Expert calls for preferential policies to boost birthrate

Low birth rate is a major challenge for China and will affect the country's talent cultivation policy, according to a Chinese demographer.

Huang Wenzheng made the remarks during an interview with, amid strengthened efforts by many Chinese cities to lure professionals, experts and even university graduates with promises of permanent residency.

"The fierce competition for talents among Chinese cities indicates the necessity of completely lifting the restrictions on the reproductive right. Paying more attention to talent introduction than to reproduction is a short-sighted act," said Huang, who is a senior fellow at the Center for China and Globalization, a Chinese think tank.

The number of newborns in China in 2017 dropped to 17.2 million from the previous year's 17.8 million, representing the first fall since Beijing ended its one-child policy, showed statistics from the National Bureau of Statistics.

Huang thinks that the annual number of births will likely fall as the number of women suitable for childbearing might see a 40 percent drop in the next decade.

Some demographers say that China is suffering a low birthrate trap, which is caused by the serious gender imbalance.

Huang attributes the low birthrate to two facts. One is that the long-standing propaganda of one family having one child has been deeply rooted in people's minds. The other is that many families cannot afford to raise a second child.

In order to tackle the problems, the Chinese government should roll out more preferential policies to encourage people to have more children, said Huang, adding that China can learn from Russia and France, where policies like tax exemption are adopted to boost fertility rate.

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