China's population drops again, the impact of Taiwan's elections, and did the economy really grow 5.2%?
+ Philippines to upgrade military outposts in disputed South China Sea
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PHOTO OF THE WEEK
10th anniversary of Uyghur academic’s arrest marked with calls for release
In an interview with RFA Uyghur on Tuesday, his daughter Jewher Ilham, demanded proof of life for her father from the Chinese government, noting that over the past 10 years, her family was only allowed to visit with him once every three months from 2014-2017.
“We lost all communication with my father after 2017, so I don’t even know if he is still alive,” she said, adding that the only time the Chinese government and media mentioned Tohti was in 2019, when they criticized the European Parliament for giving the Sakharov Award to “a criminal.”
POLITICS & SOCIETY
China's population drop for a second straight year in 2023
China’s population fell by 2 million people in 2023 in its second straight annual decrease, as births dropped for the seventh straight year and deaths jumped following the end of COVID-19 restrictions, the government said Wednesday.
The number of deaths rose by 690,000 to 11.1 million, more than double the previous year’s increase. Demographers said the rise was driven by the aging of the population and the widespread COVID-19 outbreaks that started in December 2022 and continued into February of last year.
The total population stood at 1.4 billion, the statistics bureau said. China, long the most populated country in the world, dropped into second place behind India in 2023, according to U.N. estimates.
Money weighs on would-be Chinese parents as population falls
"The younger generation has fundamentally changed its conception of fertility and is generally unwilling to have more children," He Yafu, an independent Chinese demographer, told AFP.
Growing numbers of young adults proudly flaunt their childfree lifestyles on social media.
"No marriage, no kids" is a popular topic on the Chinese pop culture website Douban, with thousands of users exchanging views and seeking reassurance on their childfree lifestyles.
"Can you really sacrifice so much just to hear someone call you 'mama'?" one asked recently.
Cao, a mother-of-one in her thirties from the western city of Xi'an, said a lot of her friends were "DINKs", an acronym for couples with double incomes and no kids.
She cited economic concerns as a reason people hesitated to have children.
Xi Jinping urges loyalty from China’s courts and law enforcers to ‘defuse’ social and financial risks
Chinese President Xi Jinping has urged the country’s judicial and law enforcement authorities to safeguard national security, calling on the courts, prosecutors and public security authorities to “defuse” social and economic risks, and for their continued loyalty to the Communist Party.
Xi’s instructions were delivered during a two-day national conference over the weekend for the country’s zhengfa departments – the political and legal authorities responsible for domestic security.
The instructions were delivered at the virtual meeting by Chen Wenqing, the head of the Central Political and Legal Affairs Commission, a party body that oversees all security-related matters, according to state news agency Xinhua. Xi did not address the meeting in person.
In his instructions, Xi said judicial and law enforcement departments should “uphold the absolute leadership” of the party, and use their development to support and serve China’s modernisation.
Dr. Steve Tsang on His New Book: The Political Thought of Xi Jinping
U.S.-China Perception Monitor
Xi Jinping often actually tells you what he really thinks. Xi Jinping said that he’s not interested in competing against the United States. He does not aim to make China replace the United States. What he didn’t say is that he wishes to maintain the current liberal international order. He’s certainly not trying to compete against the U.S. or replace the U.S. in the current liberal international order, which was created at the end of the Second World War, and since then has been led by and dominated by the U.S. Xi Jinping thinks the liberal international order is fundamentally not a good and appropriate one for the world; the world needs an alternative to the liberal international order.