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. China allows quake-hit families to have more children

by Staff Writers
Beijing (AFP) July 26, 2008
Families whose children were left disabled in China's devastating earthquake will be allowed to have another baby, the government of the province worst hit by the disaster said.

A new regulation adopted by the Sichuan government, posted on its website Saturday, also confirmed earlier reports that parents who had lost their children in the May 12 disaster could have another baby.

The regulation stipulates that a family whose child was disabled during the 8.0-magnitude quake, and who could no longer perform normal work, was allowed to apply to have another baby.

"Those who have two children in accordance with the law, who have both been disabled and cannot do normal work," could also apply for another child, the notice said.

It also said a one-child family whose husband or wife had been severely disabled during the disaster could have another baby.

Babies have become a particularly priceless commodity in China since the government banned most parents from having more than one nearly three decades ago in an attempt to rein in China's population growth.

At more than 1.3 billion people, China has the world's largest population.

The earthquake left nearly 100,000 people dead, missing or disabled, and saw around 18,000 families lose their children, the official Xinhua news agency quoted a survey by Sichuan's population and family planning body as saying.

Many of the children were killed as their school buildings collapsed around them in the southwest province, prompting anger from parents about the safety of the structures.

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