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tv   After Words  CSPAN  January 18, 2016 12:00am-1:01am EST

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the book is called "geek heresy". we appreciate from c-span2 end will be available at some point. you can recommend others. . .
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talked about the importance of william mckinley's presidential campaign and the president of the goldwater institute took a look at the review. co. medications undergo to receive fda approval and in the coming weeks the former senators over their solutions to resolve the current state of partisanship
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there wasn't any input from economists or sociologists to shed some issues of how human behavior could shape it isn't rocket science to think a nation that is so in love is when they were restricted to one child but therefore you would have more men than women. it's not rocket science.
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next on booktv's "after words" program. journalists p7 discusses the recently discontinued one china policy and its impact on the country and talks about her book the story of china's most radical experiment with ethanol snowe's office of the national book award-winning age of ambition. >> mei fong, welcome to "after words." you published your first book and i end joyed immensely. it's the subject of a lot of discussion among the analysts. the book is one child at the story of china's most radical experiment and in a minute we will talk about why you chose the subject and how you went about answering some of the questions on your mind but first it would be helpful to define what it is we are talking about so what is china's one child
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policy? >> guest: the one child policy is a bit of a misnomer. it's just a name that we use to describe a set of rules and restrictions china has placed to regulate the population and the size of the family. theoretically you could collect 1.5 child for a long time and now of course they moved it to a two child policy. but it's a lot of regulations. >> so it's not one law but a sort of basket of policies. when did it happen and go into effect, when the fact, when did it begin black >> guest: some people see 1979 and 1980. i see 1980 when the communist party sent out a letter saying we are advising everyone to move to a one child family. it was advised that really they were telling.
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>> host: people imagine this would have gone into effect under the chairman but you're saying it went into effect before that. what was going on the people imagine that people imagine that they needed this idea? >> guest: mao had just passed away and china have a cultural revolution. china's population was growing so there was a significant worry that basically china was going to just -- the population was going to overwhelm its shores and it wasn't going to be enough to go around and therefore they needed to do something. >> host: you right in the book you compared the one child policy with a crash diet and that was it was begun for reasons that have merit. so why did it begin, what was the original rationale that they thought it would still be -- what was the goal and how did they think they were going to accomplish it? >> guest: there may be
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economic reasons. some were very poor and often all the new leadership has basically stated legitimacy on raising china economically and they have set in place a goal target for reading a thousand u.s. dollars per gdp per capita by baked year 2000. looking back from the goal, the planners figured out this wasn't going to work and therefore they need to radically moved to a one child per family household in order to accomplish that. it's kind of like a cake. productivity over numbers of mouth so they figured out was a lot easier to control the number of mouth sounds while so that's what they were going for. but china was already reducing its population and they already had a florida tv scout planning population in place that was much more coercive called the
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later, longer and fewer program. later period before at your children and fewer is the way of the six posted to -- supposed to go. and the average family size has gone from about six to three so that was pretty successful and a lot of them experts argued they should have just kept going at that rate and if they had done that they still would have reduced the population without the side effects of the one child policy engendered. >> host: why is he important? >> guest: he was the head of a group of scientists who drew up the one child policy and what's interesting about him and a lot of people don't know is basically the policy was drawn up by rocket scientists. some russian trained defense missile scientists who basically didn't have a lot of training in the sociology demography or the
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other things we would imagine and somebody was drawing the population policy pass. >> host: why were rocket scientists designing democracy policy? >> guest: we have to sort of go back in time so this is coming up the cultural evolution. most of the intelligentsia, the economists, sociologists, they should suffered through the code cultural evolution. most had computers to work out the calculations needed for demography so the only sort of group of academics and experts for the missile defense, so they had all the capital, all the resources and also the kind of bald thinking because they had been stamped on and criticized to say we can do this. this is how we are going to do it. the unfortunate thing was they thought of it like a missile trajectory and fertility could
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be adjusted up and down like flipping a switch. >> host: said the training told them you can tune this process as finely as you might want and that made them a mismatch. >> guest: there wasn't any input from economists were sociologists to shed some issues of how human behavior could shape such a plan. isn't rocket science to think that a nation that is so in love with sun's restricted sons restricted to one child and therefore it's at some point maybe we'll have more men than women. >> host: have any countries tried anything like this most radical experiment? have other countries tried to limit the population? >> guest: if you look at the 60s and 70s the concern of overpopulation was a concern for many. it was big at the time. so, this is the time when this population growth movement came
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in and also the un funding the population so all of these things or concerns. mit basically has some scenarios where at this time we would run out of resources and doomsday scenarios so china wasn't the only one by far but they took the most drastic steps in the sterilization program for the time they had forcible sterilization program and for that both india and china received gold medals from the un. >> host: >> guest: >> host: what did they think of that it sounds like based on the rest of the world they didn't immediately negative debate recognize the negative consequences. >> guest: they still don't recognize that they could have consequences. there was the idea because there was concerned we would overwhelm the planets so you're like china is going to take this drastic step of the good for them.
