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Beijing in Retreat


China’s COVID-19 pandemic is over. China’s ruling Communist Party seems uncharacteristically subdued as it limps through the crisis. The Wolf Warriors are now quiet. It is almost reflective. Beijing has been taking a hard look at its position and is now aware of the fragility of it. The Party has never faced so many problems at once.

On January 17th, authorities admitted that the country’s population has finally begun shrinking, and much earlier than the UN or the CCP had predicted—indeed, much earlier than anyone had predicted, with the exception of Yi Fuxian is the prophetic deographer. For context, this is the first time that the Chinese populace has declined since 1961, when tens of millions died in history’s worst-ever famine. Today there is no comparable cataclysm; just the slow march of demographic inevitability, set in motion 43 years ago by Deng Xiaoping’s one child policy (the largest social experiment in human history), and moving ever since with the cold certainty of implacable Mother Nature.

The Communist Party was actually able to see what was going on a full ten years ago. However, its two- and three-child options failed. The birthrate continued falling (with a steeper drop in the second…

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