China Launches Pilot Projects in Over 20 Cities to Cultivate a New Marriage and Childbearing Culture


In an effort to address its declining birth rate, China is set to embark on a series of pilot projects in more than 20 cities aimed at fostering a progressive marriage and childbearing environment. The country’s Family Planning Association, a national organization responsible for implementing population and fertility measures, will spearhead these initiatives, as reported by the state-backed Global Times on Monday. The primary focus of these projects will be to promote marriage and childbirth at appropriate ages, encourage shared child-rearing responsibilities among parents, and discourage outdated customs such as exorbitant “bride prices.” Among the cities selected for the pilot program are Guangzhou, a prominent manufacturing hub, and Handan in Hebei province. This endeavor builds upon the previous projects launched by the association in 20 cities, including Beijing, last year. The implementation of these initiatives follows a series of measures introduced by various Chinese provinces to incentivize population growth. These measures encompass tax incentives, housing subsidies, and free or subsidized education for families with three children. China’s demographic challenges can be traced back to its former strict one-child policy, which was in effect from 1980 to 2015. Concerns over the country’s first population drop in six decades, coupled with rapid aging, have prompted policymakers to explore solutions.

In this context, political advisers have proposed extending access to egg freezing and in vitro fertilization (IVF) treatments to single and unmarried women, among other services, in order to boost the fertility rate. High childcare costs and career interruptions, often necessitated by traditional gender roles and persisting gender discrimination, have dissuaded many women from having more children or starting families at all. Addressing these challenges will be crucial in creating a supportive environment that encourages marriage and childbearing, while providing equal opportunities for women to pursue their professional aspirations.


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