China’s top health body issued joint policy guidelines on its official website on Aug. 16 to encourage more births as part of the ruling communist party’s efforts to “promote long-term balanced development of the population.”
The document, titled “Guidelines on Further Improving and Implementing Supportive Measures of Active Reproduction,” was jointly published by 17 different departments, including the regime’s National Health Commission, the Propaganda Department, the State Tax Administration, the Ministry of Education, and the General Logistics Department of the Central Military Commission, among others.
It set out 20 detailed measures to boost China’s flagging birth rates and reduce abortions. These measures include increasing child-care facilities and help, offering favorable housing policies to families with multiple children, and creating a “reproduction-friendly employment environment.”
The joint efforts to encourage childrearing is “an unprecedented move” by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), with the regime’s official statistics showing that China is indeed experiencing “a rapid decline in birthrate,” said Chang Feng-Yi, executive director of the Taiwan Labor and Social Policy Research Association, in an interview with the Chinese language edition of The Epoch Times.
Low Fertility, Aging Population
China’s official data shows a record low population in 2021, with 10.62 million births in 2021, compared with 12 million in 2020 and 14.65 million in 2019, as reported by CCP mouthpiece Xinhua news agency in January 2022.
China’s fertility rate was 1.16 in 2021, far below the 2.1 OECD standard for a stable population and among the lowest in the world.
Chang believes that the CCP’s official data has been altered to cover up the actual extent of the population crisis. He said it would be a great challenge for the regime if young people are reluctant to have children.
“Our social security system, whether it is social insurance or taxation, depends on young people to support it. As China is such a large country, the aging population problem China faces is definitely serious.”
By Sophia Lam