Susan Greenhalgh_chapter 7

Susan - CHAPTEH I The Shfling Local Politics quopulation WHEN THE pRC’s POST—Mao leadership created its project to radii-ally “modernize”

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Unformatted text preview: CHAPTEH I The Shfling Local Politics quopulation WHEN THE pRC’s POST—Mao leadership created its project to radii-ally “modernize” the quantity and quality of China’s 1 billion people, it under; took an enterprise ofenormous scope and difficulty. The challenges of mm ting this project into effect have been monumental. Previous Chapters probed these challenges from the vantage point of the regime, looking at problems of policy design as they have appeared to political and program leaders seeking to administer an unpopular program and achieve its targets against great odd; This chapter leaves the state apparatus and drops down into society to tie“. the politics of enforcement from the vantage point of cadres and citizens [11 local communities trying to cope with the harsh reproductive demands em— anating from above. By now, even China’s leaders openly acknowledge that the local politics of population, especially in the villages, has been grim and grievous. The West- ern media have told heartrending stories of fierce resistance and vioient struggle, with grisly consequences for infant girls (e.g., Weisskopf 1985a. 1985b; WuDunn 1991a). The scholarly literature has portrayed rural popula— tion politics, and Chinese population politics more generally, as an unending struggle between a coercive state and a resistant society that continues to this day (eg, Zhou 1996; White 2000b; Scharping 2003; also Aird 1990). Al— though this standard account of endless contestation captures important di— mensions ofthe politics ofpopulation in some places and times (especially the rural areas during the long 19805), it is a partial picture that neglects three im— portant features ofthat politics. First, by focusing solely on the state’s repres— sive project of drastically limiting population numbers, it has overlooked the second, more seductive project of enhancing the quality of the Chinese people. The politics of quality has been very different from the politics of quantity that has dominated our views of Chinese population affairs. In part 212 Y The Shifting Local Politics QfPopularion 213 E‘L.f3u56 of this omission, the standard account has also missed the important mmsformations that have taken place, especially since the early 19905, as mar— “dz-anon has accelerated and quality has overtaken quantity as the major do— ,._.__,{n ofpopulation politics. Finally, seeing power only as a negative force, the l.,,nveiitional account overlooks the positivity or productivity of power, .Ahich has given rise to new or transformed sites of struggle and arenas of . ontestation. This chapter traces broad trends in the community (or face—tooface) pol- ItiCS Of quantity and quality, in both rural and urban settings, over the first twenty—five years of the reform period. Although some parts ofthis story have been told before, the parts have never been connected into a larger account of the transformations that have occurred over the reform years. The bigger Story we tell involves the rapid governmentalization of population; a shift in mode of governance from state bureaucratic power to professional discipline to individual self—regulation and self—cultivation; and, finally. the emergence of diverse and mostly unpredicted efiects. Our story starts in the central state, with PRC leaders’ own views of their agenda and of what was at stake in the creation and imposition oftough new norms on China’s people. Central to those views was modern science, a core logic in regimes ofniodern power. As we saw in Chapter 2, science~—or sci— entistic Claims—were key rationales in all the Leninist state—building projects undertaken by the PRC regime since the middle of the twentieth century. In the population arena, “modern science and technology” emerged as a force— ful element ofpolicymaking around 1979—1980, when the regime was initi— ating the construction of a powerful Soviet—style technocratic—bureaucratic state. Because this new and unusual “population science” so heavily shaped how the state’s population project would interface with society, the roles of population science and of the larger “scientization” of politics and society in the reform era will be central themes in this and the following two chapters. As noted earlier, the regime’s post—Mao population project was part of a larger endeavor to rapidly modernize the country through selective absorp— tion of Western science and technology. After the depredations of the Cul— tural Revolution, class struggle was dead, Marxian ideology moribund, the party’s reputation nearly ruined. The modernizing Deng regime that came to power in 1978 sought to rebuild the regime’s legitimacy by transforming the regime into a scientific modernizer that would draw on Western science and technology to lead the nation to the long—promised wealth, power, and global position. Population policy was a key site for the construction and later ex- pansion of this new scientific authority rooted in nature, biology, and the body. Population was an opportune site for the development of the scientific state because the core constructs involved in its management lent themselves 214 Social and Political Consequences well to definition in biological terms. Reworking a broad Set of putatively “scientific” discourses on sexuality fashioned in the early twentieth cemlm,‘ the post~Mao state defined these constructs—population (the quantity issue] race (the quality question), and gender (the instrument ofreprOdUCtiVe luau: agement)——in starkly biological terms (Evans 1997; Dikotter 1995, 1993)‘ Population was represented as a biological process of reproduction ofintl}- vidual organisms aggregated into a larger population. Race, often conflatetl j" the Chinese discourse with nation (minzu), was con5trued as a biological m- tity to be eugenically enhanced to promote fitness and competitiveness 0?th. national “organism” in a social Darwinist world of interracial and interna. tional competition (Sigley 1996). Finally, gender difference was defined as [1,- ological difference in reproductive structure and function, with women be- ing by nature the primary reproducers, The use of these biologized cons trum allowed the state to represent these forces of great potential—and, in the post- Mao era, of great threat—as impersonal processes “in nature” that had to bf; “objectively” investigated and managed by the state “in the interests of the nation as a whole.” Through the use of modern population science and m- productive technology, the regime would take charge of these domains, can ating a population of optimal size and characteristics that would both fat-iii- tate and symbolize China’s status as a rising global power. In the late 19705‘ modern science thus displaced the older, socialist planning rationale {of “grasping production and reproduction together”) that had guided birth planning in the late Maoist years but now lacked force.1 The socialist plan— ning rationale was not abandoned, for it helped secure the continued legiti— macy 0fthe regime, but it took a back seat to the logic ofstate science. Though largely ignored in the Western literature, the development uf modern population science was crucial to the formulation of China’s reform- era population policy and the emergence of a second site of govemmental power, the disciplinary institutions of the professions, which in the PRC We're closely connected to the state. Drawing on two closely related natural sci~ ences borrowed from the West, population cybernetics and the population ecology 0fthe Club ofRome, in the crucial transition of 1979—1980 China's problem of population was defined as a dual crisis: too many Chinese of too backward a type (for more, see Greenhalgh 2003b).2 The solution was for the state to construct and energetically promote new norms guiding the produc— tion and cultivation of modern persons. The ultimate aim was to transform China’s backward masses into a scientifically normalized, modern society (for more, Bakken 2000). In promoting this larger agenda, the post—Mao regime sought first to limit the growth rate and size of the population (shaosheng) and then to enhance its physical and mental quality (yousheng). Mobilizing a vari— ety of human and life sciences—~demography, developmental