China’s population is “increasing but not decreasing” National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) is trying to cover it up?

China’s National Bureau of Statistics said Thursday (April 29) that the country’s population continues to grow in 2020. This appears to refute previous reports that China’s population is declining.

The Financial Times recently reported that China’s total population is less than 1.4 billion, according to the latest census. This is the first reported population decline since the Great Leap Forward in the late 1950s.

In a statement, the National Bureau of Statistics said, “It is understood that China’s population continues to grow in 2020, and specific data will be released in the communiqué of the seventh national census.”

The statement from the statistics bureau was only a short sentence and did not elaborate further. But the Associated Press said the response to the Financial Times report reflected the “political sensitivity” of the issue.

The sixth census in 2010 put mainland China’s population at about 1.34 billion. The National Bureau of Statistics said last year that mainland China’s total population would be about 1.405 billion by the end of 2019.

Reuters said China’s National Bureau of Statistics did not say whether the 2020 population growth was calculated from 2019 or from 2010, meaning the population could still be up from the past decade but down from a year ago.

China conducts a national census every 10 years, and the results of the seventh census were scheduled to be released in early April. China’s delay in releasing the census results has sparked controversy, with some speculating that the delay is due to a sharp drop in population numbers that has caused a crisis for those in power.

According to Reuters, Liu Kaiming, an expert focusing on labor issues, said:- “The census is very accurate, but the reason for the delayed release could be that some of these speculations are correct.”

He added that the number of newborns announced by the Ministry of Public Security is about 10 million, “so the population in 2020 may be less than 1.4 billion.”

Liu Aihua, director of the National Bureau of Statistics’ Department of Comprehensive National Economic Statistics, said on April 16 that the seventh national census is preparing to release more information on top of the information released in the sixth census, while significantly increasing the number of census bulletins. Therefore, the preparation work before the release of the census has increased accordingly, and the Bureau of Statistics will speed up the work progress and “strive to release the final results of the census to the society as early as possible”.

According to a previous working paper issued by the PBOC, China should recognize the changing demographic situation, with “a shorter demographic transition, more rapid aging, and more severe childlessness” in China.

China has been encouraging fertility in recent years due to the declining birth rate, and the communiqué of the fifth meeting of the 18th Communist Party Congress in 2015 stated that the policy of two children per couple would be fully implemented. But the change in policy does not seem to have given much impetus to China to raise the birth rate.

Although China has abolished one-child policy, decades of family planning have changed people’s perception of fertility, said Yi Fuxian, a demography expert and author of the book “The Empty Nest in a Big Country. And couples of childbearing age, who are living under pressure and facing housing and education difficulties, have not been spawned by the liberalization of population policies.

Reuters previously reported that declining birth rates and a rapidly aging society will put pressure on the working-age population and hit productivity.

The report also said that Capital Economics, an independent economic research firm based in London, said in a report, “Our projections using data from the previous census already show that the working population will decline by 0.5 percent a year until 2030, with a similar impact on GDP, and that slower growth will make it harder for China to catching up with the U.S. becomes more difficult. There may also be an intangible impact on China’s global standing.”