China Reportedly Suffers Its First Population Decline Since Records Began in 1940s

China will soon confirm that its population has dropped for the first time since it started recording the figure in 1949, the Financial Times reports. The new Chinese census was completed last year and its release was expected this month but has been mysteriously delayed. The headline figure will reportedly show that the nation’s population has declined below the 1.4 billion mark recorded two years ago, even though Beijing has relaxed most of its notoriously strict family-planning policies. Huang Wenzheng, a fellow at Beijing think tank the Center for China and Globalization, said the census release will be “handled very carefully” because it could have “a huge impact on how the Chinese people see their country and how various government departments work.” He added: “The pace and scale of China’s demographic crisis are faster and bigger than we imagined… That could have a disastrous impact on the country.”

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