China entered an aging society in 2000

Zhang chewei: when we formulated the family planning policy, we did not expect that our aging population would come so soon, because the core idea at that time was to control the population. From a policy-making perspective, China should reflect. As I said before, the root cause of the fertility level is not how effective the policy is, but the level of economic and social development. Therefore, if the policies cannot conform to the economic and social development, there will be problems. The same was true of the family planning policy, which was very effective at that time. On the one hand, the policy played a role, but more importantly, the economic and social development itself promoted population reduction.

Therefore, after the implementation of family planning, China should adjust in time with the new situation of economic and social development. For example, if the second child can be released earlier, it may affect the fertility of one generation, namely the generation aged from 40 to 50 now. The degree of ageing is likely to ease. But even so, the policy’s impact on China’s ageing is limited. Many developed countries have not implemented the family planning policy, and now also face the aging problem and negative population growth. The overall trend cannot be changed, aging is irreversible.

China newsweek: what impact will aging have on China’s economy and society?

Zhang chewei: the first thing to be clear is that the aging of population is a result of the economic and social development, which then becomes the background and objective existence of economic and social development. Therefore, the future economic development must take into account the aging factor. For example, the mode of labor-intensive economic development that we have mainly adopted in the past must be transformed to adapt to the aging situation, to upgrade industries and to transform economic development. In addition, because China „gets old before it gets rich“, the aging of population has brought China a great burden of old-age care.

The state has also made plans in recent years, such as improving China’s social pension system and fully opening up the second child system. In the past, the one-child policy did have an accelerated effect on aging. It will ease the aging of the population to some extent now that it has been untied. Of course, to deal with aging, it is not just a national policy that can solve this problem. It requires the joint efforts of the whole society, including communities and families.