tv After Words CSPAN January 24, 2016 12:00pm-1:01pm EST
doesn't make it, i am going to nominate you for the supreme court because i am hell-bent on integrating the united state supreme court appeared when coleman had worked with thurgood marshall in 1954 on marshall's titanic six during the browns segregation case of william coleman didn't want to do it. he didn't want to be second choice. he told president johnson that. he also said i will go around and visit as many of the southern senators in northern senators and western senators as they can, especially the ones on the fence about their good marshall. i will try to persuade them to vote for thurgood marshall. there is no doubt that helped. >> what was the political break down, the partisan breakdown? >> most of the democrats were southern democrats. they were the ones who went against marshall. marshall got a lot of help from
republicans and one of the big hearings with everett dirksen. an illinois who would send letters to people telling them this is a signature moment for the united states of america and we need to show our mettle by confirming thurgood marshall to the supreme court. it was one of those things that we don't see a lot in washington now. it was bipartisan. in the end it really was and that is how thurgood marshall extended to the supreme court. >> a sun blade 20 senators did not bow. be my guest, i am so glad you mentioned that. that was the margin of the jury needless to say.
lyndon johnson who was a southerner himself convinced 27 senators did not vote. that was brilliant. he was a master politician. he would tell them. he would they look, i am going to be looking at bridges next year, highway funding. i'm going to be looking at ways to help you. but first i need you to help me. it's called old-fashioned horse trade. it still done today, but nobody was as masterful at it as lyndon johnson. it's just amazing because senators go to the senate to vote. that is their bread and butter and he convinced 20 of them, back off. don't show up tomorrow to the halls of the u.s. senate. don't vote. and they didn't though. that was amazing.
>> wil haygood is the author. the book is "showdown: thurgood marshall and the supreme court nomination that changed america." wil haygood appeared on booktv from columbus, ohio in a longer segment. if you'd like to see the full segment, go to booktv.or, type in the author's name and you'll be able to watch the whole thing. >> mei fong, welcome to afterwards. you just published her first book. i enjoyed it immensely ended at
the subject of a lot of discussion these days among china. the book is called tran 11 -- "one child." first i think it would be helpful to find for people what we are talking about. so what is china's one child policy? >> one child policy is really a misnomer. it is just a name that we use to describe a set of rules and illustrations that china has placed to regulate the population. theoretically you could more likely call it 1.5 child for a long time and of course the two child policy. in reality with regulations. >> not one not particularly, but a basket of these. when did it happen? when did it begin?
>> 1979, 1980 when the communist party supposedly took members saying we are raising everybody to move to one child family. it was really telling. >> people sometimes imagine the policy that would've gone into effect under chairman mao, but it went to affect under xiaoping. what was going on at the time it was so important people imagine they needed the safety of a policy level? >> now had passed away. china had come off the cultural revolution. people are poor and also the time the population was growing. so there was a significant worry basically that china was just going -- the population would overwhelm. there wasn't going to be enough to go around. >> you read in the book should
compare the policy to a crash diet. by crash dieting the policy was begun for reasons that had merit. so why did it begin? what was the initial rationale he mentioned he thought it would still be on china scores. what was the goal? how did they think they're going to accomplish? >> for economic reasons, china was very poor and all the new leadership had recently state legitimacy on racing china out economically. they had set into place a call target 4000 u.s. dollars per gdp per capita of the year 2000. they figured out that this wasn't going to work in the current population growth and therefore they needed to radically move to one child per family household in order to accomplish it. economic growth is sort of like a cape. the activity over numbers
basically figured out it was easier to control the numbers as well. so that is what it would go for. china was already reducing population. they already had a population policy in place that was actually much less coercive. it was called the later, longer program. >> later, longer and fewer. >> longer. between the children and fewer children the way it was supposed to go. 10 years before the one child and doing it the average family of about six kids to three. that was pretty successful and a lot of the experts argue they should've just kept going at that rate. if there done that they still would've reduced the population without any of the one child policy is. >> so who is sound jam nyc important? >> so jenn was the head of a group of scientists who
