The Chinese government is allowing people to have a third child, which received attention in Tuesday afternoon’s issue of the French newspaper Le Monde. In a large-print headline, the newspaper noted that Beijing allows a third child, but that Chinese are lukewarm and unenthusiastic about having a third child.
Le Maitre’s article from Beijing writes that the decision by the Chinese government to try to slow the rate of population decline after four decades of the one-child policy has not convinced people, who stress that the cost of education and housing is too expensive.
On Monday, May 31, the Chinese government announced that it would allow couples to have a third child, but the announcement did not spark real enthusiasm among the Chinese, who reacted to the contrary, as a poll conducted by the official Xinhua news agency on the Internet the same day clearly showed, the related article writes. According to this poll, 1,600 people expressed interest in having a third child, while 28,000 said they were not interested at all. As a result, the results of this survey were quickly removed from social networks. However, according to the Chinese media, this decision to have three children was taken by the Politburo, “chaired by Xi Jinping,” and is a major decision!
The article goes on to write that Chinese authorities banned Chinese couples from having more than one child in 1980. Subsequently, for rural families, a second child was allowed if the first child was a girl. The Le Monde article points out that China’s one-child policy is accompanied by strict control of families by the powerful birth control department. The number of women forced to have abortions in the seventh month of pregnancy or the number of civil servants fired for having two children is too numerous to count. Authorities claim that the one-child policy prevented 400 million babies from being born, a policy that continued until the government allowed a second child in October 2015.
However, to the surprise of many, the second child measure taken in 2015 did not result in any baby boom. As confirmed by the 2020 Census released on May 10 of this year, the number of births is declining sharply from year to year. By 2020, the fertility rate will be just 1.3, while the number of births will be just over 12 million, something that has never been seen in almost 60 years.
According to a study published in the Lancet in late 2020, China’s population will soon decline rapidly, from 1.412 billion in 2020 to about 700 million by the end of the century.
Why don’t the Chinese want to have a second child? There are many reasons, says an article published by Le Monde. On social networks you can read: “I am an only child and so is my husband. How can we raise another child when we have four parents and one child to provide for?”
The article published by Le Monde emphasizes that in China, where assistance to families is almost non-existent, raising children is expensive because from the time they are still very young, parents feel compelled to give their children private lessons so that they have the opportunity to attend one of the best universities in the country later on, or even to continue their studies in the United States or Australia. In China, the private lessons market is booming and putting so much pressure on families that the government is moving to regain control of the industry for ideological and social reasons.
The 2020 census shows that the average Chinese family now has fewer than three members.
The article in Le Monde also points out that after the announcement of allowing three children, the government should soon take other measures in favor of families. In addition, Beijing authorities are considering a gradual delay in retirement. In addition, the Chinese government will also be looking at policies related to businesses. According to a report released June 1 by the U.S. NGO Human Rights Watch, many Chinese companies are explicitly asking female employees to make pledges not to have other children.
The Le Monde article also said that it is a matter of principle for the Communist Party to keep China as the world’s most populous country.