Rocket scientists, secret cities and runaway brides: the stories behind the one-child policy


Congratulations to my old friend and colleague Mei Fong, whose new book One Child is out just in time to mark China’s transition out of the one-child policy era into the new two-child policy. It’s not a dry piece of demographic analysis, but has vivid and heartfelt reporting that digs out the many fascinating stories behind the slogans. The rocket scientists who designed the policy, the town where a two-child policy was pursued in secret, the personal stories of officials who enforced the policy–it’s all here. Plus there are close-up views of the complexities of sex, fertility and family in today’s China: we see rural villages empty of women, visit sex doll factories and hospices, meet surrogate mothers and adopted children. The ebook is out now, print edition coming in January.

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