Summary of The Miseries of China's One-Child Generation

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Although the Chinese government abandoned the one-child policy in 2015, its effects continue to ripple throughout Chinese society. In this article from NetEase’s WeChat wemedia account Wellstudio163, writer Zhang Fan explains that parents and children are still dealing with the consequences of the controversial policy. He cites scientific studies to debunk stereotypes regarding China’s only children and looks at familial issues rather than economic and social effects. The one-child policy is a controversial and sensitive topic in China, and censors have taken this article off the Internet. Nonetheless, getAbstract recommends it to people who cherish a frank look at the consequences of Chinese social policies.

In this summary, you will learn

  • How the one-child policy has affected China’s one-child families,
  • How only-children differ from children who have siblings and
  • Why Chinese parents rely on their children in old age. 

About the Author

Zhang Fan writes about social and economic issues for NetEase’s WeChat wemedia account Wellestudio163. 



According to the 2010 national census, China had 120 million one-child families. Before 1979, one-child families had been rare because having a lot of children symbolized fortune and prosperity in Chinese tradition. The massive increase in the number of one-child families after 1979 is a demographic change that will have long-lasting effects on society.