11/07/2020, 09.04
CHINA
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Beijing goes from ‘one child’ to many children, even for same-sex couples

by Wang Zhicheng

The number of new born continues to decline. In 2019, their number was the lowest since the Great Famine (following the Great Leap Forward). According to the National Bureau of Statistics, there were 14.65 million newborns last year; the previous year 15.23 million. The new five-year plan erases "family planning" and proposes a more "inclusive" fertility, perhaps even for unmarried women and same-sex couples.

Beijing (AsiaNews) - The "one child" policy is now over; in the future, to promote a new demographic policy, China will launch a more “inclusive” style, allowing everyone to have more children, even single women and same-sex couples.

This is the conclusion that some demographers have drawn from the 14th Five-Year Plan drafted in recent days, which sets out the so-called "Vision 2035" guidelines, which should accompany the country until that date.

The Global Times (4/11/2020), emphatically points out that the phrase "family planning", which in the past imposed state population control, is no longer mentioned this latest five-year plan.

For decades, from 1979 onwards, China has rigorously imposed the one-child policy, going so far as to force abortions, male and female sterilization, fines and seizures of assets, prison. It is estimated that 400 million abortions were performed throughout the period.

In 2016, recognizing a reduction in the workforce and a rapid aging of the population, the government began to pull back on this aggressive policy, replacing it with one of "two children", under certain conditions.

However, the easing has had no effect and the population continues to shrink and age.

In 2019, the number of newborns was the lowest since the Great Famine (following the Great Leap Forward). Mothers in China gave birth to 14.65 million babies in 2019, down from 15.23 million in 2018, according to the National Bureau of Statistics. According to demographer He Yafu, in 2020 there will still be a decline in new births. The signs are already evident: in Ningbo (Zhejiang), in the first six months of this year there was a decrease of 19.24%; in Huangshan (Anhui), for the first seven months of 2020 there is a reduction of 16.88% in births.

Thus, to respond to the need for a young workforce and to reduce the aging of the population, the New Five-Year Plan no longer mentions the need for birth control (mentioned in the previous Plan, the 13th, 2016-2020) but of "inclusiveness "For the policy of births and fertility. A year ago, the Central Committee of the Chinese Communist Party spoke of "optimizing fertility policy and improving the quality of the population".

Zhai Zhenwu, president of the China Population Association, which is under the National Commission for Health and Family Planning says "inclusiveness" means letting people have children without "restrictions", including children from minorities, unmarried men or women and same-sex couples.

However, many parents point out that in addition to worrying about the increase in the workforce and the aging of the population - with heavy consequences on the medical and pension budget - the government should be concerned about helping families with economic subsidies.

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