China named the first baby born at a Beijing hospital Thursday as the 1.3 billionth person of the world's most populous nation, more than two decades after a one-child policy was introduced to keep its numbers in check.

China's population exploded after the late Communist Party Chairman Mao Zedong exhorted the people to multiply in the 1950s to make the country strong. But China put the brakes on growth with the tough one-child rule and is now worried about finding jobs for the masses and caring for the elderly.

The baby boy was born at 12:02 a.m. at the Beijing Hospital of Gynecology and Obstetrics and weighed 3.66 kg (eight lb).

"I am the happiest guy in the world and my boy will be blessed all his life," the official Xinhua news agency quoted the newborn's father, 37-year-old Air China employee Zhang Tong, as saying.

But the birth was not such good news for China's family planners.

"1.3 billion is a vast number. It will put great pressure on the economy, society, resources and the environment," the China Daily quoted Wang Guoqiang, deputy director of the National Population and Family Planning Commission, as saying.

Demographers credited the government's one-child policy for delaying China's population hitting the 1.3 billion mark.


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