The results of China’s national census, which is conducted every 10 years, were finally released on May 11, a month later than originally scheduled, and did not show the negative growth of China’s population as previously claimed by foreign media. In particular, last year’s new population suddenly increased by 1.5 times compared to 2019, and the number of people aged 65 jumped by 60%, creating more than 10 million “ghost” elderly people.
In a telephone interview with Hong Kong’s Apple, US-based scholar Yi Fu-hsien, author of “The Empty Nest in a Big Country,” criticized the report as “the worst census report in China’s history,” with “huge water in it. Clemson University associate professor of economics Xu Jiajian said it was hard to understand why the Chinese Communist Party would release this report with so many errors and omissions, no doubt a disguised admission that “either today’s numbers are wrong or the previous census was wrong!
After the official release of the census results, the “Data Collection Office” wrote an article titled “Population Confusion,” raising a number of unexplained contradictions and loopholes in the statistics. Among them, the most controversial is the new population of 11.73 million last year, which the article describes as “shocking and dazzling”, saying that the figure “completely violates the law of population growth trend”. According to the article, since 2000, the country’s new population has fallen below 10 million, and in 2010 the new population continued to fall to 6.41 million, leaving a population growth of 4.67 million in 2019, but last year, through the epidemic, there was a 15.12% increase in the new population, which does not seem to be normal.
In addition, there are contradictions between the census results and the data, which cannot be calculated to “restore” the official population growth figures. The most bizarre thing is that the National Bureau of Statistics announced that the number of births in 2020 will be 12 million, but subtracting this figure from last year’s net population growth, i.e. the number of deaths in the previous year will only be 270,000, which is much lower than the number of deaths in 2019, which is nearly 10 million.
Citing official figures for the population aged 0-14, as well as past data, the “Data Collection Service” has calculated its own figure of 26 million births last year. This figure is also inconsistent with China’s birth trend over the years, which suddenly rose from about 10.48% in the previous two years to 18.41%, back to the level of the early 1990s.
The death rate from 2008 to 2019 was about 7.1%, and could not have jumped to 10.11% in one go. Even if we add the official figure of 4,636 deaths to last year’s outbreak, it is unlikely that the increase would be that large.
Another serious loophole is that 14.61 million new people aged 65 or older were added to the population last year, a huge increase of more than 60 percent over 2019. The article pointed out that 14.27 million people died last year, and argued that today, China’s death population is basically elderly people, which means that “more than 30,000 elderly people must have been added to the group of people over 65 years old last year” in order to achieve this increase in the number of elderly people.
The author of the article looked up the data and found that all people who turned 65 last year were born in 1955, and the birth rate that year was not an increase, but a sharp drop from previous years, with only 20.04 million births, a figure that does not match at all, meaning that there are more than 10 million elderly “ghost” people. What is even more bizarre is that according to the official figures on net population growth, the number of deaths in 2020 will be 14.61 million, up from 9.45 million in 2019, an increase of nearly 5 million, a record since the reform and opening up.
Yi Fuxian did not shy away from saying that this is the worst census report in China’s history and there is “huge water” in it, as he estimated that the population is less than 1.38 billion. He said that the Chinese Bureau of Statistics had announced that they had projected the number of births based on elementary school enrolment figures, with 238 million births between 1996 and 2020, but in the latest census report, the number of births in the 14-year period was 253 million, an increase of more than 20 million. Based on this figure, the average annual fertility rate is more than 1.6, far higher than all developed countries.
Yi said that China has repeatedly delayed the release of the figures in order to “maintain stability with numbers” because the growth of the elderly and the negative growth of the labor force in China has exceeded everyone’s imagination. He added that there is no way to reverse the predicament of negative population growth, “there is no way, it is difficult to change, even if the policy is open, it is difficult to raise the birth rate, people are used to not having children, or even not getting married.”
Xu Jiajian also pointed out that the census report for the sudden increase in population, especially the elderly and there is no explanation, people feel incredible, the outside world does have reason to make reasonable suspicion that there are errors and omissions in the data, or there is human intervention, and therefore can not reflect the true state of China’s population, “either today’s figures have problems, or the previous The statistics are wrong.” Xu Jiajian questioned why the figures were “so poorly done” if they were artificially interfered with and involved “manipulation”.
Veteran current affairs commentator Liu Ruishao pointed out that the Chinese Communist authorities “no matter how carefully they do the numbers,” they cannot hide the demographic crisis facing Chinese society, especially the aging and childlessness that have transformed China’s population structure from “marquee” to “dumbbell” shaped. The fact that China’s demographic structure has changed from a “marquee” to a “dumbbell” shape. On the contrary, because of deliberate attempts to avoid the seriousness of the problem, it has made the right and the left dwarfed, and the more it is covered up, the more it reveals itself.
Guo Yuhua, a professor in the sociology department at Tsinghua University in Beijing, told Radio Free Asia that whether this census report is untrue is often a matter of confidence. He said, “How do you verify these numbers, how do you verify them? There’s no way to do that either. In fact, not only on the issue of population data, but on all issues, it’s a problem of social trust. So it’s hard to get the average person to believe (these numbers).”