The Guardian reported on November 14 that China’s working population will have decreased by 10% by 2050, and one in four people will be retired, with significant economic implications.
The decrease is a result of China’s one-child policy’s implementation in the 1980s.
Thirty-five years after the one-child policy’s implementation, China has one of the world’s lowest birth rates.
Ming Ming, a six-year-old, wants to have a playmate, but his mother determines that she will not have any more children.
Li Hong gasps, “No way! One is quite enough.”
Li Hong is a 43-year-old supermarket cashier from southern Guangdong province.
She said, “You want them to have a good education but it costs money. We’re just ordinary working folks, not the super rich.”
She added, “The cost of bringing up two kids would kill us!”
Li herself was born right before the one-child policy started in the 1980s.
As an only child, she says her primary concern is the cost of raising her son while caring for her aging parents and her husband.
Her son started kindergarten, but the frequent class suspensions due to the “Covid pandemic” make her unable to work full-time.
She said, “I simply don’t have the energy for two.”
Women are ‘invisible.’
The one-child policy led to forced abortions, sterilizations, the use of intrauterine contraceptive devices, and hefty financial penalties.
The policy left physical and emotional scars on millions of women and traumatized families.
However, the Chinese regime partially lifted the one-child policy in 2013. It allows couples to have two children if one of the spouses is an only child.
In late 2015, the authorities announced all married couples could legally have two children.
But these steps failed to generate a baby boom.
In 2016, China reported 18.46 million births, only 1.4 million more than the previous five-year average.
Annual births continued to drop, and in 2021 they were down to 10.62 million.
The regime loosened the birth restriction in 2021, raising it to three children per couple.
Dr. Ye Liu is a senior lecturer in international development at King’s College London.
Liu said, “The declining birth rates seem to be irreversible, but the government does not have a gameplan.”
Liu added that in the recent party congress, authorities made many promises but none for women. Women are ‘invisible.’
Mei Fong is a communications officer for Human Rights Watch and the author of One Child, a book on the impact of the policy.
According to the book, Beijing has “relied more on sticks than carrots” to reverse the decline.
Fong pointed out that the one-child policy increased a traditional preference for male children, creating a significant gender gap.
Fong wrote, “How can the country now shore up birth rates, with millions of missing women?”