tv After Words CSPAN August 20, 2016 12:00am-12:59am EDT
it is the subject of a lot of discussion these days among china analyst. the book is called one child, the story of china's most radical experiment. an amendment we will talk about why you chose the subject and how you went about answering the question that were on your mind. first i think would be helpful to define for people what it is we're actually talking about. what is china's one child policy question. >> guest: the one child policy is a bit of an it misnomer. it was used to describe a set of rules and restrictions that china has placed to regulate the population and the size of the family. theoretically you could call it 1.5 child for a long time. now they they have moved it to a two child policy. it just means regulations. >> host: it is not one law and particularly but a basket of policies? when did did it happen and going to a effect?
>> guest: 1980 when the communist party sent out an letter saying we are advising everybody to move to a one child family. it was advised but it was really telling. >> host: people think this is the same kind of policy that was under effect with chairman mao but it went under effect with -- what was going on that was so important that the you needed this a policy. >> guest: mao had just passed away. people were very poor and at that time the population was growing fast. so there's a significant worry that basically that china was the population was going to overwhelm its shores and there were not be enough to around. therefore they really did need to do something. >> host: you write in the book that you compare the one child
policy to a crash diet. like crash diet and in the one child policy was the gun for reasons that had merit. so why did it begin? what was the initial rationale, you mentioned that they thought it was going to spill beyond the borders. what was the goal and how did they think they're going to accomplish that? >> guest: for economic reasons. china was very poor and all of the new leadership had basically based legitimacy on raising china up economically. they had set into place a gold target of bringing thousand u.s. dollars for gdp capital per thousand. so looking back at the goal they figured out that this is not going to work with the court population growth rate and they needed to radically move to a one child per family household in order to accomplish it. economic growth is like a cake. with the productivity over numbers. so they figured figured out it was a lot easier to
control the numbers as well. so so that is what they were going for. but the sad fact was that china was already reducing its population. they already have to family population plan that was much less coercive. it was called the later, longer and fewer program. so get married later, have longer. between your children, have fewer children. that is live supposed to go. it was going ten it was going ten years before the one child policy. during that period of time the average family size had gone for about six kids to three. that was pretty successful. a lot of experts argue that they could have just kept going at that rate. if they had done that they would still reduce the population without the side effects of the one child policy and gender. >> host: so as soon jen nyc important? >> guest: he was the head of a group of scientists to throughout the one child policy.
what is interesting interesting about them and what people don't know is that basically the one child policy was drawn up by rocket scientist. he was a russian trained missile scientist to basically do not have a lot of training in sociology or demography or any of the things that we would imagine that somebody was drying up something like the population policy would have. >> host: why were rocket scientists design demography policy? >> guest: we have to go back in time. this is is coming off the cultural revolution. most of china's intelligence, the economist, sociologist, they world suffer through the cultural revolution. they had no political capital. most of them did not have computers to work out these kind of calculations. so the only sort of group of academics and experts we must alone were the missile scientist. they had all all the
capital, all the resources. he also had the bold thinking because they had been stamped out or criticize. to say that we can do this, we can tackle this, this is how we're going to do it. the unfortunate thing is that they kinda thought of it as a missile, a trajectory. woman's fertility that that could be adjusted up and down like flipping a switch. >> host: and assents their discipline and training told them that you could tune this process as finely as you might want an effect that made a mismatch for their turn to do. >> guest: didn't have been point in there for you, mr. sociologist. might be able to shed some issues on how human behavior could shape it. it isn't rocket science to think that a nation that is so in love with sons is only restricted to one child will have more sons and therefore it's going -- at some point you're going to have more men than women. it's not rocket science.
