How Did the One-Child Policy Change China?: An Interview with Mei Fong


Mei Fong is the youngest of five daughters, conceived in hopes of a son who never materialized. “Be glad we’re not in the old country,’’ her relatives, who had immigrated from southern China to Malaysia, would tell her. “You’d never have been born.” Fong grew up to be a journalist for the Wall Street Journal, which posted her first to Hong Kong, then, in 2003, to Beijing, where she gravitate toward writing about China’s policy of limiting most families to one child. Her first book, “One Child: The Story of China’s Most Radical Experiment,” will be released on November 3rd. The publication date was hastily moved up from February last week, after the Chinese government announced that it was scrapping the thirty-five-year-old policy and would now allow all families to have two children. I conducted the following e-mail exchange with Fong during the weekend. It has been edited for length.

Read the Q&A here.