By Teresa Zhang and Summer Lawson


In 2023, after the Beijing government announced its population reduction for the first time in history, it attracted global attention due to the crisis of its aging population.

Lian Yizheng, a professor of economics and a senior media professional in Hong Kong, recently shared in an exclusive interview with The Epoch Times his thoughts on the regime beginning to falsify its demographics since the 1990s.

Coupled with the Beijing government concealing the deaths in the COVID pandemic, China’s population may have already fallen below one billion.

Lian predicts that the Chinese regime will introduce forced childbirth measures, which he believes will not help resolve the population issue. Lian thinks it is going to bring more crises to the government.

On Jan. 17, the Statistics Bureau of China announced that its national population was 1.411.75 billion at the end of 2022, marking 850,000 less than at the end of 2021. It was the first time that a population decline was recorded officially.

Lian assessed that the relevant figures should not be surprising since China’s population crisis had been ongoing for many years.

Lian mentioned that foreign media reports on the Chinese population were still based on the “official” data released by the Beijing government, resulting in their inability to evaluate the Chinese demographics accurately.

Although Lian once told American media that their quoted data was inaccurate, their only response was “having no other way to obtain data except the Chinese official publicized number” and “they cannot use other data without sources.”

Lian believed that when family planning was most strict in the 1990s, China’s population crisis had already begun to lurk.

Women’s Independence Influences Childbirth

With the economic development growing more robust in the 1990s, women’s enthusiasm for employment also increased, resulting in drops in women’s willingness to have children.

Lian predicted, based on economic development, China is a labor-intensive economy.

Its birth peak reflected the current GDP was the GDP peak in 2008 before it fell afterward.

According to the website of the National Bureau of Statistics of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), the birthrate in mainland China in 1987 reached a peak of 23.33 percent, then fell below 20 percent after 1991 before declining yearly.

Lian said, “I guess when the issue of population aging first arose in the 1990s, the Beijing government started to fake the numbers.” Lian also guessed that the Beijing government started falsifying population figures when demographic aging became problematic.

Lian found that around 2005, the population growth in china looked a bit off. That is when I realized the Beijing government was making up the population figures.

Lian quoted Yi Fuxian, a researcher at the University of Wisconsin and author of “Big Country with an Empty Nest,” who said China’s population fell to 1.28 billion in 2020.

Yi Fuxian said in an interview with VOA that in the 2000 census, China’s fertility rate was originally 1.25 percent.

The CCP’s National Bureau of Statistics later announced that the fertility rate was 1.8 percent after “adjustment,” The birth population rose from 13.79 million to 17.71 million.

However, Yi realized, by 2015, the population of 15-year-olds was only about 13 million, not 17 million.

China’s Population Is Below One Billion

In June 2022, someone online was selling what claimed to be Shanghai’s public database, including records of one billion Chinese residents and billions of case information. Whoever leaked the data also published samples of the documents.

After analyzing the sample, Yi Fuxian, a demography expert, believed that the leaked samples aligned with the law of statistics, indicating that the data was credible.

After his analysis, Yi also concluded that China’s official population data post-1990 had been seriously inflated.

Lain believed that the falsified birthrate, coupled with Beijing’s concealing the deaths in China caused by COVID-19, suggested China’s population would likely have dropped below one billion.

Lian questioned, “It’s strange that if you have a population of 1.4 billion, you have no reason to maintain the number in your database at only one billion, so what is the point of having database records?”

Compared with the population aging problem commonly faced by other developed countries, the population expert pointed out that China’s population crisis was due to the falsely presented data, “A country’s economic plan relies on accurate population figures. The Beijing government thought there were more people, so they built more buildings, houses, and roads than necessary. Ultimately, it will only backfire and waste and mismanage its resources.

Lian also believed that the trend of faking data would continue since the regime would have to lie again to cover its first lie. So the more it lied, the more lies needed. If and when people realized this, the government would be held accountable.