>> host: has any other country tried this to limit their pie place in ways like this? >> guest: if you look in the 60s and 70s the concern about overpopulation was a very major concern for many countries. it was a big issue at the time. this is the time when the population growth movement came in, when nonoaud's all of these were concerns. so they basically had a scenario where at this time we would run out of resources. we would so china was not the only one by far. but china took most drastic steps. implementing a sterilization program in uganda the. and for that both india and china received gold medals from the un. >> host: so what is the rest of world think of. it sounds like the rest of the
world did not immediately recognize the negative consequences. >> guest: i think a lot of the world still doesn't recognize the negative consequences. for for long time, for struthers amid support for the idea because there's a sense that you're planning it. so china was going to take the steps, good for them. that means i can run my dryer, washer and dryer and consumer with relative ease of my. and my. and also for a long time china maintained that their population policy was being run without coercion. that's nonsense of people really thought about it for two seconds. how could you implement something without some coercion being involved? but for very long time that was the belief for a lot of people. either they didn't know or didn't want to know. so you would have a lot of people thinking in favor of the one child policy. in the course of this book i talked to them and to the extent to this day environmentalist concerned about climate change, feminist who still say we should have something like a universal
one child policy. >> host: you write in 1983 china sterilized over 20,000,000 people. within the combined publishing of the three largest u.s. cities, new york, los angeles, and chicago. in addition to sterilization, what else did china do in order to enforce the law? >> guest: this is such a popular policy for a lot of reasons. untran. people may not of minded having only one child but they did mine intrusiveness of the state into the bedroom. in order to make it work basically they needed a variety of things. sterilization was on for they do not trust that people would use contraception on their own. they insist that in many cases that if you have a one child you have to be sterilized, like it or not. we don't trust that you will -- so from the beginning. then they designed these iuds that you cannot remove yourself.
you cannot easily remove. then there is forced abortions of course. other theoretically after six months forced abortions were illegal. it was not practice carried out many cases. even even as late as 2012 where we had an issue of a woman. >> host: talk about her for second, who is she invited she become prominent? >> may was a woman from the countryside and they had a daughter first. she was pregnant with her second child. she had believed or hoped that the second child was permissible that they were working in the cities. there are some fluidly because their migrant workers. but in her household registration was a rule one. so the family and officials came and said you can have this child if you want to have a second child you should have to pay a fine. the fine was it something like 6000 u.s. dollars at the time and something they cannot afford. they tried negotiating, there was a constant back and forth.
she was trying to evade family officials of until she was full-term. when it it came to seven months they took her away with a pillowcase over her head. they took her to a hospital hospital and forcibly injected her with something that caused her to prematurely deliver the fetus. we would probably not have known about this the outside world because of social media. this was new new in the landscape. so what happened in her case was a relative had come to visit her in hospital. she was lying there on the bed with a fully formed fetus right next to her. they snapped a picture and sent it on the cell phone. this went viral and china. this brought forth the human face of the one child. >> host: i was living in beijing at the time. that the lake that technology between the technological and economic change in china.
it was really out of step with the lives people were living. so you had somebody who was had an iphone, was wired to the rest of the world and yet was now found themselves captive of this policy that was in its own way, -- so did this case have any impact on policy? or do we not know? >> guest: i think it had an impact in terms of raising public awareness. before this if you were city dweller there is a sense that the one child policy in china was not so significant anymore. that yes, there were some issues with forced abortions but these were part of a recent past. china was going to the olympics, the economy is going well, it wasn't a big issue specially since a lot of people in private sector jobs could conceivably afford to pay a fine or get around it. or migrants were moving around to different cities and it was much easier to avoid detection. so it was a sense that that it didn't matter anymore.
but this case brought forth the sense that these things are still happening. >> host: how many people in china are subject to the one child policy? >> guest: one child policy is a basket of policies as we agree. about one third of all chinese households are restricted to that strict one child policy. the rest have a slightly more fluid restriction but they still do. in cases of some rural areas you could have a second child of your first one is a girl. that's only restriction but you cannot whole heartedly have whatever you want. then you could maybe have a second child if you are in a dangerous profession like a coalminer or fisherman you could have a second child if you are in a minority try. >> host: in the fall people may have seen in the headlines about a change in the policy what happened? what was preserved and was discarded. >> guest: china announced that it was going to move to a nationwide to child policy.
