It is no secret that China wants to become the world’s #1 superpower, but they realize something extremely important stands in their way. No, it is not the United States and our military strength, nuclear capability, or world-class innovation.
The singular, primary threat to China’s future as a global powerhouse is that they are not producing enough babies. And the no nonsense Chinese government is not only realizing this problem dramatically threatens their standing as global superpower, it threatens their very existence as a nation.
China, by policy, has no immigration. So that nation cannot grow by importing the next generation of workers, innovators, teachers, farmers, and medical, military, educational and law enforcement professionals, not to mention essential taxpayers. China requires that all of these essential nation-builders be homegrown. From Chinese moms and dads.
But that is not happening, and it hasn’t been for quite some time. And this fact has Chinese officials absolutely freaked. That is not hyperbole.
China’s leaders realize all too well the importance of human fertility and that their problem is certainly not too many people, but actually too few. Especially too few of the little newborn type.
China killed its infamous one child family policy in 2021 in favor of a 3-child policy. Note that change. This was not just an adjustment. It was a wholesale shift in philosophy. They went from a policy of deliberate limitation to expansion. Chinese officials have been telling their citizens of late, “Have more than two kids for the good of the nation!” And it is certainly not because the government thinks more cute babies would brighten up the place. It is a dramatically pragmatic move.
But China has now gone much further in encouraging moms and dads to have more babies.
The Global Times, a major Chinese news outlet, is reporting that last week, 17 Chinese government departments “jointly released a guideline on support policies in finance, tax, housing, employment, education and other fields to create a fertility-friendly society and encourage families to have more children, as the country faces growing pressure from falling birth rates.” This action makes China’s effort the largest and most comprehensive effort to boost national fertility by any nation in the history of the world.
The Global Times adds, “Analysts said that it is rare to see so many ministries and departments jointly release such a detailed and comprehensive guideline on encouraging fertility and supporting childbearing, underscoring the seriousness of the growth rate of China’s population.” The Times also reported the initiative is intended “to push the government, institutions and individuals to fulfill their responsibilities in creating a friendly environment for marriage and fertility, and promote population growth, according to the guideline.”
Ma Li, former director of the China Population and Development Research Center, told the Global Times says this unprecedented government initiative should be seen as merely a start of a fuller more family- and fertility-friendly government policy.
Is China Becoming Pro-Family?
Of course, it is admirable that the largest communist nation in the world, which has an atrocious religious liberty record, is promoting fertility in the protective confines of marriage. But be sure, they are doing so for wholly pragmatic and nationalistic reasons.
China has one of world’s highest abortion rates. There were over 17 million abortions there from 2015 to 2019. That means 78 percent of all unintended Chinese pregnancies were aborted. Abortion was employed for decades in horrific industrial-like fashion in enforcement of China’s malevolent one-child policy.
The fertility situation in China is so dire, academic demographers indicate even this ambitious plan will not be enough in itself to avert an unrecoverable fall in China’s total population. Peking University professor Liang Jianzhang suggests giving married mothers and fathers 1 million yuan ($155,499) for each newborn, sparking a spirited discussion online. Liang said that to raise China’s fertility rate to the replacement level of 2.1 from the current 1.3, China needs to really put its money where its mouth is and spend 10 percent of its GDP to encourage more births.
China had a fertility rate of 1.64 in 2021, down from 1.76 in 2017 and 1.73 in 2019. This is what plummeting looks like and no nation can sustain that without immigration. Of the 10.62 million people born there in 2021, 41 percent were a second child and barely 15 percent were the third child or above, according China’s National Health Commission from data released this summer.
It must be well understood that overpopulation is certainly not most nation’s or the world’s problem. In fact, any country threatened by overpopulation is exceedingly rare, almost nil.
The great threat to human existence is not population or the health of the environment. The world is actually getting healthier in terms of the things humans need most to survive: increasing clean air and water, ample and improved food production and improved protection from environmental threats like natural disasters. All of these indicators have been getting dramatically better over the last few decades as evidenced here. The largest, natural direct threat to our human future is our collective failure to reproduce. We are simply not reproducing ourselves in numbers sufficient to sustain human thriving. Leading demographers have understood this fact and explained the threat in careful detail.
But they are not alone. Deeply pragmatic government leaders have been recognizing this fact as well. China is only the most recent nation to realize the dire nature of the problem, taking drastic action to address it in historic fashion.
This is certainly a major event to be noted by all advocates of family and those pulling for the future of humanity.