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Monday, January 30, 2023

China’s population drop a boon or bane? What experts say

World NewsChina's population drop a boon or bane? What experts say

For seven decades, the Chinese Communist Party has ruled the world’s most populous country. As Population of China crests and starts to shrinkExperts say he will face challenges ranging from helping the elderly to replenishing the ranks of his army.

Read here: What is China’s plan to boost its declining population?

population Growth has been slowing for years, but Tuesday’s announcement that the country’s population will decline by about 850,000 in 2022 came much sooner than previously estimated.

“That development … could well meet challenges at home and strategic challenges abroad. The party could, in short, be in trouble,” said Mike Mazza, an analyst of Chinese military modernization at the American Enterprise Institute in Washington. Is.

Others are less pessimistic.

“China is fast becoming a high-tech nation, so focusing on improving the education system, especially in poor rural areas, and even in cities, is critical. So is productivity. Rich people will buy more, which also increases GDP,” said Jon Teufel-Dreier, an expert on Chinese politics at the University of Miami.

With this trend expected to continue, the United Nations estimates that China’s population will decrease from 1.41 billion to about 1.31 billion by 2050 and continue to shrink from there.

Beijing has previously tried to curb its population growth. Concerns about China’s overpopulation prompted it to adopt its “one-child policy” in the late 1970s. Beijing says the policy prevented 400 million additional births, but demographers disagree on how much of the decline in birth rates is explained by the policy.

Demographers say the one-child policy came on top of current social changes, particularly the influx of people to live in cities during economic booms.

Read here: A clarion call for India? What do experts say about China’s population decline?

“Certainly, the one-child policy had an impact,” said Sabine Henning, head of the Demographic Change Section of the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific in Bangkok. “But lifestyles have changed. The cost of living has gone up so people are less inclined to have children. As a result of all this…fertility has further declined since the one-child policy ended. “

The experience of Europe and Japan shows how difficult it is to change mindsets and reverse decline through government incentives and campaigns.

Faced with a crashing birth rate, the policy was abandoned seven years ago, but efforts to encourage larger families have largely failed, as have similar efforts in other countries. Europe and Japan have also struggled to change attitudes and reverse the decline through government incentives and campaigns.

“It amazes me that everyone agrees that there are already too many people on the planet whose demands for the basics of existence such as food, water and shelter are making unbearable demands on ecosystems – Yet as soon as a country’s population begins to decline, its government reacts with near panic,” Dreyer said.

Beijing’s most immediate demographic challenge is an aging population: Tuesday’s data showed that nearly 20% of the population is now 60 or older, and that number is projected to rise to 30 by 2035. %, or more than 400 million.

Similar changes took decades in Europe.

“They had more time to adjust, whereas in Asia it’s happening much faster,” said Srinivas Tata, director of the division of social development at the UN commission in Bangkok.

Read here: ‘3 members of 1 family die in 5 days’: Activist as China sees rise in Covid deaths

To support this population of retirees, China could raise the retirement age, currently 50-55 for women and 60 for men.

The demographic news comes as China’s economy is still recovering from a three-year battle against COVID-19, which not only damaged the economy but sparked unprecedented anti-government and anti-party protests.

Even with a shrinking population, China maintains substantial economic advantages over emerging manufacturing rivals such as Vietnam and India, which is set to overtake China as the most populous this year. Maza said China has superior infrastructure and long-standing private sector relationships it can rely on for years to come.

Mary Gallagher, a scholar of Chinese politics at the University of Michigan, said China’s political system also plays a role.

“To become the workshop of the world…requires a political system that can exploit this cheap youth labor without regard for workers’ political and civil rights,” Gallagher said.

U.S. economic sanctions and Beijing’s push to block access to advanced processors and chip-making technology are complicating recovery efforts.

Experts say the party also faces challenges in finding qualified recruits for its army, the 2 million-strong People’s Liberation Army.

Daniel Blumenthal, director of Asian studies at the American Enterprise Institute and an expert on East Asian security affairs, said, “It’s doubtful that the PLA is getting the best and brightest, because families with the resources to encourage military service.” “Shukni will do.” US-China relations.

Blumenthal cautioned, however: “That said, if the Eleven decide they want a war against Taiwan they will not stop caring about the families of a child.”

Read here: China will witness a historic demographic shift that will be accelerated by the Covid-19 outbreak.

Some U.S. observers say these challenges could prompt Beijing to act sooner. With the U.S. focusing on the Indo-Pacific, China’s economy slowing and population shrinking, some in Washington see Beijing facing a narrow window for military action against the self-ruled island. See what he claims as his territory.

Still, the effects may not be known for some time.

“Because demographic changes are gradual, at least at the beginning of the turn, they will have an impact on China’s position and influence on the world stage,” said Steve Tsang, director of the China Institute at the University of London’s School of Oriental and African Studies. It will take time to have an impact.” and a long-time observer of Chinese political and social trends.

Tsang said President Xi Jinping is committed to his program to achieve the “great renewal of the Chinese nation” by 2049 – even if his country shrinks to less than 100 million by then.

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