After 300 Million Mandatory Abortions, China Now Boosts Birth

The Chinese are about 1.4 billion (almost 61 % of the planet’s inhabitants), but not as many as they would like – or need – to be. To keep the “factory of the world” at full capacity, young people are needed, which are increasingly scarce, due to insufficient levels of immigration and the sustained fall in the birth rate.

According to data from the local census, , 6 million children were born in 2019; in 2020, 12 million, and 2021 closed with , 6 million. The birth rate has not actually increased since 2013, which is why the regime has been lifting one by one the restrictions imposed on families decades ago on the number of offspring.

First, in 2013, it set aside the “one-child policy” (1980), by virtue of which more than 300 millions of women were forced to have an abortion, 108 millions were sterilized and millions of “illegal” children were left out of essential social coverage.

The “rectification” of recent years, with a campaign to encourage couples to have a second son, has not been, however, a panacea (41% of those born in 2021 are second children), so the regime continued to get involved and asked parents to go for a third. Last year, it announced measures to support couples who have or have extended children: there would be tax incentives on expenses related to raising children under the age of three, day care centers would be implemented at affordable prices, as well as advantages in purchasing or renting houses, etc. .

As the results continue to be awaited, in mid-August of this year the authorities once again came with their dubious promises: 13 departments of the Chinese regime published a document with various promises, such as the promotion of pre and postpartum health care, the extension of the period of maternity leave, the protection of women’s labor rights, housing assistance or to alleviate the costs of education and the creation of a working environment family. The latter would be a great novelty in a country where many companies traditionally and unceremoniously apply the “996” system, namely: the worker, at his post from 9 am to 9 pm, six days a week – and his family? “Thank you.”

The fear of fatherhood

The sudden appreciation of Chinese senior officials for reconciling work schedules and family life runs into a problem: habit. As “in the mouth of the liar, the truth becomes doubtful”, the blatant disregard for certain standards of well-being in the Chinese business world has penetrated to some of the young people – in the reports of the NGO China Labor Watch, excessive working hours are well documented , the omission of maternity leaves, etc.–, and therefore they do not believe that they will have a solid support network to deal with the economic and time problems that parenthood entails.

A team of researchers from several Chinese universities published a report in August on the intentions of university students to have children, in a context in which having three is encouraged. They interviewed 6.332 men and women between 18 and 28 years about your main objections to procreation.

Among the findings was, in fact, the fear of not being able to reconcile work and family life. This is, by the way, the most dissuasive factor: 42 .2% of men and 41, 3% of women see like this. What is the next? Economic costs: almost 22% of men said they were concerned about the costs associated with fatherhood, compared to 13% of the women. And there are other fears: for 35 % of them, childbirth is the most fearful aspect of motherhood; for 19,7% is the fragility of the baby’s health, while 15% do not want to risk going through the health complications that they may suffer as pregnant women.

To conclude: the data showed that only a small proportion of male (2.8%) and female (1.6%) participants considered the possibility of having three children. “On the whole – points out the report – 35 .3% wanted to have two children, including men (46,5%) are more than women (32,two%). A substantial proportion (26,6%) reported that they do not want to start a family or do not want to have children in the future.

Fewer young women

The Chinese government’s pro-maternity initiatives may be “good” and the intentions “unbeatable”, but Beijing may be waiting for a train that will not pass: there are not enough individuals of childbearing age to reverse the trend.

There are no young people, that is, those who today have between 20 and 35 years – most recommended age group to have children – born between 2000 and 2000, while the “one-child policy” was in full effect. If in the first mentioned year they were born 19, 6 million babies, in the second were 12 million (already with the fertility rate at 1.6 children per woman). Now, there may even be programs and subsidies, but that will not increase the number of actual or potential fathers.

More specifically: there are fewer women of childbearing age now than in

. If then there were 332 millions that were in the group of 2021 The 49 years, in 2022 are 332 millions. But beyond that, there are fewer women in general. According to data collected by the World Bank, in 2020 they represented 49,7% of the Chinese population.

This is the imbalance caused by the old restrictions imposed by the government. Under the “one-child policy” it was “understandable” that couples, forced to have only one child, prioritized the man, because, in addition to the fact that many other possibilities for social advancement would be open to them, tradition (mainly in rural areas, and even 2000 most of the population lived in these areas) meant that, once married, it was the woman who moved into the in-laws or to their neighbourhood, not the other way around. As a result, the possibility of being alone in old age was more attenuated for the man’s parents.

Finally, it is worth noting what some researchers call the “infertility epidemic”. According to a study carried out by Dr. Qiao Jie, vice president of Peking University, the infertility rate of Chinese couples of childbearing age increased from 10% in 2007 for 18% in 2020, which means that one in 5.6 couples has difficulty having children.

Among the factors that make this tendency possible, the specialist includes exposure to certain environments, chromosomal anomalies, lifestyles and others for which there is no explanation.

Age is also listed . Dr. Li Yang, Director of Reproductive Health at Amcare Women’s & Children’s Hospital in Beijing, notes that the number of couples seeking help has increased “dramatically”, with an average age of 32 years old. Therefore, he believes that the new “third child policy” will be reflected in the statistics in an inevitable increase in cases, since the couples who make the decision for the third child arrive at this time, logically, even older.

Fewer women than men, declining youth population, reluctance to motherhood, increasing infertility… Everything that could go wrong has gone wrong, thanks to the regime’s brutal interference in the exclusive decisions of the family. Maybe it’s time to leave them alone.

The “habit” of abortion and sterilization

One of the lines of action What the National Health Authority has announced to try to reverse the population decline is now to reduce medical abortions. But this comes up against the powerful force of habit.

This is verified in the fact that, despite 2015 the “one-child policy” was annulled, since then the practice has been growing: according to the Guttmacher Institute, which monitors the situation of “reproductive health” in the world, between 2015 and 2019, the abortion rate increased 15% in China. The percentage of pregnancies that end in abortion is 78% of the total. Overall, the proportion is slightly lower: 61%.

Finally, it should be noted that China’s new pro-natalist policy is not opposed to abortion in one part of its territory: the Xinjiang Autonomous Region, where the Uighur (Muslim) ethnicity trumps the Han ethnicity, predominant in the rest. In the report of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, published on 22 in August, experts say they spoke to Uighur and Kazakh women, forced by Chinese authorities to abort or implant intrauterine contraceptives.

According to the researchers, in 2018, with the “one-child policy” now overturned, the number of sterilizations in Xinjiang was 100 per 100. inhabitants, compared to 78 ,1 in the rest of China.

©2022 Acpress. Published with permission. Original in Spanish.

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