China is bracing for a bumper crop of babies as kids born after the relaxation of the strict one-child policy in 1984 start their own families, the London Times reports. Strict penalties still apply to couples with more than one child, but tradition-bound and wealthy Chinese can afford to pay the price to have a son.
"The contradiction between the desire and the current family planning policy remains acute," says a government official. China's population of 1.3 billion would be 1.7 billion if not for the one-child policy instituted in the early 1970s, experts say. Because of the preference for boys, the population now has 117 males for every 100 females.