China’s One-Child Policy – Wang Feng

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By University of Pennsylvania Center for the Study of Contemporary China and University of Pennsylvania. Discovered by Player FM and our community — copyright is owned by the publisher, not Player FM, and audio is streamed directly from their servers. Hit the Subscribe button to track updates in Player FM, or paste the feed URL into other podcast apps.

The Chinese government is currently in the process of dismantling the family planning policies which it introduced in the 1970s, and developed alongside its program of reform & opening over the past 40 years—which are most famously associated with the one-child limit for most Chinese families, that was finally converted into a universal two-child limit starting in 2016. In so doing, the government is attempting to defuse a ticking demographic time bomb, that is not entirely the fault of the one-child policy, but was certainly accelerated by its prolonged tenure.

Considering this looming crisis makes it a particularly appropriate time to ask why and how the one-child policy was introduced in the first place, why it has taken so long to abolish, and what lessons can be drawn that might be used to improve Chinese governance in the future. In this episode, Neysun Mahboubi invites sociologist Wang Feng of the University of California—a leading expert on global demography, aging, and inequality—to reflect on the history and social impact of China’s family planning policies and their social impact. The episode was recorded on March 22, 2018.

Wang Feng is Professor of Sociology at the University of California, Irvine. His research focuses on social inequality in post-socialist societies, global demographic change, and migration in China. His books include Creating Wealth and Poverty in Postsocialist China (co-editor, with Deborah Davis; Stanford University Press 2008), Boundaries and Categories: Rising Inequality in Post-Socialist Urban China (Stanford University Press 2007), and One Quarter of Humanity: Malthusian Mythology and Chinese Realities, 1700-2000 (co-author, with James Z. Lee; Harvard University Press 1999). He also has served as Professor at Tsinghua University, in Beijing, and as a Senior Fellow at The Brookings Institution.

Music credit: "Salt" by Poppy Ackroyd, follow her at http://poppyackroyd.com

Special thanks to Nick Marziani, Justin Melnick, and Kaiser Kuo

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