According to estimates, China will soon cease to be the most populated country in the world. The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) implemented the one-child policy for years, drastically affecting the Chinese population. And although it tried to remedy the problem by allowing families to have two children in 2016 and then three in 2021, the population of the Asian giant continues to fall.
This situation alerted the CCP to potential problems in the future and prompted 17 Bureaus, including the General Office of the National Health Commission, to promote measures in favor of maternity.
Unmarried women can now have children under the control of a birth registry. Unmarried pregnant women must register the child before and after birth.
In the past, women without marriage certificates could not obtain birth certificates for their children. But with the new rule, unmarried pregnant women can register as long as they have an identity card or an address certificate.
According to reports, the pregnancy registration system is linked to women’s access to “maternity insurance,” regardless of their marital status. Single mothers will have access to benefits through maternity insurance and other medical benefits.
In this regard, the Standing Committee of the Anhui Provincial People’s Assembly revised the “Regulations on Population and Family Planning,” removed the clauses related to the “New Birth Approval System,” and stipulated in Article 19: “Implement a birth registration service system.”
The General Office of the National Health Commission formulated a draft called “Implementation Opinions on Improving the Maternity Registration System” and posted it on WeChat last September 13 for the society to put forward their comments on it.
Following the publication, netizens made a variety of comments. For example, some suggested that the Chinese regime encourages women to have children without marriage. Others say that “there are so many restrictions on anything, but having children has become so open,” and “will there be many children from different fathers in the future?”.
Last July, Hunan province also announced the implementation of the birth registration system.
In May of this year, Guangdong province proposed a similar policy, clarifying that no application for approval is necessary in order to have children.
The CCP’s National Health Commission estimated that women of childbearing age continue to decline and that the population will experience a marked increase in the elderly population by 2025.
Economic instability and Zero Covid policy delay marriage
Despite the CCP’s efforts to promote childbearing, the new measures were unsuccessful after ending its one-child policy in 2021. The country’s economic crisis and pressure from the “Zero COVID” campaign have caused society to delay the idea of getting married and having children.
According to Nikkei Asia, research conducted in 27 provinces, showed that fewer births had been recorded since 2021. The results reveal that 22 provinces experienced up to double digits decline, and some suffered drops of approximately 30% to 40% of births.
Some specialists explain that the reason why couples have not had more children is related to the drop in economic income, while the cost of living and housing prices are high.
“Income uncertainty among younger generations discourages births,” a Communist Party source said.
According to Yi Fuxian, a senior scientist at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and an expert on Chinese demographics, the number of marriages between 20-29 years old is related to the number of births for the next few years.
But in 2021, marriages between those age ranges fell by 9%.
Some believe that couples do not think about having children because many supports their elderly parents, which reduces income and the incentive to have children.
Wang Wendi, a sociologist in Shaanxi, China, and current research director of the Institute for Family Studies (IFS), an American think tank, said, “The cost of raising children in China is relatively high because everyone has one child and parents invest more in children. “Many people think that if they spend so much money to have one child, does having two or three children cost double or triple the cost? A lot of families feel they can’t afford it.”
On the other hand, people are delaying getting married, and only 7.64 million couples married last year, down 6% from 2020, 48% of people were aged 30 or older, according to the Ministry of Civil Affairs.
As a result, births fell by 12% in 2021, their lowest level since 1949.
After so many years of the CCP’s restrictive birth control policy, the consequences have caused great harm to society, and uncertainty for a better future life is what Chinese citizens are most concerned about. What consequences will these new measures bring?