Tuesday, January 5, 2016

One Child: The Story of China's Most Radical Experiment

For as long as I've been old enough to know anything about China or world events, I've been aware that couples in China were only allowed to have one child. This is a policy that went into effect in 1980 to help the country from growing to a population that was too large to be able to sustain itself.

Fong's book gives an in depth look at the way this policy has affected China and it's citizens. Fong is a reporter who has lived in China, and who is the fifth daughter of Chinese parents, although she was not born in China and therefore her family didn't adhere to the one child policy.  

As she meets various parents and children there are many things she discovers:

  • in many cases only children, or Little Emperors, are unable to take risks, and are accustomed to having parents who have made life too easy for them
  • China's policy to control the population may have been unnecessary. Neighboring countries have seen dramatic decreases in birthrates without enforcing a policy.
  • There are ways around the one child policy. Some people pay a fine to have more children. Some areas of the country allowed families to have two children
  • The population of China's elderly is growing much faster than their younger population and it will be impossible for the number of elderly to survive without help from the central government
  • At one point adopting female infants from China was a way in which adoptive parents felt they were helping these unwanted children. It has been revealed later that many of these infants were sold. 
Fong's research and her ability to share stories about many different families in China made this book an amazing firsthand account of the One Child Policy.  It will be interesting to see how this policy affects China's future, as the ripple effect is still occurring.

1 comment:

Kay said...

I need to read this book. We have two nieces who were adopted from China. The selling of infants is awful. Our nieces were abandoned or that's my understanding. One at the post office when she was 3 months old and one was in an orphanage until she was almost 2. Therefore, I don't think either were sold. That being said, they have both struggled with certain issues and identity. One is 21 and one is 18.