Birth rate

Attendee at a private masquerade singles mixer in Shanghai, China, on 13 January 2024. (Screen grab from Reuters)

[Video] China’s youths are saying no to marriage and having kids

Like young people in large cities elsewhere, many Chinese youths are forgoing the traditional milestones of marriage and parenthood. Besides focusing more on personal well-being and individual needs, they are also becoming more pessimistic about the future. Here's what they have to say.
A newborn baby is transported along a corridor of Rome's Santo Spirito Hospital, Italy, on 14 November 2022. (Remo Casilli/Reuters)

Mismatch between women's wants and social support cause of Italy's demographic woe

Italy is facing a major population challenge in late marriages and low birth rates, as young people struggle to start their own families given low incomes and larger global issues such as war and climate change. Can the conservative party Brothers of Italy convince young people to have more children?
Kathy Chow was known for her roles in broadcaster TVB’s television dramas in the 1980s and 1990s. (Internet)

Passing of Kathy Chow puts focus on the rise of people living alone in China

Several media reports of Hong Kong star Kathy Chow’s passing seemed to have highlighted the fact that she was living alone. Advertently, her death has sparked off discussions about the rise of Chinese living alone and the stigma and policy challenges behind the trend. Lianhe Zaobao’s China Desk examines the issue.
A Japanese boy stretching with a ball during a clinic arranged by J2 football club Matsumoto Yamaga with the Matsumoto City Kiri Kindergarten in Japan, in November 2018. (SPH Media)

Can Japan overcome its declining birth rate?

Japanese academic Hisakazu Kato observes that Japan's low birth rate has been an issue for decades seemingly with no solution, and despite efforts by the Japanese government to address the problem, its policies have come under criticism for not being what the people need.
People ride a small train for children on a street in Guangzhou, Guangdong province, China on 16 September 2023. (Hector Retamal/AFP)

Why China’s population policies always veer towards the extreme

China’s population policies have had a tendency to veer towards the extreme since the era of Mao, says commentator Yu Shiyu. A delayed response to adjusting the one-child policy, which has resulted in a declining population and is expected to have an adverse economic impact, demonstrates the inefficiency of an authoritarian system in self-correcting. Its decision making could also swing between extremes as it is based on subjective top-level thinking.
A couple prepare to pose for photos near the Forbidden City in Beijing, China, on 24 June 2023. (Greg Baker/AFP)

Regular phone calls and cash incentives: China goes the extra mile to encourage childbirth

Local governments in Chinese cities are taking extra measures to encourage couples to marry early and have children. However, given the youth’s shifting values and society’s tolerance for singlehood, these measures are falling short. Meanwhile, netizens are lamenting that government policies should not be coercive or objectify women.
A woman walks on a street in Shanghai, China, on 15 May 2023. (Aly Song/Reuters)

Egg freezing in China: A woman’s right to have control over her body

Currently in China, assisted reproductive technology (ART) can only be applied to married couples with infertility issues. Social egg freezing (SEF) is prohibited in most regions of China, except Jilin province. The case of Xu Zaozao, a single lady who sought to freeze her eggs, has cast more attention on this issue. Chinese academic Lorna Wei points out that even as women advocate for the right to decide if she would like to freeze her eggs, they may be stuck in a continuing patriarchal trap.
The matchmaking corner at Chongqing People's Park, China. (SPH/Edwin Ong)

Desperate parents gather in China's latest matchmaking park for the sake of their kids

Since the start of this year, hordes of parents have descended on the Chongqing People’s Park matchmaking corner every weekend to find a potential mate for their children. Many parents there lament that the matchmaking corner is like a “hypermarket” where parents try to “outmanoeuvre” each other. Lianhe Zaobao correspondent Edwin Ong believes that it is also a microcosm of the socioeconomic divide in China.
People gather to burn incense sticks and offer prayers at the Lama Temple, in Beijing, China, on 19 February 2023. (Jade Gao/AFP)

More Chinese youths visiting temples to seek solace

As Chinese youths face pressures on all fronts, from education to job hunting and even finding love, they are finding some solace in prayers to gods. But a recent article from state media denouncing such behaviours has sparked uproar among the youths, claiming that the authorities are far removed from the problems young people face today.