China downplays India overtaking it as the most populous country

Beijing: China on Wednesday sought to downplay India overtaking it as the world’s most populous nation with 142.86 crore people, saying that it still has a “quality” workforce of close to 900 million people to provide a strong impetus for development.

According to the latest United Nations Population Fund data, India surpassed China to become the world’s most populous nation with 142.86 crore people. China which has a population of 142.57 crore has now become the second most populous country, the UN world population dashboard showed.

Asked for his reaction to the report, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin told a media briefing here: “I want to tell you that population dividend does not depend on quantity but also quality”.

The population is important and so is the talent, he said about China, the world’s second-largest economy after the United States.

“China’s population is over 1.4 billion. Those in the working age is close to 900 million and that group of populations is 10.5 years of education on average,” he said.

“As Premier Li Qiang pointed out our population dividend has not disappeared and our talent dividend is booming and the impetus is strong for development,” Wang said.

According to a new UNFPA report, 25 per cent of India’s population is in the age group of 0-14 years, 18 per cent in the 10 to 19 age group, 26 per cent in the age bracket of 10 to 24 years, 68 per cent in 15 to 64 years age group, and 7 per cent above 65 years.