This year's Joseph Levenson Book Prize goes to the 2021 work making "the greatest contribution to increasing understanding of the history, culture, society, politics, or economy of China."
One Child: The Story of China's Most Radical Experiment
The USC U.S.-China Institute presents a book talk by Mei Fong, a Pulitzer winning author and former USC Annenberg professor. In "One Child", Mei Fong examines the origins of China's one child policy and some of its unintended consequences through a narrative-rich story.
Click here to watch the presentation.
About the book:
China's over three decades-long population planning policy, known popularly as the 'one child policy,' took a major shift when Beijing announced late last year a shift to a nationwide two-child policy. In One Child, Mei Fong writes about the origins of the policy and some of its unintended consequences through a narrative-rich story that is "evocatively rendered and peppered with quirky characters, including a sex-doll salesman and a dating guru who claims that overly assertive women contract breast cancer." (Wall Street Journal) The book has also garnered critical praise from New York Times, Guardian, Independent and the Los Angeles Review of Books.
For more information go to, visit www.meifong.org.
The book will be available for purchase and signing at the event.
About the author:
Author and journalist Mei Fong covered Hong Kong and China for the Wall Street Journal, where she won a shared Pulitzer for her stories on China’s transformative process ahead of the 2008 Beijing Olympics. She is believed to be the first Malaysian to win a Pulitzer. Her stories on China’s migrant workers also won a 2006 Human Rights Press Award from Amnesty International and the Hong Kong Correspondents Club, as well as awards from the Society of Publishers in Asia and Society of Professional Journalist. After leaving the China bureau, she was on faculty at the University of Southern California’s Annenberg School of Communications. She is currently a fellow at DC-based thinktank New America.
“The policy itself remains a monument to official callousness, and Fong’s book pays moving testimony to the suffering and forbearance of its victims.”
— New York Times Book Review
“Fong’s fine book is a moving and at times harrowing account of the significance of decisions taken by a small coterie of men with too much faith in science and ideology, and too little in humanity.”
— The Guardian
“With impeccable timing, [Fong's] new book offers a superb overview... Fong writes in an easy, accessible style, and in 200 pages takes us behind the scenes of the Sichuan earthquake, the Olympic stadium in Beijing, the dancing grannies, the migrant workers, the orphanages, the transnational adoption of Chinese baby girls, birth tourism, and surrogacy. She fills in the background to these familiar subjects with impressive research and interviews, conducted over many years.”
— Los Angeles Review of Books
“Mei Fong’s brilliant exploration of China’s one-child policy must change the way we talk about China’s rise. One Child is lucid, humane, and unflinching; it is vital reading for anyone focused on the future of China’s economy, its environment, or its politics. It not only clarifies facts and retires myths, but also confronts the deepest questions about the meaning of parenthood.”
— Evan Osnos, National Book Award-winning author of Age of Ambition
“Eye-opening, powerful, and utterly gripping, One Child had me hooked from page one. Mei Fong possesses a rare eye for the details that truly illuminate a story, the ones that most of us overlook. She writes beautifully and vividly, revealing sides of China I’d never imagined to exist.”
— Amy Chua, author of Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother and The Triple Package
“One Child is a critically important book about a major force that has shaped contemporary China, necessary reading both for policy experts and anyone interested in the future of one of the world's most important nations. But it is also a riveting read, written with the flair and compassion of a novel, that throws new light on the tough decisions we all face – and the joys we discover – in family life.”
— Anne-Marie Slaughter, author of Unfinished Business
“One Child is a timely and informative look into China’s infamous effort to control its enormous population. But Mei Fong has also given us a wry, bittersweet, and often very personal look at how courtship, marriage, birth, and death interact in the post-Mao Chinese family. A lovely antidote to decades of chillingly cold Party-speak from Beijing.”
— Orveille Schell, author of Wealth and Power
Wherever you may be, we wish you and those close to you the very best Year of the Rabbit.
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