If there is one thing that truly epitomizes a lack of trust, it is an official Chinese number. Chinese statistics are almost always misleading and the Chinese government loves fudging data. China has published false data time and again. It has published every single number you can think of- growth numbers, Wuhan virus cases and deaths, and the success of social welfare schemes.
Now, China is even lying about its population data because it wants the world and Chinese people to believe in Jinping’s exaggerated goals. China claims that it is a “country of 1.4 billion people.” However, an op-ed published on SCMP claims that China’s real population could be 115 million fewer than the official number. This would put China behind India in terms of population size.
China’s population growth has slowed down over the past three decades due to Beijing’s brutal family planning programme, which includes the one-child policy, forced abortions and hefty fines. China’s fertility rate, or the number of kids per woman throughout her life, has also dropped rapidly. Low birth rates and constant death rates have made China a rapidly ageing country which also drags down the economic growth potential of the Communist nation.
The rapidly declining population growth in China and ageing demographics have also led an average Chinese to believe that there is not much scope for tremendous growth and vigour in the Chinese economy. Yet, President Xi Jinping doesn’t fancy a serious loss of trust amongst Chinese people about his exaggerated goals.
For starters, China’s population figures keep getting “adjusted” again and again. Just imagine, Chinese officials count a particular number of people or arrive at a particular data. But when Xi doesn’t like the collected data, Beijing simply adjusts the numbers.
Take, for instance, the average fertility numbers from 1994 to 2018. The average fertility for this time period was 1.36, but China’s family planning authority in charge of the country’s population control refused to believe the numbers. The numbers didn’t match Xi Jinping’s political ambitions and, therefore, the rate was “adjusted” to 1.6-1.8.
Now, when you increase the average fertility rate, the population size also changes proportionately. The purpose of such artificial enlargements in population data is to create the illusion of a “rapidly growing population”. For the family planning authorities in China, an artificially enlarged population is a means to justify the brutal population control policies and the massive family planning programme, which has been imposed on Chinese people for several decades.
The Chinese government justifies “adjustments” in the size of the population on the basis of primary school enrolment numbers. But then primary school enrolment numbers in China are themselves exaggerated. Local governments and officials in China are generally corrupt and possess a long experience in inflating numbers, so as to claim more educational subsidies from the Central government in Beijing.
From Xi’s point of view, the inflated population numbers serve two purposes- one, he can make Chinese people believe that their country is not getting old and two, he can make them believe that with higher birth rates, there will be a larger segment of younger people ready to get employed and boost growth numbers.
It is for the world to reject the fake Chinese numbers and run a counter-narrative in order to expose the Communist nation. China’s future growth prospects are doomed and fake statistics cannot resurrect them.