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that means i can run my washer and dryer and consumed more with a relative ease of mind. for a long time, china maintained the activation policy was being led by coercion but that's nonsense to anyone who thought about it for two seconds. how could you implement something so unpopular without coercion being involved, but for a long time that was the belief for a lot of people. either they didn't know or didn't want to know. so a lot of people are speaking in favor of the policy and in the course of the book i talk to some to extend people who are concerned about climate change through still say we should have something like the universal one child policy. >> host: you write that in 1983 china sterilized over 23 million people within the combined population of the three largest u.s. cities new york, los angeles and chicago and in addition to sterilization what else did they do to enforce the
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policy? >> guest: this is unpopular for a number of reasons. people may not have necessarily minded one child but they didn't like the interest in the state in the bedroom. so to make it work being made a variety of sticks for so sterilization was one. they didn't they did trust that people use contraception on your own survey consisted in many cases that when you cut your one child you have to be sterilized, like it or not. >> host: from the beginning this was in place? >> guest: the design within the iud you couldn't remove yourself and been forced abortions of course. although theoretically i think after six months first abortions were illegal. it was a practice carried out in many cases even as late as 2012 happy issue. >> host: talk about her for
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the case. who is she invited she become prominent? >> guest: she was a woman from the countryside she was pregnant with her second child and she had believed it had hoped the second child was permissible. they had been working in the cities and there was a fluidity because they were migrant workers but so the family planning officials came to her and said you can't have this child if you want a second child you should have to pay a fine and it was something like 6,000 u.s. dollars at the time and something they couldn't afford. they tried negotiating editor was a constant back and forth. she was trying to evade a family planning officials until she carried to full term as she was running the risk they could put you for abortion. when it came to seven months they took her only with a pillow case over her head. they took her to a hospital in forcibly injected her with
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something that caused her to prematurely deliver the fetus. not knowing about this and the outside world but there was a social media. this was new in the landscape and so what happened in her case was a related had come to visit her in the hospital and she was lying there in the bed bed with the fully formed fetus rights next to her. they snapped a picture and send it on a cell phone and this went viral and brought forth documentary that the policy. >> host: i was in beijing when it happened and it was the intersection between the technological change and economic changes going on in what was a political policy that had been adopted in a different period and was stand with the linux people were living so you had somebody that have an iphone, bowyer to the rest of the world and found themselves captives of this policy that was in its own way a relic. so, did the case actually have any impact on policy or do we
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not know? >> guest: i think it had an impact of raising public awareness. so before the first city dweller there was the sense that the policy of china wasn't so significant anymore and there were some issues of forced abortions but these were quite a few in the recent past independent china was going to host the olympics. the economy was going so well and it wasn't that big an issue anymore especially since a lot of people in private sector jobs could afford to pay a fine or get around it and then migrants also for moving around different cities to avoid detection so there was the sense that maybe it didn't matter anymore. but then the case but for the sense but yes these things are still happening. >> host: how many people in china are subject to the one child policy? >> guest: the one child policy is a basket of policies as we increase of about one third of all chinese households were restricted to that one child
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policy. the rest of a is likely more fluid destruction but they still do. in cases of some areas you could have a second child if your first one is a girl so that's still a restriction you just can't wholeheartedly have whatever you want. then you could maybe have a second child if you were in a dangerous profession like if you were a cool minor or fisherman you could have a second child if he were you were part of the minority tribe and see successful people may have seen those days of the headline about a change in the policy. what happened? what was preserved in what was discarded? >> guest: basically china announced it would move to a asian wide policy but it's still a restructuring. you still have to get a birth permit. so it was a bigger playpen you might call it. >> host: but they still intervened very directly in people's lives and the choices they make. >> guest: you would have to
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get a birth permit and show your marriage certificate and so for the sake if you are a single mother but still practically impossible for you to get registration for your child. >> host: let's switch gears per minute i want to talk about how you got interested in the subject. if you can come at you come you write in the book i'm the youngest of five daughters all conceived in hopes of a son that never was. where did you grow up ex- >> guest: brian melasia and my grandparents migrated to malaysia. but they say they watch they claim to be always. we didn't have anything like the cultural revolution so we kept to a loss and lost and in my family's case, one was a big reference on my father who was himself was won six out of 18 and that's just counting the boys by the way.
