tv After Words CSPAN August 19, 2016 8:00pm-8:56pm EDT
i think it would be helpful to define what we are walking about. what is china's one-child policy? >> guest: the one-child policy is a bit of a misnomer. it is a name we use to describe a set of rules, restrictions, that china has placed to regulate family population and the size of the family. theoretically you could call it 1.5 child and ten it moved to a two-child policy. >> host: it is not one law but a basket of policies. >> guest: that is right. >> host: when did it happen? when did it go into effect?
>> guest: i say 1980 when the communist party sent out an open letter to the members saying we are adviceing everyone to move to a one-child family. -- advise. >> host: you are saying this went under effect under ping. what was going on in china that was so important that people imagined they needed an idea of the policy like this? >> mao had just passed away and the population was growing. there was a worry that china's population was going to overwhelm the showers and there wouldn't be enough to go around and they really need today do something. >> host: you write in the book you compared the one-child policy to a crash diet. you say like crash dieting the
one-child policy was the gun for the reason that had merit. what was the original rational? you mention you thought it would spill beyond china's border. what was the goal? how dd they think were going to accomplish it? >> guest: it was for economic reasons. china was very poor and the new leadership staked their goals on raising china up. working back from the goal, the planners figured out this wasn't going to work with the current population growth rate and therefore they needed to radically move to a one-child per family household. economic growth is like a cake, right? the productivity and controlling
the number of mouths. that is what they were going for. but china was ald reducing its population and had a population planning policy in place that was much less coersive called the later and longer and fewer. get married later, wait until later and have fewer children. the average family size went from six kids to three. that was pretty successful and a lot of experts argue they should have kept going on the rate and would have reduced the population without the side effects of the one-child policy. >> host: who is song jin? why was he important? >> guest: he was the head of the
scientists that drafted the one-child policy. basically the one-child policy was drawn up by rocket scientists. russian trained missile defense scientists who basically didn't have a lot of training in things we would think drawing up the plan would have. >> host: why were they not working on demogry? >> most of china's economists and others suffered and didn't have computers even to work out the complex calculations you needed. so the only group of academics and experts were the missile scientists. they had all of the capital, all of the resources, and they had
the bold thinking because they had not been stamped on or criticized. they said we can do this and this is how we will do. they thought of it like a missile unfortunately like a trajectory and woman's fertility could be adjusted up and down like flipping a switch. >> host: their training told them you can tune this process as finally as you might want and in fact that made them a mismatch. >> guest: the problem was there was no input from economists or anything. no one shedding issues on how human behavior could shape such a grand plan. it isn't rocket science to think a nation that is so in love with sons is only restricted to one child is going to have more sons and then at some point you will have more men than women. it is not rocket science. >> host: have other countries
tried anything this radical? have other countries tried to limit their population? >> guest: in the '60s and '70s the concern of over population was a concern for many countries. this was a time when the population growth movement came in. also the european union population grew. all of these things were concerns. mit had scenario where at this time we would run out of resources. doomsday narrative. so china isn't the only one by far but china took the most drastic step. india had a sterilization program for a time and for that india and china received gold medals from the european union. >> host: it sounds like the rest of the world didn't immediately
recognize the negative consequences that could come about. >> guest: i think a lot of the world still doesn't recognize the consequences. there was immense support because there was concerns we were overwhelming the planet so it was like china is taking this step, good for them. that means i can run my washer and drier with more ease of mind. and for a long time, china maintained their population policy was being run without being coersed but that is non-sense. for a very long time, though, that was the belief for an a lot of people. they didn't know or didn't want to know. and you would have a lot of people speaking out in fear of the one-child policy. in the course of the book i talked to some to this day, environmentalists, feminists, who still say we should have something like a universal
one-child policy. >> host: you write in 1983, clinea sterilized more than 20 million people, more than the combination of new york, los angeles, and chicago populations all together. in addition to sterilization what else did china do to enforce the policy? >> guest: this is such an unpopular policy. they probably didn't mind having one child but didn't want the state in their bedroom. sterilization was one. they didn't trust people would use contraception on their own so they insisted in many cases that after you have had your one child you have to be sterilized like it or not. >> host: this was from the beginning? >> guest: yeah. then they designed ied that you could not remove yourself.
