China's top decision-making body announced in late October that it would relax the one-child policy, a controversial birth control measure Beijing introduced officially in the early 1980s to curb popu

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Why don’t Chinese women want more babies? It’s not just about money
It is often presumed that government policies are the main factors determining birth patterns in China. This may not be the case anymore. By the end of 2015, China ended the controversial one-child policy, allowing couples to have two children. A baby boom was expected. But it hasn’t materialized and it is very unlikely that it will. According to the National Bureau of Statistics, the birth rate in 2019 fell to 1.048, the lowest on record since the founding of the People’s Republic, except in 1961 when millions lost their lives in a widespread famine. After the Chinese Communist Party took power in 1949, Chairman Mao Zedong foolishly encouraged women to produce more children, believing that
Why Chinese mothers go abroad for sperm donors
In China, the marriage rate is falling and more affluent single women are seeking to become mothers without husbands. They are turning to overseas options. Unmarried women in China are largely barred from accessing sperm banks and in-vitro fertilization (IVF) treatment, where an egg is fertilized by sperm outside the body. One single mother by choice tells her story.
China should ease pain from one-child policy repercussions
In 1992, I was abandoned as a baby and found in a public place in Hefei, China. For almost two years, I lived in an orphanage and with a foster mother. Then my adoptive mother flew me to Sacramento, California, where I grew up. My existence here in the United States is due to China’s infamous one-child policy, which was imposed for more than three decades before it was eased to a two-child policy in 2015.  I am one of more than 90,000 children adopted from China and raised in the US between 1992 and 2018.  About 40,000 other children went to families in the Netherlands, Spain and Britain. In her devastating poem, One Art, Elizabeth Bishop writes of loss in a way I relate to. She describes mi
9 charts that put China’s transformation in perspective
This week, the People's Republic of China marked its 70th birthday with a grand parade in Beijing.  Over the past seven decades, the country has evolved from a battle-scarred backwater to a rising potential superpower. Last year, China contributed one-fifth to the global economy, as measured by purchasing power parity. It has come a long way.   Check out the following nine graphs to get a sense of the monumental changes that have taken place in the country:  GDP per capita In 2010, China overtook Japan to become the world’s second-largest economy. But GDP per capita remains below the global average and only one-fifth that of other advanced economies.  Trade China is currently the world’s to
Marriages in China hit 11-year low. Here’s why that means trouble
Marriages in China hit an 11-year low last year, posing an additional challenge to efforts to boost consumption, stabilize the economy and tackle the nation’s looming demographic problems. A total of 10.14 million couples were married in 2018, down 4.6% from the previous year, while the marriage rate dropped to 7.3 per 1,000 from 7.7 per 1,000 last year, according to the Ministry of Civil Affairs. The trend continued in the first half of 2019, with the number of marriages dropping 7.7% from a year earlier to 4.98 million. The marriage rate has fallen steadily from the recent high of 9.9% in 2013 as the younger generation avoids marriage due to financial concerns amid the weakening economy. C
Why China’s millennials are saying no to marriage
Lizzy Ran is happy with her life. The 29-year-old unmarried doctor from China's central Hubei province earns a decent income and spends her free time with friends or surfing the internet. But her mother is worried about her. “My mother is quite anxious for me – she believes getting married and having babies are things that a person must do in their life,” Ran said. “I don’t think so – marriage isn’t essential for me.” Ran said she believed marriage was determined by fate, and she was not about to force the issue. “If I am lucky and I find my Mr. Right, that is good. But if I’m not lucky enough to meet such a guy, it’s fine, and I will accept that,” she said. “I will definitely not force mys
Chinese women have fewer children – and they’re cool with that
For about 20 years, women in Hong Kong have reliably told survey-takers that their ideal number of children is one or two. The average “ideal” value has been around 1.6 children. The statistic’s stability would make you think that this ideal is normal. But it’s quite unusual. According to research I’ve conducted for the US-based Institute for Family Studies, it is exceedingly rare for women to report average fertility ideals below two children. Women in South Korea, Japan and Singapore say they consider between two and three children to be ideal. Surveys vary for Taiwan, but most suggest ideals of between 1.8 and 2.4 children. Data from the United States suggests that ethnically Chinese wome
City lights fading fast in China’s rust belt
Once the pride of China’s industrial development, the cities of its northeastern rust belt are struggling to regain competitiveness under the weight of an outdated economic mindset, brain drain and dwindling resources. Fushun, a once coal-rich town in Liaoning province, is one such city. Its coal mines boomed under the occupation by Japan at the start of the 20th century. But after years of excavation and restrictions imposed by Beijing on mining activities, only 20% of the city’s recoverable coal deposits were left at the end of 2017, according to the local government. More than 100 years of mining have also exacted a heavy cost for the city’s environment. In 2017, almost half of its devel
China’s main state pension fund will run out of money by 2035
China’s main state pension fund will run dry by 2035 due to its shrinking working population, government researchers have found. The findings offer a glimpse of a looming demographic crisis, exacerbated by decades of population control policies, that is expected to hit the world’s second-biggest economy in all corners of society. Despite a reversal of its one-child policy, China isn’t having enough babies to offset its rapidly aging population, meaning there will be fewer workers to support retirees. The urban worker pension fund is one of the main sources of income for the 249 million Chinese retirees who make up about one-fifth of the country’s population. The fund held 4.8 trillion yuan (
China plans to end all birth restrictions, says report
China is planning to end all birth restrictions as soon as this year, according to a news report. Bloomberg says the country’s cabinet, the State Council, is assessing the impact of scrapping all birth limits, in order to reduce the pace of an aging society and remove a source of international criticism. Faced with a rapidly declining birthrate, China replaced its more than four-decade-old one-child policy with a two-child policy in 2015. In March, the government removed the term “family planning” from a newly established National Health Commission, a gesture many hoped would spearhead further reforms in the country’s population policy. For many observers, the “independent fertility” policy