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my grandfather was a rich man and had three wives and so he counted the sons that he was the 16th from the third wife. >> host: china or malaysia? >> guest: malaysia. >> host: said that you have a sense of china or was this really a distant place? >> guest: it was and was not. china was always a part of our cultural tradition. when i was a child growing up if i did something wrong i would be made to kneel in front of my ancestral tablets in my ears, very traditional punishment. and also, i need because we were five daughters come every time we showed up at a gathering, people who disapprove it is a you should be glad you were out in not in china, you would never be born under the deep south in the village were given away. he wouldn't exist. >> host: you find my accountant father never ceased regretting his lack of a son or reminding his daughters to wear
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liabilities, not assets. did he mean that in financial terms? >> guest: yes he did count that way. he was an auditor and so when we were growing up for example we were very aware of the fact that he wasn't going to spend a lot of money to send us to college or educate us be on a certain level because we were girls. it would be different if we were boys. >> host: did he pay for your college education? >> guest: no. i went to college on my own and paid for it with scholarships and things. >> host: did you already know you wanted to be a right to? >> guest: i sort of did you read read when i was 16-years-old, i won a minor competition -- >> host: a writing competition? >> guest: it was the commonwealth essay. all british colonies submitted little essays and i wrote something boring but i can't even that i can't even remember. but the offshoot of that was i was invited to meet the queen of
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england and she just happened to be in malaysia for some sort of meeting. and this was the most exciting thing that ever happened to me before just a teenager in malaysia and not only that but i was invited and my parents were invited to meet the the queen and they were excited. for my father this was the first time he thought okay maybe she's not a liability she's an asset. >> host: decided to become a journalist at some point and at that point you have already paid for your own college education and so later on you decide i want to go to china and have you already been working as a journalist and then then you said now i want to figure out is anyway to get assigned to china or what was the path that led to their? >> guest: i had a scholarship from a local paper company so my first job was working at the tabloid as a crime reporter and they would send us john girl reporters to interview. that was the start of it all.
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i sort of felt at that point there was more to journalism than this, the same question, very generic stories spun out. but i wasn't sure. i didn't think the path would be in china. i think it was more fluid than mandarin and that i would be in indonesian correspondent but china seemed to be too close. it was twofold and full of relatives that would be me in another setting but i wasn't lucky enough to be going someplace else because my grandparents have migrated. it was full of stories. you have no doors or play with -- was close to the border. but somehow, my path led me there and the journal posted me in hong kong and "the wall street journal" posted in hong kong in 2003 )-right-paren the next and that's how it started. >> host: and then mainland china when did you come to beijing?
