have too many children and desire birth control. Such a policy of planned population growth is in the interest of the thorough emancipation of women and the proper bringing up of future generations as well as of national construction and prosperity. China's mortality rate has dropped by a big margin. The birth rate in densely-populated areas has decreased in varying degrees. In the national minority areas, a change has been brought about in the situation prevailing in the past, in which the population grew at an extremely slow rate or even dropped sharply owing to brutal persecution by the forces of reaction — a change that has resulted in a fairly rapid increase of the population there. Of course, these are but initial achievements. We have not yet acquired adequate experience in the work of birth planning and we must continue our efforts.
 China is a developing socialist country belonging to the Third World. The Chinese people stand firmly together with the Third World countries and nil oppressed nations and oppressed people, strengthening unity with them in waging the common struggle. We firmly support the people of the Third World countries in their just struggle to safeguard national independence and state sovereignty, develop the national economy, establish a new international economic order and combat imperialism, colonialism, racism, Zionism and hegemonism. China firmly supports the correct position, of the Third World countries and other countries that each country should decide its own population policy in conformity with the wishes of its people and the specific conditions. We are fully confident that the people of the world, persisting in solidarity and persevering in struggle, will certainly surmount all difficulties, win new victories step by step and create an infinitely bright future.
 
Source: Peking Review, No. 35, August 30, 1974
Transcribed by www.wengewang.org

  
  
  

 
 
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