“The backdrop to all of this of course is that China’s population is severely aging. And what is interesting, worrying, to me, is that the language they have on the aging population is lumped together with the need to improve birth policy: to cultivate a higher quality population,” Hong Fincher said.
In 2019, the number of children born in China was the lowest it had been since the time of Mao Zedong’s Great Leap Forward campaign, the CCP’s second five-year plan from 1958 to 1962, which resulted in a famine that killed tens of millions of people.
China’s previous five-year plan, covering 2016-2020, changed the country’s one-child policy to become a two-child policy, but the birth rate continued to decline.
Chinese sources have also pointed out that the birth policies listed in the five-year plan proposal, set out at the Chinese Communist Party’s Central Committee meeting which concluded Oct. 29, list for the first time a goal to “develop an inclusive family planning service system.”
The Global Times, Chinese state media’s English-language newspaper, which reflects the position of Chinese authorities, interpreted this call for “inclusive family planning” as pointing toward granting same-sex couples and unmarried women rights to raise children.
The final version of the latest five-year plan will not be passed until the National People’s Congress meets in March 2021.
At the CSIS event, “Doubling Down on China, Inc.: An Initial Analysis of China’s 14th Five-Year Plan,” Hong Fincher said that the Chinese government’s plan called for the prevention of external interference in the affairs of Hong Kong and Macao, and for China to be “vigilant and control Taiwan independence and separatist activities.”
She said that the incoming U.S. president should indicate clearly that the United States will firmly support Taiwan.
“I do think that the incoming Biden administration should be wary of an overly confident China,” she said.
“The Biden administration should indicate really strongly that it is upholding human rights. It is going to hold the Chinese government accountable for human rights abuses because of what is happening in Xinjiang.”