The Chinese government recently announced three child policy that will permit couples to have up to three children. It is because of a declining pattern in the birth rate graph, shown by census data.
China had changed its one-child policy (levied in 1980) by increasing to two children in 2016. However, it has not given a significant uprising in birth rates. Many couples in China refrain from having children due to high standards of living.
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Meeting held by CCP over three child policy in China
After completing a meeting with CCP officials, Chinese President Xi Jinping approved these recent changes.
Xinhua news agency stated that this move would bring brilliancy in human resources with supportive measurement by maintaining proper population structure. Therefore, it will fulfill the country’s strategy and support the advantages by creating a population age.
However, according to Amnesty International, human rights organization, the move from the Chinese government can violate predecessors’ reproductive and sexual rights.
Joshua Rosenzweig, a team head of China’s group, has stated that the government should not have any right to control the decision of Chinese couples about reproducing. According to him, the Chinese government must respect people’s life choices instead of pressurizing them with birth policy. Moreover, this move may be considered vindictive and invasive against the family planning of people.
Some experts have expressed their doubts about this policy’s impact Hao Zhou, an economist, reported that if implementing this type of birth control policy would have been effective, then the two-children policy should have shown significant results.
According to him, having three children would increase the living costs increase pressure. Thus, Chinese couples would rather have one or two children instead of three.
BBC’s correspondent in China gave insights into the situation
On a gloomy day filled with rain clouds, BBC’s correspondent in China, Stephen McDonell, received a first-hand experience on how people reacted to the news. The man was out buying coffee as the news made headlines. Everyone was hooked onto their phone screens.
People in China were already used to the one-child policy. Thus, making such changes for them will be challenging to adapt even mentally.
Some people have raised questions about how the three-child policy would work where the two-child policy has not given any significant result? Moreover, in a demographic trend, why is there this type of birth restrictions?
McDonell interviewed several young couples who would rather stick to having one child instead of more. Youngsters today have grown up without siblings and are used to it. So they suggest that they would have one child and offer whatever they can to raise it well, instead of having more kids and spreading their income among them.
Recent census report
In 2020, China produced 12 million newborns. The number was approximately 4 million less compared to babies born in 2016. Since the 1960s, this is the lowest recorded number of babies born. The census data reflects results taken by seven million census reporters, who took the door-to-door data during the end of 2020.
The recent data led to the change in decision by the Chinese government. They expect that the changes will be help couples in future planning. The government planned to eased the policy due to the declining census.
Chinese media influencing people’s mind
China’s media analyst, Kerry Allen, stated that this policy would put couples under pressure. She said that the media is influencing people towards the three-child policy.
The media channels are posting delighted cartoon images of kids on their social media handles to influence couples. The news of three child policy is the center of the report that came with such designs to promote the idea.
Chinese social media network Sina Weibo has thousands of posts mentioning this policy. Such posts are garnering tens of thousands of views and comments as well.
Over 180,000 people commented on a post shared by Xinhua news media. Even though there are several likes of these posts, people are not ready for this policy.
Many users stated that there are significant pressures in their lives. Thus, young people do not want to have children. Several users spoke about workplace dilemmas coupled with maternity or paternity issues. Not being able to be with their children due to work is one of the biggest parenting crises. Moreover, many people stated of not having basic reproductive benefits.
The shrinking labor market makes Chinese people work longer hours to meet their financial needs. Moreover, women now focus on higher education and employment instead of settling down and become stay-at-home moms.
China’s earlier policies that brought changes in lifestyles
Since 2016, couples in China were allowed to have two kids. For the first two years, the number increased as expected. However, there was again a drop that continued throughout 2020.
Yue Su, the leading economist of The Economist Intelligence Unit, stated that the two-child policy was initially favorable. However, the results were short-lived.
The one-child policy introduced in 1980 shaped China’s census data. Families had to pay fines, face employment loss, and forced abortions if violating rules.
The one-child policy led to gender imbalance as well. The patriarchal mindset made parents prefer having boy children, leading to abandoning female children. In addition, sex-selective abortion became popular due to the allowance of female infanticide.
Dr. Mu Zheng, who works in the sociology department of the National University, Singapore, stated that the Chinese marriage market poses problems due to fewer women.
Can birth restrictions stop in China?
Speculations before the three-child policy news broke suggested lifting birth restrictions in China. But the country seems to tread cautiously now. However, such a move can bring problems due to disparity between rural and city dwellers.
Women living in posh cities like Shanghai and Beijing might want to delay or avoid giving birth. However, women following traditional lifestyles might wish to big families.
Freeing up the policy might make people living in the countryside to give birth to more babies. However, the number of people living in the cities will remain low. Moreover, lifting birth restrictions can also lead to employment pressure and chances of poverty for rural people.
Experts warned that the population of China (even the declining rate) could have a massive effect on people living in other parts of the globe. Scientists from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Dr. Yi Fuxian, stated that the Chinese economy has quickly grown. Thus, many industries across the world rely on the country. So the population decline impact will be broad.