~ Book Review: ONE CHILD The Story of China’s Most Radical Experiment By: Mei Fong ~
When I was a university student, I studied Chinese. Therefore, I took quite a handful of classes on Chinese literature and culture. It has always been something I have had a huge interest in. I love reading up on current news of China and learning about Chinese culture. So when I saw this book about the one child policy in China at Hong Kong international airport, I knew I had to immediately exchange my money into HKD and buy it. Since I was ‘vacationing’, it took me a while to finally finish it, but when I did, I felt like a lot of learning happened.
Written by Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and previous China correspondent for the Wall Street Journal, Mei Fong, details the one child policy in China from its start to its nearing end through giving history lessons, reliving her journey in China, and sharing tidbits of her personal life.
I knew the basics of the one child policy and how it brought on a crazy gender imbalance and how “China’s missing girls” might effect its future economy, but there was a lot I did not know. That is what I liked about the book the most. It was super educational and at times, a bit sad since this is a really real and really current situation. Every chapter (there’s nine in total) discussed a new topic caused or influenced by the one child policy. For example, this book explores how the one child policy affected things like the Sichuan earthquake, created concepts such as the “Little Emperors”, ruined traditionally big Chinese families/the rich history of elder order, etc. Overall, the book was very enlightening.
Not to say, there wasn’t any drawbacks. I had problems here and there with the trustworthiness of the anecdotes from the Chinese interviewed, but I can understand how that can happen. In addition, I was not really interested in the author’s personal information that was tied into the book, but all in all, it was a nice read. Some chapters were more intriguing than others, but truthfully, this book did take me on a learning experience which I enjoyed.
The one child policy is truly one of the most radical experiments ever. I think that everyone should learn a little bit about this recently abolished policy (from one to two now) because it will be affecting the world in some form. If you are curious about this topic, then I recommend reading this educational and well-rounded book.