One Child: Life, Love and Parenthood in Modern China

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9781780748450: One Child: Life, Love and Parenthood in Modern China
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Tang Shuxiu and her husband are on an 800-mile train journey from Beijing to Shifang, where they believe their only child has perished in a recent earthquake. Three days after the event, Tang is too dehydrated to cry. Liu Ting becomes a national hero when he brings his mother to college, a celebration of filial piety in a nation that now legally compels adult children to visit their elderly parents. Tian Qingeng and his parents are deeply in debt. They have bought an apartment they hope will improve his eligibility in a nation that has 30 million bachelors, or ‘bare branches’. Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Mei Fong has spent eight years documenting the effects of the one-child policy across all of Chinese society. In this critically acclaimed account, she weaves together personal stories, history and politics to produce an extraordinary, evocative investigation into how the policy has changed China and why the repercussions will be felt across the world for decades to come.

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An intimate investigation of the world’s largest experiment in social engineering, revealing how its effects will shape China for decades to come and what that means for the rest of the world

When Communist Party leaders adopted the one-child policy in 1980, they hoped curbing birthrates 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 over 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. 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.

From the Back Cover:

“Mei Fong’s brilliant exploration of China’s one-child policy must change the way we talk about China’s rise. One Child is lucid, humane, and unflinching; it is vital reading for anyone focused on the future of China’s economy, its environment, or its politics. It not only clarifies facts and retires myths, but also confronts the deepest questions about the meaning of parenthood.” —EVAN OSNOS, National Book Award-winning author of Age of Ambition

One Child is a critically important book about a major force that has shaped contemporary China, necessary reading both for policy experts and anyone interested in the future of one of the world’s most important nations. But it is also a riveting read, written with the flair and compassion of a novel, that throws new light on the tough decisions we all face—and the joys we discover—in family life.” —ANNE-MARIE SLAUGHTER, author of Unfinished Business

“Mei Fong reveals the dark underbelly of China’s one-child policy. Whatever the original intentions, its implementation led to heartache, human rights abuses, and coercion of women across the country. Also poignant is the fact that the legacy of the State’s attempt to control reproductive rights may linger as an Achilles heel derailing its economic rise.” —PAUL FRENCH, author of Midnight in Peking

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Other Popular Editions of the Same Title

9780544275393: One Child: The Story of China's Most Radical Experiment

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ISBN 10:  054427539X ISBN 13:  9780544275393
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2016
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9781786070562: One Child

Onewor..., 2017
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9780544815582: One Child: The Story of China's Most Radical Experiment

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