The Chinese regime has officially written its new three-child policy into law, marking Beijing’s latest attempt to boost population and avert a demographic crisis that could dash its plans for building global dominance.
The National People’s Congress, the regime’s rubber-stamp legislature, on Aug. 20 amended the Population and Family Planning Law that has for decades allowed the ruling Chinese Communist Party (CCP) to dictate the size of families nationwide.
The change came after a shift to a two-child policy in 2016 failed to revive the country’s falling birthrate.
In 1979, the CCP began a birth planning program that strictly limited most couples to just one child. Known as the one-child policy, it was enforced with hefty fines, job loss, detentions, beatings, forced sterilizations, and forced abortions.
Chinese officials and state media had touted the policy’s success in preventing 400 million births over three decades in the world’s most populous country, claiming it had helped conserve natural resources, drive economic growth, and that it served “valuable lessons” for the world.
The regime relaxed the policy in 2016 by allowing two children per family as it struggled to cope with a plummeting birthrate, an aging population, and a shrinking workforce. A preference for sons also led Chinese parents to abort or abandon baby girls, causing one of the biggest gender imbalances in the world.
The legacy of the repressive policy has continued to haunt China. Statistics from 2020 showed that 12 million babies were born last year, down by 18 percent from 2019’s 14.6 million, making it the lowest since the regime took control of China in 1949.
As many as 264 million Chinese are more than 60 years old, accounting for nearly one-fifth of the country’s total population in 2020, marking a 5.44 percent increase compared to a decade ago. China’s labor force, those between 16 and 59, fell by 40 million over the same period.
By Eva Fu