Pension Crisis Heating Up

The official statistics showed that China’s marriage rate has declined by the year, falling below the eight million couples mark in 2021. At the same time, there are more men than women, and the proportion of men and women in the post-millennial generation is about 1 to 1.2. It indicated that China’s population would continue to decline in the future.

The impact of population aging is gradually emerging in China. Recently, tens of thousands of older people protested medical insurance policies in many cities all over China, clashing with the police, resulting in more attention on its pension crisis.

On Feb. 25, Zhou Xiaochuan, former governor of the regime’s Central Bank, said at a forum that the pension issue in China would be a significant challenge in the future. Zhou also advised resolving the pension crisis instead of prolonging the problem.

Elderly Losing Pension to the Authorities

Lian reckoned that with the gradual decline of China’s population, the elderly welfare would become more critical.

While older people in China kept depositing their pension as they still could work, they thought they could cash out the amount deposited when they retired.

But the truth is, However, by the time of their retirement, the number of working people would have dropped, and hence, incomes from their pension saving funds would decrease. The Beijing government would only pay the pension based on the value at the time.

According to the data Beijing released, it was also evident that the pension crisis would happen.

On April 10, 2019, The Centre for International Social Security Studies (CISS) released China Pension Actuarial Report 2019–2050, predicting that the cumulative balance of the primary pension insurance fund for urban employees is expected to peak by 2027. But then it would drop until 2035 before it ran out.

Lian said since the population number was inaccurate, the reality would be much more severe than the Beijing government had announced.

One Child to Forced Childbirth

The CCP implemented a comprehensive two-child policy in 2016. Although the regime announced its updated three-child policy in 2021, it still could not raise the fertility rate.

Lian speculated that if encouraging fertility was ineffective, the Beijing government would return to its old path of family planning, from forced sterilization to forced fertility.

Lian said the regime’s forced sterilization we witnessed in the past was the Beijing government’s slaughter season, treating people like animals. The CCP can kill off a 9-month-old fetus by forced abortion, the most ferocious of all countries worldwide.

“So, would the regime force people to have children? It is completely possible.” Lian said.

After the CCP made family planning a national policy in the 1980s, many women became victims of forced sterilization and forced abortion.

However, after the Beijing government launched the three-child policy, the State Council announced in a news statement in September 2021 that clinics would minimize non-medically necessary abortion.

Many hospitals in China also refused to perform sterilization. The Washington Post reported in December 2021 that some doctors clarified that sterilizing was not in line with the government’s new family planning policy.

Lian said communist countries had a long history of forcing fertility on their citizens.

In the 1960s, the Romanian Communist Party not only issued a decree requiring each woman to have at least five children but launched a series of measures, including a ban on contraceptive product sales, and severely penalized women who had abortions and doctors who assisted the procedures.

The Romanian regime also levied heavy taxes on people over 25 with no children and forced female medical examinations.

For four years, from 1975 to 1979, the Cambodian Khmer Rouge killed about 25 percent of the country’s population before forcing men and women strangers to marry and have children.

Even if the Beijing government forced fertility on its people, Lian believed that would not resolve the population crisis.

After Romania promulgated Decree No. 770 in 1966, the fertility rate increased significantly, but the fertility rate has dropped since then.

Meanwhile, when the fertility rate suddenly increased significantly in Romania, parents could not raise their children, resulting in many children being abandoned in orphanages. What’s more, there were never enough school facilities to accommodate the sudden growth of schoolchildren.

The children of this era became the force of Romania’s 1989 revolution.

During the Revolution, the General Secretary of the Romanian Communist Party, Nicolae Ceaușescu, and his wife were executed.

Lian then questioned if China would end up in a similar fate and said It would be possible.

Lian predicted China’s possible ending, “The regime will die horribly when it gets cut off economically. Being surrounded by the foreign military when your economy is particularly dreadful. The regime has picked fights with the entire world, let alone threatening to ‘liberate Taiwan’ by force.”

That said, Lian predicted forced fertility would be the only way to resolve the population aging crisis.



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