drafted -- drop the one child policy and what is interesting what a lot of people don't know is basically the policy was john by rocket scientist or the russian train missile defense who basically didn't have a lot of trading in sociology or demography or any of the things who would imagine somebody trying to the populations in policies would. >> why were rocket scientist designing this one? >> to go back in time, this is coming off the cultural revolution. most of china's intelligentsia, the commonness of sociologists, they really suffered through the cultural revolution, had no political capital. most had computers to work out as needed for demography. so the only group of academics the next third but the missile
scientist. they had all the capital and resources and the kind of bold thinking because they had been stamped and criticized to say we can do this. we can tackle this good this is how we are going to do it. the unfortunate thing was they thought of it like a trajectory that could be adjusted up and down like flipping a switch. >> in a sense they are disciplined. they're training told them you can turn this process as finely as you might want and that was a mismatch. >> any input from economists are sociology will have some issues on how community behavior could shape. it's not rocket science to think that a nation so in love with sons is when they restricted to one child and therefore going to come up at some point it's not
rocket science. >> of other countries tried anything with radical? you can't china's most radical at pyramid. >> in the 60s and 70s the whole concern of overpopulation was a very major concern for many countries. so this is the time when the population growth movement came in. also the u.n. population. so all these things are a big concerned. m.i.t. basically at this time we would run out of resources. they do this in areas. that china wasn't the only one by far. india had a sterilization program for a time of a sterilization program. and for that come to india and china received gold medals to make u.n. >> host: what did the rest of the world think when it sounds
like the rest of the world didn't immediately recognize the consequences? >> a lot of the world still doesn't recognize the consequences. first of all there was cement the port for the idea because that would overwhelm. china is going to take this. good for them. that means i can run my washer and dryer and do more with relative ease of mind. also for a long time, china maintains their population policy was to run without coercion. how could you possibly implement these great results without coercion being involved. for a very long time, that was the belief for a lot of people. either they didn't know or didn't want to know. a lot of people think it's unfair. in the course of this i actually talked to them and
environmentalists, people concerned about climate change, feminists who say we should have some pain but the universal policy. >> you read in one year abound, 1983 china sterilized 20 million people more than the combined population of the three largest u.s. cities, new york, los angeles and chicago. in addition to sterilization, what else is china do? >> guest: just focused on policy, people may not have minded having only one child, but they probably didn't mind intrusiveness. so in order to make it work, first sterilization was one. they didn't trust people use contraception on their own. they insisted in many cases that after you've had your one child, you have to sterilized like it or not. >> host: from the beginning -- they designed this kind of
ieds that she couldn't remove yourself. and then there's forced abortions. this was although theoretically after six the forced abortions were illegal. it wasn't carried out in many cases even in 2012 for we had the issue. >> host: talk about her for a second. why did she become prominent? >> guest: a woman from the countryside had a daughter first and then she was pregnant with their second child. she had believed or hopes that the second child had been working in the cities. her household registration and so the officials came to address them now you can't have this child. you shall have to pay a fine and the fine is something like 6000 u.s. dollars at the time, something you couldn't afford.
they tried negotiating. there is a constant back-and-forth. she was trying to evade family planning officials until she carried the baby to full term because she was running to rest. when it came out to a seven-month, they took her away with a pillow case over her head, they took her to a hospital and injected her with something that cost her to prematurely deliver the fetus. we would probably not have known about this because there were social media. and so, what happened in her case was a relative had come to visit her in the hospital and she was laying bare in the bed with a fully formed fetus right next to her. snap the picture and misspent by real in china. this really brought forward the human faith. >> host: i was living in beijing when that happened and that was the intersection between the technological change
and economic change in the political policy adopted a different. and was out of step and so you have an iphone wire to the rest of the world are now found themselves captive that was in its own way a relic. >> host: so did say in that case have any impact on policy or do we not know? >> guest: it had an impact in terms of raising public awareness. there was a sense that the one child policy in china was not know significant anymore. i guess there were some issues, but it was part of a recent past and china -- the economy was going so well. it just wasn't that big of an issue anymore. they pay a fine or they migrants moving at different goodies to avoid detection.