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>> guest: 2006 but even then i was doing a lot of reporting about the manufacturing. >> host: you and your husband andrew who is also a scholar at the university lived in beijing for how many years? >> guest: about 40. >> host: and i would imagine you are already getting interested in the subject of the one child policy. we'll talk in a moment about the moment that really galvanized that. but did you begin to see it around you, were you seeing the effects of the policy at that point? >> guest: i was seeing the effects in hong kong in 2003. i was going down to all these factories in china. china was the factory of the world and all-around there were these factories in everything from jeans and brassieres and toenail clippers and i started to hear from factory owners who said we can't get workers into
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said china is the most populous nations of i talked to a lot of economists about what kind of fears they have and even at the time was the sense of the one child policy but then it was too soon that this was a short-term economic issue but it was the beginning of when it was going to happen. >> host: so something happened that made you focus in a new way on the one child policy. but haven't? >> guest: avenue to beijing to evan moved to beijing to write about the olympics and it wasn't that i know anything about sports, i don't come about it is a wonderful prism to view china and a lot of ways is a rising nation into the kind of big money that was going to the olympics and the marketing, the face issues that the change in sociology infrastructure it's wonderful. but something happened early to me that derailed the whole story and that was the earthquake that had -- at the time the earthquake happened i was on the border of myanmar --
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>> host: for people who don't remember, the earthquake of tens of thousands of people and it really was the largest quake china has been a long time and use it at the time you happened to be covering myanmar -- >> guest: i was trying to cover a natural disaster, trying to sneak into myanmar to look at what was happening after the cyclone and then the time was very restricted and they didn't let him any journalists and so i was frustrated i couldn't get in so then i stopped on the plane and flew back to beijing on where china was having its own natural disaster. when i landed in beijing and turn on my blackberry and it's like what happened. and all my colleagues -- all the reporters were all making a line for davies co. and i felt like i missed a story. i'd flown back to early. i was like i should have stayed. but i started to think how can i
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do the story. there may be many ways to skin the cat. so i thought this is the place that supplies the guest workers to china like the appalachia it's very poor and populous and a lot of the people go to other parts of china to work. so i thought there must be a lot of people in beijing and some of them must be trying to get back home so what if i follow a group of them and so i followed a group of construction workers home and spent about three days we rode trains and bikes and boats and it was a very sad journey because at the end of it all, most of them discovered their family had been killed. >> host: for people who don't know at the time the earthquake was a very difficult place to do reporting. the government has taken steps to try to make it, they try to manage the story to control the narrative that was going to get out to the rest of the world so when you got there one of the things you discovered was that
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there were a lot of families that have lost their one child is that right? >> guest: to say i didn't realize until early on is that the air via where they had a test pilot of the one child policy. it was very coercive coercive and they brought down the results and that was the kind of heart and inspiration to take it nationwide they said we can do this. of course consequently the end result was very tragic for these families so one of the first and earliest stories i did after that was about all these families who in a matter of weeks for rushing off to do the sterilization process. >> host: there is a term if there's ever been a turn it's probably been this one. can you talk about what that
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means? >> guest: it means the parents have lost their only child. it's a phenomena basically that started. it is about 76 or a million now by some estimates and about 76,000 have been joining yearly and what they found different is bigger trying to lobby beijing for more benefits because the argument is book to lose an only child in the context in many cases is to lose economic security. china still haven't developed the social safety net. family was in part as when you progress when you lose your way child very frequently you lose your retirement plan. and that is just a pure economic sense but in the emotional issues as far as trying to get
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into a nursing home there are cases of nursing homes that won't parents won't admit because they say since you have none you need to offer this treatment arthritis pain medicine and we prefer not to. we want people with kids. >> host: do people generally speaking in china rally around these parents who had lost their only child does have become a point of sympathy or do people say something else? >> guest: people are sympathetic but at the same time there's also a sense of a stigma in some cases because when you lose your only child in the context you actually fall down the totem pole. china despite the fact this situation you're not fully considered an adult until you're married. you don't have status unless you're a parent and when you lose that parenthood status you lose many things along the way. >> host: one of the things that has been interesting to me
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when you talk to young people about the one child policy sometimes you find a c. even though we know about the cases of coercion and everything else sometimes we will say buck if it hadn't been for this one child policy i never would have gotten into college it is already so competitive. what do you make of that view and also i should say it's always perilous to describe the attitudes broadly. how do the chinese people feel about things and how do they regard the policy? >> guest: is an off-site study done by the center that was done in 2008 but said two thirds of chinese people support the policy. i looked into that question and it was down to one question people ask and it was like do you support the one child policy and it was a yes or no kind of things who was nuanced and there was more room for example if you ask people what they saw as the fee you have to pay it was much more responsive there. but that's it.
