In order to boost the declining birth rate, Sichuan Province, China’s most populous province, recently revised its birth regulations, allowing unmarried people to register births and limit the number of births. After triggering widespread heated discussions in the society, the Sichuan authorities clarified on Monday (January 30), saying that this was not to encourage unmarried people to have children, but to protect the rights and interests of the “unmarried and pregnant” people.
The Sichuan Provincial Health and Health Commission revised the “Sichuan Provincial Birth Registration Service Measures” issued in 2019 on January 28. From February 15, the restrictions on whether the registered object is married or not will be canceled, and “couples should have sex before giving birth.” Birth registration” was changed to “every citizen who has a child should go through birth registration”; and the restriction on the number of births when going through birth registration was cancelled.
In 2022, China’s population will decrease for the first time in 60 years. This historic turning point is expected to start the trend of population decline, forcing the authorities to introduce incentives and measures to stabilize and increase population growth.
Sichuan’s new birth policy immediately aroused heated discussions among netizens. Many people commented on Weibo, “Isn’t it true that mistresses and those who carry surrogates are doing business! Men also save gifts, and women are more free”, “Indeed, mistresses and surrogates are more convenient.”
Others criticized the Sichuan authorities as “Oh, just register, regardless of the problems it brings, you can change it, but you have to follow up on the laws behind you”, “do not consider social stability, and the consequences will appear in the next implementation process Come out”, “Even if the starting point of this policy is not like this, it will inevitably lead to the increase of this phenomenon, which is really messed up.”
Some netizens jokingly said, “The country just wants to increase the birth rate, regardless of whether it is a married birth or an illegitimate birth, as long as it is born.”
The Sichuan Provincial Health and Health Commission stated in response to inquiries from several Chinese state media that the new policy is not to encourage unmarried people to have children, but to protect the rights and interests of the “unmarried and pregnant” people, allowing them to enjoy some maternal and child health benefits after registering their births. Services and birth registration have nothing to do with registration. Birth registration is purely a job of managing the birth population, and discussions involving ethics and law are separate issues. At present, many provinces in China have similar measures.
China’s National Bureau of Statistics said on January 17 that China’s population will be 1.412 billion by the end of 2022, a decrease of about 850,000. In 2022, China will have 9.56 million newborns and 10.41 million deaths. This is the first time China has seen its population decline since the three-year famine in the late 1950s and early 1960s that killed tens of millions of Chinese.
China’s birth rate in 2022 will be only 6.77 per 1,000, down further from 7.52 per 1,000 in 2021, making it the lowest annual birth rate on record. China’s death rate hit 7.37 per 1,000 people last year, the highest since 1974, before the end of the Cultural Revolution. The death rate in 2021 is 7.18 per 1,000.
First restrict and then encourage young people are still unwilling to have children
On the one hand, the authorities have shifted from restricting births to encouraging births, but on the other hand, China’s younger generation, especially the well-educated middle class in China, is unwilling to have children. The reasons for this are many and complex. According to a research report released by the Yuwa Population Research Think Tank in January this year, the sky-high cost of children’s education, the daunting college entrance examination, and the difficulty of enrolling infants in nurseries are all important reasons for the sharp decline in China’s birth rate.
In the past three years, the Chinese government’s extreme anti-epidemic policy of “dynamically zeroing out” and the sudden unblocking in early December last year also made some young people who were hesitant to have children firm in their belief in not having children.
Reuters once quoted an e-commerce executive as saying that the three-year strict epidemic prevention and control policy had brought her too much pressure and uncertainty, making her afraid to have children. However, the government suddenly lifted the blockade without warning, leading to the spread of the virus and the epidemic, which made her give up the idea of pregnancy and having children.
As China’s hospitals and medical institutions are overcrowded with COVID-19 patients, China’s Internet and social media are filled with stories of mothers and babies who are sick but cannot see a doctor, which also made her shudder. “I’ve heard that giving birth in a public hospital is horrific. I never think about having a baby,” the 31-year-old woman told Reuters.
In addition, the Washington Post reported that more and more women in China are choosing not to have children, and many young people worry that sex discrimination in the workplace will become more serious, because many employers are increasingly reluctant to hire women, fearing that they will have two children. Pregnancy or more children, affecting work.
The report also said that many young people prefer that the government focus on better supporting families who decide to have children, reducing the financial and parenting burden, and ensuring women’s employment opportunities.
According to the report, many experts believe that simply encouraging births is not the way to solve the problem. Having more babies will not increase productivity, solve the problems of the pension system, and will not reduce youth unemployment. These experts suggest that the authorities should focus on more viable solutions, redouble efforts to improve social safety nets, pensions and health care, and move up the value chain of the economic chain so that the economy as a whole is no longer dependent on plentiful cheap labor.
How can there be a state of mind to give birth to a human mine
? The latest hot word on the Chinese Internet is “human mine”, which reflects the dissatisfaction of the people, especially the younger generation, with being exploited for economic gain. Previously, some Internet buzzwords similar to reflecting people’s dissatisfaction with the government’s expectation of people’s hard work and sacrifices but not much rewards in return included “lay flat”, “putting down”, “involvement” and so on.
Not long after the “Human Mine” appeared, it was completely blocked by the authorities on the Internet. Some netizens thought, “If it is said that the people are the masters of the country, many things cannot be explained. If it is called a ‘human mine’, then it makes sense.”
Some netizens said, “When you realize that you are a human mine, it is actually the time when your self-awareness awakens. Humans and mines are inherently contradictory.” The poster also said, “A person who is awakened is in pain. If he can’t change anything, in order to reduce the pain, he can only be confused, pretend to be asleep, and burn himself day after day.”
Another netizen said that “human mine” refers to people who “study books for 20 years, repay mortgages for 30 years, and live in hospitals for 20 years.” They have been used as consumables since birth. It is the ultimate “leek” that is exploited, squeezed for profit, and finally bought and sold human organs.
According to a post on the Twitter account “Ms. Li is not your teacher”, the term “human mine” first appeared in the official media “People’s Daily” in 1984, referring to people as a resource, but now it has been extended by Chinese netizens as “People who are born to be used as consumables” are just like “petroleum is smelted, the light and heat are used up, and only a few taels of slag are left in the end”, “people are treated as minerals that can be mined, and they are thrown away after use.”