the case brought forward the sense that these things are still happening. >> host: how many people in china are subject to the policy? >> let's see. about a third of all chinese household or restrict did. the rest have something more fluid, but they still do. in several areas that still a restriction. you can just wholeheartedly have whatever you want. then you could maybe have a second child in a dangerous profession like if you're a coal miner fishermen, you could have a second child. >> there is news and headlines about a change in the policy. what happened, what was reserved in what was discarded? >> guest: china announced it
was going to move to a nation policy. but it's still a restriction. you still have to get a birth permit. so it was a bigger playpen. >> host: daily still intervene in the private lives and choices they make. >> you're going to have to show your certificate and if you're a single mother practically impossible for you to get a registration for your child. >> host: let's switch gears for a moment that i want to talk to you and how you got interested in the subject. you read in the book and the youngest of five daughters, all conceived in hopes of aside that never was. where did you grow up? >> guest: i went to malaysia. my grandparents migrated to malaysia. to watch the most traditional.
we didn't have anything at the cultural revolution to shake out. in my family's case, one was always a big reference. my father was himself the 16th sans out of eight team. -- discounting the boys. >> host: what mother? >> guest: know, there were several. my grandfather was a rich man. he had three wives. >> host: in china or malaysia? >> guest: in malaysia. >> host: does you the sent to china? >> guest: it was always there. china has always been about cultural tradition. when i was a child growing up i would make is that my ancestral tablet from a very traditional punishment.
every time we showed up at a gathering in disapprovingly should because you weren't we'd be put out in the village well as giving away. >> host: you write my accountant father numbers geeks to regret in his lack the sonora minding his daughters they were liabilities, not assets. does he mean that in financial terms? >> guest: yeah, he did count that way. and so, when we were growing up, for example, we were aware of the fact he wasn't going to spend a lot of money beyond a certain level. >> host: did he do that? >> guest: know, i went to college and paid for some scholarships. >> host: by that point did you know you wanted to be a writer? >> guest: i sort of did. when i was 16 years old i won a
minor competition. it was an essay on the british colonies, all british colonies and i wrote something incredibly boring that i can't even remember. but the offshoot of that was i was invited to meet the queen of england. she just happened to be in malaysia first inserted meeting. this is the most exciting that ever happened to me before. just as teenager in malaysia. i was invited to meet the queen. they were very excited. my father looked at me and said maybe she's an asset. >> host: you decided to become a journalist that point and you dirty at that point paid for your own college education. later on you decided i want to go to china. had you aren't even working as a
journalist in 97 i want to figure out a way to get assigned to china or what was the path that led you there? >> guest: had a scholarship at my local paper company they are. my first job was working at a tabloid as a times reporter and they would send us young girls to interview. that was the start of it all. i felt at the point there was more to journalists and they miss. but i wasn't sure. i didn't think the path was going to be in china. i thought maybe i would be an asian correspondent. china seem to be too close. it was to fall across the relatives that would be me in another setting but i wasn't lucky enough to be born somewhere else. it is full of stories. don't go to china.
