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Friday, May 6, 2011

'One kid is enough!'

For many Beijing parents the 'one-child' policy is far less pressing than the cost of bringing up even one child.
China's census should make for stark reading for policy makers, showing more old people and fewer young people to pay for said older people, the result of three decades of policies aimed at slowing population growth.

While the government enforces the policy unevenly these days - urban couples who are themselves single children are permitted two of their own, for example - policy makers have shown no intention of abandoning it.

It's expensive!

Yet with ever-rising costs in cities such as Beijing, the question for many is not whether they want another child but whether they can bear the cost.

"I can't even get this one into kindergarten," complained housewife Li Tong, 29, out walking with her three-year-old son in Beijing's fashionable Sanlitun shopping district.

"Education is a real concern for us. I have many friends who don't want children at all. One is enough for me."

Like the residents of Hong Kong and Singapore, which have among the world's lowest birthrates, China's urbanites are starting to believe that the expense of maintaining larger families outweighs the benefits.

That's the view of Wang Gui, 35 and father of a four-year-old boy.

"We actually would like another, and according to current rules we can," said Wang. "But I think the cost would be prohibitive. It's too much pressure to expect us to cope with.

"I do think the policy should remain, however. Those people in the countryside would just pop out babies left, right and center if given a chance, and we as a country don't have the necessary resources."

"China has too many people, we have too much pressure on housing and transportation," said Zheng Xing, 26. "I will have only one child. I cannot afford a second financially. Inflation is so high, everything is expensive and income is limited."

Still, as China's population gets better educated and more worldly, debate about the one-child policy has grown.

What do you think about the one-child policy?Please send me your views via email: track2311@yahoo.com or track2311@counsellor.com

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