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Mother's Ordeal: One Woman's Fight against China's One-Child Policy

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This dramatic narrative, told in the voice of a former population-control worker, reveals the steep price that China has exacted from its people to achieve its stunning decline in birthrate. Chi An, a serious student and dedicated party activist from Shenyang, Manchuria, was trained as a nurse during the Cultural Revolution. When the Chinese government launched its sweeping family-planning campaign during the early 1980s, Chi An - then a young mother - was recruited as a population-control worker. She was trained...
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Overview

This dramatic narrative, told in the voice of a former population-control worker, reveals the steep price that China has exacted from its people to achieve its stunning decline in birthrate. Chi An, a serious student and dedicated party activist from Shenyang, Manchuria, was trained as a nurse during the Cultural Revolution. When the Chinese government launched its sweeping family-planning campaign during the early 1980s, Chi An - then a young mother - was recruited as a population-control worker. She was trained to enforce the "one-couple, one-child" policy through coercive peer counseling, pressuring uncooperative women to "think clear" about their pregnancies. She hunted down runaway women who were "illegally pregnant" and helped administer forced sterilizations, late-term abortions, and in cases where women carried their illegal fetuses to term, lethal injections at birth. Disturbed by a series of harrowing "birth-control" experiences, Chi An applied for a visa to join her husband, who was studying at a university in the U.S. Not long after she arrived in America, the tables were turned: Chi An found herself pregnant. Since Chi An and her family planned to return to China, she was forced to seek permission from Chinese officials to have a second child. The Chinese authorities responded with a resounding no, insisting that Chi An "fix this problem as soon as possible." After much anguished debate, Chi An and her husband decided to cut their ties to their homeland and applied to the U.S. government for asylum. America was not responsive and, instead, initiated deportation procedures. China expert Steven Mosher stepped in, helping Chi An win her case and ultimately effecting a policy change that protects families in similar situations. In a deeply compelling account that recreates the struggles of one woman from the other side of the globe, A Mother's Ordeal illuminates a successful, if frightening, program that is just beginning to make headlines in the West.

A young Chinese woman battles her conflicting beliefs and her country to bear a second child. Finding herself pregnant again after joining her student husband in America, Chi An was told to "fix the problem" by the Chinese government. When the US refused to help, the author helped Chi An win her case and effect a policy change.

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Editorial Reviews

Kirkus Reviews
The compelling story of a young Chinese mother, giving a human face to the recent, chilling news accounts of how China has dramatically—and forcibly—decreased its birth rate. Mosher (China Misperceived, 1990, etc.) tells the story of Chi An in the first person, giving his dramatic narrative an even greater edge. Chi An recalls her childhood in the early 50's, when China was still encouraging large families. The second of four children, she grew up in a relative comfort that disappeared when her father drowned and the family had to rely on her mother's earnings. Things were grim as her mother battled depression and as the disastrous effects of Mao's agricultural policies began to be felt even in the cities. A student nurse during the Cultural Revolution, Chi An admits to participating in that horror, but the main focus here is her experience with China's ruthless system of birth control. Trained as an abortionist, she initially accepted governmental limits on pregnancies. She married an engineer, and when a local committee informed her that she was included in the quota of women entitled to become pregnant, she did so and gave birth to a son. But as Chi An continued working in a factory clinic, she was troubled by what she observed: abortion at full- term; infanticide; forced sterilization; imprisonment for those who rejected government regulations. Dismayed, she joined her husband, who was studying in the US, and she became pregnant again—even though, in China, she'd signed an agreement to have only one child. When Chinese authorities refused to let her return unless she had an abortion, Chi An sought American help. After many difficulties—deportation procedureswere in progress—she and her family were granted political asylum. A searing and candid look at a place where the state brutally intrudes into the most intimate parts of a woman's life. (First serial rights to Ladies' Home Journal)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780060976149
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 6/28/1994
  • Edition description: 1st HarperPerennial ed
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 352

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