The results of China’s seventh census have led many to fear that the country is in danger of becoming “old before it gets rich. The Chinese Communist Party announced the “three-child policy” on Monday (May 31). The topic of the policy immediately reached the top of China’s Sina Weibo hot search list. Xinhua, the mouthpiece of the Chinese Communist Party, launched a poll on Weibo on the same day, but the results were so dumbfounding that officials had to quickly make the poll “disappear”.
“To have a baby or not to have a baby” is a deeper question for the soul of young people in China
According to Reuters, the question of whether or not to have children is a deeper question for the soul of young people in China under the pressure of high housing prices, high education costs and the heavy burden of pensions than the question of how many children to have.
The Xinhua News Agency announced on Weibo on May 31 that the Political Bureau of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China held a meeting and pointed out that further optimizing the fertility policy, implementing the policy that a couple can have three children and supporting measures will help improve population outcomes.
However, the “three-child policy”, which is still characterized by family planning, was met with a lot of criticism and a flood of negative comments.
Some netizens said, “I wonder if the government will help raise them?” Others said, “We’ll have another bunch of little leeks.” Others said, “It helps that there are more leeks to pull.”
The latest census results show that China’s total fertility rate for women of childbearing age will be 1.3 in 2020, well below the replacement level of about 2.1 needed.
Yifei Li, a sociologist at New York University in Shanghai, told Reuters that people are pulling back because the cost of raising children in today’s China is staggeringly high. In addition, the cost of housing, extracurricular activities, food, travel and everything else is rising rapidly.
On May 31, Xinhua News Agency conducted a poll on its Weibo account on “Are you ready for the three-child birth policy? The rest chose among three options, including “ready”; “on the agenda”; and “on the fence, many issues to be considered”.
The above poll highlights that “not considering” a third child at all is the overwhelming (93.4%+) response of the public. This result far exceeded the expectations of the Chinese Communist Party officials. The online poll was subsequently taken down.
According to a screenshot from China Digital Times, Xinhua’s Weibo poll showed that the poll was not scheduled to end for another six days before it was removed.
Experts: It’s Too Late
The latest census results released by Chinese Communist Party authorities on May 11 showed that China’s population growth has fallen to a record low on average over 10 years, raising concerns that the country is “aging before it gets rich. Reuters said at the time that the data suggested China was facing a looming demographic crisis, and the Wall Street Journal said at the time that the census data highlighted a looming demographic problem and that the country would have to face demographic challenges sooner than expected.
Critics say the Communist Party has waited too long to start addressing the declining birth rate, but now it is too late.
A fully liberalized fertility policy should have been implemented at least five years ago, but it’s too late now, although better late than never,” Shuang Ding, chief economist at Standard Chartered Group in Hong Kong, told Reuters.
The Communist Party’s Politburo also said Monday that it would gradually postpone the retirement age, but did not provide any details.
The Communist Party also imposed a fine of 130,000 yuan ($20,440) on couples who had a third child as of the end of last year, according to a government announcement in Weihai City.