BEIJING: China’s decision to allow families to have up to three children met with skepticism on Tuesday, with doubts expressed on social media about whether it would influence much and asking for details on what will include “support measures”.
On Monday, Beijing announced that it was raising the limit of two children in an effort to boost birth rates, weeks after census data confirmed rapid aging and declining fertility that put China on track to see its population, the largest in the world. begin to shrink.
The major policy change will include support measures “that lead to improving the structure of our country’s population,” the official Xinhua news agency said.
“I do not understand. What is the significance of support measures? “asked a Weibo user in a post that received more than 128,000 inches above, the most popular comment on Xinhua ‘s post about the three – child policy.
Participants on social media cited the high cost of raising children in urban China, where housing can be expensive and children undergo private tuition in addition to public schools amid an education system. fierce and competitive, as a deterrent to having children.
Women in China are already facing a growing gender gap in terms of labor force participation and income, and have taken on a growing share of childcare obligations as daycare with support has declined. state, according to a report last year by the Peterson Institute for International Economics.
“Working women in big cities will be even more discriminated against and it would be more difficult for women over 30 to find work,” another Weibo user said.
Xinhua’s reading of Monday’s Politburo meeting chaired by President Xi Jinping said that along with the new policy, China would reduce education costs, increase tax and housing support, and guarantee women’s legal interests. workers, but gave no details.
James Liang, a professor at Beijing University School of Economics and founder of online travel giant Trip.com Group, last month urged China to give parents of each newborn one million yuan to raise a fee of fertility of only 1.3 children per woman by 2020. This rate is in line with countries such as Japan and Italy and is much lower than the replacement rate of 2.1.
He said this week that China should spend about 5 percent of GDP, compared to “virtually 0 percent now,” cash, tax breaks, housing subsidies, daycare and other incentives to achieve the fertility rate to 1.6, and hopes that the government will soon intensify the construction of kindergartens and nursery schools.
Developed counties typically spend 1 to 4 percent of GDP on this support, he said.
“What I would really like to see is the housing subsidy, especially in the big cities,” he said. “If the local government can go back (land tax) or give discounts to couples with a third child or a second child,” it would be helpful, he said.
When China rejected its one-child policy in 2016, there was a brief rise in births followed by a decline that has intensified as costs continue to rise.
Yi Fuxian, a University of Wisconsin scientist and longtime critic of Chinese birth policy, said the consolidated attitudes of one-child policies over decades.
In Japan, he noted, costly policies such as free child care and education, housing subsidies for young couples and free medical care for children helped raise the fertility rate by 1.26 in 2005. to 1.45 in 2015, only to drop to 1.36 in 2019.
“Having only one child or no children has become the social norm in China. Social and economic patterns respond to the policy of an only child, so that the inertial effects persist, ”he said.
The Global Times, a nationalist tabloid published by the Communist Party People’s Daily in government, acknowledged the difficulty of having three children in big cities, but also said the economy was not the only factor.
“It is equally important to change some common opinions about the values of children and family in a society with a declining birth rate and form new expectations and acceptability, as well as opinions about happiness,” he said in an editorial.