The family has been the basic social unit upon which great traditional cultures have been built and prospered. Likewise, marriage became the bond that strengthened in perpetuity a couple’s start as a family.
The third century B.C. Chinese philosopher Mengzi (Mencius), a follower of Confucius teachings, considered the roles of husband and wife to be “the greatest of human roles.”
However, observing the decline in the number of marriages over the past eight years in China, these important social roles have deteriorated to the extent that an impending demographic crisis is inevitable.
This is based on the fact that the number of registered marriages in China last year reached its lowest point in 36 years, according to the Ministry of Civil Affairs of China (MOCA) report on August 26.
Among the different age groups, the most worrying is that of people between 20 and 24 years old. Only 16.5% married, the lowest percentage ever recorded in the country’s history.
This figure already signals a 25% decrease compared to the marriages celebrated in 2018, and is only one-third of those in 2005.
Moreover, this downward trend has continued over the past eight years. Simultaneously, the average age of newlyweds is going up, which is reflected in the fact that nearly all the 2021 brides and grooms were already 30 years old or older.
Demolishing demographic impact
The collapse in the number of marriages is devastating for the expected number of births. So warns the analysis of Yi Fuxian, a specialist in the huge population governed by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), who is also an academic at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, in the United States.
According to Yi: “The number of 20- to 29-year-olds who married in 2021 was only 7.92 million. The 8.71 million in 2020 corresponds with the number of births in 2021, and the 7.92 million marriages in 2021 corresponds with the number of births in 2022.”
And he concluded, “This means then that the number of births this year will be significantly lower than last year.”
Consequently, analysts believe that there will be a serious decrease in the labor force, a situation that would seriously affect the economy and social stability of the country.
This, in itself, is bad news for a country of 1.4 billion inhabitants, which is suffering a deep economic crisis.
The causes of the decline in marriages
The population manipulation policies imposed by the communist regime have for decades altered the natural behavior of population growth. In particular, the strict one-child policy.
During the 36 years that it was enforced, which ended in 2015, there were about 450 million abortions, if clandestine abortions were included. There were many stories of the terrifying suffering that millions of families had to endure at that time.
At the same time, this has had a drastic impact on people’s perception of the value of parenthood and the importance of children.
Moreover, there has been a change in the attitude of young people toward marriage. On the one hand, young women have moved away from the traditional role that put them in charge of the home and raising children, to become more educated and financially independent.
“When I am single, I have freedom. I have more time,” said Chen Yu, a 35-year-old single woman from Guangdong province, noting the relationships she cultivates, and the places she travels to, because she is unattached. “I haven’t found a man I would give that up for,” she reiterated.
In fact, a survey conducted in 2021 by job search site Zhaopin Recruiting, notes that 43.5% of single female participants prioritized their quality of life.
Meanwhile, 53.6% of men doubted they were financially secure enough to care for a family.
“I don’t want to get married at all,” said a 32-year-old single man living in Dandong City named Yao Xing. He added, “I think more and more people around me don’t want to get married, and the divorce and marriage rate in China has decreased significantly, which I think is an irreversible trend.”
In addition, the current enormous cost of starting and maintaining a family has also become one of the most important causes of the decline in marriages and the large drop in the birth rate in the country.
No less decisive is the preference of parents for sons. The ratio is 130 boys for every 100 girls. Parents investigate the sex of their babies and decide whether or not to allow them to live, despite the fact that this practice is forbidden.
Faced with this complex situation, professor Stuart Gietel-Basten, professor of social science and public policy at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, opined: “If you put it all together, just the number of people getting married is not that big a problem. It’s the whole package: We have very low marriage rates, very low fertility rates, [and] a very rapidly aging population if this keeps up.”
This demographic irregularity increases the number of abductions of women from neighboring countries, who are forced into marriage or prostitution. They are also often sexually enslaved by several men from a village.
The impact of CCP policies
For the CCP, the disastrous consequences of a drastic decrease in population do not go unnoticed, so it has tried, during the last few years, to encourage an increase in the birth rate, without success.
The forecasts are so bleak that China’s population, surprisingly, could fall by half within a few decades. This would cause India to overtake it in short order.
Although it has promised better maternity leave and protections for working mothers, many pregnant women still complain of job discrimination.
Additionally, some local governments promoted rewards for newlyweds by granting extra vacation days, but no significant changes have been noted.
These CCP policies have so far failed, moreover: “The government has no quick-action policy. It is a long and long-suffering process,” said professor Yuan Cheng of Shanghai Fudan University.
Yuan added: “Compared to before, China is going to see low savings, low labor participation, [and] low fertility.”
On the other hand, no less decisive in Chinese society has been the loss of moral values brought about by the CCP, which is atheistic and destructive of the classical Chinese culture that endowed its people with fundamental traditions.
The morality of the new Chinese generations, far from the teachings of classical Chinese culture, has dropped in level, making married life chaotic, as pointed out by the specialized international media Minghui.
“In a morally degenerate society, the relationships between men and women are a mess. It’s not unusual to see husbands and wives commit adultery, abandon and fight with each other, and end their marriages in divorce,” Minghui notes in its account of the life of Li Fuyan and her husband, Wei Gu, of the Tang Dynasty, according to the book Xu’xuan’guai’lu.
And it added: “Perhaps Li Fuyan from the Tang Dynasty was trying to tell today’s people something in his story of the Engagement Inn.”
Likewise, it would help to take up the recommendations of several Chinese philosophers, for whom being loved and cared for in the context of a marriage helps couples and their children to lead happier and more fulfilling lives, and consequently live in a healthy society.