The Karnataka government's health department has put its healthcare infrastructure across the state on alert mode following reports of a surge in respiratory illnesses among children in China.
To tackle the decline in birth rate that is foreseen to shrink the labour force in China dramatically in the coming years, it is highly likely that the country may turn to forced pregnancy and outright force couples to have children.
As China faces a scenario of negative population growth, the government has started to force its citizens to marry early and have at least three children each. The administration has also begun rolling out various contests as bait, reported Geo Politica.
The stiff opposition to bearing children comes as most would-be parents claim they just cannot guarantee enough financial security to look after the well-being of their children as their own lives are so much under pressure due to forced quarantines and unending lockdowns.
The frustration of being forced to stay locked inside homes, food shortages, lack of income, rising prices, health problems, etc., have led to disillusionment among the country’s people, the Hong Kong Post reported.
It added that the Chinese government is beginning to realise that most of the citizens are agitated with the growing official pressure on them to produce more children.
According to China’s National Bureau of Statistics, in the six-year period between 2013 and 2019, the number of Chinese marriages has nose-dived by 41 per cent, with only 7.6 million couples registered for marriage last year. This is the lowest figure in the last 36 years. As a result, the birth rate of China has dropped to 7.5 births per 1,000 people.
Nine provinces and regions have registered negative population growth, the report added.
Another critical issue that makes the Chinese oppose having more children is that they remember the pain and torture they or their parents endured when the communist nation strictly enforced the ‘one-child policy’, as per the media portal.
Forced abortions were the order of the day, the government determined when women could get pregnant, kept married couples under constant surveillance, and even fined and jailed those who went in for a second child. Millions of abortions were carried out at that time leading to the government losing the trust of the people.
Moreover, the Chinese also point out that the government has not come out with any policy changes to make it easier for couples to have more children. Now, when the government wants more children, the people are unwilling. A worried government is now trying to generate trust by having a two-way communication about the need for more children to tackle the population crisis, The Hong Kong Post stated, citing sources.
The government has introduced several contests in this regard, but the response is not enthusiastic as time is running out for the government.
If birth rates continue to decline, the labour force in China will also shrink dramatically in the coming years as the number of young people in the country is declining.
Furthermore, due to Chinese women’s increased educational and economic development, their propensity to marry is even lower than that of males. Last year, Beijing issued a new Population and Family Planning Law that allows Chinese couples to have three children, ostensibly responding to couples’ unwillingness to have additional children due to rising costs.