On the afternoon of October 17, 2020, at the invitation of the School of Social Development of Nanjing Normal University, Mr. Zhang Yi, Dean of the Institute of Social Development Strategies of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, gave a lecture in Room 401, Xuezheng Building, Xianlin Campus named the Development Trend of Chinese population and the Adjustment of the population policies. The lecture was hosted by Professor Yang Guangfei from the Department of Sociology and Social Work. More than one hundred teachers and students from inside and outside the school attended the lecture.
At the beginning of the lecture, Professor Zhang introduced the China's population changes in past two thousand years. He analyzed the demographic trends in China from the beginning of 17 th century to nowadays and the reasons of those changes, which gave the audience a preliminary understanding of China's demographic changes.
In the first part of the lecture, Professor Zhang specifically explained the relationship between policy and demographic change. After the year of 1949，in which The People’s Republic of China was founded, China’s demographic changes have always been inseparable from the policies. Many policies that seem to have nothing to do with population at first glance are continuously affecting social psychology and people’s fertility desire in fact. In order to enable the audience to further understand the relationship between population changes and policies , Professor Zhang Yi described the development of marriage customs and public psychology, and explained the demographic changes during this time, using policies such as family planning, household ownership, and restrictions on rural access to cities as examples.
Then Professor Zhang elaborated the population problems which China’s society is facing currently, such as population aging and fertility reduction. The elderly population is changing from the low-age elderly to the advanced elderly. The medical security and special care of the elderly are the unavoidable problems that our society must solve. The decline in social desire for reproduction and fertility rate remind us of the loss and decrease of labor force. Due to the low coordination of the circumstance of economics and social resources and the spatial distribution of the population in our country, factors of production mismatch, the utilization of resources is low, which make security issues of energy, air, water, and land more prominent. The outflow of population from the central and western regions to the east makes bring many obstacles to the central and western regions. China’s future population is expected to peak in 2028.
Finally, to solve those severe population problems, Professor Zhang Yi proposed to implement the "three-step strategy." The first step is after fully realizing a well-off society, in the early period of the 14th Five-Year Plan, the current family planning policy in any form should be stopped, building a fertility and family-friendly society. Next, In the late 14th Five-Year Plan period, public kindergartens and food expenses will be exempted, and food subsidies for students in compulsory education will be strengthened. To sum up, reduce the cost of raising children. The third step is since the 15th Five-Year Plan period, carry out a living allowance system which is suitable to the second and subsequent children to encourage birth in accordance with national strength.
Professor Zhang gave an interesting and insightful lecture, explained the history and future of China's population to the audience. He answered the questions put up by the students patiently and in detail as well. When the lecture finished, Professor Yang made a brief summary and expressed heartfelt thanks to Professor Zhang.