On Tuesday, the National Teleconference on Optimizing Fertility Policy – the sexiest event in all Chinese officialdom – was held in Beijing.
- That’s probably not a super high bar to clear, but still.
ICYMI: Facing slowing birth rates and an aging population, the government announced in May that couples would henceforth be allowed to have three children.
On the call, Premier Li Keqiang highlighted the importance of boosting birth rates (Gov.cn 2):
- “The population issue is crucial to the fundamental, overall and strategic development of the Chinese nation.”
Vice Premier Sun Chunlan then suggested some sweeteners to encourage couples to make with the babymaking:
- “An improved childbearing service system should be built and costs for marriage, childbirth, child-raising and education [should be] lowered.”
Sun also called for:
- Better pre- and neo-natal healthcare
- Improved daycare and preschool services
- Possible tax breaks to offset care costs for children under three
- Preferential house rental and purchase policies for families
Sun also offered this cryptic message:
- “Ideology, policies, and mechanisms with unhealthy effect on long-term balanced population growth should be abandoned.”
Get smart: A deep sense of pessimism about their personal and economic prospects is behind many young people’s decision to stay childless.
- A marginal boost to childcare benefits is nice but doesn’t address the root of the problem.
Our question: Exactly what sort of “ideologies and policies” does Beijing view as harmful to its family planning strategy?