More Than One Child

— Memoirs of an illegal daughter

by Shen Yang

Translated from Chinese by Nicky Harman

 

‘I broke a law simply by being born.’

In the late 1980s, Shen Yang came to this world during the fiercest years of China’s infamous one-child policy. As the second daughter of the family, Shen Yang was a massive liability – she was an excess child, a product of illegal birth.

From being raised by her grandparents in a remote village as soon as she was born, to being whisked away to her aunt’s home in a distant faraway city, Shen Yang’s existence was doomed to be shrouded in utmost secrecy and silence. Armed with a new identity to assume, Shen Yang experienced years of neglect and humiliation from her aunt’s volatile family who saw her as yet another burden to bear. On top of it all, it seemed her own biological parents had come to forget about her.

In More Than One Child, by turns heartrending and inspiring, Shen Yang bravely records her journey towards overcoming the limits of her upbringing and forging her own identity. More Than One Child is not only Shen Yang’s story; it is the story of the enormous, yet invisible community of excess-birth children. And this book is Shen Yang’s way of saying goodbye to her childhood, and goodbye to an era.

 

Review quotes:

“The One-Child-per-Family policy was a tragedy forced upon China’s mothers, children and their families. Finally, in this book, Shen Yang has dared to tell the truth, speaking out bravely about the experiences she lived through.” ––Ma Jian (Author of The Dark Road)

‘This is the voice of China’s Invisible Generation – vividly written, well balanced, brilliant, humorous and very sharp – it elicits a rollercoaster of emotions that breaks through the silence shrouding the lives of excess children born during the One-Child Policy.’ ––Xinran (Author of The Good Women of China)

 

ISBN: 978-1-913891-09-1
Publication date: September 2021
Format: Paperback (Demy octavo) 216mm x 138mm
Pages: 288 pp, with 50 colour photos

 

SKU: 9781913891091 Categories: ,

Synopsis

I broke a law simply by being born.’

In the late 1980s, Shen Yang came to this world during the fiercest years of China’s infamous one-child policy. As the second daughter of the family, Shen Yang was a massive liability – she was an excess child, a product of illegal birth.

From being raised by her grandparents in a remote village as soon as she was born, to being whisked away to her aunt’s home in a distant faraway city, Shen Yang’s existence was doomed to be shrouded in utmost secrecy and silence. Armed with a new identity to assume, Shen Yang experienced years of neglect and humiliation from her aunt’s volatile family who saw her as yet another burden to bear. On top of it all, it seemed her own biological parents had come to forget about her.

In More Than One Child, by turns heartrending and inspiring, Shen Yang bravely records her journey towards overcoming the limits of her upbringing and forging her own identity. More Than One Child is not only Shen Yang’s story; it is the story of the enormous, yet invisible community of excess-birth children. And this book is Shen Yang’s way of saying “Goodbye to my childhood, goodbye to an era”.

“In 1971, the Chinese government launched a family planning campaign which, by 1982, had become a fundamental national policy. The aim of the policy was to solve the problems of poverty and limited resources by slowing the rate of population growth; couples were limited to a single child, any further babies were considered illegal, ‘excess-birth’ children.”

“I was lucky compared to other excess-birth children, those who were abandoned or died at birth.” … “It is a wonderful thing to survive. I want to write down everything I have heard and seen and experienced. I want the world to hear our voices. We have survived and we will survive!”

 

 

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