and then there is of course abortions. this was -- although theoretically forced forced abortions were illegal after six months. it was carried out as late as 2012, however where there was a woman. >> host: talk about that. >> guest: there was a woman from the country side and they had a daughter first and she was pregnant with her second child. she had hoped that the second child was permissible. they were migrant workers but in reality her registration was a rural one so the family planning officials said you cannot have this child. if you want to have the second child you should have to pay a find and it was something like $6,000 and they could not afford it. they tried to negotiate.
there was constant back and forth. she was trying to evade planning officials until carried the risk full term because she was running the risk they could take you for abortion. at seven months they took her with a pillow case over her head and took her to the hospital and forced her with something that caused her to prematurely deliver the fetus. we would probably not have known about this but there is social media. what happened in her case was a relative had come to visit her in the hospital and she was lying there in the bed with the fully formed fetus right next to her and snapped a picture and sent it on a cellphone and it went viral in china and brought forth the human faith of the one-child policy. >> host: i was living in beijing and i remember that case felt like the interchange between the technological and the economical change and a policy that was
adopted in a different period and out of step with the lives people were living. you had someone with an iphone and wired to the world and found themselves captive of the policy that was in its own way a relic. did that have any impact on policy? or do we not know? >> guest: i think it had an impact for raising city awareness. if you were a city dweller there was a chance the one-child policy in china wasn't significant. that yes, there were issues with abortions but they were going to hold the olympics and the economy was gogo -- was going so well. it wasn't an issue since people could afford to pay the fines and migrants were moving around and it was easier to avoid detection. there was a sense maybe it didn't matter anymore but then this case brought forth the
sense that yes, these things are still happening. >> host: how many people in china would you say are subject to the one-child policy? >> guest: well, let's see, the one-child policy is a basket of policies as we agreed. so say fully a third of all chinese households are restricted to that strict one-child policy. the rest have slightly more fluid restrictions but still do. in some rural areas, you can have a second child if your first one is a girl. that is the restriction. you cannot just have whatever you want. then maybe you believed have a second child if you are in a dangerous profession like a coal minor or fishermen. >> host: in the fall people may have seen the headlines about a change in the policy. what was preserved and what was discarded? >> guest: china announced it was moving to a nationwide two-child policy.
but it is still a restriction. you have to get a birth permit. >> host: they loosened the rule but intervene directly in people's private life. >> guest: if you want a child you have to get a birth permit. let's say you are a single mother it is impossible to get a registration for your child first or second. >> host: let's switch gears. i want to talk about you and how you got interested in this subject. if you can, you write in the book, i am the youngest of five daughters all conceive of a son that never was. where did you grow up? >> guest: i grew up in malasyia. you know, they say we are the most traditional and cling to the old ways. we didn't have anything like the
cultural revolution to shake tup. in my families case, it wasn't the always but a love of sons. my father himself was the 16th son -- 16-out of 18. and that is just counting the boys. >> host: just one mother? >> guest: no, there were several. my grandfather was a rich man and had had three wives. he was the 16th son from the third wife. >> host: in china? >> guest: in malasia. >> host: was it a distance place growing up? >> guest: when i was a child growing up, if i did something wrong, i would be made to kneel in front of my ancestors. because we were five daughters, every time we showed up at a gathering all of the aunts and
just everybody disapproving and saying you should be glad you were not in china you would never be born or put in a village and given away. you would not exist. >> host: you write my father never stopped regretting a lack of a son or reminding his daughters they were liabilities not assets. did he mean that financially? >> guest: yeah, he told us that. he was an auditor. growing up we were affair of the fact he wasn't going to spend much to educate us or send us to college because we were girls. >> host: did he pay were your college education? >> guest: actually no, i went on my own and paid in scholarships and things. >> host: did you know at that point you wanted to be a writer? >> guest: i sort of did. when i was 16 years old i won a minor competition. >> host: a writing competition?
