Friday, September 22, 2006

Affluence, One-Child Policy Putting Pressure on Chinese Kids

Children of Rich Learn Class, Minus the Struggle
SHANGHAI, Sept. 21 — Every weekday this summer, Rose Lei drove her daughter, Angelina, 5, to a golf complex at the edge of central Shanghai for a two-hour, $200 individual lesson with a teaching pro from Scotland.

But now that the school year has started, little Angelina will have to cut back on the golf, limiting herself to weekend sessions at a local driving range. In addition to her demanding school schedule, she will be attending private classes at FasTracKids, an after-school academy for children as young as 4 that bills itself as a junior M.B.A. program.

Ms. Lei, 35, a former information technology expert and the wife of a prosperous newspaper advertising executive, is part of a new generation of affluent parents here who are planning ways to cement their children’s place in a fast-emerging elite...

To some extent, the trend is driven by a collision of rising affluence and China’s one-child policy, which forces parents to focus all their energy and resources on a single child. But experts say there is more at work, that it reflects fear of a new kind of rat race, in which the entire society is hustling for advancement.


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