psychology: The Shifting Local Politics quoleation 215 Sexology, reproductive biology, and many more-to contribute to this new project on life, the state established putatively “scientific” norms of quantity and quality and then promoted them, initially by the time—honored campaign methods of the Maoist state, and then increasingly through the regulatory methods of the Dengist reform state (all detailed in Part I) and the discipli— ngry techniques 0fthe medical, educational, and other professions. The com— munity politics ofpopulation focused on the negotiations and struggles that ensued as the state and the human disciplines tried to persuade, mobilize, or otherwise induce local society to adopt their norms. The natural science that produced the new one—child norm defined social and cultural factors as irrelevant, Yet of course it was China’s social structure and culture that gave local society the community reproductive norms that it would at times staunchly defend against the scientific norms of the state. The state labeled those social and cultural forces “feudal” and targeted them for eradication through “modernization.” Yet they forced themselves in through the back door, impressing themselves first on informal community policies and then on formal national policy through the workings of the mass line. Social and cultural forces, in particular family socioeconomics and gender values. would come to play critical roles in the Chinese politics of popula— tion, leaving their imprint on the nature, intensity, and outcome 0fth0se ne— gotiations and struggles. They will play a big part in the story told in this and the following chapter. During the long 19805 (roughly 1979~1993, henceforth simply “the 1980s”), the dominant norm promoted by the state was one ofquantity: one child for all. Because the state’s quantity norm was set far below societal de- sires, the official norm was fundamentally negative, or repressive. For many years, and still today in many areas, efforts to instill that norm were funda— mentally coercive, involving state use or threat of force (physical, legal, or otherwise) to impose the official norm on society. While this newly orga~ nized power over life was highly coercive, it was at the same time highly pro- ductive (in the sense explained in Chapter 2, the Problematique), giving rise to historically new (or revived and transformed) sites of struggle and arenas ofcontestation. In an era in which nature and science were the new grounds of authority, it was the biological reproducer, the reproductive-age woman, who became the object ofstate control. In this way, the bodies ofwomen— in particular, married women of reproductive age (15 —49)~became newly public sites of intense struggle over an array of reproductive issues that had long been matters of family politics but were now swept up into the mael— strom of state politics as well: contraception, the timing of reproductive events, and the number and sex of children. In China’s son-loving culture, the struggles over the number of children soon became contests over the gen- 226 Social and Political Consequences Village Transformations: The 19905 and Early 20005 Despite an unbending policy and the inescapability of birth planning, in tlk. late 19905 and early 20005 both local officials and ordinary peasants in SOLIEL' closely studied villages have reported that tensions over birth planning inn-L. eased. A closer look at the rural politics of population reveals two changu, that have softened the public conflicts over births. First, rural couples in“; found a cleaner, more “modern” way to stay within state limits on child numbers while achieving their gender preferences Second, popular desim for children have declined, the end product of the decimation of the parry archal peasant family brought on by a half century of socialist construction and marketizing reform. Although it is impossible to know how genuml these changes are—certainly, conflicts persist in some areas—they desern~ close attention because they may well be harbingers of the future. ENGINEERING GENDERED FAMILIES The gendered state norm that was forcefully reimposed in the early 191 )0; did not solve the gender problem. In a rural society in which most coupIL-t wanted one son and one daughter, the new policy instead created new grna der problems, with formidable consequences. The new, nationally uniform policy was more restrictive than the local policies that had preceded it, re— quiring villagers with a son to stop childbearing and allowing those with .1 daughter to have only one more even if it too was a girl. The new policy was enforced by tight administrative means—frequent gynecological exams tin- women, steep fines for couples, mandatory sterilization for those with two children, tough responsibility systems for cadres—that left local society few options but to comply. Rural couples coped with the new, rigidified policy by intensifying the engineering of their families. With coercive campaigns fading and women’s health slowly gaining more program attention, in tl‘lc 19905 the core struggles over reproduction shifted to the bodies ofinfant girls and, even more so, of fetuses, As noted above, the first wave ofsuch gender struggles had centered on in— fant girls. From the early 19803, peasant couples had reluctantly begun dis— posing of their second and third daughters in a desperate attempt to get a son. Although outright infanticide seems to have declined during the 19805 (Crull 2000), Kay Johnson’s important research on infant abandonment shows that that practice persisted and even flourished, especially during the forceful cani- paigns ofthe early 19805 and late 19805 to early 19905. In Hubei and Hun-.111. where the “custom ofthrowing away [girl] babies” was especially entrenched. those campaigns led to the disposal of vast numbers of infants (Johnson 2004. 10; also Johansson and Nygren 1991; WuDunn 1991b). The abandoned chil— Tlic Shiftng Local Politics quopulariorz 227 dren have been overwhelmingly healthy girls with no brothers, or with one or two sisters, indicating parents’ efforts to work the rules to end up with a Son.“ In notes pinned to tiny bodies, villagers have excoriated the regime’s birth policy for forcing them to resort to this extreme measure in order to get a son. In the tougher enforcement environment of the 19905 parents began abandoning their infant daughters for a new reason: to avoid newly steep fines (johnson 2004; also AP 1999). In the 19905 and early 20003, the decline in the number of girls born has also created a growing black market in newborn fe— male bodies. Poor farmers desperate for a son or unable to afford the crippling fines for excess childbearing have sold their daughters to traffickers, who have marketed them to a society newly hungry for girls—to fill the longings ofthe childless, to make “complete families” of one boy and one girl, and to serve as child brides for poor village men (Rosenthal 2003). Local cadres, sympa— thetic to the villagers’ plight and financially penalized for exceeding birth targets, have looked the other way. By the 19905, if not earlier, a second wave of struggles, this one centered on the unformed body of the fetus, began to overwhelm the first. From the mid—19805, the spread of ultrasound—B machines into every corner of rural China introduced a new and improved way to ease the conflict between state and family fertility norms. For growing numbers of Chinese couples, prena- tal sex determination followed by sex—selective abortion has become an at— tractive, indeed, a “modern” high—tech alternative to the crude and morally fraught disposal of already—living infants (Kristof 1993b). A path—breaking study by the Chinese scholar Chu junhong (2001) suggests that, in parts of central China-and probably elsewhere as welluby the turn of the millen— nium feticide had become an everyday part of the culture of family forma— tion. Over halfthe 820 women interviewed had used it on their most recent pregnancy, with as many as two—fifths scanning their first pregnancy and two— thirds scanning their last pregnancy. Almost 75 percent of women whose first child was a girl checked the sex of their second fetus, and virtually all (92 percent) aborted the second female fetus. While families ended up with the children they wanted, the sex ratio at birth soared~—~t0 126 boys per 100 girls, even higher than the national average for rural areas of 120 (in 1999). A MARKETIZATION ()F VILLAGE FAMILY NORMS Beginning in the 1980s and accelerating through the 19905 and early 20005, the insistent promotion of birth planning, combined with farereaching trans— formations in the economy and family, have been fostering profound changes in cultural desires for children in China’s villages. Already in the mid—1980s, farm couples were expressing strong preferences for small families of one son and one daughter, With growing marketization and urban migration, how- 228 Social and Political Consequences TA B L E 3 Chi/dimming prejirrcntes, 2001 Ideal number China Rural Urban of children (“0) (%) (%) 0 l ,1 0.4 3,2 1 35,8 30.1 52.4 2 57,2 62,1 43.] 