For decades Yichang in the central Hubei province was praised for its strict observance of the "one child policy". Today the communist authorities are retracting everything and calling on young comrades to "work on themselves" to have at least a second child. The elderly comrades must "guide them on the socialist road of education of young people".
Beijing (AsiaNews) - The Central Communist Party has "strongly urged" its members in Yichang, central Hubei province, to have a second child " as soon as possible". For decades the city was held up as an example to the rest of the country for its strict observance of the one-child rule. The policy launched by Deng Xiaoping in the late seventies of the last century has destroyed the concept of family in China and today is the greatest threat to the pension and welfare system, given the rapid aging of the population.
The Commission for health and family planning in the area posted an open letter on its website, drafted according to the "recommendations" of Beijing: "Young comrades have to work on themselves, while older comrades must educate and supervise their children guiding them on the road of socialism. " The text is addressed to the members of the Communist Party and those of the Communist Youth League: Yichang has about four million residents.
The letter emphasizes the "benefits of having more children" and warns the population against the "risk of having only one." In 2010 the same Yichang was praised nationally – to great media fanfare - for keeping faith to the CCP family policy dictates, so much so that today, the birth rate is below 1 child per woman.
If this phenomenon continues, concluded the members of the Commission, "we would find ourselves in front of huge risks for the economy and for social development. But this would be at the expense of the happiness of the families of our city. The population is aging, the workforce is decreasing. We have to change. "
The one-child policy was first introduced in 1979 in order to boost the country’s economic development. Rural residents and members of ethnic minorities were allowed however to have two children if the first was a daughter.
The policy was often implemented violently, with hefty fines, forced sterilisation and near-term abortions.
In 2013 and 2014, the government “loosened” its policy to let some couples (those in which at least one spouse was an only child) have a second child, expecting 20 million new births in 2014. In fact, only 16.9 million babies were born.
By May this year, only 1.45 million couples – out of 11 million eligible ones – had applied to have a second child.
However from about 11 million couples who fall into this category only 1.45 million have requested access to the granted privilege. And of the 20 million babies expected by Beijing for 2014 only 16.9 million arrived.
The Plenum of the Communist Party in November 2015 removed the norm entirely, hoping to decisively reverse the birth rat. But this, say some experts to AsiaNews, "has not had any real effect. Also because the government has eliminated the law but did not launched economic stimulus packages for young couples and for migrants. Having a child in China today costs a lot, let alone having more than one. "