China's officials say its controversial population-control measure is still crucial for the welfare of the nation, where 800 million rural residents still live in poverty.
Premier Wen Jiabao was quoted by Xinhua News Agency saying "China has no plans to change its one-child policy" and that "government will adhere to the basic policy of family planning with improved services and stronger leadership."
"He added that family planning was crucial to China's modernization and the building of a 'harmonious society,' a catchphrase meant to mean a more equal distribution of riches in a country with a growing wealth gap."
"Critics say the policy has led to forced abortions, sterilizations and a dangerously imbalanced sex ratio due to a traditional preference for male heirs, which has prompted countless families to abort female fetuses in hopes of getting boys.
There are also concerns about China's aging population, with those aged 60 or older expected to top 200 million by 2015 and 280 million by 2025, according to the government."