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(LifeSiteNews) — China has announced that its population declined in 2022 by 850,000 people – the first such decline in 60 years, since the disastrous Great Leap Forward.

Demographers have long predicted that, due to the demographic devastation caused by the one-child policy, China would eventually suffer a demographic decline.

This decline in workforce will have devastating economic consequences. The decrease in the labor force will stifle China’s ability to support its “severely aging society.” Indeed, demographers forecast that by 2035, 400 million people – 30 percent of the population – will be 60 years of age and above. Moreover, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has no ability to support this swiftly aging population.

That decline has arrived sooner than expected, for at least two reasons. First, there has been increased mortality due to COVID.

Second, the Chinese Communist Party assumed that it could control the population at will, decreasing births through violent, murderous population control policies; then increasing births when it needed them by urging eligible married couples to have two, and now three children. In the CCP’s view, a woman’s body lies in the domain of the state. This attempt to play God is an act of profound hubris.

Under the one-child policy, the CCP’s “Womb Police” succeeded in limiting births through forced abortion, forced sterilization, involuntary birth control, and even infanticide. Indeed, in 2009 they boasted that they had “prevented” 400 million births through the one-child policy – their contribution to the fight against global warming! I believe that the total number of forced abortions today is likely closer to 500 million – half a billion!

Because of savage son preference, the majority of babies aborted in China have been female, so that there are an estimated 35 million more males living in China than females. Not only will these forced bachelors, or “bare branches,” be unable to reproduce, but this extreme gender imbalance is driving human trafficking and sexual slavery within China and from surrounding countries. The sex-selective abortion of some females leads to the sexual slavery of others. There is no more violent form of gender discrimination than gendercide, the real war on women.

The one-child policy shifted to a two-child policy in 2016 and to a three-child policy in 2021. Through all these policy shifts, the CCP has maintained the right to forcibly abort out-of-plan or “illegal pregnancies.” Now, the CCP finds that it is facing a population decline that is as devastating as it is irreversible.

Apparently, the CCP thought that it could simply relax the policy and count on people suddenly wanting to have more children. Not so. The two- and three-child policies failed to deliver the increase in births desired by the CCP, and now China faces a demographic disaster.

Many couples are choosing to have no children at all. Indeed, the zero-COVID policy has driven some young couples to despair. One such couple in Shanghai was confronted by police dressed in hazmat suits, known as “Big Whites,” who attempted to drag them away to a quarantine camp because they had contact with one who tested positive for the novel virus. The police threatened three generations of their family, to which the husband declared, “We are the last generation.” This desperate indictment of life under the cruel tyranny of the CCP has gone viral in China.

Under the three-child policy, it remains illegal for women to have a fourth child, or to give birth if unmarried. Forced abortion remains legal in China today, especially among the Uyghur women in Xinjiang, where the CCP has been committing genocide. In the Chinese countryside, impoverished women are still being pressured to “give away” their baby girls or are struggling to feed them.

China’s message to the world is that the United States is a declining power, and China is a rising power. China’s demographic implosion destroys this narrative. China is in a nosedive. This is a self-inflicted wound.

Given China’s desperation to increase the birth rate, maintaining the three-child policy – or any other coercive population control policy – is preposterous.

We call upon the CCP to end all coercive population control, to make forced abortion and involuntary sterilization illegal, including in Xinjiang, and to institute effective measures to save female children, immediately.

Women’s Rights Without Frontiers has enabled hundreds of women in the Chinese countryside to keep and feed their infant daughters through our Save a Girl Campaign. We know it can be done.

One-fifth of the population of the world lives under the totalitarian boot of the Chinese Communist Party. The world will not be free until the women of China are free.

Reggie Littlejohn, President of Women’s Rights Without Frontiers, has been working to stop forced abortion in China for many years. She issued the the above opinion.