One Child: The Story of China’s Most Radical Experiment [Book Review]

One Child.jpgTitle : One Child: The Story of China’s Most Radical Experiment

Author : Mei Fong

ISBN : 9780544275393

Publisher : Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

Genre : Non-Fiction

Pages : 272

Source : Pan Macmillan India

Rating : 5 stars





First of all, a heartfelt thanks to Pan MacMillan India for providing a review copy to The BookTrack team.

The communist party enforced the “One-Child” policy in China and it helped in the economic boom, taking China to be the coveted World’s largest growing economy- This the most we know about the policy, thanks to the communist government that rules the country with totalitarian censorship.

Mei Fong is a journalist at the Wall Street Journal and has travelled to the lengths of urban as well as remote rural China to come up with this extremely fascinating (and shocking), detailed and honest documentation of the repercussions that China is facing as a result of this widely controversial policy.

Fong discusses each problem which is a result of the “One Child” policy in separate chapters- The ageing population, heavily skewed gender ratio resulting in huge number of male bachelors, the inhuman practices of forced abortions, the teeming industry of “Child Trafficking” masquerading as “Overseas Adoption”, societal and psychological pressures that a single child faces- the constant pressure to perform well throughout his/her youth and then take care of his/her parents when they get old and so on.

Being from India, where the democracy has been more or less an impressive success and where children are considered as “Gifts of God”, I was deeply perturbed by the fact that Chinese citizens don’t have the “Right to reproduce” and “Right to have a family in the way they wish”. Forced abortions, giving away the second child to adoption without consent, the heavy fine one needs to pay if he/she has a second child, denial of all governmental recognition to the “unwanted child” and other heinous regulations made me realize how much we Indians take our freedom for granted, and how difficult it must have been for people of China.

Coming to the narration, it is crisp, smooth and there is not a hint of it being a drab, dry demographic work. The efforts taken by the author to visit the remote rural areas of China to view the problems at a grassroot level are indeed commendable. The fact that she is from the reputed Wall Street Journal further helps the writing to have an engaging prose. Also I must mention, I got to know about many Chinese customs and traditions through this book, which makes it further more informative.

Strongly recommended.  Buy a copy for yourself from Amazon here.

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