Why China Needs More Children

Sim Chi Yin / VII Mentor Program

Parents drop off their kids — most of them single children — at an elementary school in Beijing

It has been a long time since Liu Jinghu and his wife enjoyed a weekend to themselves. Saturdays and Sundays in smoggy Beijing are dedicated to their only child, 2-year-old son Xiaojing: there are early-childhood exercise classes; singing sessions with other families; Lego-building sprees in a living room scattered with toys. Then there's the specter of expensive tutoring to get their toddler into a good school and, further into the future, the pressure to buy their son an apartment so he can persuade a woman to marry him. That property burden could cost Liu, a software-development manager, and his...

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