Media & Culture

Mei Fong

The journalist who revealed the pain at the heart of China’s one-child policy.

Author, One Child: The Past and Future of China’s Most Radical Experiment

Fong has literally written the book on the largest social engineering project of all time. China’s decades-long planned birth regime — or the “one-child policy,” as it’s usually known in the West — sought to reduce poverty and speed economic growth by limiting most Chinese families to a single child. But in her recent book, One Child: The Past and Future of China’s Most Radical Experiment, former Wall Street Journal correspondent Fong likens the policy to “crash dieting” rather than sensible management. Her book explains how the measure spurred Draconian edicts, like forced abortions and sterilizations, that traumatized everyone involved — often even the enforcers — and left a wake of demographic problems that include a vast gender imbalance and relentless pressure on single children to care for family members. Fong’s book was published just as the Chinese government announced the end of the notorious policy; her work “enables better policymaking” by exploring the “deep impact of politics and ideology on lives and society at a time of nonstop change,” Marcus Brauchli, former executive editor of the Washington Post, told

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Fong also pioneered a new model for authors frustrated by an increasingly strict Chinese censorship regime. Unable to find a publisher willing and able to sell a Chinese-language edition in the mainland, Fong commissioned a translation on her own; she is giving the e-book away for free, asking only for donations.

(Photo credit: New America)

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