Posts tagged ‘one-child policy’


The Trouble With China’s Reform Plan – Businessweek

The Chinese leadership’s 60-point reform plan announced two days after the close of the Communist Party of China’s third plenum on Nov. 15 went way beyond most expectations. It proposes sweeping changes across broad swathes of the economy, dealing with all of the critical issues and challenges facing China as it reaches for the next stage of development.

The plan’s overarching goals hit all the right reformist notes: “The core issue is to handle the relationship between government and the market”; “In allocating resources the market must play a decisive role”; China “must actively and steadily push forward the breadth and depth of market-oriented reforms,” and “vigorously develop a mixed-ownership economy” (meaning the private sector along with state-owned), says the document, formally called the “Decision on major issues concerning comprehensively deepening reforms.”

The optimists, who have long said the new leadership would meet their lofty expectations and deliver a new vision at the plenum, clearly have been vindicated. The plenum also shows that the new leaders, and Party Secretary Xi Jinping in particular, have decided that major reform is necessary for the continued growth of the Chinese economy. (We already knew that’s where Premier Li Keqiang’s allegiances were.) Good news indeed.

This, however, doesn’t change what has always been true: Defining what specific policies will be adopted to carry out these sweeping reforms, and even more, implementing them, will be extremely difficult. Each of the reforms will have costs for, and adversely affect powerful players in, the Chinese system. The party leaders have set the year 2020 as a target for implementing all of this, presumably in a nod to how tough it will be. And, of course, there’s no guarantee that these reforms won’t be delayed or even abandoned, as the scale of the obstacles ahead becomes more and more apparent.

Very quickly the reforms will come head to head with vested interests that stand to lose huge power. Those include state enterprises, local governments, banks, well-connected princelings, security authorities, and ultimately the party itself.

That is the central paradox of what has been proposed: On the one hand, China can’t continue growing the way it has, and indeed risks social and economic fracture if these reforms aren’t carried out. On the other hand, by pursuing these reforms the party is diluting its control in multiple ways: its privileged role controlling the purse strings, if more and more lending is to go through non-state banks; its leading position guiding the economy’s development, if the private sector starts to move into areas long controlled by state enterprises; and increasingly its sway over the people, as the party loosens the hukou and allows migrants to move more freely where they want, and as it gives farmers more power over the land they occupy. (All with the associated possibility of greater social unrest if huge new numbers of people flow into the cities and feel less inclined to be quiet when they feel the state has mistreated them.)

via The Trouble With China’s Reform Plan – Businessweek.


Forget About Retiring, China’s Economic Planners Say – Businessweek

What if Chinese were required to work an extra five years, or even a decade, before retirement? There are growing calls among officials and academics in China to consider that controversial move as the country’s rapidly aging population puts new stress on its pension program. China must consider “deferred retirement,” said Hu Xiaoyi, a vice minister of human resources and social security, on Oct. 22, speaking to journalists at a seminar in Beijing.

An elderly man carries bottles of water for sale as he makes his way along a business street in Beijing

Right now most of China’s workers retire earlier than those in many other countries. Men, for example, stop working at 60, while many women retire at 50, a precedent set in Mao-era 1950s China. That fact, along with the still strong one-child policy, complicates the task of managing the growing costs associated with an aging population and shrinking workforce.

According to China’s National Bureau of Statistics, in 2012 the number of those of employable age—formally classified as those from 15 to 59 years of age—actually fell, dropping by 3.45 million, to 937.27 million. “Last year, the working-age population dropped for the first time, a signal that China needs to make better use of its human resources,” said Hu, reported the China Daily on Oct. 23. ”China should raise the retirement age as soon as possible, but it must take small steps and make the transitional period long enough for the public to adapt,” said Zheng Bingwen, a pensions expert at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences in Beijing, reported the China Daily.

via Forget About Retiring, China’s Economic Planners Say – Businessweek.


* China investigates reports of Zhang Yimou’s seven children

Until this article, I knew of fines for more than one child, but had no clue as to the level of such fines.

SCMP: “Chinese authorities have begun investigating reports that Zhang Yimou, one of China’s best-known movie directors, has seven children in violation of strict family planning rules, which could result in a fine of 160 million yuan (HK$202 million), state media said on Thursday.