sábado, 27 de enero de 2018

Beijing and Shanghai shrank in 2017

Beijing and Shanghai shrank in 2017

Beijing and Shanghai shrank in 2017

Reversing decades of family unfriendly policy
Shannon Roberts | Jan 26 2018 | comment 1 

Amid predictions of China becoming an economic superpower, the populations of Beijing and Shanghai actually both dipped slightly in 2017 for the first time since 1978.  The latest figuresfrom the National Bureau of Statistics showed the population of Beijing dropped by 22,000 to 21.7 million, a decline of 0.1 per cent, and Shanghai's population dropped by 13,700 to 24.18 million.
According to Pang Jiangqian, spokesperson for the Beijing Municipal Bureau of Statistics, multiple factors contributed to the capital's population decline, including the decrease in China's working age population and the slowdown in migration from rural areas.  At a news conference in Beijing on Jan 19 he commented:
"In recent years, China's annual population growth dropped around 0.5 per cent. The number of people migrating to mega cities has also slowed. Against the backdrop of nationwide urbanisation, the attraction of mega cities is gradually waning,"
According to its latest development scheme, Beijing plans to cap its population at 23 million by 2020 and Shanghai aims to cap its population at 25 million by 2035, meaning the cities are unlikely to be too worried by the decline.
However, while these two super-cities might be seeking to cap their populations now, China’s population as a whole is expected to peak at 1.4 billion in the 2020’s before falling into steep decline, inhibiting the country’s future as a world economic superpower.  Official data showed that the total number of births fell by about 630,000 year on year in 2017, and already the country is seeing the rise of ghost towns and areas of ultra-low fertility.  According to some predictions, by the end of the century China's population could fall to as low as 600 million, and it will almost certainly be less than 1 billion.
The number of people age 60 or older increased by around 10 million in 2017 to 240.9 million, making up 17.3% of the population - 0.6 percentage point more than in 2016. The working-age population, being those between 16 and 59, declined for the sixth year in a row to 902 million. According to the state-backed Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, the number of people between the ages of 18 and 44 will decrease by a further 30 million between 2017 to 2022, threatening future economic growth. 
China needs to act now to help and encourage young couples have children if it wants to sustain the country's demographic and social development. The high cost of educating children and busy jobs are often concerns for young would-be parents, and the cultural norm of one-child enforced and encouraged for so long is not helping.


January 26, 2018

Happy Australia Day!

January 26 is usually a placid event Down Under, a public holiday of BBQs, visits to the beach and backyard cricket, rather than parades. This year, however, it has been troubled by protests from Aboriginal groups – the first custodians of the continent – and the Greens Party.

They point out that Australia day commemorates the raising of the British flag over Sydney in 1788. “Invasion Day” was the beginning of the dispossession, dispersal and degradation of the Aboriginal people, a day of shame.

Certainly they have a point. But many national holidays are painful reminders of past injustices. India’s Republic Day, which is also celebrated today, calls to mind the partition of the British Raj in 1947. Perhaps a million people died in the ensuing riots.

Independence Day, July 4, is a day of pride for Americans, but for 70,000 or so loyalists to the British Crown, it meant exile. France’s Bastille Day on July 14 marks the beginning of the Republic, which also include the guillotining of 40,000 real or imagined opponents of the regime in the Terror, not to mention the genocide in the Vendée, in which hundreds of thousands died.

Holidays like Australia Day celebrate the survival of a nation which has experienced shame and defeat as well as triumph and progress. We can’t purge the past of the evil that has been done; it is a sad part of our heritage. We have to learn from it, lest we relive the mistakes our ancestors made. 

Michael Cook
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