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China changes child policy again amid population struggle

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The Chinese government announced Monday that it will grant married couples the ability to have up to three children, an upgrade from the 2016 two-child policy. However, according to Weibo, Chinese Twitter, some aren’t anticipating following the policy according to a report by Quartz.

In the announcement via Weibo, the government claimed the new policy would “improve the structure of China’s population, implement the national strategy of actively responding to the aging population, and maintaining China’s human resource advantages.” One of the top comments under the announcement was simply “Bah!” It had nearly 80,000 likes.

“Honestly, what people need are substantial benefits such as subsidies [for having children],” one Weibo user wrote, “not those superficial encouragements. People don’t want to have children not because the absence of a three-children policy, but because we can’t afford it.”

Another user suggested what would actually help would be “the most fundamental maternity welfare and solve the unfair treatment women face at the workplace for giving birth.” Both comments vanished but not before they received hundreds of thousands of likes.

Author of “The Coming Collapse of China” Gordon Chang says that there’s a movement behind the “mood of pessimism throughout Chinese society, especially among the young.” He explained the movement in a statement to this reporter.

“The ‘lie-down movement,’ which is sweeping China’s youth, reflects a loss of energy and enthusiasm across the country,” Chang said. “There are many reasons for lying down, but [Xi Jinping’s] tightening of controls over daily life plus his shutting out of foreign influences add to a sense of helplessness and powerlessness.”

So, Chinese people are not wanting to bring a child into a world where they have no control. Chang predicts that the people are discouraged enough to not have a child at all, let alone three.

You can follow Jenny Goldsberry on Twitter @jennyjournalism.

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Pope Francis calls for universal ban on ‘so-called surrogate motherhood’

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Pope Francis called for a universal ban on surrogacy, likening the practice as an unborn child “turned into an object of trafficking.”

“I consider despicable the practice of so-called surrogate motherhood, which represents a grave violation of the dignity of the woman and the child, based on the exploitation of situations of the mother’s material needs,” Francis said in a speech to the Holy See on Monday.

The “uterus for rent” process, as Francis has called it, was estimated to bring in $14 billion in the U.S. in 2022, and is projected to grow to a $129 billion market by 2032. National Review reports Individual surrogacies can cost anywhere from $60,000 to $200,000 plus in the U.S. Rising infertility rates, an increase in the number of fertility clinics, and “sedentary lifestyles” contribute to surrogacy’s recent popularity, according to Global Market Insights.

“A child is always a gift and never the basis of a commercial contract,” Francis continued. “Consequently, I express my hope for an effort by the international community to prohibit this practice universally.”

Surrogacy is already banned in many European countries. In the United States, commercial surrogacy, or for-profit surrogacy, is legal in some states, and the practice has been used by celebrities who are very public with their decision to use surrogacy.

Altruistic surrogacy, the method by which a woman carries another person’s child for no official compensation, is legal in the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, Hong Kong, South Africa, Greece, and Iceland, according to the National Institutes of Health.

The speech was about threats to peace and human dignity. “A child is always a gift and never the basis of a commercial contract,” Francis continued. “Consequently, I express my hope for an effort by the international community to prohibit this practice universally.”

Francis also listed Russia’s war on Ukraine, the Israel-Hamas war, climate change, and increased weapons production as great threats to peace on Monday.

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