Xi Jinping‘s stringent zero-COVID policy has pushed many Chinese women to alter family planning or not give birth to their babies in China.
What Happened: A 30-year-old Chinese resident Claire Jiang said she no longer wants to have babies in China after seeing an extraordinary exercise of powers during a stringent lockdown in Shanghai earlier, according to a Reuters report.
“I definitely don’t want my children to have to carry the uncertainty of living in a country where the government can just come to your door and do whatever they want,” said Jiang.
The report pointed out that pandemics and economic uncertainty have historically weighed on birth rates worldwide. But according to demographers, Xi’s zero COVID-19 policy with strict controls on people’s lives may have caused profound damage to their desire to have children.
“China’s zero-COVID policy has led to a zero economy, zero marriages, zero fertility,” a prominent Chinese demographer Yi Fuxian told the publication.
Meanwhile, a separate United Nations China report said the COVID-19 pandemic had a long-term impact on first births. It noted that people postponed having babies due to financial insecurity, unfounded worries about the vaccines affecting fetuses, and taking care of an infant under heavy restrictions.
“Couples that may have been thinking about having a child in the next year, definitely postponed those. Couples that really weren’t sure, have postponed indefinitely,” said Justine Coulson, the U.N. Population Fund Representative to China.