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For decades, China harshly restricted (hạn chế nghiêm ngặt) the number of children couples could have, arguing that everyone would be better off with fewer mouths to feed. The government’s one-child policy was woven into the fabric of everyday life, through slogans on street banners and in popular culture and public art.

Now, faced with a shrinking and aging population (dân số giảm và già đi), China is using many of the same propaganda channels to send the opposite message: Have more babies.

Instead of enforcing birth limits, the government has shifted gears to promote (chuyển đổi để thúc đẩy) a “pro-birth culture,” organizing beauty pageants for pregnant women and producing rap videos about the advantages of having children.

Under the one-child policy, local governments levied steep “social upbringing fees” on those who had more children than allowed. For some families, these penalties brought financial devastation and fractured marriages.

As recently as early 2021, people were still being fined heavily (phạt nặng) for having a third child, only to find out a few months later, in June, that the government passed a law allowing all married couples to have three children. It had also not only abolished these fees nationwide but also encouraged localities to provide extra welfare benefits (phúc lợi bổ sung) and longer parental leave for families with three children.

The pivot has prompted local officials to remove visible remnants (tàn tích) of the one-child policy. Last year, local governments across various provinces systematically erased outdated slogans on birth restrictions from public streets and walls.

But the slogans that the government would like to treat as relics (coi như di vật) of a bygone era are finding new resonance with young Chinese.

On social media, many Chinese users have shared photos of one-child policy slogans as witty retorts to what they described as growing societal pressure (áp lực xã hội ngày càng tăng) to have larger families. Some of the posts have garnered thousands of likes and hundreds of comments.

source: nytimes,

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