In 1949, when the Communists took power in China, only about one million

people lived in Beijing. Since then, millions more have poured into the city to work in its new government offices and industries. In the early Communist years, the population grew because Mao Zedong encouraged people to have many children to make China strong. Now the government is trying to stop Beijing’s population of about 21 million from growing any larger. Population control The government decided to stop population growth in Beijing, and in China as a whole, because it feared that farmers would not be able to grow enough food for all the people. So in the late 1970s, the government ruled that people could have only one child. It was not until 2016, with much of the population growing older and leaving the work force, that the government changed its policy to two children per family.

After nearly four decades, China’s one-child policy was relaxed in 2016.

Old and young There is a growing difference between the lifestyles of the old and young in Beijing. Many people who grew up in the Mao years cling to strict Communist ways. They work hard and do not spend money on luxuries. Most walk or cycle around Beijing, and dress in plain, dark clothes. Young people are making the most of Beijing’s growing wealth. Many buy fashionable clothes and drive cars.

These women are doing their morning dance exercises in the Temple of Heaven park. ⌂


Major World Cities

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