How Severe Are China’s Demographic Challenges?

In 2021, there were roughly 30 million more men than women in China, and a study estimates that there are over 62 million “missing” women—females who would be alive without gender discrimination. This gap may become a factor contributing to social instability.

For centuries, China boasted the largest population of any country, giving it significant global heft. That is changing as China’s population shrinks and ages at a faster rate than almost any other country. In 2022, China’s population dropped for the first time in decades, and in 2023 India surpassed China to become the world’s most populous nation. China’s changing demographics pose major, prolonged challenges for the country and its leaders. China has for decades reaped the economic dividends that came with having a young workforce to fuel China’s emergence as a global industrial powerhouse. Now, the number of Chinese retirees will soon skyrocket, reducing the size of China’s workforce and putting pressure on China’s social safety net and healthcare system.

The Drivers of China’s Changing Demographics

China’s population grew at a breakneck pace during the mid-twentieth century, swelling nearly 50 percent between 1950 and 1970. Driven by fears of the extraordinary challenges of effectively governing a rapidly expanding population, the Chinese government began to institute population control measures in the 1970s. The “later, longer, fewer” (晚稀少) campaign, which was initiated in 1973, raised the legal age of marriage to 23 for women and 25 for men, encouraged at least a three-year period between births, and limited births to two children. Those who did not adhere to the new regulations faced penalties. This policy proved successful. Between 1970 and 1980, China’s fertility rate (the number of births per woman) plummeted from 6.1 to 2.7. 

Tiếp tục đọc “How Severe Are China’s Demographic Challenges?”

Cambodia blocks 17 media websites before vote

Independent media sites taken offline for 48 hours as Cambodians prepare to vote on Sunday in a controversial election.


The Phnom Penh Post was among those taken offline for 48 hours by the government [Erin Handley/Al Jazeera]
The Phnom Penh Post was among those taken offline for 48 hours by the government [Erin Handley/Al Jazeera

Phnom Penh, Cambodia – The government blocked access to independent media websites just hours before polling in the country’s controversial national election begins.

Phos Sovann, director general of information and broadcasting at the Information Ministry, confirmed a total of 17 websites – including Voice of America, Radio Free Asia (RFA), Voice of Democracy, and the Phnom Penh Post – had been targeted.

“We requested to our committee members, along with the Ministry of Interior and Ministry of Telecommunications, to close those websites down,” he said.

The National Election Committee requested political parties and media outlets to “remain silent” for a 24-hour period in advance of election day on Sunday.

The government edict comes a week after a sudden proliferation of WhatsApp groups, in which potentially hundreds of Cambodians found themselves added to chats through the Facebook-owned messenger service.


Five things to know about Cambodia’s general election

Sovann requested internet service providers to block the sites for 48 hours, while other news sites friendly to strongman Prime Minister Hun Sen‘s regime remained accessible online.

“We observed that the contents of those new media are provocative. Those contents are very political in their tendencies, and they are restricting to the election,” he said.

“I don’t think it’s unfair … It’s just for 48 hours before the election.”

Clamping down

The move comes during a political and media crackdown in Cambodia.

Opposition leader Kem Sokha was arrested on questionable allegations of treason in September last year and his party was dissolved by the Supreme Court – led by a member of the ruling party – leaving some three million voters disenfranchised and the election without a viable opposition.
Tiếp tục đọc “Cambodia blocks 17 media websites before vote”

Pakistan high court bans Valentine’s Day

The Islamabad high court issued the order after a petitioner declared love was being used as a “cover” to spread “immorality, nudity and indecency… which is against our rich traditions and values”. Tiếp tục đọc “Pakistan high court bans Valentine’s Day”

How Stable Are Democracies? ‘Warning Signs Are Flashing Red’