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China has — rightly — been the toast of economic and political commentators alike for the way that it has pulled itself out of poverty to become the world’s second biggest economy and potential megapower in just 45 years since Deng Xiaoping opened the door to the outside world, an unprecedented achievement.

But two official announcements last month show that the progress has come with a large price. Unconventional Economist expressed the problem bluntly on the macrobusiness site, declaring that, “China will grow old before it grows rich.”

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