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In 1979 China introduced one of the largest social engineering efforts in human history – the ‘one-child policy’ – to combat population growth. In addition to leaving the country with problematic demographic imbalances, this family planning policy has created an underclass of 13 million unregistered people, all born ‘illegally’. Parents with more than one child have been fired from their jobs and burdened with exorbitant fines or fees to register their unsanctioned children. Even more troubling, people without official registration are not classed as Chinese citizens, and so can’t access even the most basic forms of social welfare, including healthcare, education and protection under the law, nor do they have the right to work or marry. In 2015 the Chinese Communist Party announced it would ease the one-child policy and grant residence rights to all unregistered people, but millions must still fight arduous bureaucratic battles to be granted basic rights.
Video by Thomson Reuters Foundation
Filming: Shanshan Chen
The cast of ‘misfit toys’ who keep life on an idyllic tourist island afloat
Biography and memoir
What Akiko saw at the centre of the Hiroshima blast, and the indelible mark it left
To understand the limits of human senses, look to the wild world of animal cognition
Design and fashion
From sheep to sea – an ode to the iconic sweater that warms Cornish sailors
The revolutionary artist who propelled the Black Panther movement with imagery
The ancient world
Sappho’s homoerotic poetry was beloved in ancient Greece – and burned centuries later
Human rights and justice
Beyond ‘guilty’ or ‘not guilty’ – could a range of verdict options be more just?
Food and drink
From set-up to close, a day at the farmers market is a whirlwind sensory feast
Dance and theatre
From calluses to burnt shoes, the elegance of ballet is built from the ground up