Millions of members of the ruling Communist Party of China have been ordered to marry and have three children.
The edict came in an editorial published by the China Reports Network, a state-run media site, earlier this week.
Plunging birth rates have spooked the CCP and President Xi Jinping’s inner circle. But the authoritarian tone of the decree has triggered a backlash on social media sites.
“No Party member should use any excuse to not marry or have children, nor can they use any excuse to have only one or two children,” China Reports Network said as reported by the South China Morning Post and The Guardian.
“Every CCP member should shoulder the responsibility and obligation of the country’s population growth and act on the three-child policy,” it added in the editorial that was first published last month.
- China’s population hovered around 1.41 billion in 2020.
- The data came from a country-wide census released by the state-controlled National Bureau of Statistics.
- But these numbers have been challenged.
- A fertility expert has estimated that China’s population last year was nearer to 1.28 billion.
- Academic and scientist Fuxian Yi made his views known at the Reuters Next conference last week.
What was said: “The population numbers have been inflated mainly for financial benefits,” Yi, a senior scientist in the obstetrics and gynecology department at the University of Wisconsin in the United States, said as reported by the Reuters news agency.
Delve deeper: Beijing is facing a ticking time bomb with an aging population. The world’s second-largest economy had a fertility rate of just 1.3 children per woman in 2020, according to state statistics.
Data nightmare: Those numbers put China on a par with aging nations such as Japan and Italy. They are also way short of the 2.1 numbers needed to keep pace with a graying society.
Decline and fall: “China’s ‘one-child’ policy and the preference for male babies has led to a decline in fertility and population growth,” Kent Matthews, a professor of banking and finance at the Cardiff University in Wales, wrote in a commentary for The Conversation.
Ground zero: Zhai Zhenwu, a professor at the China Population and Development Research Center, went even further. “The era of zero or even negative population growth is approaching,” he said in an article published by the influential state-run Economic Times.
Big picture: In 2016, Xi’s CCP regime scrapped the decades-old one-child policy. Back in May, a three-child policy was announced after a second-baby boom in 2017.
Social response: Still, the Party’s edict to have ‘babies is glorious’ has prompted criticism on social media sites. “Many people don’t have the conditions, ability, money, or time to take care of children,” one commentator said on Weibo, the Twitter-like social media platform.
Balanced view: “Shouldn’t society be balanced in development? When does it become a mandatory rule to have three children,” the netizen asked.
China Factor comment: Autocracy, not democracy rules in China, despite Beijing’s disinformation campaign. Earlier this week, a tribunal in the United Kingdom joined human rights groups when it revealed that ethnic Uighurs in the Chinese region of Xinjiang faced genocide, forced birth control and sterilization, revealing the true face of the CCP.