Since the beginning of 2016, Chinese hospitals are under pressure of what appears to be an unprecedented baby boom since family planning started in 1979.According to figures released by Beijing’s Health and Family Planning Commission, about 300,000 new babies, in Beijing alone, are expected to be born in 2016. This is 50,000 more than last year. In China, 22 million babies are expected to be born in 2016!
Two major events are responsible for this boom in child birth:
1 – 2016 is the Year of the Monkey which traditionally is a fertile year in accordance with Chinese astrology.
2 – The amendment of the One-Child Policy last year which became officially the Two-Child Policy.
The Chinese 12-animal Zodiac has always had a strong influence on birth rates in China. Years under the animal signs such as the dragon, horse and monkey always lead to a baby boom due to predestine qualities associated with newborns born under these animals.However, from a practical aspect, baby booms are a big headache for hospitals. It is no news that China has a large population with its share of problems due to scarce resources. Therefore, baby booms always bring forth a shortage of staff and beds at maternity hospitals. The competition does not stop there, since baby-boomers will have to compete at all stages of their life from education to employment.
Nevertheless, a lot of parents hope to have “a Monkey baby”. Chinese astrology describes people born year of the monkey as intelligent and active. 26 year old future mother Wei Juan is due to give birth this March – “I often hear from other people that Monkey babies are very clever – and I can’t wait to see my baby”.
Do astrological animals have real influence on the fate and character of newborns? According to a survey conducted by the China Youth Daily more than half of the Chinese population thinks so (56.4% of participants).Xu Shaozhou, Social Science Associate Professor from Wuhan University, believes differently – “Yes, it is obvious that the influence of Chinese zodiac on people does not have scientific proof, but it certainly has mental influence.” “I certainly think that our 12 zodiac signs have rich cultural connotations. From a psychological point of view Chinese zodiac can have a strong suggestive effect.” The survey also showed that 63.2% of participants believe that this year’s baby boom is a result of the Two-Child Policy carried out last year. With an aging population and a declining economy the Chinese government decided in 2015 to soften its family planning policy.
The amendment of the One–Child Policy will definitely contribute to this year’s baby boom and bring non traditional issues for China. Recent statistics show that there has been a sharp rise in older mothers over the age of 40 years old, who took advantage of the new policy to have another child. Zuo Hong (changed name) turned 48 years old this year. Her 24 year old daughter graduated from university last year. She just got married and she is preparing to have a baby this year. Zuo Hong was almost a grand-mother when she heard about the Second-Child Policy.Her desire for a second child was stronger than anything else and this year – Zuo Hong and her daughter are both ready to give birth.
From a pure economic aspect, although this is too early to judge, provisions set by the government hope that the new Two-Child Policy will help the economy to gain at least 0.2% GDP in average per year.
二胎政策 （èr tāi zhèngcè）- Two-Child Policy
猴子 （hóuzi）- monkey
猴宝宝 （hóu bǎobǎo）-“Monkey baby”
猴年 （hóu nián）- Year of the Monkey
生肖（shēngxiào）- (Chinese) zodiac sign
活泼 （huópo）- active
高龄孕妇 （gāolíng yùnfù）- older pregnant woman
医院 （yīyuàn）- hospital
产科部 （chǎn kē bù）- obstetrical department
扎堆 （zhāduī）- to gather together
生育 （shēngyù）- to give birth
影响 （yǐngxiǎng）- to influence
预计 （yùjì）- to estimate
We feature a news article from Chinese news that may not caught the eye of the western media. Find out what happens in China outside of what is published on China Daily. Johann, from Easy Mandarin Chinese School (www.easymandarin.cn), will be finding, translating and helping us learn some related words to teach us a little more about China