Communist party members in China are obliged to have three children, suggests editorial in state mouthpiece

‘No party member should use any excuse to not marry or have children’

Stuti Mishra
Friday 10 December 2021 12:35 GMT
<p>File image: Demographic data shows China’s  birth rates have fallen drastically over the years </p>

File image: Demographic data shows China’s  birth rates have fallen drastically over the years

An editorial in a Chinese state-run newspaper called for members of the Communist Party to have at least three children in order to “shoulder the responsibility” of the country’s population growth.

The editorial, originally published in a state media outlet called China Reports Network last month, went viral recently on Chinese social media and drew sharp criticism from people online. It has since disappeared from the website.

It said every member of the party “should shoulder the responsibility and obligation of the country’s population growth and act on the three-child policy.”

“No party member should use any excuse, objective or personal, to not marry or have children, nor can they use any excuse to have only one or two children,” it further said.

The editorial was published amid rising discussions of a plummeting birth rate in China as the government relaxed rules this year allowing people to have up to three children for the first time in over four decades.

However, the editorial disappeared from the website after severe backlash. Despite the editorial being deleted, people shared screenshots  of the piece millions of times on Chinese social media network Weibo and raised their concerns.

“Although the three-child policy has come out, many people don’t have the conditions, ability, money, or time to take care of children, especially for women, who have to go home early, and this will make more companies not want to hire women!” The Guardian quoted one user on Weibo as saying. “Shouldn’t society be balanced in development? When does it become a mandatory rule to have three children?”

Demographic data shows China’s population is ageing faster than almost all other countries in modern history and birth rates have fallen drastically over the years due to stringent policies allowing couples to only have one child between 1979 and 2016, aimed at controlling the population.

In recent years, the Chinese government has been relaxing rules, scrapping the one-child policy in 2016 and allowing couples to have up to three children this year in a historic change.

However, experts have pointed out that just allowing more children is not going to bring the societal changes needed. Certain provinces have also started announcing a slew of supportive measures, including childbearing subsidies and tax cuts to motivate couples to have three children.

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