but is still a restriction. you still still have to get a birth permit. so it was a looser, the playpen but still a playpen. >> host: so they loosened the rules but they still intervene. >> guest: yes if you want to child you have to give a birth permit, show your marriage certificate. if you are single mother, it's practically impossible for you to get registration for your child. >> host: the switch gears. i will talk about you and how you got interested in the subject. if you can, you read in the book i'm the youngest of five daughters, all conceived in hopes of a son that never was. was. where did you grow up? >> guest: i grew up with malaysia. i am oc chinese. my grandparents migrated to malaysia. they say that the five child where the most traditional. we
cling to the old ways. we didn't have a cultural revolution to shake her thinking of. in my family's case, one of -- my father was himself the 16th out of 18. that that is just counting the boys by the way my grandfather was a rich man, he had three wives. and he counted the son said he was the 16th sun and the third wife. >> host: in china are malaysia? >> guest: malaysia. >> host: growing up did you have a sense of sense of china did illumine the family story? >> guest: it was always there. it was was eyes in the background in terms of cultural tradition. when i was a child growing up if i did something wrong i be made to go in front of my ancestral tablets holding my ears like that. very traditional punishment. also i mean because we are five daughters every time we showed up at a gathering everyone would
disapprove and say you know, you should be glad that you are not in china you would never be born. you would be would be put in a village and given away. you and exist. >> host: you write my counted father never ceased every grad hit the lack of a sudden or reminding his daughter that there are liabilities not assets. does he mean that in financial terms #. >> guest: oh yes. he was an auditor, when we are going out for example we are aware of the fact that he he was like when to spend a lot of money and send us to college or educate us be on a certain level because we're girls. it be very different if we are boys. >> host: did he do that in fact? >> guest: no actually. i went to college on my own and paid for it with scholarships and things. >> host: by that point did you want to know know that you wanted to be a writer? spee2 i sort of did. when. when i was 16 years old i want to minor competition, writing
competent composition. it was all british colonies for essays, and it was so boring it can even remember. but the offshoot of that was i was invited invited to meet the queen of england. she had happened to be a malaysia for some sort of meeting. this is probably most excited exciting thing that ever happened to me before. i was a teenager and not only that, i was invited -- for my father's the first time he looked at me and said okay she's not a liability, maybe she's an asset. >> host: you decided to become a journalist at some point. you had already paid for your own college education. later on you decided that you wanted to go to china and had you already been working as a
journalist and then he said, now i want to figure out a way to get assigned to china? was the path that led to their? >> guest: i thought as a journalist i had a scholarship from a local paper company there, so my first job was working as a crime reporter and as a young girl reporter was interviewed -- [inaudible] i sort of felt at that point there is more to journalism than this. the same question, very generic stories. but i was not sure. i do not think that path was going to be in china. i thought maybe i'd be a chinese correspondent. china seem to be too close to the bone. to full of relatives that would be me and another setting. if i were not lucky enough to be born somewhere else because my grand parents migrated. so is full of stories i had don't go to china, no doors on the toilets, it wasn't glamorous
or sexy. but but somehow my path led me there. the journal post to me in the hong kong in the wall street journal post me to hong kong in 2003. and that's how started. >> host: then you are posted to mainland china went? spee2 2006. i was doing a lot of reporting on southern china about manufacturing, i was a factory girl basically. >> host: you and your husband, andrew lee, also an author, an author, you lived in beijing for how long? >> guest: for about four years. >> host: during that. i imagine based on what you describe your getting interested in the subject of the one child policy. we'll talk in a moment about the moment that really galvanize that, did you begin to see the around you? we seen the effects of the policy already quest mark. >> guest: i was seeing the the policy in hong kong in 2003.
i was going down to these factories in china, china was basically the factor of the world. all around there is these factories and they made everything from jeans, sears, toenail clippers, is fascinating. but around 2003i heard from factory owners who said we cannot get workers were having difficulty and i said how can you possibly be having difficulty, china's most populous nation. so i talked to a lot of economists about, theories they have in even at a time there is a sense that maybe the one child policy but then it was too soon and it was a economic issue but really it was the beginning of what was going to happen. >> host: it something happen in 2008 that made you focus on a new way. what was it? spee2 in 2008i. >> guest: in 2008 i moved up to beijing to read about the olympics. it wasn't because i knew a thing about, i don't. but the olympics were over wonderful prison to view china. the rising nation, as a big money that was going to be the
olympics sponsorships, the marketing, the space issues, the change in sociology infrastructure was wonderful. but something happened in early may that derailed that whole story. that was an earthquake that had -- at the time of the earthquake happened i was in the border of yammer. >> of people don't remember it killed tens of thousands of people. it was the largest quake that china have been a long time. said at the time you happen to be covering. >> guest: i was trying to cover another natural disaster to look at was happy, at the time is very restricted and it led in any journalist. then i was frustrated and couldn't get in. then i went on a plane and flew back to beijing on aware that china was having its own natural disaster. which was -- when i landed in beijing and i turn on my blackberry and i was like what
happened. and i was like oh no, all of my colleagues, all the reporters were all made a beeline for chengdu. i felt like i missed the story. i should've should've stayed there and i could've driven there. then i started to think we'll how i do the story? there must be in many ways to skin a cat. so i thought it's a place like it china's appellation. it's reported populous. a lot of people go to other parts of china. said. said that while there must be a lot of people in beijing and some of them must be tried to get back home. what if i follow the group of them. so i followed a group of construction workers back home it took us about three days. we went on trains, bikes, and boats. it was was sad because at the end most of them discover that their family was killed.