3+ 5.9 7.5 1.4 Mean 1.70 1.79 L43 PERCENTAGE NAMING ONE CHILD AS IDEAL, BY AGE Age China Rural Urban 15v19 50.1 47.1) 60.1 20—24 51.9 48,7 61.4 25—29 41.7 35.4 60.8 30—34 33.] 27,0 51.2 35—39 29.8 23.2 48.7 40—44 29,1 20,2 50.0 45—49 24.7 19,8 40.3 All groups 35.8 30.1 52,4 s 0 u R c L: 2001 Reproductive Health Survey, based on responses from 39.140 women aged I 5—49 to question about ideal family size. Data made available by Zhang Guangyu, ever, Villagers’ desires for children continued to shrink and sharpen. In 2001. a national survey suggests, the rural ideal was 1.79 children, well below the ideal of the 19805 (see Table 3).H Although these data should be viewed with some caution, provincial data reveal a similar trend. In ruralJilin, for example, the ideal dropped from 2.5 children in 1986 to 1.6 in 1995 (Feng and Zheng 2002). Despite some difficulties interpreting answers to questions about 1.1111: ily ideals in the context of a strong family size policy, both the consistency of the finding across surveys conducted around the same time and the Size of the changes over time suggest that a real decline in family size preferences has been underway since the early 19905, evident in all but the poorest areas at the country (Feng and Zheng 2002). Ethnographic data support and fill out this picture. Village ethnographies suggest that during the 1990s rural couple; grew wary of having three children or two sons but more eager to ram- .1 daughter (Judd 1994; Greenhalgh and Li 1995; Peng and Dai 1996; Zhang 2002). By the late 19905 and early 20005, some young newlyweds were upt— ing to stop at one, even if that one was a girl (Xie, Gu, and IIardee 2000: Zhang 2003; Yan 2003). In areas ofjiangsu and Hubei, the majority ofyorziig: couples who qualified for a second birth because their first was a girl returned their quotas (PDSC 2003e; Zhang Hong, personal communication, 19J111) The Shifting Lora] Polirits quapu/atiorz 229 2003). While daughter desire is growing in some areas, in parts ofsouth and Central China (such as Anhui, Guangdong, Guizhou, andjiangxi), son pref— erence remains intense (Feng and Zheng 2002; Ku 2003; Murphy 2003; SG 11,12Dec03 BJ). One Fujianese peasant may have captured the prevailing sen- timent in such places when he declared: “There are just two important things in life now, making money and having sons!” (Kristof 1993b, 3), Perhaps the most dramatic change is the growing willingness among the young to raise only one child. In the 2001 survey, an amazing 49 percent of rural women aged 20 to 24 indicated that a one—child family was their ideal (see Table 3), This is a huge and potentially very significant change. Behind these transformations in reproductive culture lay decades of insis- tent propaganda and practice that assigned the right to decide the number of children to the state. Young couples marrying from the mid—19905 0n had grown up with birth planning as part of the ambient political culture. The whole apparatus of state birth planning—from the crisis rationale to the re- strictive rules to the strong carrots and sticksmhad become part of the im— plicit assumptions and explicit calculations they brought to the issue offam— fly formation (for some evidence, see Kristof1990; Greenhalgh and Li 1995; Zhang 2002; Yan 2003). The state’s long—term efforts to instill new norms played an important, if hard to measure, role in changing the culture offam— ily formation. ‘2 Just as culturally transformative, however, were the profound changes in family life brought about by China’s deepening marketization and the spread of urban consumer culture accompanying it. To rural people throughout the country, the issue that loomed largest was that of child economics—~the escalating costs and vanishing benefits of children (e.g., Yan 2003). In addi— tion to the rising costs noted earlier and the indirect costs incurred from the loss of a busy mother’s income, rural parents now had to budget for a new cat— egory of “incidental expenses” (ling/zzmqian) defined as necessary to enhance the bodies and minds of their youngsters: nutritional supplements, purchased snacks, educational toys, extra lessons, and more, Reflecting the heavy costs ofchildrearing, as well as the steep fines meted out to “excess” childbearers, families with several children were among the poorest in their villages, living proof that the old saying about many sons bringing much wealth made sense no more. Instead, more sons brought more worries (duozi duorhou). Mean— while, the youngest generation, having grown up in a media—saturated cul— ture and in many cases having experienced city life firsthand, were living in imagined worlds that were urban rather than rural. Carrying modern ur— ban culture, these returned migrants, now roughly one—third of all rural—to— urban migrants, are major forces for reproductive change in the villages (Murphy 2002). More interested in personal happiness than in family obliga— 230 Social and Political Consequences tion, in the 19905 and early 20005 this more individualistic younger genera. tion was pursuing dreams ofa consumer—oriented urban lifestyle, comply” with fancy clothes, modern appliances, popular youth culture products, nit-t. homes, and nonfarinjobs. Several children were not part of this dream of i. newly privatized family life (Murphy 2002; Xie, Gu, and Hardee 200.3; PDSC 2003b, 2oo3e; on the rise of the private family, see Yan 2003). N“, even, it seems, was a son: Chinese social scientists report that young upwardly mobile rural couples are now growing less concerned about their child’s gm- der than about its prospects for social mobility (SG 2 3Dec03 Bj). Even as the costs ofrearing children were rising, the economic and emu- tional advantages of having several were shrinking. Although children cm._ tinued to contribute to the family economy, changes in the rural economy- (declining plot sizes, a growing labor surplus) coupled with declining part1}- tal control over young people’s incomes (a result in part of earlier family til- vision and urban migration ofyouth) greatly reduced that contribution (Yin 2003; SG 23Dec03 BJ). For parents, however, the biggest and most frightenw ing concern was the growing unwillingness ofsons to honor their most fun— damental obligation: to support them in old age (Yan 2003; Zhang 2004). Behind that widespread decline in filiality lay the erosion of the malt-— centered intergenerational contract, the foundation and cement of Chinese peasant family life. Indeed, the values of children, and hence the desires for them, have dwindled precisely because the patriarchal family itself has but-n increasingly undermined by decades of socialist construction and marked:— ing reform. The socialization of the means of production during the collec— tive era had already weakened the reciprocal bond between parents and sons by depriving parents oftheir major economic contribution to their sons, the family’s landed estate. Marketizing reform greatly accelerated the process by handing resources and power to the young, including to young daughters- in—law, who succeeded in precipitating ever—earlier family division (Selden 1993 Judd 1994; Yan 2003; Wang 2004). In the 19805 the newly emerging un- filiality ofsons was evident in bitter and very public family disputes between married brothers over which had to support the elderly parents (Greenhalgli 1994b; Zhang Hong 2001). In some areas, the 1990s brought the veritahlc collapse ofthe tradition offilial piety and the refusal of even only sons to re— spect their time—honored obligations. As time passed, growing numbers of rural parents found themselves virtually abandoned by their sons and fearful for their futures in an environment with neither social security nor health insurance (Yan 2003; Zhang Hong 2004; Pang. de Braun, and