>> guest: yeah, it was a commonwealth essay. all british colonies submitted their little essay and i wrote something ponderous and boring and i cannot remember it. but the offshoot was i was invited to meet the queen of england and she just happened to be there for a meeting. this was probably the most exciting thing that happened to me. for my father, it was the first time he looked at me and thought maybe she is an asset and not a liability. >> host: you decided to become a journalist and already paid for your own college education. and so later on you decided i want to go to china. had you already been working as a journalist and then you said i want to figure out a way to get assigned to china? or what was the path that led
you there. >> guest: my first job was in singapore working as a crime reporter. they would send young girl out reporters to interview grieving family members. i knew there was more to journalism than this. same questions and generic stories. but i didn't think that pathways going to be in china. i speak indonesian language better than mandrin. china was full of relatives that would be me but i wasn't lucky enough to be born there. i had relatives saying don't go to china. you don't have doors on the toilet. it wasn't glamorous or sexy
enough but my path led me there. they sent me to hong kong, "the wall street journal" posted me at the hong kong in 2003 in the midst of sars. that is how it started. >> host: when did you come to beijing? >> guest: in 2006. i was doing reporting on manufacturin manufacturing. >> host: and your husband was an author as well. you lived in beijing for how many years? >> guest: about four. >> host: during that period i would imagine you were already getting interested in the subject of the one-child policy. we will talk in a moment about the moment that really galvanized that. did you see it around you? were you seeing the effects of the policy? >> guest: i was seeing the effects of the policy in hong kong in 2003. i was going down to the
factories making everything from jeans and bras and toe nail clippers. it was fascinating. but i started hearing from factory owners saying we cannot get enough workers and i said how can you possibly be having difficulty? china is the most populus nation. i talked to economists about theories and there was a sense maybe it is the one-child policy but there was a sense it was too soon. this was with a short-term economic issue but really that was the beginning of when it was going to happen. >> host: something happened in 2008 that made you focus in a new way on the one-child policy. what was it? >> guest: i was moved to beijing to write about the olympics. it is a wonderful prism to view china as a rising nation, the big m money, the marketing, the
change in in -- insfrastructui. it was wonderful. but before it happened an earthquake came. >> host: for those that don't remember, that earthquake killed tens of thousands of people. it was the largest quake in the area. you were covering mare mar? >> host: >> guest: i was trying to sneak in. it was very restricted there and they were not letting in any journalists. so i was frustrated i could not get in. i got on a plane and flew to beijing and unaware of the natural disaster.
i land in china and turn on the my blackberry and all my colleagues and reporters made a be line and i felt like i missed the story. i was like i could have driven. i should have stayed there. then i started thinking how can i do the story? there must be many ways to skin a cat. i thought this is a place that supplies most guest workers to china. it is like china's appalachian and very poor and people go to other parts of china to work. i thought there must be a lot of people in beijing trying to get back home. what if i follow a group of them. i followed a group of construction workers back home. it took about three days. we road trains, bikes, and boats. it was a very sad journey because at the end of it all most discovered their family had been killed. >> host: for people who may not
know the earthquake was a very difficult place to do reporting. the government had taken steps to try to make it -- they were trying to manage the story, to try to control the narrative that was going to get out to the rest of the world, so when you depot there one of the things you discovered -- got -- there were a lot of families that had lost their one child; is that right? >> guest: the thing i didn't realize later on was the area near the epicenter was actually an area with a test pilot of the one-child policy before they took it nationwide in the late 1970s. it really brought down the results. and that had actually given china's plan the inspiration to take the nationwide. they said we can do this for the rest of china. of course, the end results were tragic for the families. they lost their own child in many cases. one of the first and earliest
stories i did was about all these families who, in a matter of weeks, were rushing off to do reverse sterilization process they had been forced to undergo. >> host: there is a term, if there has been a distinct chinese term it is sure do. talk about what that means. >> guest: it means parents who have lost their only child. death. it is a phenomenfunauphenomenal from this earthquake. there are about a million of these parents. what makes them different is they have consistently tried to lobby beijing for more benefits and help because their argument is to lose your only child in the china's context is to lose economic security.
