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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
Technology and the self
Greetings from Green Bank – the small town where modern technology is banned
Dance and theatre
How a Noh mask-maker summons a lifelike face from a single block of wood
The ancient world
What wine vessels reveal about politics and luxury in ancient Athens and Persia
David Goldblatt captured the contradictions of apartheid in stark black and white
Thinkers and theories
Is simulation theory a way to shirk responsibility for the world we’ve created?
In Rwanda, Sébastien finds traces of personal history in the wake of national tragedy
Dance and theatre
Leaf through Shakespeare’s First Folio for a riveting journey into theatre history
Modern architecture should embrace – not ignore or repel – the nonhuman world
Nations and empires
The strange tale of how mangoes became hallowed objects in Maoist China