With journalistic acumen and a novelist's flair, Xinran tells the remarkable stories of men and women born in China after 1979 - the recent generations raised under China's single-child policy. At a time when the country continues to transform at the speed of light, these generations of precious 'one and onlies' are burdened with expectation, yet have often been brought up without any sense of responsibility. Within their families, they are revered as 'little emperors' and 'suns', although such cosseting can come at a high price: isolation, confusion and an inability to deal with life's challenges. From the business man's son unable to pack his own suitcase, to the PhD student who pulled herself out of extreme rural poverty, Xinran shows how these generations embody the hopes and fears of a great nation at a time of unprecedented change. It is a time of fragmentation, heart-breaking and inspiring in equal measure, in which capitalism vies with communism, the city with the countryside and Western opportunity with Eastern tradition. Through the fascinating stories of these only children, we catch a startling glimpse of the emerging face of China.
Xinran shares fascinating true stories of the impact of the single-child policy on whole generations of Chinese young people today
Xinran was born in Beijing in 1958 and was a successful journalist and radio presenter in China. In 1997 she moved to London, where she began work on her seminal book about Chinese women's lives, The Good Women of China. Since then she has written a regular column for the Guardian, appeared frequently on radio and TV and has published the acclaimed Sky Burial, the novel Miss Chopsticks, the groundbreaking book of oral history China Witness, a book of her Guardian columns called What the Chinese Don't Eat and Message from an Unknown Chinese Mother, about mothers and their lost daughters. She lives in London but travels regularly to China. Her charity, The Mothers' Bridge of Love (www.motherbridge.org), was founded to help disadvantaged Chinese children and to build a bridge of understanding between the West and China.