China May Export Labour To Ease Population Pressure

Ben Blanchard, Reuters, July 10, 2007

China may encourage more of its 1.3 billion people to work overseas as a way of easing population pressure, a senior official said on Tuesday, adding it would not significantly alter strict family planning rules.

Yu Xuejun, spokesman for the National Population and Family Planning Commission, told a Web cast on the central government’s Web site (www.gov.cn) that its job was as much about tackling these pressures as preventing new births.

“Family planning is of course not the only way to cut the population, it can only be one way,” he said. “We have many means for places with a lot of people or with great population pressures, like immigration or exporting labour.

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The country had 20 percent of the global population but accounted for only less than 1 percent of expatriate labourers, Yu said, adding Philippine workers were now even beginning to show up in China. “About a tenth of the population of the Philippines and Mexico work abroad any one year, which is a big inspiration for us,” he said.

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