A China expert stated that the impending collapse in China’s population presents a “closing window” of opportunity that could lead President Xi Jinping “more provocative, and more belligerent.”
“Xi must be panicking.” Gordon Chang, Fox News’s director of diplomatic affairs, stated that Xi’s primary method of diplomacy was to intimidate others. “If you have the largest economy in the world, or the most populous country, then you can intimidate other people.”
He said, “But if you country shrinks rapidly, and that’s what will happen to China,” he continued.
According to China’s National Bureau of Statistics, China’s population declined to 1.411billion in 2022, a drop of 850,000 people over the year before. This was China’s first decline since Mao Zedong’s Great Leap Forward in 1958, which led to widespread famines and deaths.
According to the United Nations, China’s population will drop by 100 million in 2050, 600 million in 2100 and 600 million respectively due to declining fertility rates, shrinking workforces and an aging population.
Chang stated that “population decline will severely undermine the ability of the economic economy to grow.” The growth of China’s economy in the 1980s and 1990s was due to China’s demographic dividend. This was a remarkable increase in the workforce. We are now seeing the reverse of that.”
Chinese officials have been trying for years to stop the imminent demographic crisis. They have removed their one-child policy and offered incentives to encourage parents to have children.
According to Zhejiang Daily, Hangzhou has announced that it will provide $2,900 for parents who have a third baby this year. Shanghai has increased the amount of paid time for couples who get married to 30 days. This is an increase from the current three days.
Chang stated that while they can cause a bump for a few years, once the incentives end, people return to their normal birth pattern. “It will be the largest demographic decline in history, absent war or disease.
Since at least 1950 when the UN began keeping records, China has been home to the most populous country in the world. According to the UN report, India will surpass China as the world’s most populous country in April.
Chang stated to Fox News that “this is going to be really traumatizing for China.” The Chinese take pride in being part of the most populous tribe on the planet.
He said, “To have India surpass China is an insult to injury. At least, in Chinese minds.”
The high cost of childcare in China and the gender imbalance in China are just two reasons young Chinese people are not starting families.
Chang stated that the most difficult problem to overcome is a pervasive pessimism among the Chinese people. Some youth referred to themselves as the “last generation” after unrest began with China’s strict “zero COVID” policies.
Shanghai resident Dylann Wang said that there are many factors that indicate my generation will be China’s last or the last ‘good’ generation. She spoke to Insider in May. “None of my friends wants to have children. I for one don’t want to give birth to a new person in a world like this. And for them to grow up as a lonely, unfocused statistic in the country’s birthrate.
Chang spoke out about the hashtag #lastgeneration, saying that “I think it sums up what people at least in urban China are thinking.” These attitudes are ingrained in Chinese society. They are not something that the Communist Party can change, no matter how powerful it is. It cannot force people to have kids.”
Chang stated that China’s demographic crisis has created a “closing window” of opportunity for Xi to fulfill his territorial ambitions and invade a neighbouring country without any viable solutions.
He said, “I believe he probably has an use-it or-lose it mentality.”
Chang said that knowing that the new generation will shrink only “forces Xi Jinping” to act sooner than he’d prefer, and it would make him act more provocatively then he would otherwise. “So, we have to be worried about China. But not in a few decades. We need to be concerned right now about China.”