“We must fully understand and properly treat the new situations of our country’s demographic development,” Xi said, according to a readout posted on the central government’s website. It’s critical for China to focus on improving its population quality while keeping up an appropriate birthrate and population size, he said. The message follows recent confirmation that China’s population started shrinking in 2022, for the first time in six decades — the latest milestone in a worsening demographic challenge. ”Meanwhile, China has been overtaken by India as the world’s most populous nation, according to United Nations data released last month. Most Read from Bloomberg Businessweek©2023 Bloomberg L.P.