Rozelle 2004}. Increasingly in the 20005, the rural elderly are preferring to eke out 3 mm- ger living on their own rather than suffer the conflict and abuse that often comes with co—residence with sons. Unable to afford medical care, when The Sl'zy‘tmg Local Politics (y‘iPOpulation 231 serious illness strikes, growing numbers are taking their own lives, contrib— uting to a rising trend of elder suicide in the villages. The growing unfiliality of sons, however, had one positive outcome: 21 newfound appreciation for the value of daughters. Already in the 19805 parents were expressing definite desires for daughters, seeing them as more emotionally caring than sons and gaining value in the labor market of the re— form economy. By the late 19905 and early 20005, village parents in some places were actively cultivating their daughters as emotional and even eco- nomic caregivers in old age (Murphy 2002; Zhang 2003; Yan 2003; also Mil— ler 2004). Although still incipient, in at least some areas the desire for a daugh— ter may be slowly becoming a preference for a daughter. After years of violent struggle, in which peasants successfully impressed their son preferences into state fertility norms, the period of rapid marketiza— tion that began around 1993 —1994 has seen a remarkable, ifstill partial, con— vergence in norms, in which couples in some areas have begun to embrace the ofiicial one—to—two—child norm as their own. Virtually unremarked in the Western literature on China’s population politics, these changes in peasant fertility culture are politically significant. Together with other changes in the political and legal culture, including the spread of the notion of an individ- ual’s right to be free from official abuse, they have quietly enabled the rou- tinizing reforms introduced to date. These cultural changes are also promot— ing a less confiictual politics of population in many villages today. In some localities, ethnographers and journalists report, birth planning is becoming more genuinely voluntary, and people’s wishes are shaping their contracep— tive and fertility practices in ways not seen since the 19605 (Chang 2001; Zhang 2002; PDSC 2003e; Yan 2003; Merli, Qian, and Smith 2004).13 In those areas, the production of one high—quality child has become little short ofa “popular social vogue” (PDSC 2003e, 20). After 20 years of ferocious struggle over the planning of births, both China’s rural people and observers of Chinese population politics can breathe a sigh of relief Yet welcome though these changes are, they deserve at most ambivalent celebration, for the easing of tensions among the living has been achieved at the cost of spreading violence against the not-yet—born and a growing masculinization of Chinese society. We return to these consequences of the rural politics of population numbers in the next chapter. Creating One—Child Families in the Cities: The 19805 The conditions of urban life gave rise to a much less confrontational politics ofpopulation numbers. In the cities the combination oflow childbearing de— sires and urbanites’ structural dependence on their workplaces enabled birth 232 Social and Political Consequences cadres to enforce the one—child policy in the way long considered ideal in. program leaders: with propaganda and education as the mainstay. A elm-i- look at the micropolitics of policy enforcement reveals urban birth work m be a classic case of the political production of “voluntarism” (Vogel 1%“ Through tight institutional control over the essentials of life and intense iIh-u- logical indoctrination in the necessity ofindividual sacrifice in the face 02—11..- tional crisis, urban birth cadres succeeded in producing both reproductix-r-h- disciplined female bodies and what women themselves described as “volun'. tary” (ziyuan) compliance with the one—child policy. This politically “run. scientious” (zijue) voluntarism was not voluntarism in the sense of 9'ch choice. In the Chinese enforcement repertoire, however, it was the best 1.1' outcomes, the antithesis Of the coerced compliance the party had to settle fur in the villages. URBAN REPRODUCTIVE DESIRES Like their rural counterparts, in the 19805 the majority of urbanites Con- sidered the two-child family to be ideal, though city residents expressed nu interest in having three children (\X/hyte and Gu 1987; Scharping 2003; Feng and Zheng 2002). Son preference, while still conspicuous, was also weaker in the cities. Indeed, among some groups, the 19803 saw the beginning of not merely an acceptance of but even a genuine preference for daughters, who were seen as emotionally closer to their parents and thus more likely to provide personal care in old age (Wolf 1985; Milwertz 1997). These lower childbearing desires were rooted in a different constellation-i Of child costs and benefits in the urban areas. Whereas in the Villages sons were vital sources of labor and old~age security, in the cities parents sup— ported themselves through wage-labor jobs that also provided pensions, the economic foundation ofa secure old age. While the social and economic values of children were lower, the direct and indirect (or time) costs of rais— ing children were much steeper in the cities.” Those costs rose rapidly in the 1980s, as prices Ofbasic necessities climbed, the state and work unit cut back on social supports, and cultural expectations about the ingredients of proper childrearing grew ever more demanding. By the end of the decade. growing numbers Of women were saying that they had the time, money, and energy to raise but one child (Milwertz I997, 127; also Gates 1993). In the cities, the desire to have more than one child remained deep, but the reali— ties of urban life limited the number of children parents were able to raise well and made sons less vital to family welfare and survival. These features of urban family life would make it easier to enforce the one—child norm. The Shw‘ing Local Politics quopulation 233 THE PRODUCTION OF DISCIPLINED BODIES AND REPRODUCTIVE “VOLUNTARISM” Enforcement was also eased by the tight networks of control through which the regime managed the urban population. Even after the introduc— tion of a private sector, the great majority of urban people remained employed in state—controlled organizations (Tang and Parish 2000). Couples’ Structural dependence on their workplaces, which provided not only jobs but also housing, health care, pensions, and Other essentials, made active resis— tance to the one-child rule, if not impossible, then prohibitively costly, for vi— olation of the policy might well bring loss of job and all that went with it. These mechanisms of control permitted birth cadres to enforce the policy through institutionally and ideologically produced “voluntarism,” the Maoist ideal. Producing reproductive voluntarism involved the creation of disciplined bodies and accepting minds. Tight institutional controls enabled birth cadres in the workplace and neighborhood to cooperate in the creation of maternal bodies highly disci— plined according to the contraceptive and fertility norms of state policy. At their workplaces, women were subject to tight surveillance and control of their reproductive lives, with everything from their premarital health to their marital status, monthly periods, contraceptive practices, and pregnancies subject to close monitoring and mandatory management (e.g., Rofel 1999). Supplementing the vertical control Of the workplace was the daily, horizon— tal surveillance achieved by the street or residential neighborhood, whose “granny police” of voluntary enforcers kept an eagle eye out for anomalous behaviors and tracked down the noncompliant (Burns 1985; WuDunn 1991c). Together the two formed a tight network of reproductive surveil— lance and control. Symbolic protests against the relentless control were pos— sible—a woman might, for example, refuse to fill out the proper forms, skip mandated gynecological exams, or even manufacture a physiological excuse for not using an IUD. But there were few avenues for real escape (Croll I985; Milwertz 1997; Rofel 1999). Despite the gap between the popular two-child ideal and the state’s one— child norm, Cecelia Milwertz’s in—depth research in Beijing and Shenyang suggests that, after an initial period of hostility to the new norm, over the 1980s women came to the politically “conscientious acceptance” (zijue jicshou) Of the state planning of one—child families (Milwertz 1997; on the early 