China’s Only Children Face Great Expectations
Since 1980, China has had a one-child policy. If you have a second kid, you pay a stiff fine — unless you’re a member of a national minority, or you and your spouse are both only children, or there’s some other exception.
The result is that traditionally large families have turned into inverted pyramids, with multiple grandparents for every treasured little one. They lavish the child with attention — and expect great things.
The weekend before the May 12 earthquake, Robert Siegel met with one such only child as part of NPR’s effort to get a sense of everyday life in the rapidly growing city of Chengdu. Luo Meng is an effervescent, 17-year-old high school junior who goes by the English name Becky at her public boarding school. More casually, she uses a translation of one character of her Chinese name: Bamboo.