The Chinese Communist Party website on August 16 published a guide to increase the childbirth rate issued by 17 agencies, including the Logistics Support Department of the Chinese Communist Party’s Military Commission. Analysts say that the population crisis is limiting the CCP’s ambitions to compete with the United States for world dominance, and it is also having an impact on the stability of the CCP.
17 agencies promote fertility measures
Taiwan’s Central News Agency (CNA) reported on August 16 that agencies including the National Health Commission had issued guidance asking to improve and implement “active reproductive” support measures, including 20 projects aimed at promoting the long-term development of China’s population.
The document was issued on July 25 and published on the official website of the National Health Commission on August 16. Some of the 17 agencies include the National Health Commission, the National Development and Reform Commission, the Central Propaganda Department, the China Banking and Insurance Regulatory Commission (CBIRC), and the Communist Youth League Central Committee.
According to Sound Of Hope, in recent years, China’s population growth rate has decreased significantly due to the low level of couples willing to have children. All social classes in China predict that the population growth will be in the negative in the period from 2021 to 2025. The United Nations also predicts that China will cede its status as the most populous country to India in 2023.
Population decline makes it difficult for China to confront the US
The Chinese military is also involved in the birth promotion scheme, which has attracted the outside world. China’s population crisis has put enormous pressure on the health and social security system. Modeling by/from the Center for Policy Studies at the University of Victoria in Australia show that without changes to China’s pension system, the country’s pension payments would increase fivefold from 4% of GDP in 2020 to 20% of GDP by 2100 as the population ages. At the same time, population decline also limits China’s military power.
On August 2, U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi visited Taiwan. The Chinese army surrounded Taiwan and threatened it, intending to oppose the United States.
British media The Spectator reported on August 6 that the fear of a population collapse and an economic crisis had been masked by the CCP’s belligerent actions.
The report points out that the Chinese Communist Party’s dream of competing for world domination cannot be separated from population size. Three years ago, the United Nations predicted that China’s population would peak at 1.46 billion in 10 years, and the British media cast doubt on this prediction.
The report cites the latest United Nations statistics showing that China’s population growth rate has dropped by 94%, from 8 million a decade ago to 480,000 last year. The particular worry of China’s leaders is a rapidly shrinking workforce, and people continuing to contribute to the pension system. China’s 15- to 64-year-old population is expected to be revised down to 378 million by 2100, a decrease of 35% from previous projections. If the predictions come true, China’s wound will be fatal.
According to the report, based on the current situation, by 2030, China’s labor force will suffer the largest decline among the G-20 economies, and China’s population will decrease by 23 million. While China is a middle-income country, with a per capita income of around $12,500, a child shortage will make China’s dream of becoming the world’s largest economy very distant.
In addition, China’s demographic crisis means that the country’s resilience after launching a military attack is questionable, like the problem Russia had when it invaded Ukraine. The Russian army will soon not have enough manpower for an all-out war. Moreover, the Chinese Communist Party faces another dilemma: whether the Chinese military is capable of transforming from a numerically superior army into a technically superior small-scale army?
According to the report, the CCP has taken a series of measures during this period to encourage fertility and deal with an increasingly pressing population crisis, but nothing has been resolved. In addition, the city’s lockdown under the draconian zero-COVID policy and the high unemployment rate have caused a sense of frustration among the people. It also makes young people refuse to have children, and the baby shortage is really happening in China.
Chinese military lowers recruitment standards
According to The New York Times, in May 2021, as usual, the CCP published the results of the census as a total population of 1.41 billion. Twelve million babies were born last year, this is the lowest number since the great famine of 1961. The census shows China’s 2020 birth rate is 1.3 children per woman, below 2.1 and needs to stabilize the demographic dividend.
Hong Kong media “South China Morning Post” reported that, as China’s population growth slows down and the problem of an aging population increases, the Chinese military faces recruitment challenges and needs to expand the supply of soldiers. It will need to lower the education requirements and those for height, and eyesight. China has the largest military in the world, recruiting hundreds of thousands of new recruits every year. As the number of recruits decreases year by year, the CCP’s Ministry of National Defense has begun to adjust recruitment requirements to recruit enough people.
According to China Times, the CCP has lowered the minimum height requirement for both male and female soldiers. In addition, it has relaxed standards for nearsightedness and being overweight. After young soldiers protested against the military’s smartphone ban, the CCP relaxed the restrictions moderately in 2015, on the condition that soldiers install anti-malware software of military spyware on their phones, allowing a newly established Internet Control Center to closely monitor their online activity.
According to the report, Zhou Chenming, a researcher at the Beijing Perspective Policy Research Institute, said that in order to expand the source of recruits, the CCP has also begun to recruit high school students who can’t go to college.
Insufficient military resources will affect the stability of the Chinese regime
NBC News, citing experts, pointed out that China’s slowing population growth has jeopardized the global economy and the CCP’s geopolitical ambitions. China’s average annual population growth rate over the past ten years has been 0.53%, down 0.04% from 10 years ago.
For the CCP, any slowdown in growth is a politically sensitive topic. Most of the legitimacy of the Party’s rule comes from economic growth and social prosperity. In addition, China has the largest population in the world and the largest standing army, which is a source of national pride.
NBC News adds that Kent Deng, professor of economic history at the London Academy of Economics and Politics, said that China’s population has been declining rapidly at a rate of between 3% and 4% per year for the past 50 years. Population decline will lead to a decreased labor force and working population, and may increase the retirement age .
He added that a lower birth rate would also affect the military, and that the shortage could affect the long-term stability of the CCP.
Macau military expert Antony Wong Tong said that since 1993, many Chinese officers and military observers have worried that the one-child policy in 1979 would affect recruitment. In 2012, professor Liu Mingfu of China National Defense University publicly warned the CCP that at least 70% of sergeants were the only children in the family, and the number of officers and soldiers who were the only child of combat units increased up to 80%.