>> host: for people that may not know, at the time the earthquake was a very difficult place to do reporting. the. the government had taken steps to try to make it try to manage this story to try to control the narrative that was going to get out to the rest of the world. when you got there one of the things that you discovered was there were a lot of families that have lost their one child, sarah? >> guest: the things that i didn't realize later on was that the area that was the epicenter they had a test pilot for the one child policy before they took it nationwide in the le seventies. it was very course of their. it really brought on the results. that had actually given the china plan was the hard and inspiration to take it nationwide. they said we can do it here we can do it at the rest of china. consequently 30 some years later the end result was very tragic for these families.
they lost their only child in many cases. one of the first and earliest stories i did did after that was all of these families who in a matter of weeks were rushing off to reverse vasectomy's and the sterilization process. >> host: there's a term if there's ever been a distinct term it's this. [inaudible] >> guest: it means the parents have lost their only child. death and their it's really phenomenal. it it stemmed from the earthquake but nobody need to call it then. but it's about 1,000,000 of those parents now by estimate about 76000 joining them yearly. what makes them different is that they have consistently try to lobby beijing for more benefits, more help because their argument is look, to loosen only child in the chinese contacts is to lose economic
security. they have not been able to -- when you lose your only child you lose your retirement plan. that is appear economic sense. but again emotional issues and even issues as far as trying to get into a nursing home. there nursing homes that will not admit these parents because they say if you have no child to authorize treatments or payments we prefer not to. we want people with kids. >> host: generally speaking, do people in china rally around this these appearance who have lost their only child? >> guest: people are sympathetic but at the same time there's a sense of stigma in some cases. when you lose your only child especially in a role role context to fall down the societal total pole.
despite the fact that there down to one child family situation, they still value the family. you not considered an adult so you're married. you don't have status unless your parents. when you lose that parenthood status you lose everything along the way. >> host: something that's interesting is when you talk to people in china, young people about the one child policy sometimes they find that they say even though we know about these cases of coercion and everything else, sometimes they'll say what if it had not been for this one child policy i would've never gotten into college, it's already soak in competitive. what you make of that? also how to the chinese people feel about the, how do they regard the policy? >> guest: there's a study by a center done in 2008 that said that chinese people support that. i looked into the
questionnaire is one question that people estimate was do you support the one child policy. it was a yes or no kind of thing. i think there's certainly more room, if u.s. people of what they thought of the kind of fees that you would have to pay you to have a broader answer. but that's it. i think i think it's fair to say that a lot of people but the idea of reducing population because if you live in china and have to get on the subway at rush hour get into the right school, you don't understand that concept of too many people. and you do support it. so it's sad that it, this party squander this goodwill that people have by channeling into such a painful course. there was a lot of support for people to reduce the population, but i don't thank you necessarily wanted to support forced abortions and
sterilization. >> host: when you were writing about this we face the question of what is our place is a foreign writer? do we have the right, the responsibility to criticize policy of china? there is a view that look, china has its own place they should govern themselves by their own rules, what you make of that? >> guest: i thank you want to take a measured view. certainly as an ethnic chinese as someone with a chinese family in china, i have enormous some of the of the idea of yes we should, china should grow economically. of. of course it is a wonderful idea that in one or two generations we have seen everybody go from a bicycle aspiration to a bmw. yes, good for them. so if the one child policy had help people get to that stage then i would be all for it. but but the problem was it david. didn't have that much to do with economic growth that china head
