The Chinese Communist Party, which has been ruling the most populous country in the world since 1949, more recently to discouraging demographic results, has decided to bestow upon the Chinese people the joy of being legally allowed to have three children in their family.
When the commies determine how many children you may have
There isn’t much to say in terms of rights, freedoms and liberty for a society where communist party apparatchiks determine people’s personal lives to the slightest detail, including how many children they may have.
But in “practical” and demographic terms, the new decision of the regime ruling the People’s Republic of China run by President Xi Jinping has important implications.
Even more importantly, however, it clearly conveys grave demographic concerns of the regime after decades in which the Communist Party has been limiting the number of kids the Chinese folks were allowed to have.
Chinese government officials have now agreed to change a population law legally allowing couples in the country to have a third child, if they wish to.
Interestingly, the change comes barely six years after the Chinese regime actually allowed couples to legally have a second child, a shift approved in 2015, and which entered into force as of January 1, 2016.
Communist China’s famous – or infamous – one-child policy was invented in the late 1970s and had been enforced strictly since 1980.
It was part of a plant to prevent skyrocketing population growth while allowing for economic growth to actually enrich the Chinese society, rather than being constantly consumed by the higher and higher number of newborns.
And while the one-child policy might have made decent sense for the country with the largest population that kept growing, the communist regime has managed to use it to reduce fertility levels so much as to question China’s demographic sustainability.
Hence the rush to abandon the one-child policy in the past few years – first, by allowing a second child, and now by allowing a third child as well per couple.
One-child policy skewed China’s demographics
Estimates claim that the one-child policy prevented some 400 million births in China since 1980.
However, it is also true that China’s fertility rates were falling even before 1980 anyway due to the industrialization and wider societal transformations carried out by the Chinese communist regime as per the rules of the Marxist-communist ideology.
Thus, the average number of children a Chinese mother would have slumped from above six in the 1960s to below three by 1980.
2020 in particular saw a major decline in the number of new births in China by 18% year-on-year: only about 12 million babies were born compared with 14.6 million in 2019.
The one-child policy, which was enforced with harsh measures such as fines and the threat of loss of jobs, has skewed China’s demographics in two major ways: first, by limiting the number of young people under 18 while the number of over 65s is rising as its own version of the baby boomers have been retiring, and, second, by creating sex ration imbalances as preferences for sons led many Chinese families to abort or kill baby girls.
Demographics and economics experts have cautioned, however, that the allowing of a second and now a third child for Chinese families would hardly lead to a baby boom because of the cost of raising children and the careers and professional development of women in China.