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