it wasn't glamorous enough. somehow bypass led me there. "the wall street journal" in 2003 was how it started. >> host: and then when did you come to beijing? >> guest: in 2015. i was doing outside in southern china. >> host: you and your husband is also an author, scholar at american university. he lived in beijing for how many years? >> guest: about four years. >> host: during that. i've imagine you are getting in the subject to the policy will talk in a moment that galvanized that. did she begin to see it around you? >> guest: in hong kong back in 2003, i was going down to these
factories in china and notice everything from jeans,, brassieres come the tone of clippers. it was fascinating. in 2003 the factory owners said we can't get workers. and i said how could you possibly be having difficulty? china is the nation. i talk to economists about was theories they had. but then it was too soon. this is an economic issue. that was the beginning of when it happened. >> host: something happened in 2008 that made you focus in a new way. what was it that happened? >> guest: i believe it wasn't because they needed anything about sports. it was basically a wonderful present to the china in a lot of ways that the rising nation, and
the kind of big money that was going to the olympic sponsorships, marketing, the face issues, the change in sociology and infrastructure was wonderful. but something happened that derailed the whole story. that had -- at that time of the earthquake happened i was on the border of the mr. >> host: the earthquake killed tens of thousands of people. it really was the largest quake china had had in a long time. that time you happen to be covering bmr -- >> guest: i was trying to sneak in to look at what was happening. but it is very strict day. they did not in any journalist. so i was frustrated. i couldn't get in. and then i stomped on the plane and crew back to beijing, unaware china is having a natural disaster. when i landed in beijing and
turned on my black area, i was flooded on my colleagues, everybody on made a beeline and i felt like i'd missed this story. i had fun back to the early. and then i started to think, how can i do this story? i thought that john is a place, like china's appellation to come a like china's appellation, very poor, very populous. a lot of people go to other parts of china. it's out there must be people in beijing and some of them must be trying to get back home. so i followed a group of construction workers back home. we rode trains and bikes and there was a very saturated because at the end of it all, most of them discovered their
family was killed. >> host: for people who may not know, at the time the earthquake was a difficult place to do reporting. the government had taken that to manage the story, to control the narrative that was going to get out to the rest of the world. when you've got there, one of the things you discovered was that there were a lot of families that have lost their one child. is that right session might >> guest: the thing i didn't realize until later on was that was actually a test pilot before they take it nationwide in the late 1970s. they were very coercive. they really brought the results of not actually given a hard and inspiration to take it nationwide. we can do this in china. of course consequently 30 years later the interest of was tragic for these families.
they lost their only child in many cases. one of the first i did after that was families who in a matter of weeks for russia not to do reverse vasectomies to reverse the sterilization process they had been forced to undergo. >> host: there is a term that there's ever been a distinctly can, it is this one. can't talk about what that means? >> guest: it is a term that means the parents who have lost their only child is really a phenomenon. recently it started from an earthquake. nobody called it that back then. about a million now with about 76,000 have been joining. what makes them different is they have tried beijing for more benefits and more help. to lose an only child of the
chinese context of the many cases to lose economic security. family was still very important so when you lose your only child, your retirement plan. that is just a pure economic sense, but then there's emotional issues and issues as far as trying to get into a nursing home. the parents don't admit because they say you have no progeny need to authorize treatments or payments, we prefer not to people with kids. >> host: generally speaking, did people in china rally around the parents, the people who have lost their only child? or do people say something else? >> guest: people are sympathetic but at the same time there's a sense of almost ignited some cases. when you loose your only child, you actually fall down the
suicidal totem pole. despite the fact they are down to a one-shot in the situation, you are not fully doubt with mary. you don't really have the status and must do our duty. you lose many things along the way. >> host: one of the things that's interesting is when you talk to people in china coming up people about the one child policy, sometimes to say even though we know about these cases of coercion and everything else, sometimes they will say look, if it hadn't been for the one child policy and never would've gotten into college. it's already so competitive. what do you make of that? it's always perilous to describe china's attitudes to broadly at how the chinese people feel about it. how do they regard? >> guest: i did a study by the pew center done in 2008 that said chinese people had more --
i looked in the questionnaire. it was down to one that people asked to support the launch of policy and that was a yes and no kind of thing. there was more room if you asked people at the fees you have to pay and much more response they are. the dataset. i think it is fair to say a lot of people did support the idea of reducing population because if you ever lived in china, you really do understand the whole concept and need to support it. so i think it is kind of sad the communist party squandered the goodwill that people have had by channeling into such a course. there was a lot of support for people to reduce the population. but i don't think they necessarily wanted to support
does. >> host: when you were writing about this, those of us who were foreign passports to read about china and for my tank is the question of what is our place as a foreign writer? do we have the right, the responsibility to criticize policies in china? there is a view that china has its own place that they should govern themselves by their own rules. what do you make of the idea? >> guest: we want to take a measured view. certainly as an ethnic chinese family, i have enormous sympathy for the idea of a gas, china should grow economically and of course it's a wonderful idea that in one or two generations within everybody go from a bicycle aspiration to bmw. good for them. if the one child policy that helps people get to that stage, i would be all for it yet but the problem was they didn't.