19805, see Croll 1985; Wolf 1985). Women’s tolerant attitude toward cadres’ micromanagement of their bodies stemmed in part from their accep— tance of the Official line that China faced a crisis of human numbers that was sabotaging its development, necessitating a policy of one child for all 234 Social and Political Consequences (Milwertz 1997; Nie 1999, 131*139). Individuals must voluntarily 3111mm m “the requirement of the nation,” the women Milwertz studied felt, hymn“, the needs ofthe nation overrode their own, Despite the deep intrusions- 13ml! cadres made in their bodies and lives, women did not find those interven— tions offensive because they felt that the cadres were only doing the jnh II,“ signed by their superiors, and they were exercising control in “concur-[kw- (guanxin) and “caring” (zhaogu) ways. Caring policy enforcement \\';1\ mm forcement that took account of the needs and interests Of the Women—. within the limits set by the policy. In a classic example of politically produwd “voluntarism,” the women Milwertz studied felt that their cooperation \\'|r]1 the intrusive demands of the birth cadres was quite voluntary. The urban and rural politics of population numbers that unfolded dlil'lll: the 19805 thus differed in systematic ways. Both forms of politics were M”. poreal and gendered, centering intensely on the control of the female rcpm- ductive body. However, in the cities, because meaningful resistance was m- tually impossible, enforcement could rely on ideology rather than COCI‘L‘inn_ Although urban women were subject to structural or institutional coercion applied persistently over their reproductive lives, they escaped the violt-m crackdowns imposed on the peasantry. The urban politics of population also had a different temporality. Unlike rural policy enforcement, which grew «u- vere and lax with cycles of coercion and resistance, the urban pattern at meticulous control and “voluntary” compliance was more stable. These nu) patterns of politics also produced differences in birth policy—a one—to—tuw child (or daughter-only) policy in the villages and an ungendered OHC-Ciiiltlv for—all rule in the cities. Although these locational differences were sh.in during the long 1980s, since the mid—1990s a combination of forces—mas— sive rural—to—urban migration, the spread of urban consumer culture, the de— cline in rural childbearing desires, and important shifts in the birth program: itself—has led to some blurring of the rural—urban distinction. Producing the “Quality” Singleton in the Cities: The 19905 and Early 20005 From the beginning, the state’s effort to restrict population numbers was in— timately linked to another initiative, that of guaranteeng the “quality” of the next generation. Launched in the late 19705, the eugenics campaign—~ youshcng youyu, literally superior birth and childrearing— embraced a broad and eclectic array of scientific research programs, state policies, and social activities promoting top—quality health care and education for the young (Champagne 1992; Bakken 2000). (The slogan now has a third component. yozijiao, for superior education.) Genetic improvement of future generations The Shifting Lora] Politits QfPopii/ation 235 Mt certainly part of this. Yet far from, mere genetic engineering, the PRC _._;,proach to producing quality citizens was based on the philosophy that rcople are formed by a wide range of genetic, environmental, and educa— fional factors, most of which can be shaped so that that human potential is 1:1Olded to meet national needs (Champagne 1992, 135~136). For the birth Pjanning establishment, promoting the quality child simultaneouslyjustified its widely unpopular big push for low quantity, and legitimated its claim to be a scientific modernizer capable of transforming China’s people into a modern populace equipped to compete in the more global marketplace of the future. As a popular text on the education of the single child has put it, under conditions of economic and political competition in the twenty—first century, China’s entry into the world requires a large pool of superior tal— ents (youxiu rencai) with world—class educations based on modern science and technology and up to international standards (Wu ed. 2003, 86~88). The emphasis on quality also put a benign face on the one—child policy, pre— senting the party—state as a caring parent whose heart lay first and foremost with the young, State concerns both tapped into and further provoked par- ents’ anxieties about whether their one (or, in the villages, two) offspring would not only survive but also grow into healthy, well—educated, compet- itive young adults able to succeed in a rapidly changing society and provide for them in old age. Because the one—child family spread more rapidly in the cities, and because the scientific and political resources for population upgrading were concen— trated in the urban areas, the quality project developed earlier in the cities than in the Villages. In the urban areas, state and parental investments in the bodies and minds ofthe young began to grow rapidly in the 19803, when the single child became the “sun” around which all planets revolved (Wren 1982). Investments in the young exploded in the 1990s, when China’s consumer economy intensified and the quest for the perfect child became a veritable na- tional obsession (\X/uDunn 1991a; Tyler 1996; Anagnost 1997b), Growing preferences for one—child families contributed to the intensified focus on cre— ating perfect offspring. During the 1990s, the majority ofurban women came to view one child as the ideal number. In 2001, 52.4 percent of all urban women and 61 . 1 percent of those in their twenties named the one—child fam- ily the ideal (Table 3). Most urbanites expressed no preference regarding the gender of their child. Indeed, in some studies, more respondents preferred daughters than sons (Feng and Zheng 2002). In the early 20005, childbearing norms seem to have fallen even further. Young couples wanting no children (dubbed DINKS, for double income no kids) were a growing social presence, exceeding 10 percent of all reproductive—age couples in major cities, such as Shanghai and Beijing (China Today 2003). Quite a few urbanites who had 236 Social and Political Consequences had one child in the 1980s said they would have remained childless had they known how much raisingjust one would cost: (Fong 2004, 74—75). By contrast, in the late 19805 and early I99os, the rural population “3., Inore likely to be labeled “low in quality” and targeted for heavy—handed cu- genic improvement and numerical control through the sterilization of that? designated “unfit” and “drains on society” for “genetic” reasons (ChapLL-r 4; Pearson 1995;]ohnson I997; Dikotter 1998).15 Although the eugenic ima pulse has remained strong, the prevention of,“defective” births has absorbed much less energy than the promotion of“quality” births. By the 19903, $1.11,. and parental efforts to upgrade child quality through the enrichment of child nutrition and education had become increasingly prominent features of rtl- lage life as well (see, esp., Jing 2000b; Murphy 2004; see also Greenhaiglg. Zhu, and Li 1994; Zhang 2003). Judged by the amount ofenergy and other resources expended by a brmd range of social forces, in the post-Deng era quality appears to be replacmg quantity as the central arena of population politics. This shift marks a pm- found transformation in the nature of population power and politics in China. At the most general level, this was a metamorphosis from Leninist m neoliberal biopolitics. This reordering has involved three crucial develop— ments. First, the shift to quality has introduced a new type of norm and. in turn, a new form of population regulation. The quantity norm has been fun- damentally repressive, requiring continued, often coercive, regulatory efforts- by the state to ensure enforcement. The quality norm, however, is seductive, coinciding with already sky—high popular aspirations for the next generation. State regulation has been accompanied by growing self—regulation emphasiz— ing individual imperatives for parents to raise their children according to the new norms. Second, the shift to quality has given rise to two newly defined and central objects of societal investment and control: the “good mother." who disciplines her body and embraces scientific mothering practices, and the “quality child,” who fosters his own bodily and mental capacities. These