Chinese City Urges Comrades to Do Their Part and Reproduce

Chinese City Urges Comrades to Do Their Part and Reproduce, by Didi Kirsten Tatlow.

For 36 years the Chinese state nearly turned out the lights on childbearing, ordering most families to have just one child and to focus instead on economic growth.

Data from the Chinese government’s national census in 2010 puts the overall fertility rate at 1.18, below the replacement rate of more than 2.1.

The bureaucrats now changed course in the city of Yichang:

So this week Yichang officials snapped on the lights again, issuing another public letter — this one to local party members and civil servants — urging them to fulfill their duty and procreate for China’s new two-child policy, which came into force nationwide on Jan. 1.

“We require all party members and Communist Youth League members in city departments and companies, especially cadres at all levels, to stand at the forefront and take a high degree of responsibility for caring for the country’s happy future, the people’s welfare and their own descendants to come, by thoroughly implementing the meaning of the ‘two-child policy’ and using practical actions to lead the way in responding to the party’s call.”

“Young comrades should start with themselves, and older comrades should educate and monitor their children.”

Howls of amazement and resentment followed in Chinese news outlets and on social media.

Several days after it was published on the Yichang government website with the red stamps of a clutch of departments indicating wide local support, the letter disappeared, a sign it was politically sensitive. The appeal for more children could be seen as implicit criticism of Beijing’s population policies of the previous 36 years.

Aren’t bureaucrats great?