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China’s Confusion over Births
News Bytes 02/20/2019 41 Comments

After limiting family size since 1979, China realized it had set itself up for a demographic crisis. Its large but aging society would no longer be able to support itself economically. China needs children. But while its top leaders have changed policy to encourage more births in the last few years, lower-level bureaucrats concerned about local budgets aren’t getting on board with the big plan. (See Children? China Can’t Decide)

Authorities in China’s Shandong province ordered a young family to pay a large fee—$9,500—for the birth of their third child. Though the “one-child” policy law has been completely scrapped, and second and third children are not only allowed but even encouraged, some communities still keep the fine on their local rule books. They call it a “social maintenance fee,” and the funds go directly to the local budget—not to a national fund. So towns and municipalities with tight budgets may feel enforcing such fees—even at the detriment of families and the nation’s future—are justified to keep their own departments in the black.

Young dad Wang Baohua was shocked by the bill. He did not pay it, and found last month that his family’s entire savings of $3,400 was frozen. He cannot access what he has to support his household because he still owes money to the Shandong province government.

“I just don’t know what I’m going to do,” Wang says.

Journalist Jin Wei chimed in with her criticism of China’s mixed messages. “The low birthrate has everyone on edge,” she says. “Yet the local governments care only about collecting fees. I don’t know of any other nation that pulls its people in different directions like this.”

The situation has its roots in decades-old fears that China’s population (currently over one billion people) would outstrip its resources. That fear was harnessed and misused by the ruling Communist Party’s all-consuming fervor to control people’s most personal decisions, such as family size.

But fast-forward 35 years, and a radical change of course was ordered after leaders realized an aging population and declining workforce would not support the country’s future development. In 2016, the one-child policy was officially replaced with a two-child policy and Chinese couples were urged to go forth and multiply. But, they didn’t. A stigma against larger families remained. Fear of inability to provide financially for more than a single child also remained. Parents had lost along the way the mindset that generations were worth sacrificing for. The birthrate saw a tiny bump—and then it leveled out and dropped again.

Families like the Wangs who are willing to have children are rare. Penalizing them only makes matters worse. By rejecting God’s good gift of blessing through generations, it appears that China truly will grow old before it grows “rich”—in economic or familial prosperity.

(A nurse feeds a newborn baby at a hospital in Fuyang in central China’s Anhui province. China’s leaders are desperate to encourage more births—but lower level authorities still impose fines on growing families to raise needed local funds. AP Photo)

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Most recent comments

wow just wow

I am glad we don't have that problem here! I am the third born of 7 and my friend is the filth of 8 (with one on the way)!


The low birth rate would have me on edge too this is really really stupid I mean my dads family has 8 children and my moms has 6 so I have A TON of cousins

Wow! that's terrible. I am

Wow! that's terrible. I am the 2nd youngest of 4, but we know a family of 14 children! imagine the fees they would have to pay if they were in China!!

Messed up

That is the most messed up thing I have ever heard. Imagine the people that have twins. Yikes!!


I have so many cousins I don't even know them all. I have fourth cousins that are sixty years old.

they need the Gospel.

Wow. I'm he first out of 3 kids and that's a lot!


Very cute baby:-) :-)


I can't believe they are making people pay to have kids. It's so horrible.

Hey y 'all, we really need

Hey y 'all, we really need help at the " Gaming: When Is Too Much Too Much " article, because Nadia A., Anna C., and I want to make it 1,000 comments. Maybe you can help us find an interesting subject to comment about; See Ya' There!!!!!!

Elsie (Emelias sister)

I am the second oldest of seven! Yikes that is so horrible!

It is so sad that some

It is so sad that some countries say you can't have more than one child.

Lieon 33 In God I Trust

When I get married I want to have at least 5 kids maybe more if I can afford to feed them and give them the essentials.

What a mess

That's not a good situation; I hope they find a way out of it.
What would have happened if you had had twins?


Glad I dint live ther! Sounds horrible


You know, I wonder if when China figures out how great of a problem the lack of children is, that they'll start forcing people to have more kids, like they forced people to have only one or two before. Control seems to be the default reaction in this country.

I Know of One Family With 19 Kids

There's a TV show about this real family in Tennessee who have 19 kids. Wonder what the Chinese would think of that.

Will They Eventuelly Fine 1-Child Families?

If it really becomes a problem, I wouldn't be surprised if they fine single child families. Agree with Lauren

Karisma S

They want people to have more kids, but they're going to give fines for every child born? How smart. (not)

Won't that encourage abortion

Won't that encourage abortion?!?!?!

That's just terrible. How

That's just terrible. How could the Chinese leaders have let things get THAT messed up?!?

To above

They need the Gospel.

Clara's brother

Some people have babies in secret and then the government can not kill the babies but the kids are not officially born so they can't go to school.

25th comment

wow. 25 comments

Thats awesome

Thats awesome, that they want more births. I am the second of nine.

Oops (forgot to send)

but not so awesome that they are fining for them


I am so glad that the USA does not have a rule on how many kids families could have. I am the 3rd oldest of nine and my dad would have to pay for me to be alive in China! I am so glad I live in America

I am the 2nd of 17.

I am the 2nd of 17.

I am the 2nd of 17.

I am the 2nd of 17.

I am the 2nd of 17.

I am the 2nd of 17.

I am the 2nd of 17.

I am the 2nd of 17.

@Leah P

My mom is the only girl of 3 and my dad is the 3rd of 7 and im the 2nd of 5, so I also have alot o cousins as well (On my dads side their are like 10 young girls that always beg me to do their hair and makeup(I just turned 13) And I want to be a beautition so Im really good at it!)

who knew so many people on

who knew so many people on here have so many siblings/cousins/aunts/uncles!!

@ Alayna E

My mom has 4 sisters and 3 brothers. I am the oldest of 7. I have so many little girl cousins! They always want me to do their hair, makeup and nails. I don't have any little sisters ( Well technically I have one but she'e only a year younger than me) so I love getting to give little girls makeovers!


I meant to write 5th no filth


I only have 1 cousin on my moms side. I don't even know all of my cousins on my dads side (meaning I have a lot)!!!

@ Hannah &

I know that tv show!!


THE USA IS HEADING THIS WAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! why you ask beause of the abortion thing!!!!!!!!!!!!
china starded withy killing there babies and look wat they got!!!!!!!!!!
if were not carful we will be this to!!!!!!!!!!!!


thats just my opinion. ;)


Look at the little baby!


I knew it! I knew that this would happen!

Wow I sure am glad that me

Wow I sure am glad that me and my family don't live there cause I have 16 cousins and number 17 on the way and that's just on my mom side!

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