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i think it's fair to say a lot of people did support the idea of reducing population because if you ever lived in china or had to get in the subway in the shower or to provide school you really do understand the whole concept of too many people and you do support it. so it's kind of sad that the communist party squandered this kind of goodwill that people have by channeling into such a painful course because there was a lot of support for people to reduce the population that was. but i don't think they necessarily wanted to support the sterilization of course. >> host: when you were writing about this, those of us who hold foreign passports that write about this for a long time face to question what the question what is our place as a foreign writer, do we have the right, the responsibility to criticize policies in china and that is the view china as its own place
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and they should govern themselves by their own rules. what do you make of that idea? >> guest: i think that we want to take a measured view,, yes and as ethnic chinese and some chinese family, i have enormous sympathy for the idea that yes we should grow economically and of course it is a wonderful idea that in one or two generations we see everybody go from a bicycle aspiration. yes, good for them. as with the one child policy helped people get to that stage i would be all for it but then the problem was a dead-end. it i didn't. it really didn't have that much to do with the economic growth china had. >> host: and that is one of the crucial insights of the book. will it be published in mainland china? >> guest: years ago when i signed the contract i did receive an offer for the chinese rites from a state owned chinese publication they wanted to publish the book but they wanted to reserve the right to alter
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anything sensitive and i was like i don't know what you consider sensitive. let's wait until i finished the book. i finished but in the three years of intervening points it's to the point where the offer is off the table so i don't know that i would like to see a chinese version of the book somewhere. >> host: perhaps hide you have type one. when did the government realize you needed should change the policy? >> guest: about ten or 15 years ago a it of sociologists and demographers many of them u.s. trained by the chinese had started running together to collect scientific evidence that showed this policy was leading to china on a path to a demographic disaster. they found all these numbers that showed that both rates have plunged far faster than people thought. they found these issues of gender imbalance and so they
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presented this evidence to the chinese communist party and they said when the one child policy was conceived it was never meant to last forever. they have a timeline and said we would keep it for 30 years and then it might change into something else. so at that point they were saying let's do this and this faster doesn't have achieved whatever results you have and get these issues looming ahead we should encourage people to have more children but the communist party dragged its heels. it didn't until 25 or 36 years down the line and then people say maybe it is too little too late. >> host: was that by the government or did they say buck that's not consistent with the kind of political language we are using so let's put this aside. how did they respond? >> guest: it was the sense that okay we might change. it was a huge amount of
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resistance was more an issue of structural problems they would need to do because the one child policy had created this in order to enforce it if they created a system where they had a ministry that basically administered the family planning and this trickled all the way down to the problems for something so complex as people's sex lives. you have to have intimate workings so there is a huge machinery that came out and it had a collection of fines they collected from people so to dismantle the structure and take away that massive source of revenue was something very painful so i don't think it was an argument about the demographic province. it's the issue of how did he take it down. >> host: interest group politics. you write that china is now confronting a population that is too old and too few.
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which of these is the most serious problem do you think? >> guest: i think too old because that is definitely happening. china has now i think by 2015 china will have one every for chinese will be a retiree and so if china were to call to the governments own country it would be the world's third-largest country. with the china as the three largest populist countries and that really hasn't anything to do with the policy that basically with the big population growth or the cohort before the policy that basically just living longer. but the problem the policy has is that it reduces the working population that you need to support this army and that is the big issue. unless there is a war or something committees people will definitely grow older and that is happening so some of the other problems like the gender
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imbalance and whether this results in a warlike china some of the speculations we don't know for sure. we definitely know that despite displayed group of elderly people age and that will raise a hold of issues for china. >> host: said today we are seeing it began to slow after three decades of rapid growth. as any of that related to the one child policy? >> guest: it is because one of the problems they originally thought of this too export that economy of manufacturing and that was powered by cheap labor and now of course that abundance has gone down. there's fewer workers and they want to get paid more and so china is trying to transition to motivate consumer based economy but then you have a problem there because you have a huge aging population or aging consumers don't spend that much
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across economies. they don't buy the latest cell phones or cars and in china's particular case now they see the huge amounts to one of one of the things i write in the book is the attempt to sort of transition to this and have a huge niche enough retirees will be as helpful as recalling the northern invaders. >> host: i've been to places in beijing for instance i went to a school that used to be a kindergarten and is now a retirement home because there's been this total and version and the way they've organized and is not enough small kids. do you get the sense is there a way to predict what the economic effects will be down the line of that kind of absence of the working? >> guest: if we look at other countries that have massive populations, japan is flexible and certainly japan's economy for the variety of reasons but one of them is the fact of the age demographics of that is a
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demographic it. in china's case it is hard to say about but number one, the population of -- would be much larger than japan and a second it will be much less rich than japan when they arrived at this juncture so it's good to be much harder, too. so many other things like hospices, everything else is far less developed. basically the rest of the world that 50 years to transition to the aging economy. china has done it half the amount of time. >> host: people say it got old before it got rich. another problem is identified as the gender imbalance and you write of the world has never seen such a huge natural collection of bachelors man who won't be able to find unless china opens its doors to massive immigration a highly unlikely scenario. how much of a gender and balances there today and why should we care about the?
