China’s Population Crisis: Encouraging Marriage and Childbearing Measures Spark Debate

2023-08-23 08:52:59

August 23, 2023

image copyrightGetty Images

image captiontext,

Facing the population crisis, the Chinese government has issued a number of measures to encourage marriage and childbearing.

In the northwestern Chinese city of Xi’an, as they prepared to celebrate Qixi, the so-called Chinese Valentine’s Day, on Tuesday (August 22), many young people received blessing messages from authorities encouraging childbearing. The incident aroused heated discussions on the Internet, and many people expressed disdain for it.

Images released by Chinese media showed the text message was issued by the Xi’an Municipal Health Commission and the Xi’an Family Planning Association.

“As the Qixi Festival is approaching, I wish you sweet love, marriage and childbearing at the right age, and eugenics. Create fertility friendship, continue the blood of China, and share the heavy responsibility of revival!” the text message wrote.

While the text message appeared to have only been sent to some mobile phone users in Xi’an, a city of 13 million people, it sparked heated discussions on social media after many local netizens posted it online.

On Weibo, “Xi’an Health Commission and Family Planning Association gave birth to Qixi Festival” became a hot topic with more than 60 million views.

“Why is having a child linked to national rejuvenation? It’s a big hat,” one netizen left a message.

“It was you who were called to be beaten and aborted (aborted) back then, but you were the ones who couldn’t be born, and now you are the ones who gave birth,” another netizen wrote.

Another netizen wrote: “Continue the blood of cattle and horses, and share the heavy responsibility of leeks.”

Yi Fuxian, a researcher at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in the United States who has long been concerned about China’s population issues, told BBC Chinese that the “birth text message” in Xi’an highlights the three major problems China faces in encouraging births, namely, “If you don’t want to have children, you can’t raise them.” rise, cannot give birth.”

The incident comes as state media cites a study by a unit of China’s National Health Commission as saying preliminary estimates show China’s total fertility rate fell sharply to 1.09 last year from 1.30 in 2020.

If the data is accurate, it means that China’s fertility rate is already lower than Japan’s 1.26 level, which is the lowest among countries with a population of over 100 million in the world. Japan has long been plagued by an aging population.

The world’s second-largest economy is facing the threat of a slowdown, with weak consumption and exports, a shaky real estate sector, high youth unemployment and demographic problems that could exacerbate the crisis.

“The younger generation in China is not only unwilling to have children, but even to marry. Like other countries in East Asia, social development itself has reduced the willingness to have children, and China’s one-child policy has instilled the concept of ‘fewer children’ among generations,” Yi said. Fu Xian said.

He added that there are economic reasons besides the concept. High housing prices and other living costs make it difficult for mainstream families to raise even one child, and they simply cannot afford to raise two children.”

China’s controversial “one-child” policy, or “one-child policy,” was introduced around 1979 to slow population growth. Families who broke the rules were fined, some lost their jobs, or had forced labor induced. The policy has also led to an imbalance in the sex ratio due to the idea of ​​”son preference” in some places.

In 2016, China abolished its “one-child” policy, allowing couples to have two children. In 2021, the authorities relaxed the restrictions to “three children”, but this did not stop the rapid decline of China’s population.

In January this year, China’s National Bureau of Statistics released data showing that China’s total population shrank by 850,000 people last year. It was the first decline in population since the country suffered a famine following Mao Zedong’s “Great Leap Forward” movement in the early 1960s.

Facing a demographic crisis, Chinese President Xi Jinping made the issue a priority at the 20th National Congress, promising to “establish a birth support policy system”.

In 2021, the Ministry of Civil Affairs of China set up 32 “marriage customs reform experimental areas” across the country to “inherit and develop China’s excellent marriage and family culture” and crack down on high-priced betrothal gifts.

Policies of “urging marriage” and “bringing birth” at the local level have become more frequent. Changsha, Hunan Province issued a policy last year that provides a one-time childcare subsidy of 10,000 yuan ($1,372) per child for families with three or more children.

In Ningbo, Zhejiang, to encourage men to play a bigger role in raising children, officials promoted “Penguin Daddy” as a mascot to share the family’s child-rearing responsibilities. This is because male and female penguins take turns incubating eggs and caring for their chicks.

add text to video,

Young Chinese women say: Why we don’t want to marry and have children

The southern city of Shenzhen has even set up a “rebirth project” to provide financial assistance for women under the age of 49 who wish to have children, including medical examinations, surgery, and assisted reproduction.

According to data from the 2022 China Statistical Yearbook cited by state media, as of 2021, China’s single population over the age of 15 has reached 240 million.

Wuhan University announced last week that it would allow registered married student couples to live together at the university.

Su Yue, an economist at the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU), previously analyzed that the long-term impact of the new crown epidemic and last year’s blockade may lower China’s birth rate.

“This trend will continue and may even worsen post-COVID-19, as high youth unemployment and lower income expectations could further delay young people’s marriage and parenthood plans, dragging down birth numbers,” she said.

#Chinas #Xian #authorities #taunted #netizens #sending #text #messages #people #Qixi #Festival #BBC #News #中文

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.