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Too little, too late?: China’s fears of baby bust behind moves to restrict abortion

Reports out of China speculate that the country’s population is doomed to crash within decades, as the Chinese Government issues new guidelines restricting the number of abortions performed in the nation for ”non-medical purposes”.

The proposal seemed to reverse decades of government-enforced population control in the country.

The State Council, China’s Cabinet, published the new rules on Monday 27th September but did not provide detail on what constitutes a non-medical abortion. To the astonishment of many, China is now aiming to encourage families to have more children amid serious concerns over a decline in birth rates.

For decades, Chinese authorities have imposed strict limits on families, forcing millions of women to abort pregnancies which were deemed illegal by the notoriously anti-life state.

The country previously enacted stringent measures aimed at stopping sex-selective abortions, with health authorities warning in 2018 that the use of abortion to end unwanted pregnancies was harmful to women’s bodies and risks causing infertility.

The State Council said that the new guidelines would aim to improve women’s overall access to pre-pregnancy healthcare services.

Staggering data from the National Health Commission showed that between 2014 and 2018, an average of 9.7 million abortions took place in China per year, rising roughly 51% from the 2009-2013 average despite a 2015 relaxation of family planning policies.

China’s population obsession can be traced back to Chinese Communist revolutionary Chairman Mao and his “Great Leap Forward” <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_Leap_Forward> , with the despotic one-child policy becoming national policy after his death.

China’s population is now anticipated to shrink from 1.4bn to 1.3bn by 2050. In the 1970s, the average woman in China had 5 children, but now, the average Chinese family has just 3 people <https://www.ft.com/content/ea1b79bf-cbe3-41d9-91da-0a1ba692309f> , a direct result of the introduction of the one-child policy in 1979.

It’s hard to determine the exact number of China’s population that never were born because of the one-child policy, but an educated guess can be ventured. As of 2016, there were approximately 30 million more boys in China than girls. Reports indicate that the country’s gender imbalance has left 40 million bachelors unable to find wives.

The Chinese government’s official estimate is that the one-child policy “prevented” 400 million births. Whilst this might be an ambitiously over the top estimate in the view of many commentaries, it can be certain that at least 100 million lives never came to be owing to forced abortion and sterilisation policies — even if that estimate was to be four times too high.

In April, China reported the first decline in its population in 50 years – the product of Mao’s “Great Leap Forward,” which brought about up to 55 million deaths. The decline in births has led to an ageing population and a labour force that is not large enough.

The one-child policy was only eased in 2013 to allow single-child households to have another baby. Following wide speculation, the one child policy was finally scrapped by the Chinese Communist Party in 2015 to allow all households to have two babies.

However, even a two-child policy has not boosted the birth rate enough, and for women wanting more than two children, it did not put an end to the brutal control of their fertility.



In a major policy shift, China’s government – which also happens to be one of the world’s foremost persecutors of Christians – announced in August this year that it would now permit all couples to have three children instead of two after the county’s census showed a rapidly ageing population.

After years of persistent and ferocious efforts to limit population growth, Beijing is now also promising new financial policies aimed at incentivizing families to have more children.

Think-tanks and policy researchers have identified China’s rapidly declining birth rate as one of the country’s major social and policy challenges in the coming decades. The country remains the world’s most populous nation, however latest census data revealed that population growth from 2011 to 2020 was the slowest since the 1950s.

Alarmingly for China, its population growth is expected to slow even further in the years to come. In 2019, the United Nations drew attention to China’s declining population and said the country could expect to have 100 million fewer people by 2065.

However, a new research paper by academics at X’ian Jiatong University has laid bare the magnitude of the problem – issuing a stark warning that the rate of decline may in fact have been seriously underestimated.

One of the authors, Professor Jiang Quanbao now believes there could actually be 700 million fewer people in the East Asian country by the end of 2055. If the birth rate continues to fall, then the rate of decline could be even more dramatic than predicted, his latest research paper warns.

With the average birth rate for women in China being just 1.3 as of 2021, the consequences are looking dire. A birth rate of 1 would see China’s population halve by 2029, Jiang wrote. Writing in the South China Morning Post, he penned that Chinese authorities “need to pay close attention to the potential negative inertia of population growth and make a plan with countermeasures in advance”.

A 2005 report by a state think-tank revealed that it costs 490,000 Chinese yuan (€64,408) for a family in China to raise a child. 15 years on from that study, local media reported that the cost had escalated to an eye-watering 1.99 million yuan  (€265,090) – four times the 2005 number.

It is also significant that most single mothers are meanwhile excluded from medical insurance and social welfare payments in China, and many also understandably worry that in the country’s predominantly anti-child culture, giving birth could inflict damage on their careers.



Despite its glittering, outwardly impressive economic and technological advances, China, which has one of the fastest growing economies in the world, is still considered a developing country. The county’s economic innovation and prestige is less than impressive when contrasted with the country’s glaring issues surrounding leadership, human rights, and overall development.

Their economic innovation is simply no match for the devastating damage which has been and is continuing to be done through decades of barbaric forced abortions.

Unsurprisingly, one of the most obvious issues that China is now facing is in correlation to their demography; with sudden changes throughout their population, it can be guaranteed that China will suffer in an abundance of ways with the nation set to get old before it gets rich.