it didn't have that much to do with the economic growth that china has. >> host: that's one of the crucial insight that the book. will it be published in mainland, china? >> guest: three years ago when i signed a contract they did receive an author from the state-owned chinese publication company. they wanted to publish the book but they wanted to resist the right to alter anything sensitive. i don't know what you consider sensitive. but called off the author until i finish the book. i finished the book in the intervening point in his bed to the point that offers off the table. i don't know. i would like to see a chinese version of the book. >> host: perhaps in china or taiwan is an option. when did the government realized it needed to change the policy? >> guest: 10, 15 years ago a group of sociologists and demographers, many of them u.s. trained by chinese have started
rallying together to collect evidence that showed the one child policy was leaving china on a path to demographic disaster. they found all of these numbers that growth rates have plunged far faster than people thought. they found all these issues of gender imbalance. so they presented the evidence and they said when the one child party was conceived, it was never meant to last forever. they might change to something else. at that point, they were saying let's do this and let's end this because you've achieved whatever result you have any issues moving ahead we should encourage people to have her children. but the communist party dragged its heels. it didn't say yes, so 35, 36 years down the line they made
this change in how people say it may be too little too late. >> host: when they started to say that, with that greeted warmly by the government but they say that's not consistent, but that the data inside. how did they respond? >> guest: there is a fan that we might change this. it's a huge amount of resistance. the policy had created this huge system. that's a ministry that basically administered family-planning and this could go all the way down to the small problems for something so complex, you had to have really not working. this is hugely what came up around it. it has thrived in a collection of signs from people.
so to dismantle the structure, to take away the massive source of revenue was painful. but the demographic problems being caused was more an issue. >> host: do right in the book that china is now confronting a population that is too old, too male and too few appeared which of these is the most serious problem? >> guest: i think too old because that is definitely happening. china has now buy 25th team, china will have one minute before cheney's will be a retiree. such are not were to form his own country, it would be the world's third-largest country. it would be in china but the three largest most popular countries. there isn't anything to do with the one child policy. basically that they population growth of cohort that basically
is living longer. but the problem the one child of the has reduced the working population you need to support the army. unless there's a famine, war or something, these people are definitely going to grow older. some of the other problems like the gender imbalance in what they could result for example whether it results in a warlike china, some of the speculation where we don't know for sure, we definitely know that this big group of elderly people will raise the whole for china. spin it we see china's economy began to slow after three decades of rapid growth it is an event related to the one child policy? >> guest: one of the big problems is the economy manufacturing powered by cheap
labor, which was of abundance. and now of course the abundance has gone down. there's fewer workers than they want to get paid more. so china is trying to transition to a consumer based economy. but then you have a problem because now you have the huge asian population. asian consumers don't spend that much. they don't buy the latest cell phones are the latest cars. in china's particular case we see the huge amount. one of things i've read in the book is china transitions to this and have a huge nation ever tighter race. it could be as helpful as the great role in repelling northern invaders. >> host: i've been to places in beijing over the years. i went to a school that used to be a kindergarten and is now a retired home because there has been a total inversion in which the population is organized. others just not enough kids.