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>> guest: about 30 million more men and women in china than has been at a married age that is about the size of canada so that is pretty significant and this then typically within the lowest social economic status of the countryside of people typically so every society that had a big gender imbalance hasn't been a happy society and in the middle east for example they've seen the enormous social unrest in the spring for example. in that case i run the demographers identified a group of usually large group of men have a certain age and they called it the mail usable check, tongue-in-cheek but yes. so in china's case we don't know if this means china will be more aggressive militarily and that could be a problem although in many reasons it could be more aggressive and thus necessarily because they have a gender
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imbalance but i think you can see in areas they have a much bigger gender imbalance of male and females there is a corresponding uptick in the crime rate and economists have been able to work it out something like the rise of six planes for the gender imbalance. >> host: but is china trying to do about it; is there anything they can do about it orders the ball all already rolling? >> guest: the two child policy they want to encourage you to have more children and hopefully down the line this will reduce things but of course the beast takes time to grow and that is assuming they come about at all so we are not going to be all to see any kind of alleviation and 20, 25 years. now recently i read china was trying to incorporate an overseas china to come back. i think that india was doing with the overseas and encouraging chinese to migrate
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back. i don't know that is going to be it's going to be any big success or take up for that. i doubt it will be anything close to those kind of numbers. it won't be the kind of women who want to marry. >> host: so there's a mismatch in effect because you have women in the city that are are now gaining more education but then there's these men in the countryside known as bare branches. >> guest: but the women themselves are not necessarily any better off. the one child policy was for many ways beneficial for those born after 1918. if you were born in the city who didn't have any siblings to compete and you have a chance of getting better fed and educated. the best time compared to any previous time of history so that was good for a while but then the problem as i argue now is that you are living in a society where much fewer women than men do it if you think in traditional economic terms that should mean just you have the
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upper hand, you have the power but china is still a very paternalistic society so that suggests i think that there would be more pressure on a women to get married and also women may also be seen as more of a scholar commodity. we see a rising culture and hardly any women at the top level so i don't see that happening. >> host: and you are paid the rules of supply and demand would suggest that the society should be going up. what do you think is at work? >> guest: it is hard to uproot the culture so on a personal level of course we can all name for high achieving chinese women but the structure itself is still male centric for example china only recently passed the domestic violence law and there
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were that there were still issues have structured the inheritance that favored the registration of property for men over women so all these things are built in when they change. >> host: to what degree can the government try to undo some of the economic, political and demographic effects of the policy? >> guest: they will raise the retirement age. the china can retire as old as 50 and that is unheard of in many parts of the world but that is very popular in the personal level, too they don't want to be told they have two debates about 12 definitely try to build up their social service safety nets as fast as they can and they have made great inroads but it's still not enough.
