Since 1979, China's one-child policy has exercised unprecedented control over the reproductive habits of more than a billion people. Now the Chinese economy is on the verge of becoming the largest in the world. But will it get there or is this colossal experiment in social engineering about to bring everything crumbling down?
Pulitzer Prizewinning journalist Mei Fong goes to China in search of the real cost of this divisive policy for the families affected by it. The one-child policy leaves behind a dystopian legacy of second children ignored by the state, only children caring for ageing parents and grandparents, and villages filled with ineligible bachelors as a result of a massive gender imbalance. Just as it lifted millions out of poverty at the end of the twentieth century, it has now condemned generations to economic and societal turmoil.
Drawing on a decade spent documenting the repercussions of the one-child policy on every sector of Chinese society, Fong makes a bleak prognosis, the effects of which will be felt across the globe.