china doesn't have a social network to compensate. when you lose your only child you lose your retirement plan. that is a pure economic sense but of course there are emotional issues and even issues with trying to get into a nursing home. there are nursing homes that will not admit these parents because they say no one is there to authorize treatment or payment we prefer not to. we want people with kids. >> host: so did people, generally speaking, i know it is hard to generalize, but did people in china rally around the people that lost their only child or did people say something else? >> guest: people are sympathetic but there is also a sense of stigma maybe in some cases. when you lose your only child, especially in a rural context, you fall down the societal totem pole.
china, despite down to a one-child policy, you are not considered an adult until you are married. you don't have the status unless you are a parent. when you lose the parenthood status you lose many things along the way. >> host: one thing that is interesting when you talk to young people in china about the one-child policy sometimes you find even though we know about the cases of being cohersed they will say if it were not for the one-child policy i would not have gotten into college. it is already so competitive. what do you make of that view? it is perilous to describe china's attitudes too broadly. but how do they regard the one-child policy? >> guest: i think many of them support this. there was a study by the pugh center in 2008 that said 2/3rd of china people support the one-child policy. i looked into that questionnaire.
it was down to one question asked and it was like do you support the one-child policy and it was yes or no. i think it wasn't very warm and there is more room -- if you asked people of the fee you have to pay that is a more varied response. but that is it. i think it is fair to say that a lot of people did support the idea of reducing population because if you lived in china and had to get on a subway at rush hour or get into the right school you understand that whole concept of too many people and you do support it. so i think matter of fact, it is sad that a communist party squandered this good will people had by channeling it into such a painful course. there was a lot of support from people to reduce the population. there was. but i don't think they necessarily wanted to support things like forced abortions and sterilizations. >> host: when you were writing
about this, those of us with foreign passports but write about china and do, say 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 is in its own place and they should govern themselves by their own rules. what do you make of that idea? >> guest: i think we want to take a measured view, yes. and certainly as someone with chinese family in china i understand the idea of yes, china should grow economically and it is a wonderful idea that in one or two generations we have seen everybody go from aspiration for a bicycle to a bmw. yes, good for them. if the one-child policy helped people get to that stage i would be all for it. but then the problem was it didn't. it really didn't have that much to do with this economic growth that china had for the last 30 years.
>> host: that is one of the crucial insights from the book. will the book be published in mainland china? >> guest: three years ago when i signed the book contract i received the offer for a rights from a state owned publication company who wanted to buy the book but reserve the right to alter anything that is sensitive and i said let's table the offer until i finish the book. i finished the book but offer is off the table so i don't know. i would like to see a chinese version of the book out there. >> host: perhaps hong kong or taiwan is an option. when did the government realize they needed to change the one-child policy? >> guest: probably about 10-15 years ago a group of sociologists started rallying together to collect scientific
evidence that shows this one-child policy was really leading china on a path to demographic disaster. they found all these numbers that showed that the birth rate plunged faster than they thought. they found issues of gender imbalance. they presented evidence to the chinese communist party and they said, you know, when the one-child policy was conceived it was never meant to last forever. i think it had a timeline of 30 years and then they would change to something else. at that point, they were lobbying and saying let's do it and end it faster because you have achieved whatever results you have. and we should encourage people to have more children now with the issues ahead of us. but the communist party dragged its heels and didn't say yes until 36 years down the line and now people say maybe it is too little too late. >> host: when they started to
say that was that agreed by the government or did they say look, that is not consistent with the kind of political language we are using so let's put this data aside. how did they respond? >> guest: there was a sense, okay, we might change it. there wasn't a huge remount of resistance but i think it was more structural problems. the one-child policy in order to enforce it they created a huge system where they had a ministry that basically administered state family planning and the family planning commission and this trickled down to the small provinces. something so complex as people's sex life you have to have intimate working. so there is a huge thing that came up around it and had a collection of fines they collected from people. so to dismantle this structure, take away that massive source of revenue to all of these states was painful.