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>> host: is there anything that made you say this is a good thing? >> guest: china started off in the path of a lot of other people and the into the problem is we tend to confuse the one child policy and that it needed to be gone but there done but there was no other alternative and really it was more of a graduated process. they started off doing other things in the population growth by making more contraceptives available and education in schools and you know also encouraging more qualities of these are were all good things along the way but somewhere they decided that they needed to juice it up economically and take this very extreme sort of approach and that's when it all went apart. >> host: and this has been the hallmark of the governance the last 60 years or so you take something that occurred on its face be valuable but if you turn
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it into a great leap policy. >> host: let's do this thing where we can get in front of everybody else. >> host: you looked at the fact that after all they've begun to change the policy to a two child policy and yet people are not rushing out the next day having that second child. what's going on and how many people are taking advantage of the policy? >> guest: is one of the couples was single child for them prevented take-up was very low that it's going to be very
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similar and when you look back at all the reasons the one child policy has become successful successful and changed the mindset of the chinese family of what is considered the best kind of chinese family in germany unfriendly people know the concept is one child because we are going to give everything that is best to have one child. it's an economic advantage. >> host: one of the things you looked at that fascinating is that ten or 15 years ago people talked about the rise of the bubble and burst. these were further than the object of all the attention from two parents and four grandparents and everybody worried are we going to get a generation of spoiled kids. what happened to the little emperor? >> guest: they all grew up so
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their parents in the 50s and 60s and their 80s and 90s and the child who was the object of this wonderful expectation and love is going to have to give that back in sixfold. they call it the 4-to-1 structure because china has something like 21% of the world's parkinson's sufferers and will jump it will jump to 60% in a similar metric across-the-board for everything else that afflicts. can you imagine the 1 amp or the financial issue in some cases in the western world we know how difficult it is to care for aging parents and in the emotional sense that demands you have imagine having to shovel it into country, for adults. >> host: it's probably the same for you but i have a lot of friends who talk about this above all the burden of trying
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to support their parents or the couple is really extraordinary and unique. >> guest: it also is in the position to have more children. my friends say i don't want to have a second child because i don't know whether i can take care of my grandparents and parents. i cannot in good conscience have more children. >> host: but historically of course chinese families were large. i think you said your grandfather was one of 16 kids. do you think china will go back in the direction of large families or will there be a cultural overhang that will go on for a longtime? >> guest: urbanization has come down so so many people that move to the cities not for the first time in history the balance is more in favor of the urban over low so where are the family is going to live together? it was different on the farm. he would open up the room, dig
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another hole, whatever. they know that takes care of extra children. what do you do with soaring housing prices? >> guest: >> host: have others try to copy what china did when it comes to the population management policy, the one child policy? >> guest: there was a large amount of propaganda. none of them went to the extreme of the one child policy but there were some propaganda going to the effect that you should be crazy or selfish to have more. i was in malaysia and singapore is tiny, smaller than new york city but they also had propaganda campaigns environment or seen pictures where he would have a loaf of bread and many hands reaching for it so you would have to stop it. that was the campaign. many did and do it but that was that extreme route and most of them now are also in an issue with the declining population all to various degrees they tried without success. >> host: one of the
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interesting elements in your book is that you got pregnant in the course of working as a journalist in china. talk about that experience and how does that shape your sense of this and what was your experience? >> guest: i have a syndrome that basically is a leading cause of infertility. for a long time i wasn't sure if i was going to have children, if i wanted children. so, when the earthquake of the night was 36 and i wasn't sure. i was still on the fence but i was also aware time was running out and i wouldn't have the luxury of choice. soon. when the earthquake happened and i was accompanying my parents and following the end of their journey i didn't realize then at the time but i was myself pregnant and i didn't know it so when i went back to beijing and i was feeling depressed and tired of it was because of the stories but i tested and went for the scam and suddenly i could see and i tried to be very restrained about it but it's
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hard when you see the scan and the heart beating it's hard not to get attached and at that point you are like i'm writing about people that have lost their children and i'm pregnant, this is very strange. you understand some of the ties and the reasons people want children. wanted children. and then i had a miscarriage. and this all happened on the eve of the olympics. and so again i was very devastated and i tried to work my way through it. and then after that in beijing this in vitro fertilization which is a strange process and i discovered there's a whole lot of people that were using in the each row for publication the true fertilization and all these other technologies to try to get around one child the one child policy. many were trying to get multiples so they wouldn't lose their job as a governor official. >> the governor official. >> host: they were trying to get multiples because they would only get one shot. >> guest: yes. if you get twins are discounted
