ONE CHILD: THE STORY OF CHINA’S MOST RAD­I­CAL EX­PER­I­MENT

North & South - - Review -

MEI FONG (ALLEN & UN­WIN, $31.99) In this ex­tra­or­di­nary book, Pulitzer Prize-win­ning jour­nal­ist Mei Fong ar­gues that China’s one-child pol­icy, in­tro­duced in 1980, wasn’t the best or only way to deal with over­pop­u­la­tion. But her fo­cus is the hu­man le­gacy. Fong’s wide-rang­ing in­ter­views with some of those af­fected drive an exquisitely writ­ten New Yorker- style story about the rip­ple ef­fects of zeal­ous fam­ily-plan­ning of­fi­cials and China’s com­plex cul­tural pref­er­ence for sons. Some­how, she never over­whelms us with hor­ror, even though this is the stuff of a dystopian novel. Sixty mil­lion “miss­ing women”, aborted or killed at birth. Forced late-term “abor­tions”. “Il­le­gal” chil­dren un­able to get ed­u­ca­tion or health­care. Whole towns of bach­e­lors, whose par­ents des­per­ately want grand­chil­dren. Girls stolen and traf­ficked. A sex-doll in­dus­try. An age­ing pop­u­la­tion. A labour short­age. And a one-and­done norm that’s re­sist­ing last year’s law change. This book will be read for gen­er­a­tions.

SARAH LANG

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.