are neoliberal subjects par excellence. Third, the emphasis on quality has brought an expansion in the number and range ofauthorities promulgating child ideals and, in turn, the rapid de— velopment of professional/ disciplinary power over population and the emer— gence of the market as a major force disciplining individual desire. The birth commission and its science advisors have been Virtually the sole authorities on population quantity. The authorities on child health and education are many and diverse, however, ranging from traditional Chinese medical and religious authorities to other agencies of the state (especially the Inedical and educa- tional bureaucracies), to international organizations (such as WHO and agen- cies of the U.N.), to Chinese and transnational corporations. Each seeks to The Shifting Lem] Politics ofPopulation 237 define the norms guiding health and education and to convince parents (and children themselves) to adopt their norms and related practices and products. As population quality is becoming the object of attention of growing num— bers of social forces, the state’s birth planning establishment is losing the power to directly shape the norms and practices guiding the cultivation of Chinese life to other entities, including, importantly, capitalist corporations. The growing role of transnational corporations, and of market logics of con— sumer desire and global fantasy more generally, is part of a larger globaliza— tion—and neoliberalizationmof Chinese population politics charted in this book. This section illustrates some of these broad shifts, focusing on urban areas, where the politics of population quality is more developed and more systematically studied. It traces three aspects or phases of this politics: the pro— duction of a newly important subject, the “good mother;” the creation of sci— entific mothering practices and the disciplined maternal body; and the pro— duction of the ultimate goal, the disciplined “quality child.” 4 PRODUCING THE ‘coon (SELF-SACRIFICING, SCIENTIFIC) MOTHER” At the outset of the reform era, a broad array of social and cultural forces worked to define the quality project as a woman’s~that is, a mother’s—— project. Together these forces created a newly salient subject, the “good mother,” and defined her as one who would sacrifice her own interests for her child and use scientific methods to raise a “quality” youngster. The first agent shaping this maternal subject was the state bureaucracy. From the initi— ation of the one—child policy, the birth program targeted mothers as the key creators of the superior child. Focusing initially on newlyweds, birth planning workers and other agents of the state actively promoted “eugenic” (healthy) births to encourage adherence to the one—child rule (Evans 1997). Through premarital and prenatal testing, medical workers sought to prevent genetically problematic marriages and eliminate “poor quality” embryos, ensuring the genetic soundness of every child (Song 198 5). The eugenic campaign gained momentum in the mid—I98os, when the educational efforts were broadened to include the health and education of the only child. In mandatory parent— ing classes, in propaganda disseminated through the media, and in contests on child—rearing knowledge, the birth program instructed mothers in scientific methods of bodily improvement (feeding, illness prevention, and so on) and intelligence enhancement, all directed at developing the child into a well— bodied, well—educated talent for the nation. These efforts were supported by a burgeoning and avidly consumed popular literature of books, magazines, and newspapers instructing parents, and especially mothers, on techniques for the production of“superior” children (Champagne 1992). '6 238 Social and Political Consequences Broader currents in the culture and economy actively supported the \mhfl‘. efforts to turn mothers into dedicated and skilled nurturers of their single children. The early 19805 was a time of renewed political and cultural L'i1]_ phasis on women’s domestic roles—and corresponding deemphasis on timr work roles (Robinson 1985; jacka 1990). The state’s efforts to upgrade pup ulation both benefited from these new notions of femininity and, in mm contributed to them. In the Maoist years, state propaganda had stressed gm- der equality, promoting the ideal of the “iron girl” (tie guniang) who Could compete successfully in the public sphere long dominated by men, whilt. continuing to shoulder primary responsibility for domestic work. As part of the broader scientization and biologization of politics and society, in HR. early reform years the emphasis on gender similarity and equality gave in} to a stress on gender difference and inequality located in the body (Wm 1994; Evans 1997; Yang [999a, 1999b). Differences in reproductive physiul.. ogy were now said to dictate a new division of labor, grounded in “nature.” in which women’s roles and identities were based largely on their activities- in the domestic domain. In the early 19805, when a tight labor market led in widespread calls for women to “return to the kitchen,” the traditional 2m. tion of the “virtuous wife and good mother” (xicmqi liangmu) was officially revived and reinforced to encourage women to take those domestic roies seriously (Honig and Hershatter 1988; Weeks 1989; Rosen 1991; Honpcr 1998). Being a virtuous wife and good mother took on new meanings in the reform era, however. Instead ofbeing blindly obedient to her husband. the modern woman was expected to become an active and skillful manager of family life—and cocreator, with the state, of the perfect single child. With modern parenting defined as scientific parentingwwhere “scien— tific” denoted authoritative more than based on scientific research (Cham— pagne 1992, 41—43)——and parenting largely a maternal affair, the mothering of a single child expanded into a demanding and complicated, yet important endeavor. Warning anxious new parents to rely on modern expertise rather than traditional wisdom purveyed by “backward” grandparents, the peda- gogical materials divided child intelligence into some ten—odd specific abili- ties, listed parenting activities that promoted each, and presented develop- mental milestones and tests that parents could use to determine where their child ranked on the scale from “backward” to “prodigy.” With every parent urged to create a genius, and those who shirked their duties labeled “sick in thought” (sixiang hing), the pressures on parents were intense (Champagne 1992). By the early 20003, if not before, parents were expected to teach their youngsters not only arithmetic, Chinese characters, the arts, and emotional intelligence, but also English, a crucial skill for the twenty—first century. Pop— ular books introduced children and their parents to such Western favorites M The Shifting Local Politics QfPupularion 239 the songs “Old MacDonald Had a Farm” and “London Bridge Is Falling Down” and the fairy tales “Snow White” and “Cinderella” (Qu ed. 2001). With all these responsibilities on their shoulders, it is not surprising that, dur— ing the 19805 and 19905, mothers of single children reported devoting more time, energy, and money to perfecting their one child than their own moth— as had spent nurturing several youngsters (Milwertz 1997). Despite the heavy demands of this new, intensive form of mothering and despite a recent history of apparently close identification with work outside the home, many women actively embraced their new roles as family nurtur— erg who sacrificed their own needs for the sake of their children. They did so not only because the economy now devalued their paid labor while the cul~ ture tied women’s worth to those reproductive and caregiving roles; the new emphases on mothering also dovetailed with their own intensified needs to ensure support from a child in old age. Although most city couples could ex— pect pensions, those pensions were often inadequate (Unger 1993). Pensions for women were especially limited. Pension or not, a child was irreplaceable as a source of emotional support and, even more so, practical help, especially when illness or physical disability set in (Ikels 1996; Milwertz 1997). Socio— log'cal research shows that well into the reform era, adult children in urban areas provided extensive assistance to their elderly parents. While both sons and daughters supplied monetary support, daughters were more filial in pro— viding daily