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In 1980, the Communist Government of China instituted a policy of one child per family as a means of curtailing population growth. Now, the success or failure of this highly controversial social experiment can be assessed. In this comprehensive report, correspondent John Taylor journeyed from the high rise flats of middle class Beijing to the poor farms of the Chinese countryside to see the effect of this policy.
Population growth has been slowed, but this success has come at enormous social cost. Many families have suffered greatly under the policy, from forced abortions to political coercion and heavy fines. Liu Shuling, a poor farmer's wife with two children says, "After having one baby, when people tried to have a second one, if you didn't have money, they would pull down your house. If they didn't pull down your house, they would take away your timber and your horse carts."
The policy has also given birth to an alarming imbalance between the sexes. For every 100 girls there are 120 boys. Traditionally, Chinese parents have preferred sons because they support them in their old age and carry on the family name. Many couples have turned to ultrasound machines to guarantee they get the type of child they desire.
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