June 20, 2021

“More than ever, the Chinese are wary of foreigners”

Chronic. The Chinese population census carried out in 2020, the results of which were published on May 10, confirms this: China is an aging country. Households do not seek to take advantage of the new legislation which, since 2016, once again allows them to have a second child. And nothing says that the possibility that was granted to them on the 1is June to have three children is a game-changer. With a fertility rate of 1.3, China will experience a rapid demographic decline. According to a study published by the journal The Lancet in July 2020, the population would drop from the current 1.4 billion to 732 million (- 48%) in 2100. What is rather good news for the planet is not for the communist leaders, one of whose pride is to be the head of the most populous country in the world. In 2100, China would be overtaken by India, but also by Nigeria.

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One of the solutions could be to encourage immigration. The country has, in fact, only 845,697 foreigners, or two times less than in Ile-de-France. And yet it is only about people living in the country for more than three months. The vast majority of them will leave.

It would be quite logical for Beijing to seek to attract its neighbors, especially young graduates. India offers an inexhaustible reservoir of labor. Currently, nearly 18 million Indians live abroad, mainly in the United Arab Emirates, Pakistan and the United States. In 2010, they were only 15,000 in China, and there is nothing to suggest that they are much more numerous today. However, the growing gap in living standards between the two Asian giants makes China attractive a priori. GDP per capita is now five times higher. In the future, India could therefore be the reservoir of labor for China, as Mexico was for the United States.

Sensitive subject

The problem with China is that it is not a country of immigration. More exactly, she becomes, but very slowly and largely in spite of herself. There were, it seems, about 20,000 foreigners in China in the 1980s. It was not until 2010 that the census counted them. They were then 593,832 in the country, not counting the Taiwanese, the Hong Kongers and the Macanese. In ten years, the increase is therefore real (+ 42%), but, compared to the population, the total remains marginal.

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