CCP Scrambles to Keep Its World Factory Status by Rolling Out Drastic Measures

The regime is now encouraging the birth of a third child
By Jessica Mao
Jessica Mao
Jessica Mao
Jessica Mao is a writer for The Epoch Times with a focus on China-related topics. She began writing for the Chinese-language edition in 2009.
June 30, 2021 Updated: June 30, 2021

The CCP’s recent policies to encourage the birth of a third child, crack down on private tutoring, and train skilled workers have all been attributed to the CCP’s recognition of a looming crisis in China’s manufacturing sector, some say.

A key factor in encouraging childbirth involves the CCP’s Ministry of Education which has set up an agency to supervise after-school education, according to a circular released on June 9. The agency is responsible for the management of after-school education for primary and secondary school students and even kindergarten children. It sets standards and supervises the establishment of institutions, training content, training time, personnel qualifications, and fees for online and offline after-school education.

The Ministry of Education has launched a series of crackdown measures on the $120 billion private tutoring industry, including trial bans on online and offline vacation tutoring and restrictions on advertising in Beijing, Shanghai, and other major cities, Reuters reported, citing people familiar with the matter. The new rules aim to relieve pressure on students and boost the country’s birth rate by reducing the cost of living for families, two sources said.

Sober Observer, a financial blogger on YouTube, said in a video on June 26 that in order to accommodate families who want their children to remain competitive, the CCP specially established an agency to supervise after-school education and promote after-school services, making it clear that after-school tutoring should end at a convenient time so parents can pick up their children after work. At the same time, the CCP is imposing strict regulations on companies that provide tutoring services. 

The blogger also said that when the CCP recently introduced a three-child policy, the general feedback was that many did not think they could afford to raise more children.

Zhang Tianliang, a commentator and associate professor of humanities and science at Fei Tian College in the United States, also said in his Youtube video on June 17 that the cost of raising a child is very high in China. Many young people can’t afford to have a second child, let alone a third. In order to not let children “lose at the starting line,” many parents sign their kids up for a variety of classes when they are still in primary school or kindergarten, such as Mathematical Olympiad classes, English classes, and musical instrument classes.

However, in the hope of boosting fertility rates, the CCP wants to control after-school tutoring so that parents cannot spend more money on it, which will make them consider raising another child, Zhang analyzed.

“You can see that the CCP has gone to great pains to solve the problem of not having enough ‘leeks.’ It may even harm the economy by cracking down on private education, but I don’t think it will really work, because some parents may hire private tutors directly, which may be more expensive,” Zhang said.

Chinese people often refer to themselves as “leeks” because they are easy to plant and harvest more than once. “Cutting leeks” means (the authorities) use citizens as a tool to make money and exploit them as slaves.

Lacking Skilled Workers, the CCP Promotes Vocational Education

In recent years, the shortage of labor in the manufacturing industry has become more and more prominent.

In February, Guangdong Galanz Group, a giant Chinese home appliance company, invested heavily in the recruitment of workers. “If you refer 100 people, you will earn 260,000 yuan [$40,267],” it advertised. “Recommending workers to Galanz, earning money to buy a Benz.”

In this regard, Sober Observer said that recruitment difficulties are plaguing many enterprises in China this year.

“The lack of top-tier skilled workers is a very big obstacle to the transition from a manufacturing hub to a manufacturing powerhouse,” he said. “If you don’t have skilled workers, you can’t last very long even if you are the factory of the world. The CCP is aware of this and is looking for different ways to solve the problem.”

The CCP’s Ministry of Education issued a circular on March 23, calling for the development of secondary vocational education and increasing the proportion of students enrolled.

In May last year, the Ministry issued a new policy to merge subsidiary colleges and vocational universities into vocational and technical universities. The subsidiary colleges in China are under a big-name university, but the admissions criteria are much lower than for the parent university. The new policy downgraded the Bachelor’s degree that students in these colleges would obtain after graduation to a vocational degree. In June, when several subsidiary colleges in the provinces of Jiangsu, Zhejiang, and Shanxi pushed for such a policy, large student protests were triggered, leading the CCP to send in special police and riot vans at one point.

Sober Observer pointed out that it was a sign of the CCP’s determination to promote vocational education to train skilled workers, as it recognized that China’s manufacturing sector was already in crisis.

In Western developed countries, advanced skilled workers account for more than 35 percent of the total number of skilled workers, but China does not have such a culture that treats advanced workers with respect, he said. Young Chinese feel humiliated being a skilled worker, preferring to be takeout riders or office workers for $464–$619 a month rather than working on the factory floor with a monthly salary of over $1,548.

For all of the CCP’s efforts to increase the competitiveness of Chinese manufacturing by encouraging childbirth and having more technical schools to train skilled workers, the conditions that made China the world factory have changed fundamentally and subversively, he said. The cheap resources, land, and cheap labor that China used to have are gone. In addition, Beijing’s relations with the West have changed.

The blogger also noted that the United States, Japan, and Germany are all rebuilding their high-end manufacturing, while the low-end manufacturing is going to Southeast Asian countries like India, and Mexico which offer lower costs. This trend is not going to change in the long run.

“That’s why the CCP thought of lifting birth control, encouraging childbirth, and training skilled workers, but distant water cannot quench present thirst [you need to come up with an immediate solution to a problem],” he said. “The decline of China’s manufacturing sector and its national fate is almost irreversible. The CCP’s policies will turn out to be a complete failure.”

Jessica Mao
Jessica Mao
Jessica Mao is a writer for The Epoch Times with a focus on China-related topics. She began writing for the Chinese-language edition in 2009.