China has announced that it will allow couples to have up to three children, after census data showed a steep decline in birth rates. China scrapped its decades-old one-child policy in 2016, replacing it with a two-child limit which has failed to lead to a sustained upsurge in births. The cost of raising children in cities has deterred many Chinese couples.
Twenty-one people running a mountain ultramarathon have died in northwestern China after hail, freezing rain and gale-force winds hit the high-altitude race, state media reported Sunday. After an all-night rescue operation in freezing temperatures involving more than 700 personnel, rescuers were able to confirm that 151 people were safe, out of a total of 172 participants. The runners were racing on an extremely narrow mountain path at an altitude reaching 6,500-9,800 feet.
Authorities in a Chinese county have banned public servants and Communist party members from having birthday parties, housewarmings and other banquet celebrations. Authorities in Funing county, in Yunnan province, also put caps on weddings and funerals, limiting guest numbers and food budgets. The measures, seemingly targeted at potential corruption, include bans on using official vehicles for business or collecting gifts and cash that are “obviously higher [value] than normal reciprocity”.
China’s population grew at its slowest in the last decade since the 1950s as births declined, sowing doubt over Beijing’s ability to power its economy as it succumbs to the same aging trends afflicting developed nations like Japan. The 2020 results of the country’s once-a-decade census on Tuesday showed the population of mainland China increased 5.38% to 1.41 billion. That was the least since modern census-taking began in 1953.
A huge piece of space junk made an uncontrolled re-entry back into Earth’s atmosphere Saturday night. The remnants of a Chinese rocket re-entered the atmosphere and crashed into the Indian Ocean north of Maldives, according to the 18th Space Control Squadron. After the incident, NASA slammed China for “failing to meet responsible standards” for the re-entry of space debris.
Remnants from a Chinese rocket are expected to fall back to Earth in an uncontrolled re-entry this weekend. The rocket, called Long March 5B, was launched from Wenchang Space Launch Centre on 29 April to carry Tianhe – the first module of China’s future space station – into orbit. The spacecraft contains what will become living quarters for three crew on the space station and was the first of 11 missions needed to complete the station.
China has “indefinitely” suspended key economic dialogue with Australia, the latest in a growing diplomatic rift between both countries. Relations have been on the decline since Australia called for a probe into the origins of the virus and banned Huawei from building its 5G network. In a statement on Thursday, a Chinese government commission accused Australia of having a “Cold War mindset”.
China’s top disease control official has said the efficacy of the country’s Covid vaccines is low, in a rare admission of weakness. In a press conference, Gao Fu added that China was considering mixing vaccines as a way of boosting efficacy. China has developed four different vaccines approved for public use, though some trials abroad had suggested efficacy as low as 50%.
Taiwan worked with other democracies to help its diplomatic ally Paraguay get COVID-19 vaccines after China put pressure on the South American country to ditch Taipei in exchange for shots, and India stepped in to help, Taiwan’s foreign minister said. Taiwan said last month it was helping Paraguay, its sole diplomatic ally in South America, buy COVID-19 vaccines after protests there over the government’s handling of the health crisis.
China imposed sanctions on nine Britons including lawmakers in the governing Conservative party for spreading what it said were “lies and disinformation” about alleged human rights abuses in Xinjiang, prompting a sharp rebuke from London. Relations between China and the West are souring fast, particularly as Beijing pushes back hard against sanctions imposed by the United States, European Union, Britain and Canada.