Subsidies for having kids? The Chinese internet is not impressed | Society News | SupChina

Subsidies for having kids? The Chinese internet is not impressed

Earlier this month, a People’s Daily’s opinion piece that urges Chinese citizens to have more babies as a “national issue” caused a backlash online. The online sentiment is perhaps best summarized in this comment, (translated from Weibo): “When you don’t want children, you force people to get sterilized. When you want more, you urge us to give birth. What do you think I am?”

On August 14, Xinhua Daily (a newspaper controlled by the Jiangsu Communist Party branch) also become a target of scorn and mockery for an editorial encouraging people to have children (in Chinese). The author, Liu Zhibiao 刘志彪, is an economics professor at Nanjing University.

Titled “Raising fertility rates is a new mission for China’s demographic development in the new era,” Liu’s article suggests a host of measure to prevent a demographic crisis. While most of them are reasonable — such as reducing childcare costs, improving the education system, and mandating better maternity and paternity leave — one recommendation sent the Chinese internet into an uproar.

The mind-boggling paragraph reads:

“A reproduction fund system should be established that will reward families for second children without government investment. The government can stipulate that citizens under the age of 40, regardless of gender, each contribute a certain percentage of their salary into a personal account each year. When a family has a second child, it can apply to cash out the money and receive a maternity allowance to compensate for short-term income loss caused by interruption to the parents’ work. If a citizen never has a second child, the government will return the money when they retire. The fund should be based on a PAYGO system, which means that the money that has been contributed by individuals can be used by the government to pay subsidies to other families.”

Since China eased its decades-long one-child policy in 2016, the central and local governments have been aggressive in encouraging people to have babies. In recent months, the campaign has become noticeably more intense.

One response to the new pressure from the government to reproduce is humor: some Chinese internet users have joking that the government will at some point introduce a tax that will be paid only by people with no kids. Liu’s proposal is not too different from the fears expressed in that joke. “They have no sense of shame. This is a form of punishment on people who don’t want to give birth,” one Weibo user wrote (in Chinese).

Jiayun Feng

Jiayun was born in Shanghai, where she spent her first 20 years and earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism at Fudan University. Interested in writing for a global audience, she attended the NYU Graduate School of Journalism for its Global & Joint Program Studies, which allowed her to pursue a journalism career along with her interest in international relations. She has previously interned for Sixth Tone and Shanghai Daily.

2 Comments

  1. donald duck Reply

    people who expect their populations to breed more so that the costs of social welfare programs can be paid for by tax revenues, are psychotic morons.
    1. the one-child policy was correct. it should be instituted world wide.
    2. retirees cannot expect to have the same standard of living that they had when they were working. all citizens should expect the ability to provide a basic life for themselves including shelter, food, clothing, education and minimal discretionary spending. anything beyond that is optional, not a right.
    3. basing economies on aimless consumer spending governed by impulse is a disaster and it is disgraceful that the PRC is fully signed on to it. Identify real needs and priorities of the people, implement them via economic activity, and the people will see the value of it and engage themselves.
    4. overpopulation is depleting the world’s resources and creating overpopulated “sh*thole countries” the world over with impoverished starving populations who do not have jobs, food, housing or medical care and are enslaved to subsistence wage economies. This is not a future for humanity, and certainly not justified by wanting to maintain or build a “western-style consumer economy”. The western countries should dispose of theirs as soon as possible and the rest of the world should leapfrog them rather than copying their failed model. Basing policy on the crudest inclinations of the human psyche may follow Lao Tzu, but it produces bad results.

  2. Bob Reply

    So.

    The CCP calls for the Chinese to have as many people as possible. Population explosion.
    The CCP implements a one child policy and keeps it going far too long. Using draconian measures to implement it.
    The CCP attempts to pressure people who, after decades of severe punishment including forced abortion and sterilisation have been conditioned to only want one child (if that) into having more.

    This is what gets me about people who praise the CCP. The only problems it seems to have solved (“solved”) are PROBLEMS IT CREATED.

    Beyond that, it’s been a disaster.

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