Throughout the past three decades, China’s “family planning” policies have sought to control population growth. The one-child policy, in particular, has wrecked many families’ lives, forcing millions of pregnant women, by some estimates, to receive abortions or else pay heavy fines for having more than one child.
The state’s “family planning” offices decide how many children a family can have based on their circumstances, such as whether they live in rural areas, where more labor is needed to support a family, or in the city, where most couples can only support one child.
But decades later, the effects of the one-child policy has so skewed the Chinese population’s demographics that the regime has now reversed course. Recently, the state has been testing the waters by having some media report on proposals to push couples into having more children.
On Aug. 14, Xinhua Daily, a state-run newspaper in Jiangsu Province, published an article titled “To Raise Fertility: A New Task for China’s Demographic Development in the New Era,” in which it raised the prospect of establishing a national “birth fund.”
The birth fund would require all working Chinese citizens under the age of 40, regardless of gender, to transfer a certain portion of their salary to this fund—meant to alleviate the costs of childbirth—every year. When families give birth to a second child (or more children, if the state allows), they can apply to withdraw money from the fund. But for couples who don’t give birth to a second kid, money could only be withdrawn at the time of their retirement.