do you get the sense, is their way to predict what the economic effects will be down the line of that kind of absence of the working? >> guest: other countries, japan is one example and certainly japan's economy for a variety of reasons, but one of them is the fact the age demographic. that is definitely the demographic. in china's case, it is hard to say definitively, but the population -- it is by far much larger than japan down the line. secondly, they are much richer in japan when japan arrived at this juncture. that is going to be much harder, too. so many other things like hospices, everything else is far less developed. basically the rest of the world has had about 50 years to transition to the asian economy. so much less preparation. >> host: people say china got
old before it got rich. >> host: you write the world has never seen such a huge national correction of bachelors. unless they open the doors to massive immigration, a highly unlikely scenario, how much of a gender imbalance is there today and why should we care about it? >> guest: there's 30 million women of marriage age. so that is pretty significant. but then the lowest social economic -- people typically. every society has not been a happy society. o. the middle east, for example, he noted arab, for example, in that case the demographers identified in an usually large group of men at a certain age they called it the male youth
bulge. and in china's case we don't know for sure whether this means china will be more aggressive and that could be a problem. although many reasons china could be more aggressive and not necessarily because they have a gender imbalance. but i think more significantly you can see in china a way to have a much bigger gender imbalance. there's definitely an uptick in the crime rate and economists have actually worked out for gender imbalance. >> host: of rice in the crime rate. what is china trying to do about it? is there anything they can do at this point? >> guest: the two child policy is sort of to have more children and down the line.
babies take time to grow. that is assuming they come about at all. i will not see any alleviation of that. i just read recently that china was trying to incorporate some sort of an overseas chinese to come back. they are encouraging to migrate out. i don't know if it's any big success for that. i doubt if there's anything close to those kinds of numbers. i'm not going to be the kind of woman -- [inaudible] >> host: there is this mismatch because you have women in the city getting more education but then there are men in the countryside known as bare branch. >> guest: the women themselves are not necessarily better off. the one child policy was in many ways very beneficial born after 1950 appeared probably her
chances of getting better said. that was good for a while, but the problem you are in a society where there is much fewer women than men. traditional economic terms should mean the upper hand. you have the power. china is still a very paternalistic society. it suggests a thing that there'll be more pressure to get married and also be seen as a scarce commodity. we don't see women getting more value. we see a mistress culture, concubines. use these hardly any women at the top levels. so i don't see that happening. >> host: whitey think it's not happening? the rules of supply and demand would suggest the value should be going up. what is important there?
>> guest: is hard to uproot. of course we can all name lots of high achieving chinese women. but the structure itself is still very, very male centric for example, china has only just recently passed the first domestic violence law now. there's still issues that favor and harrington, that favor the registration form and over women. these are all inherently built and change whatever you call it. >> host: to what degree can the chinese government at this point try to undo the economic political and demographic effects? >> guest: they will publicly raise the retirement age if they need to. if such a huge population of china can retire in many parts of the world.
it's very unpopular on a personal level, too. they definitely try and build up their social service safety net as fast as they can. >> host: when you look at the legacy of the one child policy, is there anything that makes you said this was a good thing. as part of that was a good thing. >> guest: what was a good thing was what came before that. china is in the path of a lot of other people. the problem is we tend to confuse the one child policies of the be-all end-all that it needed to be done and there is no other alternative. china started off doing the things other countries in the population but grow and be making more conscious. and you know, also encouraging more quality.
cities are all good things along the way. somewhere in the path they decided it really needed to juice it up economically and take this very extreme sort of approach and that is when it all went. >> host: this is a hallmark governance at the last 60 years or so, the idea that you take something that could be valuable, but if you turn it into a great leap policy. >> guest: let's do this great radical thing and we could leapfrog you get in front of everyone else. >> host: one of the things that is interesting if you look at the fact that after they began to change the policy and they aren't rushing out the next day and having that second child. what is going on? how many people are taking advantage of the policy? ..