assistance and personal care (Whyte and Xu 2003). Far from re— ducing the need for a child in old age, changes brought about by the re— forms—~in particular, wage reform, mandatory retirement, the reduction in pensions and state subsidies for health care, and the growing geographical mobility of children~worked to reinforce the importance of family support for the elderly (Ikels 199 3; Whyte ed. 200 3; Pong 2004). Moreover, with only one child, it became an urgent matter to ensure that the child would be will— ing to honor his or her filial obligations. Following the logic of the intergen— erational contract, mothers dealt with these heightened anxieties by invest- ing ever more heavily in their only child. Their aim was to cultivate gratitude and indebtedness in their child, so that the child would reciprocate with financial support, health care subsidies, and nursing care later on.17 Anxious mothers went so far as to pay for pianos and piano lessons for their young— sters, not because they hoped the child would become a good pianist but to nurture in the child a sense of heavy obligation that would be fulfilled in later years (Milwertz 1997; Iritani 2003). In the 19805, then, women’s own worries about their future worked together with broader cultural shifts in the mean— ing of femininity and with birth plannings new emphasis on population qual— ity to produce a generation ofyoung mothers deeply committed to nurtur— ing perfect children. 240 Social and Political Consequences CREATING SCIENTIFIC MOTHERING PRACTICES Creating healthy babies required healthy mothers embracing health_ promoting maternal practices. To this end, the population and medical esr,1b_ lishments have undertaken concerted efforts to encourage women to give up traditional practices surrounding pregnancy and infant feeding and to ado!» the Western scientific, or biomedical, model of motherhood instead. Pop“- lar books on fetal education (taijiao) and eugenic births have depicted 19mg- nancy and infant care as difficult tasks that could be successfully accomplished only with the help of medical experts and the charts, diagrams, and lists ni' standards offered in their pages (e.g., Wang ed. 2002; Liu and Zhang cm, 1999). A centerpiece of these efforts was a large—scale government program, launched in the early 19905 in cooperation with the World Health Organiza— tion (WHO) and United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), to encouragc women to breastfeed their infants. Suzanne Gottschang’s anthropological It‘— search on the politics of breastfeeding in a Beijing maternity hospital illumi— nates the micropolitical dynamics surrounding child quality in the 19905 and early 20005 (Gottschang 2000, 2001). Those dynamics involve the struggles between competing—‘and cooperating—authorities to establish and instiil maternal norms, and the growing success of foreign corporations and market logics ofconsumer desire in influencing health care practices. Following U.N. and Chinese government guidelines, in the 19905 more than 5,000 urban hospitals were reorganized into “baby friendly hospitals." The dominant authority in restructuring these institutions was the science promoted by the state’s birth planning and medical fields. Medical workers used a variety of means to get women to relinquish private judgment to med— ical experts, accepting scientific ideas and practices as authoritative. For example, hospital space and time were reorganized in ways that regulated women’s ideas, practices, and bodies in relation to infant feeding. Mandatory prenatal classes, postpartum exercises, diet regimes, and breastfeeding sessions conveyed the message that medically guided bodily discipline is best to en~ sure the health of mother and child. Educational materials presented in classes, on posters, and in brochures also promoted the new routines as scifi entific, modern, and necessary for child health. Science was not the only voice of authority in the hospital, however. Transnational consumer culture, with its temptations and sensualities, was also competing to establish and instill maternal norms. Exploited by food and pharmaceutical companies eager to sell health—related products, consumerist images of the sexy, slender maternal body were beamed out at young moth— ers in colorful advertisements and wall posters (Hooper 1998; Andrews and The Shifting Lora] Politics quopu/ation 241 Shen 2002). Advertising for maternal nutritional supplements and infant for— mula, while promoting the goods as scientific products that would foster the development ofhealthy infant brains, also presented images ofthe sexualized and consumerist mother who breastfed while remaining slim and beautiful. The two forces, state bureaucracy and capitalist corporation, not only com~ peted by presenting differing norms for the maternal body, they also worked in tandem in appealing to science and modernity as bases for making health care decisions. Reflecting growing corporate influence on the state, foreign food corporations have actually participated in the construction of official child nutrition norms (jing 2000a, 20).‘8 In the hospital Gottschang studied, medical professionals distributed brochures prepared by multinational cor— porations to educate women about healthful practices, dispensing consumer advertising along with advice on health. Meantime, a third, quieter but still influential voice of authority, tradition, was competing for women’s loyalties. Although tradition had no formal representation in the hospital, traditional Chinese medical and religious prescriptions for the care of the pregnant and postpartum body and the newborn, taught by mothers and grandmothers, also influenced young mothers’ thinking. In a wider culture that associates knowledge of scientific ideas and the consumption of scientific products with modernity, young mothers found the appeals to science seductive. All the mothers studied in depth wanted to raise healthy children and many indicated that they would consult a biomed— ical professional if they encountered health problems. The imperatives of producing a healthy infant, however, often conflicted with women’s desires to maintain their own femininity in a culture that idealized the slender, sex— ualized body. Facing such conflicting norms, women followed some of the program’s ideas, tried and rejected other recommended practices, and re— jected still others outright. Many rebelled against the idea ofattending classes, insisting that breastfeeding and motherng were “natural” activities on which their mothers were the main authorities in any case (Gottschang 2000, 175). Only one—third followed the WHO/ UNICEF guideline and breastfed their infants the full recommended four months. In this microcosm of the societal politics of quality, the images and products of transnational consumerist cul— ture were clearly gaining force relative to those ofstate science. NURTURING THE “QUALITY (DiscIPLINED, CONSUMERIST, GLOBALIST) CHILD” The ultimate goal of all these efforts was the “quality child,” the personi— fication and guarantor ofa new and prosperous global future. In the 19805, the birth program propagandized and promoted health and education, but other forces, each with its own interests, soon began to take over the work of 242 Social and Political Consequences creating that quality child. From the early 1980s, other government agenciu~ especially the Ministry of Health, working with the Chinese Academy I," Preventive Medicine, began actively promoting child health and nutrition through the development of nutrition surveys, the establishment of dietary guidelines, and the formation of the Program for Chinese Children’s Dun-l, 0pment for the 19905. Still other agencies oversaw the creation ofa Chiler‘ll-K food industry, the formulation of laws protecting children’s health, and the m- tablishment of agencies to enforce them (Guldan 2000; Zhao 2000). In tlu. 19805 and 1990s children’s health became a major government enterprise. The 19905 brought a more economically driven mode ofproducing (lulu- ity children. As in the West, in China the explosion of the market brought .; growing commercialization of childhood and new definitions of child gm]- ity in terms of the consumption of consumer goods and services. Fen-1g]. firms played an active role in this process. Since the early 19903, when corp”- rations were permitted to advertise their products on television, big commw nies, including such prominent