i don't think it was much an argument about the demographic problems that were being caused. it was more an issue of how do we take it down. >> host: interest groups and politics. you write in the book china is confronting a population that is too old, too male, and too few. which of these is the most serious problem? >> guest: i think too old because that is definitely happening. china has, you know, i think by 2050 every 1-4 chinese will be a retiree. if senior china formed its in own country it would be the third longest country. and that really hasn't anything to do with the one-child policy. it has to do with this big population growth that was born before the one-child policy that is basically living longer. but the problem the one-child
policy has is reduced the working population that you need to support this aging army. that is the big issue. and you know, unless that is a famine or war, these people are definitely going to grow older. it is definitely happening. some of the other problems, some of the speculation we don't know for sure. we know this big group of elderly people are going to age and with that it will raise a lot of issues for china. >> host: today we are seeing china's economy slowing after three decades of rapid growth. is any of that related to the one-child policy? >> guest: it is. one of the problems is manufacturing and that was followed by cheap labor which, you know, of course is abundance. and now of course, that abundance has gone down.
there is just fewer workers. they want to get paid more. and so china is trying to transition out of that into a more consumer based economy but then you have a problem there, too. now you have a huge aging population and aging con consumers don't spend much. they don't buy the latest cell phones or cars. and in china's particular case we look at the seniors and now they save a huge amount. so i mean one of the things i might in the book is china's attempt to transition to this and have a huge nation of retirees is going to be as helpful as the great wall was helpful against the northern invaders. >> host: i have been to places in beijing. i went to a school that used to be a kindergarten and it is now a retirement home because there is a total inversion of the way the population is organized. not enough small kids and too many retirees. is there a way to predict what
the economic effects will be down the line with the absence of the working? >> guest: one of them is the fact the age demographics. the population is going to be much larger than japan down the line. and secondly, they are much richer when japan arrived at the juncture. that is going to be much, much harder. so many other things like hospices and everything else is far less developed. the rest of the world has about 50 years to transition to an aging economy. china has done it in 25. half the amount of time so much less preparation. >> host: people say china got
old before rich. another thing you write about is the gender populations. men will not be able to fine mates unless china opens 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: 30 million more men of marriage age. the size of canada. that is pretty significant. men within the social economic stratus, poor country side peop people. it hasn't been a happy society. in the case of the middle east we have seen enormous social unrest with the arab springs, for example. demographers identified the large group of men calling it the male youth bulge.
in china's case we don't know for sure. i think that is why china can be aggressive and muscalar and not just because of a gender imbalance but a more significant thing you can see in china and here is where they have a bigger gender imbalance there is a corresponding uptick in the crime rate. a rise in six points for gender imbalance. >> host: a rise in the crime rate? what is china trying to do about the fact they have this gender imbalance? anything they can do at this point? >> guest: i think the move to a two-child policy is a start. they want to encourage people to have more children and hopefully down the line this reduces things. but babies take time to grow and
become brides so we will not see an allevation in the next 25 years. i read china was going to encourage overseas chinese to come back and migrate back. i don't know that is going to be any big success or take up for that. i doubt it will be anything close to this kind of number and overseas chinese migrate. >> host: there is a mix match in effect because you have women in the city gaining education but there are men known as bear branches. >> guest: the women are not necessarily in a better off position. the one-child policy was beneficial for urban women more after 1980. in a city you probably had no siblings to compete with and
probably got better edge -- educated. but the problem is now you are living in a society where there are much fewer women then men. we don't see women getting more val valued. we see a rise in mistress culture. you see hardly any women at the top of leadership. >> host: why isn't it happening? the rule of law would suggest the value of women should be going up. what is at work there? >> guest: it is hard to uproot
an age old culture. the strucksure -- the structure is china only just recently passed their first domestic violence law. they are issues that favorite inheritance and favor the registration of population for men over women. until they change women still come across the bamboo seceilin or whatever they call it. >> host: what can cline china do to undo some of the negative effects? >> guest: i think one thing they will do is raise the retirement age. in china you can retire at 50 years old.