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as a single birth. i met a woman who was a teacher and she said if she had two children she would lose her job so she was still still a berkeley at berkeley during per in vitro fertilization. people would take fertility drugs for the same thing so there were some places to get the twins. people would register their second child as a twin if they were born close together and we would have a huge percentage of feet twins. people were trying to get around the policy. there were all these ingenious ways and so the interesting part of this was the sickly when it's a strange theory coming in. >> host: people began to improvise. so it gives you access to the park many people wouldn't see. >> guest: i felt a little hesitant about writing this out because here's the thing we write in the world of policy and
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economics. miscarriages and babies and it's also messy. i have editors that said we are not sure we want to hear this. what is all this stuff? it oprah. if you can't be possibly writing about something as intimate as this without believing in some of this because it is at heart a story about families. >> host: you have twins out and i imagine the experience has also shaped the way you look at the subject. >> guest: yes. now when we hear the stories about people not wanting to have a second child or weighing out the costs and differences i certainly understand if having children. i am not a roaming correspondent
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anymore and on a personal level many families in china are making these decisions. >> host: i can't let you go without talking about what a lot of people's minds and that's the chinese economy. wall street journal reporter for a long time you won a pulitzer prize for coverage. when you look at what is happening to you see a country on the precipice of the economic transformation or do you see a place that is doing something else? >> guest: i definitely see china and a much more challenging place economically. in the past it was all low hanging fruit. all the things they did moving people from the countryside to the city taking advantage of cheap labor, that was both easy to do and so they were very quick and rapid and now this is the hard part, the things they have to do to keep -- they have to do a lot more with a lot less people.
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you'd have to increase productivity. but are you spending in the right way on education and all these things? chinese universities are with the bad. that's why we see such a huge flood of graduate students in the institutions. the reason we have sparked graduates isn't because the universities of its because of the natural talent. so i don't see a very helpful picture going ahead. i don't know that the societies make for vibrant societies economically and that is the issue that they will have to face. >> host: one of the other things they will face is what does it mean to have a more powerful china and what does that mean for the united states and southeast asia? how do other people in southeast asia and on the printer of china's world, how do they regard the rise,, do they embrace it or find it somehow threatening? >> guest: i think they
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increased it initially but now they are looking at it with the great nervousness because it's much more aggressive in need and so you can't help but get wonder what's going to happen and also the chinese policies are dictating now i want more of what other regions to do so if it's a lot of tiptoeing around. >> host: do you get the sense that this is about your experience as a writer and there's a lot of pressure. do you encounter any obstacles in the report include this but? >> guest: initially when i was in places like that, i had been on one occasion at least detained for a while and that was another occasion the public security chased my car but i am fortunate because i had a passport with a chinese space which protected me and i wish i could have seen the same for the other activists and writers that have tried to explore these
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issues and are now behind bars. >> host: you've spent a lot of time in the united states and a lot of time also in asia. one of the interesting puzzles we face is what is to happen in this relationship in the united states and china. i think a lot of us presumably was because of technology and in the march of time become more like each other. do you think that is true and if it's not, what's happening to using today? >> guest: i think basically because china is rising all must buy natural course of relationship is going to get more factious. they are used to being the supreme power for a long time and it's been have to make room for the second one if you want to use the analogy it's like the child is used to being the only child to deal with siblings and all the issues that come with it but if we talk about something in the one child policy used to
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think of as a domestic issue but it's also affected americans. there've been over 120,000 children adopted from china and out of that about 70% or in american households. we have, for example, given limited asylum and the universities and colleges are paying so it has a relationship with both existence and quarreling. >> host: do you think you will go back to do more writing? >> guest: i would love to. >> host: you don't have plans to publish it on the mainland. do you have fans elsewhere? >> guest: i'm looking into that. >> host: mei fong thank you for talking to us about "one
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child." >> that was "after words," booktv signature programming with authors of the latest books are interviewed. watch past programs online at >> many of this year's presidential candidates have written books to introduce themselves and promote their views. here's a look at some. in the newest book jeb bush catalogs his e-mail correspondence during his time as a florida governor.
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