China’s One Child Policy – enforcing the rules

There are several ways in which China’s Family Planning policies are enforced – social welfare benefits, and fines for additional children. IUDs, sterilisations, and abortions are also used liberally to maintain a low birth rate. The big problem comes when officials’ career prospects are tied to minimising births in their jurisdiction – opening the door to abuses of power.

少生优生,幸福一生: a rural poster with a common slogan, meaning "Fewer births, healthier births, a happy life. "

China’s One Child Policy – some background

There’s been a lot of press this week about China ending the One Child Policy. The story is more complicated than most people realise. Many couples were never restricted to one child in the first place. In this post I’ll explain the history of the policy, and what it really entails.

Looking from North Head across South Head abd Sydney Harbour toward the city centre.

Sydney Heads: between the city and the ocean

The views were spectacular! The rocky cliffs, with their windswept sandstone. The deep blue of open ocean. The view across the heads and Sydney Harbour toward the city centre itself. Standing there soaking up the views, sun on my face and wind in my hair – it was hard not to love this city I’m in!

Chinese tongue-twisters

In my last post I introduced THIRTY common words all pronounced “shi”. It probably won’t surprise you to learn that with so many homophones, Mandarin has some fantastic tongue-twisters. And by “fantastic” I mean “utterly impossible to recite”.

A whole lot of shi

Today I’m going to introduce you to words pronounced “shi” – a great example of the wonderful confusion that is homophones in Mandarin. There are TWO HUNDRED characters for the sound “shi”and I use at least 30 of them. They are split up between different tones, but still that’s a whole lot of shi.

Learning to love Canberra

My family moved from Sydney to Canberra in early 1991, when I was eight years old. I never quite got over my Sydney snobbery, and made jokes at Canberra’s expense. That said, I have learned to appreciate Canberra – especially its beautiful parks and weather.

I get so excited by "real" Chinese food that I don't think to take a photo until the food is gone! So you'll just have to trust me that those cleaned up dishes once held 椒盐豆腐 and 干扁豆角 and 松鼠鱼 and 豆苗 and more...

A year away from China

A year ago today I said goodbye to China. Sometimes it’s hard to believe it’s been so long! I still feel connected to China and leap at any opportunity to talk about China. Here are some things I miss about Beijing, but ALSO things I am loving about Sydney. It’s important to acknowledge what I’ve lost while also appreciating what I’ve gained.

Beautiful pavilions in Yu Gardens. Top row: 1983, 2004; Centre row: 1983, 2004, 2012; Bottom row: 1983, 2012.

Shanghai’s famous Yu Gardens

The Yu Gardens, one of the most famous tourist attractions in Shanghai, were built nearly 450 years ago. I visited three times between 1999 and 2012; my parents also went in March 1983. I very much enjoyed Yu Yuan – there is so much to find and see and take in. It is a lovely, peaceful place with lots of history.

Beautiful birds of Australia

I have really noticed the presence, and variety, of birds living in Sydney. About half the birds in Australia are found nowhere else on Earth. Lyrebirds are fascinating creatures; the males put on a song and dance, mimicking different bird calls and even some non-natural sounds.