The despotic one-child policy has left a legacy of pain and loss for hundreds of millions of people in China and is at least partly to blame for the financial crisis the country is now witnessing.

Over the summer, the domestic stock indices of the major East Asian economies digressed massively, with the Japanese, South Korean, Taiwanese and Singaporean benchmark stock indices performing multiple times better than those of China.

Chinese currency also took a dip, with the yuan and Hong Kong dollar falling, along with their bonds; an indication of a pessimistic attitude among investors regarding the state of the Chinese economy as a whole.

The Financial Times explained the disparity between China and its neighbours, writing that the stock, currency and bond sell-off was triggered by “a regulatory assault on companies that handle large amounts of data and education businesses, as well as an overhaul of how Chinese groups list on stock markets outside the country.”

Over the past year, in fact, many wealth-destroying policies have emerged from Beijing, while in contrast, other Asian nations like Taiwan and South Korea have enjoyed strong stock performance.

The Chinese government’s recent intervention in the education industry was designed to make childhood education more affordable in the hope of boosting their low birthrates and reversing their demographic decline.

The same problem persists within the real estate bubble; the supply of real estate outpaced demand because the generations who would have been the occupants of these now-derelict buildings were either aborted en masse or were never conceived to begin with.


In a 2015 report by BBC News, one woman spoke of the devastation the country’s forced abortion policy had wrought.

“I did fall pregnant for a second time, but I had an abortion,” she told the reporter. “Did you have a choice [to have the abortion]?” the reporter asked her. “I couldn’t keep it. You either go [to have an abortion] willingly, or the government comes for you,” she said.

Various reports covering China paint a grim picture of cities emptied of children and disastrous economic consequences, while at least 1 million bereaved parents have been left childless and alone in old age, with nobody to take care of them.

One elderly man featured in a UK news report had lost two children to the country’s forced abortion order. “My biggest concern is what will happen to me when I can’t look after myself,” he said.

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The country’s population woes have resulted in a labour deficit which has been filled for years through the diabolical practise of human trafficking. In regions like Xinjiang, the Government is the trafficker.

Over the past four years, the People’s Rebublic of China (PCR) has conducted a mass detention and policical indoctrination against minorities, including Christians, Uyghurs (who are predominantly Muslim) and members of other ethnic and religious minority groups in Xinjiang, a large region in western China.

As many as 1,200 horrifying state-run internment camps east throughout the region. The goal of detention in these camps is to eradicate religious and ethnic identities under the false pretext of “vocational training” with forced labour being a key tactic used for this repression.

A devastating US Department of State report reveals that: “Authorities use threats of physical violence, forcible drug intake, physical and sexual abuse, and torture to force detainees to work in adjacent or off-site factories or worksites producing […] goods—and these goods are finding their way into businesses and homes around the world.”

According to The Borgen Project, “China has fallen victim to increased rates of human trafficking, and the issue will continue to prevail until more people become aware of the horrible atrocities that are occuring throughout the East Asian nation.”

We have definitely seen — and continue to see — this tragic reality playing out in China and across the world. The cruelty of ending the lives of children in the womb before they have a chance to be born has had a knock-on domino effect in the country, leading to a domino of the most unspeakable and atrocious human rights abuses in a country where new human life was once embraced and welcomed.

Indeed, the situation in China raises serious questions about Ireland’s own introduction of abortion in 2018. A decision which was celebrated with dancing and cheering at Dublin castle has already led to the deaths of 13,243 unborn children in just two years, with another year of abortion statistics not yet recorded.

The traditional pro-family stance of Chinese culture was forcibly suppressed through abortion, on the basis of Western ideology. An inherent, ingrained anti-life culture still dominates even with the policy being dropped. Abortion has become so ingrained that children continue to be seen as a burden, demoted to the bottom of the list where education, prestige and financial comfort take first place.



The legalisation of abortion in 2018 and the current push for euthanasia indicates that Ireland is drifting further and further from the Christian principles upon which our nation was founded.

Judging from 2019 and 2020’s statistics, Ireland is on track for another 6,500 abortions in 2020, with abortions now happening in the north of Ireland as well. The equivalent of 5 primary school sized classes a week are now being lost under Ireland’s abortion law. Logically, it can’t be long until we see the knock-on effect on our own population.

It would be remiss not to acknowledge that the Chinese Communist Party’s cult of death and devastation is Western in origin, with its roots in the theories of Marx and Malthus.

As Christians however, we are called to a radically different way of life.  We are supposed to believe that “children are a gift from the Lord” as opposed to a burden to be got rid of, yet it is increasingly clear that our thinking is veering from this path.

China’s current situation proves it’s time to re-establish the important truth that humans, being made in the image and likeness of God, are of intrinsic and infinite value. We have worth because we are human; a worth is inherent, given by God alone and not earned by any human merit.

The fiercely anti-God, anti-life, utopian Western philosophies adopted by the likes of China have inflicted unfathomable harm, utterly denigrating the dignity of the human person.

It follows then, that Ireland should stop espousing such ideas and choose to instead learn from the mistakes made by China — a country which is now paying a very heavy price indeed.

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