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This series features brief discussions with leading China experts on a range of issues in the U.S.-China relationship, including domestic politics, foreign policy, economics, security, culture, the environment, and areas of global concern. For more interviews, videos, and links to events, visit our website:

The National Committee on U.S.-China Relations is the leading nonprofit, nonpartisan organization that encourages understanding of China and the United States among citizens of both countries.

Mar 16, 2016

Winner of the Pulitzer Prize and Human Rights Press Award, author Mei Fong discusses China’s one child policy, women’s issues and child adoptions in a candid discussion of her recent book, One Child: The Story of China’s Most Radical Experiment, with National Committee Senior Director for Education Programs Margot Landman.

Despite its implementation at a time of global concern about over-population, China’s one-child policy developed into one of the most controversial social policies of the twentieth century. Between 1970 and 1976, the Chinese government successfully led the “Long, Late, and Few” campaign which aimed to curtail population growth at a time of limited resources. However, by the end of the decade, after a brief decline China’s population growth rate began to rise again, prompting the leaders to reexamine their efforts. In response, in 1980 the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China announced the implementation of the so-called one-child policy, in which Han couples would be limited to one child. There were exceptions, particularly for rural families.

The contentious population control policy lasted for more than three decades; in late 2015 the Chinese government announced that families would be allowed to have two children. The one-child policy has had tremendous demographic repercussions far beyond a significantly reduced birth rate. Acclaimed author and journalist Mei Fong has spent years documenting and analyzing the impact of the policy. In her book,One Child: The Story of China's Most Radical Experiment, Ms. Fong writes about the origins of the policy and some of its unintended consequences including the creation of “little emperors” (spoiled children), a huge gender imbalance, and a rapidly aging population. Mei Fong discussed her book with the National Committee on March 8, 2016 in New York City.