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China's population is set to reach a peak of 1.442 billion in 2029 and start a long period of "unstoppable" decline in 2030, government scholars said in a research report published on Friday. The world's most populous country must now draw up policies to try to cope with a declining labour force and a rapidly ageing population, according to the summary of the latest edition of the "Green Book of Population and Labor" published by the China Academy of Social Sciences (CASS). Growth in the working population had now stagnated, the report said, and the rising number of elderly people will have a far-reaching impact on the social and economic development in the country, especially if fertility rates remain low. "From a theoretical point of view, the long-term population decline, especially when it is accompanied by a continuously ageing population, is bound to cause very unfavourable social and economic consequences," it said.