China's One Child Policy: Stories of Struggles with its Unintended Consequences

Series produced by Jennifer Dunn

Caption: A mother and her son in Yunnan province
A mother and her son in Yunnan province 

3 decades after China's implementation of strict family planning policies, individuals and communities struggle with the outcomes of those policies including staggering gender imbalances, and the clashing demands of traditional culture and policy rules.

China's one child policy, implemented in 1979, was a drastic attempt by the government to curb the nation's exploding population. While many in China say the policy has been both necessary and successful, it has also introduced extreme complications into their everyday lives, and brought on some disastrous social and demographic consequences. These three pieces explore some of those consequences, primarily through the perspectives of first generation of one-child policy children, now in their 20s and 30s. These stories aim to shed light on the impossible position many people are in- and the impossible decisions they are forced to make- as they struggle to balance the conflicting demands of policy and tradition.

This series is part of PRX's Global Story Project, with support from the Open Society Foundations.


3 Pieces

Order by: Newest First | Oldest First
Caption: A proud grandmother shows of her grandson in Southern China
Pressed by paternal grandparents to have a boy, couples in China engage in creative ways of tricking the system and having a son without openly vio...

Bought by KUOW and PRX Remix


  • Added: Feb 01, 2013
  • Length: 05:59
  • Purchases: 2
Piece image
China's one child policy has led to a severe gender imbalance and surplus of men unable to find wives.

Bought by New Hampshire Public Radio and PRX Remix


  • Added: Feb 01, 2013
  • Length: 07:23
  • Purchases: 2
Piece image
Since the implementation of the one child policy in China 3 decades ago, a severe gender imbalance has emerged. This imbalance is evidence of famil...

Bought by KUER, New Hampshire Public Radio, and PRX Remix


  • Added: Feb 01, 2013
  • Length: 07:01
  • Purchases: 3