By Patrick B. Craine. BEIJING, China, April 28, 2011 (LifeSiteNews.com) – While a new census shows that China is experiencing a dramatic drop in population growth and an increasingly aging population, the country’s president has insisted that its brutal population control policies will still remain in force.
China’s National Bureau of Statistics released the results of the country’s first census in a decade on Thursday, revealing that its population growth was cut to almost half the pace of the previous decade. In the last ten years, the population grew to 1.34 billion, a rise of 5.8 percent.
Some experts are saying the figures could increase pressure on the government to relax its tight thirty-year-old population control policies, which in many cases have been enforced through forced abortion and sterilization, imprisonment, and fines many times greater than a family’s annual income.
But in advance of the data’s release, President Hu Jintao said Wednesday the country would “uphold and perfect reproductive policies [to] earnestly stabilize a low birth rate,” according to Xinhua news agency.
According to the government’s statistics head, Ma Jiantang, the census results actually vindicate the government’s draconian policies. “These figures have shown the trend of excessively rapid growth of China’s population has been under effective control,” he said.
The census shows that the population of those aged 60 or older rose 2.93 percent to 13.26 percent since the 2000 census. The number aged 14 or younger dropped 6.29 percent to 16.60 percent.
The continuing demographic shift threatens to weigh heavily on the country’s youth, with many fearing the future effects of the so-called upside-down pyramid, where one child must care for two parents and four grandparents. Additionally, some experts are speculating that the huge gender imbalance in the country, thanks to sex-selective abortion, will lead to social unrest, with millions of young men unable to find brides.