An economist and prominent Chinese businessman has made a proposal to the Chinese government to offer financial incentives for parents to have more children.
The college professor urged the government to offer parents at least 1 million yuan ($156,000) for each newborn child to help increase the country's low birth rate.
According to its latest census, China's population rose by its slowest rate in decades from 2010 to 2020. The newly published data raised fears of the country's rapidly declining birth rate, its dwindling workforce and its increased elderly population.
Peking University School of Economics profession and the founder of Ctrip, Liang Jiangzhang, said in a video posted on Weibo Wednesday that providing an incentive for parents to have children should help remedy the problem. Laing said the figure he is proposing would not cost that much and it should help raise birth rates by a significant amount.
Based on his calculations, Liang said that spending 10% of the country's gross domestic product through an incentive program should increase its birth rates from 1.3 to the replacement level of 2.1.
Liang said the 1 million yuan per child amount he is proposing could be allocated to families either through cash, housing subsidies or cash. He added that the contributions to the economy provided by the child in the future will offset the cost of the program.
"I've spoken to a lot of young people ... if it's just a few tens of thousands of yuan it basically wouldn't encourage people to have another child. If a family gives birth to another child, that child's future contributions to social security, to tax revenues, will exceed 1 million yuan," he said.
Laing's video on Weibo has been viewed several million times since it was posted. Comments on both sides of the argument continue to flood as users debate whether it would be reasonable to use China's tax revenues to incentivize parents. Some users argued that 1 million yuan was not enough to even cover educational costs, while others expressed their opposition to using public funds for such a program.