One Child

One Child

The Story of China's Most Radical Experiment

Book - 2016
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When Communist Party leaders adopted the one-child policy in 1980, they hoped curbing birth-rates would help lift China's poorest and increase the country's global stature. But at what cost? Now, as China closes the book on the policy after more than three decades, it faces a population grown too old and too male, with a vastly diminished supply of young workers. Mei Fong has spent years documenting the policy's repercussions on every sector of Chinese society. In One Child, she explores its true human impact, traveling across China to meet the people who live with its consequences. Their stories reveal a dystopian reality: unauthorized second children ignored by the state, only-children supporting aging parents and grandparents on their own, villages teeming with ineligible bachelors, and an ungoverned adoption market stretching across the globe. Fong tackles questions that have major implications for China's future: whether its 'Little Emperor' cohort will make for an entitled or risk-averse generation; how China will manage to support itself when one in every four people is over sixty-five years old; and above all, how much the one-child policy may end up hindering China's growth. Weaving in Fong's reflections on striving to become a mother herself, One Child offers a nuanced and candid report from the extremes of family planning.
Publisher: Boston : Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2016.
ISBN: 9780544275393
Branch Call Number: 363.9 F732
Characteristics: xvi, 250 pages ; 24 cm


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Sep 24, 2019

****************** 20 STARRED Review ****************************
"I Remember Mama . . . "
During Mao's Cultural Revolution of depravity, a 16-year-old Zhang Hongbing turned in his own mother for defacing Mao's portrait - - she was shot to death several months following.
Young 15-year-old Li Xue doesn't have or appear in hukuo, the household registration system, a dynastic control implemented by Mao - - after it had been overturned by Sun Yat-sen. She was a second child and her poor parents were unable to pay the fine, or tax, on her birth. Therefore, young Li Xue can never attend school, receive medical treatment, obtain a library card - - will never be allowed to hold a job, or marry - - and any children she may conceive would be damned to the exact same fate!
Thirteen million or more share her insane situation in China, thanks to the Chinese Communist Party.
The author accurately explains that, "The hukuo is a form of economic apartheid that creates a permanent underclass . . . ."
Importantly, it was a mainstay of Chinese dynasties, or royal totalitarian rule, brought back by Mao to command and control and dominate!
Ms. Fong does a great job explaining this artificial caste system of the hukou. Now I have read previous books, written by so-called "China scholars" who claim the hukou is a holdover --- FALSE! Again, it was a domination component of ancient dynasties, abolished by Sun Yat-sen and reimplemented by Emperor Mao.
I do have some criticism of the author's misuse of the word "detained" when she should have written "disappeared" --- big difference when one's wife and children, or other family members, suddenly cannot find their husband or father or son or brother and there's no word on his whereabouts for years from the police, who kidnapped him!
Otherwise, an awesome read!


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