China’s population policy

China’s population policy

China has abandoned its notorious one-child policy, but it hasn’t been enough to boost falling birth rates.

What’s behind China’s looming demographic crisis?
Every Tuesday and Thursday, Inkstone Explains unravels the ideas and context behind the headlines to help you understand news about China. With one in six people on Earth calling it home, China is the world’s most populous country, where a large city can have as many residents as any industrialized nation does. The sheer size of the population has helped develop the country into the world’s second-biggest economy.  But while decades of managed growth in China’s population had paid dividends, the country is on the verge of a potential demographic crisis as a result of government actions, including policy to limit most families to have no more than one child. China’s population is expected to
China Trends: Starbucks rejects coins, and an end to two-child policy?
Every Tuesday and Thursday, China Trends takes the pulse of the Chinese social media to keep you in the loop of what the world’s biggest internet population is talking about. Coins for coffee China’s digital payment revolution may have gone too far for some. Starbucks China was forced to apologize over the weekend after a viral video showed an employee refusing to accept coins as payment. The footage, which was shot at an unspecified location in China, sparked a backlash on social media from users who pointed out that it was illegal to reject coins or cash under Chinese law. In China, mobile payments have largely replaced cash as the norm for anything from dining at restaurants to paying tax
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
How a 3am call and a secret inspire film remembering China’s abandoned children
One Sunday afternoon in February 2017, Chinese film director Yuchao Feng was in his flat in the US state of New Jersey when he received a phone call from his mother that would shock and inspire him. Feng knew something was wrong – not just because it was 3am in the northern Chinese city of Tianjin, where his mother, Wang Jingjing, was calling from, but because they rarely spoke. “My parents were not around much when I was growing up in Ningde,” says Feng, recalling the city of three million in Fujian province, in the country’s southeast, known for its tea cultivation. “And we talked even less after I moved to the US to study film in 2011.” Feng’s mother was having a nightmare similar to thos
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
Chinese woman gave birth at 67 to her third child – and could be fined for it
China’s oldest new mother and her husband may be fined for breaking family planning rules because they already have two adult children, according to a Chinese media report. A 67-year-old retired hospital worker, surnamed Tian, gave birth to a girl named Tianci by cesarean section at the Zaozhuang Maternity and Child Health Hospital in Shandong province on October 25. Tianci’s birth made headlines around the world, and some commentators questioned her parents’ claim that she was conceived naturally. “We don’t know what people are saying online, but this really happened to us,” the news website ThePaper.cn quoted Huang Weiping, the child’s father, on Saturday as saying. “Besides being in good
What wasn’t said during China’s 70th anniversary parade
Mention of China's controversial family planning policy was curiously absent from National Day celebrations in Beijing on Tuesday, sending a clear signal, according to analysts, that the country’s decades-long policy of birth restrictions could be scrapped altogether. China scrapped its one-child policy in 2016 to allow couples to have two children as its birth rate slows and its population ages. This move has so far proved unsuccessful in boosting births. Analysts said the lack of slogans or delegates related to the policy was a signal China could be about to lift restrictions entirely in a bid to encourage births. “Family planning was an achievement for the People’s Republic at its 60th an
Young Chinese mock proposal to lower marriage age
Young Chinese aren’t buying a proposal by legislators to lower the legal minimum age for marriage in an effort to combat the country’s looming demographic crisis.  Last week, several members of the National People’s Congress, China’s rubber-stamp legislative body, proposed lowering the minimum marriage age to 18 for both sexes. Currently, the legal minimum age is 22 for men and 20 for women. Zhang Sujun, one of the body’s Standing Committee members, who proposed the change, said the proposal could encourage young couples to marry earlier and to have more babies. China’s birth rate fell in 2018 to its lowest level since 2000. Researchers have warned that the country’s population is aging rapi
Why Chinese people are outraged by Alabama’s abortion ban
Alabama’s move to ban nearly all abortions in the state has shaken a country divided over women’s right to terminate a pregnancy. But in China, there is no debate. On Twitter-like Weibo, social media users have overwhelmingly slammed the American state’s sweeping abortion ban. “You cannot even have abortions if you are impregnated by rape or incest? Are these people crazy?” said a top comment. The stark contrast underscores how a history of population control policies has helped shape views on abortion in the world’s most populous nation. “In America, abortion might be a debate of human rights, and specifically, women’s rights. But in China, it’s not an issue of rights but an issue of law a
The sperm-collecting machine helping China through hard times
Unlike seeing a dentist, where you lie down helplessly and let a doctor torment you, andrology – the study of male health – is one of the rare medical disciplines that can both involve pleasure and demand effort on the patient’s part. Enter the SW-3701 Sperm Extractor, a machine that takes the tedious labor of masturbation out of the process of collecting semen, for donation and diagnosis alike. Featuring a pink receptacle that mimics a vagina, the machine promises to be a hands-free solution to hospitals in a country that needs quality male healthcare more than ever. Chinese people are having fewer children – whether by choice or not – at a time when China needs babies the most in order to