for the last 30 years. >> host: that's a crucial insight from this book. will it be be published in mainland china? >> guest: three years ago when i signed the contract i did receive an offer for the chinese rights from a state owned chinese publication company. they wanted to buy the right publish the book but they wanted to reserve the right to alter everything that was said. and i said i haven't read the book yet i don't know what you consider sensitive. i finish the book but in the three years to the point where that offers off the table. i don't know. i'd like to see a chinese version of the book out there. >> host: perhaps in hong kong or taiwan is an option? when did the government again to realize that it needed to change the one child policy? >> guest: about ten or 15 years ago. a group of sociologists and demographers. many of them u.s. trained by chinese. they started coming together to
collect scientific evidence that showed this one child policy was really leading child on a path of demographic disaster. they found these numbers that showed rates went faster than people thought. they found information on gender imbalance. so they showed evidence that the chinese communist party and they said when the one child policy was conceived was not a mental last forever. originally it had a timeline of 30 years and then we might change it to something else. so they're saying let's do this in and this faster because you achieve whatever results you have and you have these issues moving ahead you should encourage people that more children the communist party dragged its heels. i didn't say yes and so 35, 36 years on the line what made this change. now people say it may be too little too late.
>> host: when they started to say that did you agree, did they say look, that's not consistent with the kinds of political language we're using so let's put the data side? how do they respond? >> guest: there is a sense that okay maybe we might change this. there is not a huge amount of resistance, is more an issue of yes their problems. the one child policy had created -- in order to do this they had a system with a minister to family planning. this could go all the way down to the small problems for something so complex as people sex lives, you have have to have really intimate workings. so this was huge issue issue that came up around it. so there is a collection of fines that they collected from people. so to dismantle dismantle this structure to take away that massive revenue was
clearly something - like i don't think there's much of an argument about the demographic problems is an issue of how do you take it down. >> host: interest groups in politics. you read in the book that china is now confronting a population that is too old, to mail, and to view. which of these is the most serious problem? >> guest: i think too old. that is definitely happening. china has now i think by 2015 they'll have one in every four chinese will be a retiree. so if china were to form its own country it would be the world's third-largest country it senior china -- that doesn't have anything to do with the one child policy but with the publishing growth or cohort gone
before the one child policy that's basically living longer. but the problem with the policy is reducing the working population that you need to support this aging army. that's a big issue. unless there is a war something these people are going to get older, it's definitely happening. some of the other problems with the gender imbalance and what it could result in whether it results in a world like china, some of the speculation when we don't know for sure, we definitely know that this big group of elderly people are going to age and is going to raise a lot of issues for china. >> host: today we're seeing the economy beginning to slow after three decades of rapid growth, as any that slowing relate to the one child policy? >> guest: it is. one of the big problems was text for the economy and manufacturing, and manufactures college cheap labor, which of course you have abundance. now of course that abundance has
gone down. there's just workers and they want to get paid more. so china is trying to transition that into a consumer-based consumer -based economy. but then you have a problem because now you have a aging population and they don't spend that much. they don't buy the latest cell phones are the latest cars and in china's case we look at the seniors, one of the things i read in the book is china's transition to this and to have a huge nation of retirees is going to be as helpful as the great wall was helpful in telling northern invaders is not going to be easy. >> host: i've been to places in beijing over the years, i went to a school that was a kindergarten and now it a retirement home because there has been this reversion of how the have organized issues. so more retirees and not enough kids.
is there way to predict with the economic effects will be down the line of that kind of absence of the working? >> host: japan has. >> guest: japan has a growing population. one of of them is the age demographic. that is it demographic hit. but in china's case it's hard to say but their population will be by far much larger than japan's done line. secondly there much richer than japan is when japan arrived at this juncture. that would be much harder to. and so many other things like hospice and everything else is far less developed. the rest of the world had about 50 years to transition to an aging economy. china has done it have the time. >> host: china they often said china got all before got rich.
