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Loans for babies: Chinese province’s strategy to beat population blues

Loans for babies: Chinese province's strategy to beat population blues
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A baby carriage appears as mothers play with their babies in a public area in downtown Shanghai on November 19, 2013. REUTERS/Carlos Parilla/File Photo

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BEIJING, Dec. 23 (Reuters) – Two generations in northeastern China are offering married couples bank loans of up to 200,000 yuan ($31,400) if they have children, joining other provinces in offering financial incentives to beat a declining population.

The Jilin government said in a statement on Thursday that some small businesses set up by spouses with two or three children will also enjoy exemptions and reductions in value-added taxes. Read more

Demographic issues in China are particularly prominent in the country’s three northeastern provinces of Jilin, Liaoning and Heilongjiang, where residents have ventured to other provinces to work while couples postpone marriage or plan to start a family.

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The population of the region decreased by 10.3% in 2020 compared to 2010. Jilin declined by 12.7%.

Provinces were given more impetus to tackle demographic issues after China said in May that it would allow couples to have up to three children instead of two.

The decision came on the heels of census results that showed China’s population expanded at the weakest pace in the past decade since the 1950s, raising fears that China will grow before it becomes rich, as well as sparking criticism that authorities have waited too long to address. A decrease in deliveries.

Recent official data also showed China’s fertility rate of 1.3 children per woman in 2020, on par with aging societies such as Japan and Italy and short of nearly two children who need to be replaced by their parents.

In October, eastern China’s Anhui warned that the number of births in the province could fall by 17.8 percent this year from 2020, which represents a “cliff-like” decline in recent years.

Jilin also said it would extend the period of paid maternity leave to 180 days from 98 days, and breastfeeding leave for men to 25 days from 15 days, joining provinces elsewhere in rewriting laws to allow more maternity and paternity leave. Read more

(dollar = 6.3704 Chinese yuan)

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(Reporting by Ryan Wu and Alby Zhang) Editing by Michael Perry

Our Standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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