- Yi Fuxian on China’s demographic dilemma
- Xi’s dramatic policy change
- Germany warns against espionage
- Iran’s president visits China
- USA sanctions companies over balloon
- China also reports flying object
- Heads: Qian Sun – investigative journalist
- So To Speak: vegetable or meat?
Xi Jinping found himself in a tight spot towards the end of last year. A struggling economy, the Covid debacle and then street protests that even openly demanded his resignation – some might wonder how China’s most powerful man wants to calm the situation before the National People’s Congress this March.
He went on the offensive and made some spectacular 180-degree turns. Zero-Covid turned into full-Covid, strict supervision of tech corporations gave way to more support for the private sector. Even the open threats against the US have since turned quieter – at least until the recent balloon incident. What are the reasons behind Xi’s radical policy shifts and how lasting are they? In his analysis, Michael Radunski sheds light on the months of transition – a special phase before the National People’s Congress gathers in March, in which the “old” cadres are still in office, but not for much longer, and therefore dare to oppose Xi behind the scenes. Because many are disgruntled: Those who have to resign from their posts or were deprived of a hoped-for promotion.
While Xi is able to tackle such ongoing political problems through pragmatic policy changes, this is clearly not the case with births. There is no denying that the one-child policy in China had been a severe intervention. Two generations had been unable to start a large family. Now Chinese are even allowed to have three children again, but they do not. The birth rate is incredibly low. China is aging. And that has serious consequences, not only for the country but also for the global economy. The leaders were simply wrong in their assumptions from the 1980s, says scientist Yi Fuxian in an interview with Felix Lee. The outlook is bleak. And, he says, China’s entire economic, social, defense and foreign policy is based on faulty data.
‘China will never surpass the USA’
Mr Yi, for the first time since the great famine of 1961, China’s population decreased last year, nine years earlier than predicted. Is that not a reason to celebrate for the communist leadership? After all, the threat of overpopulation was the reason why the one-child policy was introduced in 1980.
No, not at all. According to official figures, the birth rate has fallen below the ten-million mark for the first time. This is the lowest figure since 1790, when the population was around 300 million, but today it is over one billion. Each woman of childbearing age recently gave birth to an average of only 1.0 to 1.1 children, not 1.8 – which the government had expected. However, about 2.1 children per female are necessary to keep the population of a country at the same level. This means that each generation in China will be only half the size of the previous one. And even this low figure is exaggerated. I believe that China’s population has already been declining since 2018 and that the actual fertility rate is 0.8. China is aging on a scale and at a rate that no country has ever experienced.
If the population is declining nine years earlier than expected, surely the problems are just brought forward and are not completely unexpected?
- Human Rights
- One-child policy
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