Go out and make babies, comrades.
That may be the takeaway from the National People’s Congress and China People’s Political Consultative Conference earlier this month in relation to China’s one child policy. Premier Li Keqiang stated that the government is considering further changes to family planning laws after a recent relaxation of the policy failed to bring about the intended result, namely, significantly more babies in a nation that despite being overpopulated will soon have too many elderly people to be sustained by the labor force.
"(We will) make improvements and adjustments to the policy in accordance with legal procedures," the Economic Times quotes Li as saying.
China’s one child policy was first introduced in the late 1970s in order to control population growth through limiting couples to only having one child. As a result of the policy, one-third of China’s population was not eligible to have a second child without incurring a fine as a result.
In 2013, there was a relaxation in the policy, allowing couples to have two children if at least one of the parents was an only child. The main goal of this relaxation was to spur on the birth rate in hope that an eventual increase in that rate would allow for higher productivity, therefore helping to fund the nation and its large percentage of retirees.
Earlier this month Reuters also mentioned the high pressures building on China’s retirement funds: “Yin Weimin, Minister of Human Resources and Social Security, said the government will gradually raise the official retirement age, which is as low as 50 for some female workers, but stressed that any policy changes will be phased in over five years.”
These changes are necessary as Yin stated that the proportion of Chinese over the age of 60 will rise to 39 percent of the population, from 15 percent now. In combination with the expected 25-year low economic growth rate this year, there will be an increasing financial pressure on the economy as the state’s pension fund starts to wear thin.
This post first appeared on thebeijinger.com on March 16, 2015