Thursday, January 26, 2023

Family Pressures in China

From the Financial Times:

This week, an estimated 200mn unmarried Chinese returned home to celebrate the lunar new year, arriving at houses filled with the aromas of steaming dumplings and fish and greeted by relatives brimming with questions about when they plan to get married and start a family.

The annual inquisition is such a predictable part of life for young Chinese that social media channels are filled with viral how-to guides coaching people on how to bat away pushy parents.

“Everyone has their own technique,” said a Beijing teacher in her late 20s, who has been keeping her boyfriend a secret from her family for years as a pre-emptive strategy against demands for marriage.

Young Chinese have for decades invented creative tactics to allay parental demands for marriage and grandchildren, put off by the exorbitant costs of modern child rearing while juggling taxing jobs and sky-high property prices in large cities.

The fight to get Chinese youngsters married and producing babies is moving from the family home into the political arena as the world’s most populous country enters a long-term and irreversible population decline.

Last week, Chinese authorities announced that a long-anticipated turning point had finally been reached: the population officially shrank in 2022 for the first time in 60 years, losing 850,000 people as deaths outstripped births.

Read more here.

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