When Chinese parents rushed to give birth in what was considered
the doubly-auspicious millennium and lunar dragon year in 2000,
they might not have anticipated that their "lucky babies" would
face such an ordeal to get into schools.
Six years after the baby boom, primary schools across the
country are filled to capacity. In Lanzhou, capital of northwest
China's Gansu Province, first-year enrolment numbers
jumped 10 to 30 percent.
Schools in Quanzhou, east China's Fujian Province, and the southern city of
Guangzhou, face the same problem and had to expand the number of
classes to accommodate new pupils, according to a Xinhua report
Many couples in the belief that babies born at the turn of the
century, which coincided with the Chinese Year of the Dragon, would
be blessed chose to have babies in 2000.
Figures from the National Bureau of Statistics show that about
36 million babies were born that year, far higher than the 19.09
million in 1999 and 17.02 million in 2001.
The large number of "millennium babies" have exerted enormous
pressure on schools, as resources such as teachers and equipment
The report said the Ministry of Education had taken note of the
sharp increase in primary school enrolment, and would take measures
to cope with the situation.
Experts also warn that problems may accompany the children
throughout their lives including entry to middle schools and
colleges; as well as finding jobs.
However, it seems that couples have not taken heed of the
emerging problems from the baby boom, as a large number plan to
have babies next year, the Year of the Pig in the Chinese zodiac,
which is also considered lucky.
About 3,000 women went to the Beijing Obstetrics and Gynaecology
Hospital to have prenatal checks in the past three months, 600 more
than the same period of last year.
Haidian Maternal and Child Health Hospital in Beijing has also
seen a growing number of pregnant women since June, according to
local daily The First.
Wang Xiaoying, a pregnant woman who was waiting for a prenatal
check at Haidian hospital, said she had no intention of having a
baby next year, but her family pressured her because of their faith
in a widely-believed folk saying that 2007 would be the year of the
"golden pig," the luckiest to have babies in 60 years.
Experts described the rush for a baby in a "lucky year" as
Xu Doudou, a sociologist at Fuzhou University, said couples
should avoid blind faith in the so-called "golden pig" year, and
consider their health and other circumstances before they decide to
have a baby.
(China Daily October 25, 2006)