looked at, which is fascinating, 10 or 15 years ago people talked about the rise of the little emperors, the one child who had been the object of the attention from two parents, or grandparents and everyone worried if we would get a generation of spoiled kids. what happened to the generation of little emperors? >> guest: they grew up and now they are in their 30s, so they are parents are in their 50s and 60s and their parents in their 80s and 90s and that little child who is the object of this wonderful expectation and love is going to have to give back in the sixfold to these kids, they call it before, two, one structure, so that sense of the becoming a little slave is happy more more because china party has something like 25% of the world's parkinson's upper brook-- sufferers. similar metrics across the board for dementia and every thing
else that afflicts old age. can you imagine that one child having to deal with? the financial issue in some cases. we all in the western world know how difficult it is to eight-- care for aging parents. imagine having to shuttle that between two, three, four adults. >> host: it is probably the same for you, but i have a lot of chinese friends that talk about the burden of trying to support their parents as a couple is extraordinary and unique. >> guest: also the decision to have more children and in many cases my friends say i don't want to have a second child because i don't know that i can take care of my parents and grandparents, so i cannot in all good conscience have a larger family. >> host: historically, of course, chinese families were large and 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 do you think there will be a cultural overhand that
look-- overhang that will go on? >> guest: urbanization has come down, so many people have moved to the city's for the first time in history. more in favor of urban versus rural, so where will all these large families lived together? it was different when you were on the farm, you just opened up another room or dig another: that takes care of the extra children. where would you do this especially with soaring housing prices. >> host: have other countries 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 and none of them went to the extreme of the one child policy, but there was propaganda into you would be selfish or crazy. i was in malaysia and next or singapore, but they also had propaganda campaigns and i remember seeing pictures where you would have a loaf of bread and many hands reaching for it.
stop it, that was their campaign. many countries did do it, but none of them went to that extreme route and most of them now also issue with declining population, facing declining population to varying degrees trying to turn on the baby with no success. >> host: one of the interesting elements of one child of your book is that you got pregnant in the course of working as a journalist in china pure you talk to me about that experience. how did that shape your sense of this issue and what was your experience? >> guest: i have the leading cause of infertility, super long time i was not sure if i would have children, if i wanted children, if i could have them, so when the earthquake happened i was 36. i wasn't sure i was still on the fence, but i was also aware time was running out and that i would not have the luxury of choice soon. when the earthquake happened and
i was busy following the horrors there i did not realize it at the time, but i myself was pregnant and i did not know it, so when i went to beijing, and i was feeling tired and depressed i thought it was because of the story, but then i tested and went for the scan and suddenly i could see and i try to be restrained about it, but it's hard when you see a scan and you see the heart beating and it's hard not to get attached and at that point you are like i'm writing about people losing their children. i'm pregnant. this is very strange. you understand some of the reason why people want when children and then i had a miscarriage and this happened before the olympics and the eve of the olympics and again, so i was very devastated by that. i tried to work my way through it and then later on i had ibs in beijing and it's a very strange process. i was having it at the same time
i discovered there is a whole class of people that were using ibs and all these other technologies to try to get around the one child policy and many were trying to get multiples so they wouldn't say lose your job as officials. >> host: they were trying to get multiples. >> guest: yes, so if you get twins is counted as a single birth and i met a woman who was a teacher at that she had if she had two children she would lose her job, so she was deliberately going for this and they would take fertility drugs for the same thing, so there were some places where they had fake twins people would register their second child is a twin if they were born close together. and then they would have a huge percentage of fake twins. people in china will try to get around the policy and there were all these ingenious ways. so, the interesting part was
basically with technology allowing you something that policy does not and then you see the strange variants coming and. >> host: people begin to info-- improvise. so having you this in beijing, really give you access to a world you would never have seen. >> guest: and i kind of felt a bit hesitant about writing this because here's the thing, we write in a world of policy and economics and the idea of miscarriages and babies is so messy, so female. i had editors who basically said i'm not sure we want to hear this. what is all of this stuff? it to oprah. we are talking about policy, important things. but, at the same time i thought you could not possibly about writing something as intimate as this without weeping in-- weaving in the story about families. >> host: you have twins now yourself and i imagine the experience of being a parent also shape so we look at this subject. >> guest: yes.
now, when we hear these stories about chinese people not wanting to have a second child or weighing all the costs and differences that go into it i suddenly understand having children does curtail your freedom somewhat. i'm not a roving correspondent anymore and that's one reason why, so on a personal level many are making these decisions. >> host: i cannot let you go without talking a bit with about what's on a lot of people's mind, which is the chinese economy. you are "wall street journal" reporter for a long time. when you look at what's happening in china, do you see the country on the precipice on economic respiration? a hard landing as they say or a place that is doing something else? >> guest: i definitely see china in a much more challenging place economically. in the past, there were-- there was low hanging fruit.
