China’s demographics merit policy adjustment
Published: May 22, 2018 10:28 PM

China is considering an end to all limits imposed on the number of children a family can have, Bloomberg reported on Monday, citing an anonymous source "familiar with the matter." There is no official confirmation so far and it's still unknown whether or when China's decades-old family planning policy will retreat from the stage of history. But one thing is certain: China's understanding of population has been changing and a growing population is now being considered more of an asset than a burden.

The old view holds that population is a burden, and when resources are limited, controlling the population will help reduce the pressure on resources, employment and economic development. China's family planning policy, introduced in the late 1970s, is estimated to have prevented some 400 million births, reducing pressure on resources and the environment. After decades of rapid development, China has transitioned from a closed planned economy to an open market economy, in which further development is increasingly driven by innovation.

People, especially young people, are a source of creativity. It's believed more people will create more opportunities and inspire more exuberant creativity.

Nowadays talent is being highly sought after by Chinese cities with an eye for further development. This indicates the idea that population, especially talent, as a resource has been widely accepted by local governments and society. 

A huge population not only provides a bigger pool of human capital, but also creates demand and spurs greater consumption. The sheer size of China, a huge country with a population of over 1.3 billion, is one of China's core advantages.

Why did China's high-speed rail develop faster than any other country in the world? Its large population and frequent migration of people propped up the huge demand for high-speed rail as a popular means of transportation.

As of September 30, 2017, China's high-speed rail carried a total 7 billion passengers since the first high-speed rail service between Beijing and Tianjin was inaugurated on August 1, 2008. Also, thanks to the advantage of its population size, China surpassed the US to become the world's largest e-commerce market in 2013. More importantly, with huge consumption demands brought about by its population, China has made a greater contribution to the global economy.

China is facing population problems including an unbalanced population structure and aging. But the country's population policy has been constantly adjusted according to the reality and the country's needs. In early 2016, Beijing relaxed restrictions on its one-child policy, allowing couples to have two children amid efforts to balance the country's population structure.

The potential of China's development lies in giving full play to the advantage of the population, improving the quality of the people and promoting mass production and mass consumption. Chinese policymakers have been fully aware of this.

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