The best books on the one child policy

1 authors have picked their favorite books about the one child policy and why they recommend each book.

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

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

By Mei Fong,

Why this book?

Mei Fong has spent years documenting and traveling across China to meet the people who live with the consequences of the draconian one-child policy. I was riveted by this slim but expansive book, its searing clarity, deep compassion, and unflinching interrogation only avail to an outsider unhampered by the censorship in China. Mei Fong explores in depth how the one-child policy has changed every facet of social life from cradle to grave: courtship, marriage, women’s work, only children, adoption/baby trafficking, surrogate, IVF, aging, retirement, hospice/death, and much more. Weaving in with the author’s own quest to become a mother, Mei…

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The best books on China’s one-child policy and Tiananmen Square protests

Book cover of Frog

Frog

By Mo Yan, Howard Goldblatt (translator),

Why this book?

As a writer who works under China’s censorship, Mo Yan spins literary gold in his novel Frog by blending high farce with social commentary. Narrator Tadpole’s aunt Gugu, a feisty woman with extraordinary gifts, evolves from a legendary midwife to a demonic one-child policy enforcer, then becomes an incorrigible go-between for surrogate and intentional parents. Readers see how China and rural Gaomi townships have changed, almost beyond description, from Maoist times to the current hyper-capitalistic phase. Much of the story is funny, brutal, yet firmly grounded, as people endure, and many perish during a half-century of social and political turmoil.

From the list:

The best books on China’s one-child policy and Tiananmen Square protests

Book cover of Just One Child: Science and Policy in Deng's China

Just One Child: Science and Policy in Deng's China

By Susan Greenhalgh,

Why this book?

China's gargantuan size has haunted its efforts to become a modern nation. Anthropologist Greenhalgh argues that in the late 1970s, Chinese rocket scientists, influenced by doomsday policymakers in the West, convinced the Chinese government to impose a one-child family planning program. The draconian enforcement of the one-child policy subjected millions of women to intimate corporeal surveillance that resulted in uncounted numbers of forced abortions, hidden births, and suffering for the masses. By 2016, when the two children policy was instituted, family planning contributed to an unbalanced gender ratio, delayed marriages, and a possibly irreversible population decline. Social engineering is a…

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Book cover of The Only Child

The Only Child

By Guojing,

Why this book?

This is such a beautiful book to me. In it, a lost child from a crowded urban environment encounters a mythic deer who takes her on a journey filled with wonders. I don’t know how, but the author manages to convey such believable tenderness and deep connection between this large wild animal and the small child. The art is made with a soft pencil style that is a perfect match for the atmospheric, dreamy, and magical content.

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