China says population grew in 2020 after report of decline

BEIJING (AP) — China’s government says its population grew last year. That follows a report a census might have found a surprise decline, possibly adding to downward pressure on economic growth. The National Bureau of Statistics gave no details and said the population number would be reported later. But the unusual decision to comment on the report by The Financial Times reflected the issue’s political sensitivity. Chinese leaders have tried to restrain population growth since 1980 but an outright fall would reduce the flow of workers into the economy when Beijing is trying to shore up growth and reduce poverty.