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China's aging and shrinking population presents a potential demographic crisis, putting pressure on an already strained pension system and threatening future economic growth.    © Illustration by Daniel Garcia
The Big Story

China's aging population threatens a Japan-style lost decade

Beijing's brutal one-child policy tackled overpopulation but did it go too far?

PAK YIU, GRACE LI, CK TAN and MITSURU OBE, Nikkei staff writers | China

HONG KONG/NANTONG, China -- Located at the estuary of the Yangtze River and Yellow Sea, the Chinese city of Nantong has so many elderly residents that, at first glance, it looks like it could be a retirement community. Except that few of its residents turn out to be retired.

The city's working elderly guard factory gates, operate mom and pop stores, wash catering utensils, serve diners at local eateries, toil in rapeseed fields and fill other jobs.

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