another thing identifies gender imbalance. the world has never seen such a huge national collection a bachelors, men will not be able to find mates unless china opens it doors to massive immigration. how much of a gender imbalance imbalance is there today and why should we care about that? >> host: about 30 million more men and women at marriage age. that's about the size of canada. that's pretty significant. and this is with social economic status. so every society that has a big gender and balance has not been happy society. in the case of the middle east have seen enormous social regress. in that case i remember demographers identified a group of you unusually large group of men of a certain age and they call that the mail you -- tongue-in-cheek.
but they did say that, and in so china's case we don't know for sure there's if china will be more aggressive militarily and that could be a problem, although i think there are reasons why china could be more aggressive and not necessarily because i have a gender imbalance. but i thank you can see the much bigger gender imbalance, more males than females. there's an uptick an uptick in the crime rate and economists have been looking at the for gender imbalance. a rise in the crime rate. spee1 so what are they trying to do about it. is there anything they can do at this point? i think the most of the two child policy is stop to it they want to encourage to have more children and hopefully down the line this will reduce
but babies take time to grow. that's assuming they come about at all. so were not going to be able to see any alleviation of that for 20 or 25 or 25 years. i read recently that china was trying to incorporate encourage overseas chinese to come back. i think they're trying to do that to have them migrate back. i don't know if that will be a success for that. certainly i doubt if anything close to those kind of numbers. and these are not going to be women who are gonna want to marry these men anyway. >> host: so there's a mismatch in effect. women in the city who are getting more education but men in the countryside known as a bear branches of the family. >> guest: but they're not necessarily in a better opposition. the one child policy was in many ways very beneficial for urban women born after 1980. if you're born in the city you didn't have siblings to compete with, your your chance of
getting better fed, better educated, compared to any other time in history. so that that was good for a while. but the problem is you living in a society where there's much for your women the men. if you think in traditional economic terms, that should mean that you have the upper hand, the power. china is still a society and it suggests that there be more pressure to get married and then maybe women would be seen as a commodity. we don't see women get more valued in the traditional sense. we see a rise in mistress culture, you see her the any women at the top levels of chinese bureaucracy. so i don't see that happening. >> host: what he think that's not happening? the the rules of supply and demand would suggest that the value would be going up. >> guest: it's hard to uproot an
angel centuries culture. on on a personal note we can all name chinese women, but the structure itself is still very mel centric. for example, china has just recently passed the first domestic violence law. and then there still was issue that favored inheritance of the male lines, that favored the registration and property of men over women. so all of these things are inherently built-in and so until they change women will come against these. >> to what degree, chinese government tried to undo some of the economic, political political and demographic effects of the one child policy? >> host: probably raise the retirement, 82 they have a huge aging population. china has one of the earliest retirement age. you can retire at 50 years old. that's unheard of that's unheard of in many parts of the world. so that would be very unpopular
in a purse personal level two. so that is going to happen. they're they're trying to build up their social service safety net as fast as they can. they have made great inroads but is still not enough by far. >> host: when you look at the legacy of the one child policy is there anything in there that makes you say this was a good thing, this part of it was a good thing? >> guest: i think what was good was what came before that. china started off on a path of a lot of people, the, the problem is we tend to confuse the one child policy is an end-all be-all. that there is no other alternative. really it was a graduated process, china started off doing some things that the other countries would do by making more contraceptives available to do education schools and also encouraging more equality for the sexes. these are good things along the way. but somewhere the path it
decided that it needed to juice it up economically and take this very extreme approach. that is when it all went hard. >> host: thus been a hallmark of the governance of last 60 years the idea that you take something that could on its face be valuable but then if you turn it into a great leap of policy like if you do this great radical thing and if you leapfrog you won't get front of everybody else and it will be taught. >> one thing that's interesting is that you looked at the fact that after all they have begun to change the policy into a two child policy and yet people are not rushing out the next day and having a second child. what's going on, how many people are taking advantage of the policy? >> china has been using this policy for a while. about two years before they now said to child policy they announced a variation of it of
this section that one of the couple that was a single child and for that it was very low, i think less so people extrapolate from man and think that the two pile child policy will be very similar. when you look back at the reasons you see that there's public opinion that you can't support the second child, the cost is too expensive. but the one child policy has become successful in that sense. it has change the mindset of the chinese family of what is considered the best kind of chinese family. for many people the concept is one child because we are going to give everything that is best that one child. >> host: invest in that one child. >> guest: the economic advantage of having one child. one a. >> host: one of the things that you looked at was ten or 15 years ago people talked about the lies of the little emperors. these were the one child who had
been the object of all the attention and everybody worried are we going to get a generation of spoiled kids. what happened? >> he grew up. he, she, they all grew up and now in the 30s. so now their grandparents and that child was skeptical of all this expectation and love is going to have to get back and sixfold. they call it the ford, two, one structure. so the emperor becoming the slave is happening more because china already has like 25% of the -- in a matter of 20 years
they'll jump to 60 percent. in similar metrics across the board for dimension everything else that conflicts old age. can you imagine that one child, with a financial issue in some cases, the western world how difficult it is to care for aging parents. in emotional sense, emotional sense, the demands that you have, imagine having to share that with adults. >> is probably the same for you but i have chinese friends who talk about this above all, the burden of trying to support their parents as a couple is really extraordinary. and unique. and it's also decision to have more children. 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 my parents and grandparents. so i cannot have a larger family of children. >> host: but historically chinese families were large. i think it was your grandfather who was one of 16 kids. do you think china will go back in the direction of large families? do you think there will be a cultural overhang that will go on for a long time?