so, all the things they did, moving people from the countryside to the city, take advantage of cheap labor was all easy to do and so it came through quicken rapid. now, this is the hard part, the things they have to do to keep growth. they are going to have to do a lot more with a lot less people. but, are they spending in the right way? i mean, chinese universities are pretty bad. that's why we see such a huge flood of graduate students at the american institutions. of the reason why we have smart graduates from china's not because of the diversities. is because of the huge population, the-- i don't see a hopeful picture going had. i don't know that grain societies make for vibrant societies economically and that suddenly is an issue china will have to face a head.
>> host: one of the other things that china will face and the rest of the world will face is what is it mean to have a more powerful china in asia? what is it mean for the united states and southeast asia. how do other people and southeast asia on the perimeter of china's world, how do they regard china's rise? do they embrace it, find it somehow threatening, what is your sense of that? >> guest: i think they embrace it initially because rising tides lift all boats, but now great nervousness because of china's move is more aggressive. so, you cannot help but get-- wonder what is going to happened on the horizon and also chinese policies are dictating a lot more of what other regions have to do and say, so it's a lot of tiptoeing around. >> guest: do you get the sense that this is about your experience as a writer in china? there is a lot of pressure on writers. did used discover any obstacles in the course of doing this book?
>> guest: initially when i was in places like that i had been on one occasion at least detained for a while and another occasion when there was public security chased by car. but, i am fortunate because i have a foreign passport even though i have a chinese face and that protected me and i wish i could say the same for some of the other activists and writers that have tried to explore these issues and are now behind bars. >> host: you have spent a lot of time in the united states and a lot of time in asia. one of the interesting puzzles we all faces was going to happen in this relationship between the us and china. for a long time i think a lot of us presumed we would because of technology become more like each other. do you think that's true and if it's not true, what is happening do you think today? >> guest: will, you know i think basically because china is rising, then almost by natural course this relationship will
get more fractures. the us is used to being the supreme fact-- power for a long time and it will have to make room for the second one. if you happy use the one child analogy, the one child who is used to being the only child will have to get used to being a sibling. that said, when we talk about the one child policy where it's purely chinese in a domestic issue, but the fact of the matter is that it has also affected americans. there has been over 120,000 children adopted from china and out of that about 70% are in american households. we have, for example, given limited assignment to seekers of the one child policy. we have children beneficiaries of the one child policy all swelling our universities and colleges and paying for free, so it's a relationship that both mutual-- also like siblings, quarreling and i think there will be more quarreling.
>> host: do you think you'll go back to china to do more writing? >> guest: i don't know if china will let me in. i would like to. >> host: you don't have plans to publish it on the mainland. do you plan to publish it in chinese or taiwan? >> guest: i am looking into that. >> host: well, mei fong, thank you for talking to-- talking to us about one child and thank you for talking to us about the book. >> guest: thank you. >> that was afterwards, but to these signature program in which authors of the latest nonfiction books are interviewed. watch past programs online at the tv.org. >> here's a look at authors recently featured on book tv afterwards, our weekly interview program. pulitzer prize-winning journalist mei fong talked about
the affects of chinese recently discontinued one child policy. fox news correspondent james rosen looked up former vice president dick cheney time in the bush and ministration. karl rove discussed the important and what a mckinley 1896 presidential campaign. in the coming weeks on afterwards, geoffrey cowan will explore theater roosevelt on successful campaign for the 1912 republican party nomination. christian university professor at eagle claude will argue american continues to suffer from racial inequalities. also coming up, for-- former nsa director michael hayden will discuss the decisions he made as director of both agencies following the events of september 11. this weekend, former senator tom daschle and trent lott over their solutions to resolve the current state of partisanship in washington seem at doing things to socialize, bringing spouses together and opportunities to know one another and more informal basis is the wayt