BEIJING, OCT. 30 -- China currently has a population of over 1.13 billion, about 20 million people more than the goal set by the government, according to results released today from the country's largest and most comprehensive census.
The new population figure shows that "there is no way" that China will be able to reach its target of keeping the population at 1.2 billion by 2000, one foreign specialist said.
Authorities had hoped to restrict the population to 1.11 billion by this year. Now, based on the current figures, China's population by the end of the century will be closer to 1.3 billion, about 100 million more than the Chinese goal.
The official Chinese press gave no analysis of the figures released tonight by the State Statistical Bureau. But an editorial to be published in Wednesday's People's Daily, the leading Communist Party newspaper, said that "population control is still an arduous task for China."
China's population, it said, is still increasing at an annual rate of 17 million as a result of the huge number of women of child-bearing age, the influence of periodic baby booms and "ineffective family-planning programs in many areas."
Population control is one of the most urgent tasks facing China, which has staked the success of its decade-long modernization program on the assumption that it can restrict the birth rate.