China's Rubber-Stamp Lawmakers to Tackle Birth Rate, Economic Woes at Annual 'Two Sessions'

China launched its “two sessions” — the annual meetings of its top lawmaking body, the National People’s Congress (NPC), and the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), an “advisory” body with over 2,000 members — on Monday, seeking to devise ways to reverse its increasingly concerning economic decline.

The Chinese state news agency Xinhua reported that the members of the two legislatures would prioritize “promoting high-quality development” and “new productive forces,” apparently in the face of the fall of the old productive forces, such as a robust body of workers and the real estate industry.

China’s real estate market remains mired in an unprecedented crisis in modern China, documenting steep declines in new home prices, existing home sales, and other key indicators. One of China’s largest and most powerful real estate developers, Evergrande, collapsed in the aftermath of Beijing’s extreme coronavirus lockdown and quarantine camp policy, ordered to liquidate in January and leaving as much as $300 billion in debt.

China is also facing record-high levels of youth unemployment and a rapidly dwindling pool of young workers, as young Chinese opt not to start their own families. Dictator Xi Jinping, who exacerbated the crisis with a mass forced sterilization and abortion campaign against the Turkic people of East Turkistan, ended the decades-long “one-child policy” in 2015, but the country still documented record-low fertility rates in 2023. It remains illegal in China for most people to have a fourth child, an increasingly uncommon problem.

China’s economy “likely grew at its weakest annual rate for more than three decades in 2023,” the Agence France-Presse (AFP) reported in late January. It documented an 80-percent drop in foreign direct investment in 2023, losing much of that to neighboring India, whose stock market boomed in February.

“As the world’s second-largest economy endeavors to solidify the momentum of economic recovery in its pursuit of Chinese modernization, the sessions carry immense significance for China and beyond,” Xinhua emphasized on Monday.

The Global Times rattled off a list of economic problems the lawmakers were expected to help solve, including “GDP growth target, deficit-to-GDP ratio, fiscal and monetary policies as well as employment.” It noted that Liu Jieyi, the spokesperson chosen to address the work of the CPPCC emphasized to foreign reporters that the advisory body was taking the concerns of foreign investors seriously, but claimed that – poor economic indicators aside – 2023 was a victory for the Chinese economy as it “withstood external pressure and overcame internal difficulties.”

“Looking to the future, the Chinese economy is resilient, has huge potential and vitality and its growth momentum will continue to strengthen and lead to a bright future,” Liu reportedly asserted.

In contrast, the Global Times lamented that, rather than China’s slow-motion economic decline, the true source of “tremendous uncertainties on global economic outlook” was the fact that other countries chose to allow their citizens to live in freedom, making the world “fraught with presidential elections.” China does not allow citizens to elect its “president,” a largely ceremonial title held alongside more powerful ones, such as Communist Party chairman and commander-in-chief, by Xi Jinping.

Chinese state media coverage of the opening of the “two sessions” did not directly address the birth rate problem. The Global Times noted, however, that lawmakers were choosing to highlight problems such as inadequate childcare and poor education, drivers of a low birth rate.

“Xu Ruixia, a national political advisor from North China’s Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region … told the Global Times that over the past year,” the propaganda newspaper relayed, “she has been conducting an investigation into child care facilities in nursery schools and kindergartens.”

“Employees in these facilities are struggling with low salaries, parents are facing challenges in securing a spot for their children, and the facilities themselves are grappling with funding shortages,” Xu reportedly found.

Xiong Shuilong, a CPPCC member, demanded in remarks preceding the “two sessions” the end of the “three child policy” and concrete plans to increase the number of children born in the country.

“The political advisor … put forward suggestions on reducing social costs borne directly by enterprises due to female employees’ childbirth,” the Global Times reported in late February. “The proposals include improving cost-sharing mechanisms for maternity leave, significantly reducing the social security costs borne by enterprises for female employees during maternity leave and extended prenatal check-up periods.”

“For enterprises that hire women of childbearing age, certain income tax reductions can be granted, Xiong suggested,” it added.

Neither the NPC nor the CPPCC acts in any way as a check to the power of the Chinese Communist Party and its totalitarian leader, Xi Jinping. On the contrary, the two entities typically meet to discuss ways to implement and execute the agenda of the Party. The Chinese people have no authentic input into the topics that the lawmakers address or how they choose to do so, but the bodies are the cornerstone of the Communist Party’s claim to running what it calls a “whole-process people’s democracy,” in which the allegedly benevolent dictatorship has enough power and access to resources necessary to improve people’s lives without having to defend its actions to any dissenting individual or group.

“The collective wisdom and concerted efforts of the two sessions are a manifestation of the spirit of unity and struggle of the Chinese people,” the state propaganda outlet Global Times proclaimed on Sunday, “and also the most vivid portrayal of the broadest, most genuine, and most effective whole-process people’s democracy.”

The NPC actively drafts and implements laws, while the CPPCC serves as more of a laboratory of ideas friendly to the Communist Party and a platform offering leverage to friends and business associates of the party. As Breitbart News senior contributor Peter Schweizer reveals in his new book, Blood Money: Why the Powerful Turn a Blind Eye While China Kills Americans, the CPPCC has served to elevate members of organized crime.

“Suspected triad members involved in the drug trade populate the CPPCC,” Blood Money details. “Ng Lap Seng, the triad member who funneled money to the Bill Clinton campaign in 1994, was a member. Stanley Ho … also served as a member of that organization even though he had alleged ties to both 14K and Sun Yee On, triads that distribute drugs in the United States.”

The Chinese financial outlet Caixin observed on Monday that the two bodies are in a state a disarray as the “two sessions” begin due to the high number of purges of Communist Party members Xi has conducted. The most high-profile of these cases is that of Qin Gang, the former foreign minister who disappeared in June and has not been seen since. After slowly losing all of his titles over the past six months, the NPC finally expelled Qin in the last week of February. Qin is among 24 others expelled unceremoniously from the NPC and another seven absent from the CPPCC.

Follow Frances Martel on Facebook and Twitter.


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