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

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

No notes for slide. Her story begins with her taking a stifling ride on a packed train to Sichuan in with a group of peasant farmers returning home to find out if their only children have been killed in the terrible earthquake that hit the province that year.

She also ventures to remote villages where local officials are charged by the central government with maintaining the one-child policy, leading to cases of forced abortions. One such case in , where a woman named Feng Jianmei was held down and injected forcibly with an abortifacient, even caused a scandal within China and a declaration by the national authorities that they would review the operation of the policy. Fong also takes us inside the decisions that led to the formation of the policy.

In the late s, the Chinese government decided that demographics was in fact rocket science and set a group of cyberneticists and engineers to ponder the problem. Now they have finally conquered it with their wisdom and strength.

As a result of social changes that the mathematicians failed to see, China is now getting older rapidly. Families have spent tremendous amounts of time and money in investing in the future of the one child who will be a significant part of their pension plan. No wonder that in , the Chinese government announced that the policy would change to allow all families up to two children.

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

Yet as Fong points out, the policy may well have been unnecessary in the first place. Many developing countries have seen significant reductions in the population as they become richer, healthier and more urbanised.

One Child Nation - Official Trailer - Amazon Studios

Japan is currently in staggering demographic decline more than a fifth of the population is over 65 without any coercion at all; economic decline and anomie appears to have done the trick, along with a refusal to allow much immigration. In Shanghai, families have been permitted to have two children for some years and in fact the policy nationwide always had huge numbers of loopholes.

Nonetheless, Shanghai families are overwhelmingly choosing to stick to one child; the high cost of everything from property to education makes this more economically logical. Today there is much more concern about the sustainability of our lifestyles — can every Chinese or, indeed, American, own a car with the pollution that that implies?