so they will do that but that is unpopular, too. they are trying to build up social service safety nets and have made great inroads but it is not enough. not by far. >> host: when you look at the legacy of the one-child policy is there anything in there that makes you say well, this was a good thing. this part was a good thing. >> guest: i think what was a good thing was what came before that. you know, china started off in the path a lot of others to. we tend to confuse the one-child policy with the end all be all. it was more of a graduated process. china started doing the things other populations did to control population growth like making more contraception available and teaching in schools and encouraging more equality for the sexes. these were all good things but
they decided they needed to juice it up economically and take this extreme approach and that is when it all went apart. >> this has been a hall mark of the governances of the last 60 years. you take something that could be valuable on its face but you turn it into a leap. >> host: you look at it changing the policy into what is called a two-child policy but people are not rushing out and having that second child. how many people are in fact taking advantage of the policy do you think? >> gues >> guest: china has been easing this policy. they announced a variation two years ago and they had an exception that if one of the
couple was a single child they would be able to have a second child. the take up was very low. i think less than 15% of eligible couples took it up. when they look back at the reasons there was a lot of public opinion saying we cannot support a second child. the cost are too expensive. but also inherently the one-child policy has changed the mindset of the chinese family of what is considered the best chinese family. and now for many people the concept is one child because we are going to get everything that is best to that one child. >> host: invest in that one. >> guest: that there is economic advantages with having one child. >> host: one thing you looked at which is fascinating is 10-15 years ago people talked about the rise of the little emperors. the one child who had been 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 em emperors? >> guest: they grew up. they are 35 and parents in 60s and grandparents in the 80. and that child is going to have to give back in six fold. they call it the 4-2-1 structure. china has 25% of the world's parkinson's sufferers and similar metrics for dementia and everything else that afflicts old age. can you imagine that little one emperor dealing with that?
it isn't even financial issues. we know in the western world how difficult it is to care for aging parents with the emotional sense and demand. >> host: i have a lot of chinese friends who talk about the burden of trying to support their parents on the couple is extraordinary and unique. >> host: in many cases, friends say i don't want to have a second child because i don't know i can take care of my parents and grandparents. so i cannot in good conscious have a larger family. >> host: historically chinese families were large. i think you said your grandfather was 1-16 kids. do you think china will go back in the direction of large families or will cultural overhang hang on? >> guest: i don't see how they
can. urbanization has come down. where are all these large families going to live together. it was different on the farm. open up and dig another hole and that takes care of the extra children. >> host: have other countries tried to copy what china did when it came to the one-child policy? >> guest: there was a large amount of propaganda going into the fact that you should be selfish or crazy to have more. next door in singapore, it is tinea, smaller than new york, but they had propaganda campaigns. i remember seeing pictures of a loaf of bread and many hands reaching for it.
