What does it mean to be an only child? While stereotypes of self-sufficiency or selfishness may be overstated, it’s undeniably a different experience to growing up with siblings. But what happens when that difference is no longer the choice of a family? What happens when it’s writ large across an entire society?
China’s approach to family has shifted dramatically across the last century. From the push for large families during the 50s, to the Cultural Revolution, where many children were orphaned or separated from their parents, through to the one child policy – which only became official law in 2001, but had been cultural policy for decades before that.
Xinran was born during the upheaval of China’s Cultural Revolution, and she examined the ramifications of that social experiment on women like herself in the book The Good Women of China. Now, in Buy Me The Sky, she has looked at what this most recent policy has done to the families whose destinies it has defined.
Xinran joined Sky Kirkham in June, 2015, before the one child policy was revoked, and spoke about the interviews she’d done with the only-children of China’s last few decades. Originally broadcast 11/06/15. Buy Me the Sky is out through Random House.