>> host: i don't see how they can. urbanization has come down, so for the first time in history the balance is more in favor of rural. so where are all these large families could live together? it was different on the farm when you open up another room and take another whole or bingo, that takes care the extra children. where you going to do this especially with the housing crisis? >> 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. there is propaganda going into the back that you should be selfish or crazy. i was in malaysia and singapore, it was tiny. but they also had propaganda campaigns. i remember seeing pictures where you would have a loaf of bread and many hands reaching for, that was their campaign, many
countries did to it, but none of them want that extreme out. most of them now and also an issue with declining population they all try to turn on the baby cap 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, talk to me about that experience. how did that ask shape your sense of this issue was your experience? >> guest: i have polycystic ovarian syndrome which is a leading cause of infertility. for long time i wasn't sure if i was going to have children, if i wanted children, if i could have been. so when the earthquake happened i was 36. i wasn't sure, is on the fence. but i was also aware that time was running out. i would would not have the luxury of choice very soon. so when the earthquake happened
and i was accompanying parents and the end of their journey and the horse there i did not realize at the time that i was myself pregnant. so i went back to beijing and i was feeling really tired and depressed. i thought it was because of the stories. but then i tested and went for the scan and suddenly i can see and i tried to be very restrained about it. it's very hard when you see a scan nec the heart beating. it's hard not to get attached. at that point in your reading about people who have lost their children, pregnant, this is very strange. you understand the ties of the reasons for why people want children. and then i had a miscarriage. and this all happen before the olympics and on the eve of the olympics. so i was very devastated by that. i tried to work my way through. and then later on i had ibs and beijing. it's already a strange process.
i was having it then i discovered that a class of people that were using ivf and all these other technologies to try to get around one child policy. one many were trying to get multiples so they would lose their job. >> there trying to get multiples because one shot at it. >> guest: so if you get twins it counts as a single birth. i met a woman who was a teacher and she had two children, she would lose her job so she was deliberately going for ivf. so people would take drugs for the same thing. there are some places where they had fake twins, people would register a second child is a twit if they're born very close together and some would as a huge percentage of fake twins. people in china were trying to get around the policy. there are all these ingenious ways. so the interesting part was basically when technology allows you something that policy does
not then you see a strange variance coming in. >> host: people get to improvise. so having that in beijing give you access to the world that most people never see. those enormously important to. >> guest: i felt hesitant about writing it all, here's the thing, we write we write in a world of policy and economic, writer of ms. karis and babies it's all so messy. it's too female, and i had editors who basically said i'm not sure we want to hear this. it's what is all the stuff come as to oprah? were talk about policy, important things. but said he can't possibly be writing about something as intimate as this without weeping in some of this because this is at the heart of it, a story about families. >> host: and you have twins yourself. imagine the experience of being a parent has shaped the way you look at this experience. >> guest: yes. i do.
