Beijing: As President Xi Jinping gears up to accept a third term of power, China is desperately fighting to reverse a rapid shrinkage in population, which is expected to start in 2022 and the administration fears that it will have profound ramifications for its future.

Valerio Fabbri, writing in Portal Plus, a Slovenian publication, said the demographers have predicted that the shrinking may begin in 2022 itself, a turning point that will weaken the government's economic tools which in turn could impact manufacturing, China's main economic weapon spearheading its economic supremacy in the last couple of decades.

China is already struggling to meet the rising cost of health and social care and their expenditure on draconian zero-Covid infrastructure has ballooned. In contrast, tax receipts from the battered property sector have plummeted and now the population is shrinking, according to Portal Plus.

Portal Plus citing Global Times reported that in several provinces of China, the number of new births in 2021 was the lowest in decades in several areas. The number of births in central Hunan province fell below 500,000 for the first time in nearly 60 years. Only China's southern Guangdong province has had more than 1 million new births, it added.

By law, Chinese babies undergo physical examinations within 1-3 days of birth. Henan has still not yet released the total number of newborns this year. At the end of last year, some 267 million Chinese were aged 60 and above, accounting for 18.9 per cent of the total population, according to Portal Plus.

According to Yuan Xin, vice-president of the China Population Association and a professor of demography at Nankai University in Tianjin said that in 2024, more than one-fifth of the population will be aged 60 and older.

In the coming decade, more than 20 million people will retire each year on average, according to Portal Plus citing Banyuetan, a Communist Party publication under the official Xinhua News Agency.

Meanwhile, on Sunday, while delivering a report to the 20th National Congress in Beijing, Xi vowed to further modernize the country's military in line with goals for the centenary of the People's Liberation Army in 2027, state media outlet Xinhua reported.

Xi Jinping expressed the desire to quickly elevate the people's armed forces to world-class standards for building a modern socialist country.

"We will strengthen Party building across the board in the people's armed forces to ensure that they always obey the Party's command," Xi was quoted as saying by Xinhua.

The Party will improve the institutions and mechanisms for implementing the system of ultimate responsibility resting with the chairman of the Central Military Commission, he said.

Xi said the communist party will strengthen Party organizations in the people's armed forces, carry out regular activities and put in place institutions to improve the military's political work.

The CCP will intensify troop training and enhance combat preparedness across the board, strengthen all-around military governance, and enhance integrated national strategies and strategic capabilities, Portal Plus quoted Xi as saying.

At the twice-a-decade meeting of the communist party, Xi said that the country has achieved full control over Hong Kong and turned it from chaos to governance, Reuters news agency reported.

Regional experts say that Chairman Xi Jinping will undoubtedly extend his term in power for another five years.

He will either be re-elected as general secretary of the CCP or will be newly elected as chairman of the CCP, a title that has lain dormant since 1982 and was once the highest position ever held by Mao Zedong.