many countries did do it but none of them went that extreme. most of them are now also in an issue with declining population. they have all to various degrees tried to turn on the baby tap with no success. >> host: one interesting element of "one child," your book, is you got pregnant in the course of working as a journalist in china. talk about that experience and how did that shape you can sense of this issue? what was your experience? >> guest: i have poly cystic ovarian syndrome. it is the leading cost of infertility and so i wasn't sure if i could have children or wanted them. when the earthquake happened i was 36. i wasn't sure. i was on the fence but aware time was running out. when the earthquake happened and i was busy accompanying the parents and falling into the end of the journey and the horrors
there i didn't realize it at the time but i myself was pregnant. i went back to beijing and was feeling tired and depressed i thought it was the stories but i tested and went for the scan and suddenly i could see. i tried to be restrained but it is hard when you see a scan and see the heart beating it is very hard not to get attached and you are like i am writing about people who lost their children, i am pregnant, this is very strange. then i had a miscarriage and this happened before the olympics. i was very devastated by that. and then i had ibs in beijing and discovered a lot of people
usi using -- ivf -- were using this to get around. they were trying to get multiples. >> host: multiples because they were only getting one shot? >> guest: if you get twins it is 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 deliberately going for ivf. there were some places where they had fake twins. people would register their second child as a twin if they were born close together. there was a huge percentage of fake twins in areas and people will try to get around the policy. you can not blame them. there were these ways to go around. when technology allows you something that policy does not you feel there is a strange
variance coming in. >> host: having ivf in beijing basic you access to things an a lot of people never saw. >> guest: i felt a little hesitant about writing about it. the idea of miscarriages and babies is all so messy. so female. and i had editors who said i am not sure we want to hear this. what all this stuff. it is too oprah. we are talking about policy and important things. i thought about you cannot write about something as intimate as this because at the heart this is a story about families. >> you have twins yourself and i imagine the appearance experience of being a parent has shaped the way you look at the subject. >> yeah, and now when we feel
displaced about chin chinese people not wanting the second child. and now i understand children does curtail your freedom. i am not a roaming correspondent anymore and that is one reason why. on a personal level, many families in china are making these decisions. >> host: i cannot let you go without talking about what on people's mind and that is china's economy. when you look at what is happening in china do you see a country that is on a hard landing or do you see a place that is doing something else? >> guest: i see china in a much more challenging place economically. that is no great stretch. in the past, there was all low hanging fruit. they came out of the cultural revolution and were poor.
all things they did was easy to do. so the gains were very, very quick and rapid. and now, this is the hard part. you know. the things they have to do keep growth. they will have to do a lot more with a lot less people. are they spending on the right way on education? chinese universities are pretty bad. that is why we see such a huge flood of graduate students in american institutions. we have smart graduates from china not because of the education but the actual child. i don't see a hopeful picture going ahead. i don't know that the society makes for a vibrant society and that is an issue china will have to face coming up ahead. >> one of the other things china will have to face is what does
it mean to have a more powerful china in asia? you have family in malas how do they embrace the rise of china? do they embrace it? >> guest: i think they embraced it initially but now they are looking at it with great nervousness because of china's moves are more aggressive in the east asian seas. you cannot help but wonder what is going to happen on the horizon and chinese policy is dictated more. it is all tip toeing around. >> host: do you get the sense this is about your experience as a writer in china. did you encounter any obstacles in the course of writing the book? >> guest: one location i was
detained for a while on one occasion and another occasion where the public security chased by car but i am fortunate because i have a foreign pass port and that protected me. i wish i could say the same for other activists and writers who tried to explore the issue. >> you spent a lot of time in the united states and asia. one of the interesting puzzles we face is what is going to happen between the united states and china. for a long time, a lot of us persumed because of technology and the march of time we would become more like each other. do you think that is true? if it isn't true what is happening you think today? >> well, basically because china's rising, then the almost by natural course this relationship is going to get more fractures. the u.s. is used to being the
supreme being and it has to make room for the second one. if you want to use the one-child policy the only child is going to have to do it with siblings. but with that said, what used to think of as a purely chinese and domestic issue but it has effected americans. there have been over 120 children adopted from china and out of that 70% are in american households. we have, for example, given a limited asylum to seekers of the one-child policy. we have children and beneficiaries in our universities and colleges. it is a relationship that is mutual and coexistent but coraling like siblings as well. >> host: do you think you will