now when we hear these stories about chinese people not wanting to have the second child are weighing all the costs and differences that they go into a certainly understand it. having children does curtail your freedom. so on a personal level many families in china are making these decision. >> host: i can't let you go without talking about what's on minds about chinese economy. you are wall street journal reporter for a long time i won a pulitzer prize for coverage, when you look at what's happening china do you see a country that's a precipice of an economic trance formation? where do you see a place that is doing something else? >> guest: i see china and a challenging place economically. in the past there were all low hanging fruit, they're very poor, all, all the things that they did moving people from the
countryside to the city's taken a a bit of cheap later bare, that was all easy to do. so it was very quick and rapid. now this is the hard part. the things that have to do to keep going. they're going to have to do a lot more with a lot less people. if you have more mouths you have to increase productivity. are they spending in the right way on education? chinese universities are pretty bad. that's where we see such a huge flood of graduate students in american institutions. the reasons why we have smart graduates in china is not because of the university, it's because of huge population, so i don't see a very hopeful picture going ahead. i don't know that the society economically -- and that's an issue that china will have to face.
>> host: one of the other thing still faces what does it mean to have a more powerful china and asia? and what is it me for the united states and for southeast asia. how to other people in southeast asia and on the perimeter of china's world, how do they regard china's rise? to their basic, do they find it threatening #. >> host: i think they embrace it initially but now they're looking at it with great nervousness. because of china's move is much more aggressive. and so you can't help but wonder what's going to happen and also chinese policies are dictating a lot more what what these regionals have to do. so is tiptoeing around. >> could to get the sense this is about your experience as a writer in china, there's a lot of pressure, did you encounter obstacles? initially when i said places like that on one occasion i have
been detained for a while, there's another occasion where public security chase my car, but unfortunate unfortunate because i have a four passport. even though i have a chinese face of that protected me. i wish i could could say the same for some of the other activists and writers that have tried to explore these issues and are now behind bars. >> you have spent a lot of time in the united states and a lot of time in asia. one of the puzzles that we all face is what's going to happen the relationship between the united states and china. for a long time we presume that because of technology in the march of time we become more like each other. do you think that is true and if it's not true, what is happening to you think? >> guest: because of china's rising almost by natural course
this relationship is going to get more fracture. the u.s. is used to being the supreme power for a long time. it's going to have to make room. if room. if you want to use one child analogy is like the child that is used to be the only child is going to have to deal with the sibling. all the issues that come with it. but that said if we talk about the one child policy we thought it was a purely chinese in a domestic issue but it has also affected americans. there had been over 120,000 and out of that about 70% of these are in american household. we have for example given limited asylum we have children's and beneficiaries of the one child policy that are outflowing or university colleges. it's a relationship that is both mutual and coexistent but also like siblings. quarreling. quarreling. i think there'll be more quarreling coming up.
>> host: will you go back to china to do more writing? >> guest: i don't if they will let me. i would like to. >> you don't have plans to publish in the mainland what are your plans. >> guest: i'm looking into where i can publish it. spee1 thank you so much for talking to us about one child and congratulations on the book. >> thank you. >> book to be on c-span2, 38 hours of nonfiction books and authors every weekend, here's some feature programs this weekend. saturday at weekend. saturday at 11 eastern, book tv is live at this second annual book festival taking place at the state capitol grounds in jackson. at 8:00 p.m. eastern, public religion research institute ceo robert jones examines the decline and influence in the white christian america in shaping american policies and
ideals, in his book, the end of right white christian america. on sunday night at 10:00 p.m. eastern, eastern, afterwards investigative and journalist talks about his book, the killing of osama bin laden which challenges the facts presented by the obama administration and others. he is interviewed by bob dreyfus. >> the president also said i want to thank the pakistani intelligent forces for their help. they had a get rid of that. within days they were explicitly say the president misspoke, and the next week he went on television. and within a week i knew the day after the raid that there is trouble. >> go to booktv.org for the complete we can schedule. >> said in an q&a, louisiana state university history professor and historian, nancy eisenberg discusses her book, white trash, the untold history
of class in america. >> there are actually poor, white ghettos. in places like indianapolis, chicago, and they were described in many of the same derogatory ways of blacks were living in the city. that is part of our history that we don't talk about. we do not want to really face up to the fact that how important classes. now, afterwards with kimberley strassel. she talks about the intimidation games, how the leftist silencing free speech. she argues that the left is trying to usurp the political process. she is interviewed by ginny thomas. >> host: can really, thanks for doing this.