transnational firms as McDonalds, Kentucki- Fried Chicken, and H. Heinz Co., have become some ofthe biggest prtL moters—~and sellers—0f “child quality.” These companies have done wlm business firms do: define the public’s needs in terms of the consumption of their products. McDonalds has been especially creative and successful in tap— ping into parental anxieties in order to create a market for its goods. The co: 1]— pany has advertised its food as scientifically designed and nutritionally beneficial, while creating special child—centered events (such as talent and us— say contests) orchestrated to entertain and educate the young diners (an1 1997; on similar efforts by KFC, see Lozada 2000). Parents have responded enthusiastically, seeing opportunities to nurture the bodies and minds oftlieir youngsters While giving them an opportunity to participate in transnational, especially American, culture. Exploiting the burgeoning opportunities it: China, food and pharmaceutical companies have introduced an ever—prohi— erating number of infant, baby, and toddler products. associating their goods with science, modernity, foreignness, and progress. A visit to some ofBeijing'c stores for children in late 200 3 revealed shelf after shelf of foreign goods—for- mula, food, breastfeeding devices, advice books, educational toys—~all ml~ orfully packaged and offered at much higher cost than Chinese goods. In UK" absence of strict regulation of product claims, scientistic exaggerations have become commonplace (Guo 2000). In the early 19903, items such as chum: late and potato chips were promoted as “opening up [child] intelligence (Anagnost 1997b, 217), By the early 2000s, even diapers were being promoted as products scientifically proven to develop the infant brain. Working with. through, and around the state, by the 20005 corporations had come to play an important role in establishing and instilling the norms of “quality” childhnml. The Shifting Leta] Politics quopulaz‘ion 243 creating a young generation “deeply engaged with the products and adver— tising of global capitalism” (Davis and Sensenbrenner 2000, 54; on state— business relations, see Zhao Yang 2000). By the turn ofthe century, then, the politics of population quality had been deeply infused with the market logics of individual consumer desire and global consumption fantasy-the fantasy that one can participate in global culture and even become a kind of global person through the consumption of foreign, especially Western, products. The production of the “quality” child has also brought striking shifts in the locus of population regulation. In the 19805, the state’s new norms for child health and education were eagerly, even anxiously, taken up and pur— sued by parents. With virtually all urban couples having but one child, that child, whether boy or girl, became a precious commodity. Parents and grand- parents invested ever more heavily in their “little emperors and empresses,” purchasing for them every health— and education—related food, toy, lesson, and experience available, in an effort to ensure their educational and career successes in an ever more competitive environment (Jing ed, 2000; Lozada 2000; Davis and Sensenbrenner 2000; Fong 2004; Rosen 2004). Such invest— ments are fueled by such success stories as that told by the 2001 best seller, Harvard Girl Liu Yirzg, whose parents scientifically prepared their daughter from birth to get into Harvard University (Rosen 2004). Parents have made enormous sacrifices for their children, spending over half their monthly in— comes on their youngsters. In the early 19905, there were urban families who could not afford telephones or running hot water who nevertheless pur— chased computers and Video games for their child (WuDunn 1991a). These extraordinary efforts have been driven by the deep desires, anxi— eties, and fears of parents (Anagnost 1997b; Lei 2003; Fong 2004; Rosen 2004). The desire is to compensate for their own deprived Cultural Revolu— tion childhoods by seeing that their child has everything they did not. Larger consumer investments in the young have also been motivated by the class anx— iety of urban parents fearful of losing their privileged position in an econ— omy marked by growing economic differentiation. Parents’ obsessive focus on their children is also motivated by the fear that their only child might even— tually abandon them—financially, socially, and/0r emotionally. To counter that dreaded prospect, parents have “drowned their children in love” (m' at) and commodities, in desperate hope that those investments will be recipro- cated by filial comfort, economic support, and nursing care in old age. With parental anxieties, corporate interests, professional and state con— cerns all converging on the single child, the result has been the production of a highly disciplined childhood, in which few periods and few arenas of the young child’s life have been left unprogrammed. Unstructured play has been increasingly squeezed out of urban Chinese childhood. Over the 244 Social and Political Consequences 19805, 19905, and early 20005, urban childhood has been subject to the “st-it entific” (educational, psychological, dietary, medical) disc1p11nes of the pm- fessions and state bureaucracy and the consumer disciplines of the markL-p.‘ all specifying norms for the quality child. With parents'increasingly inter- nalizing these norms and enforcing them as “self—disciplines” of the farm“; Chinese children growing up in these decades have lived closely monitoruL managed, and even regimented lives (e.g., Tyler 1996). Meantime, parental overindulgence in their singletons has led to filrtller shifts in the locus of regulation and the emergence of the quintessential Suial cultivating neoliberal subject. Parents anxious to secure their child’s affcc._ tions have allowed their youngsters to choose the toys, snacks, fast foods, and other items they will buy, turning them into increasingly independent and sophisticated “superconsumers” (WuDunn 1991a). Ethnographers report that children are now making decisions on everything from food to enter- tainment to large conunodity purchases, including numerous items that af— fect their health, education, and training (Yan 1997; Watson ed. I997; Chu- 2000; Guo 2000; Lozada 2000; Iritani 2003). Companies are targeting chil— dren, directing their advertisements to young eyes and ears, in the process turning China’s little emperors into what experts call the “single greatest force in determining consumer decisions today” (Tyler 1996, A6). While the decision—making power of children should not be exaggerated. their growing role in making individual and household consumer dec1sroais amounts to a new kind of self—regulation of population “quality”: by the child himself or herself. These trends are noteworthy because in a culture whose glossy advertisements celebrate the foreign—especially-the Western (yang)~— children are increasingly choosing “trendy” products Wlth‘ global ca- chet, turning themselves into consumerist versions of the global Citizens the state has long sought to create. In a process that the regime probably did not envision, certainly does not control, yet may ambivalently endorse—alter all, a prosperous middle class is likely to support the regimefinarket forces have combined with the state’s programmatic efforts and soc1etal dynamics to create a new kind of highly independent, market—minded “quality” per— son who will increasingly make up the citizenry of twenty—first century China. The result is a kind of“autonomous,” neoliberal subject whose tn« terests, desires, and choices align with those ofa neoliberalizing market and state that have shaped those interests, desires, and choices to their own ends. CHAPTER 8 Restratyfying Chinese Society THE PREVIOUS CHAPTER charted the rapid governmentalization of popula— tion in the post—Mao years and the effects on those enjoined to be key actors in that process—reproductive women, mothers, and children. In this chap— ter and the next, we turn to the broader and deeper effects of the intensified governance of population on China’s society and politics as a whole. In both chapters we deal somewhat with the effects of professional disciplinary power and individual self—cultivation, but our primary focus is on the effects of hu— reaucratic state power. Throughout most of the post—Mao period, the state was the dominant locus of population governance, and it was one with for— midable powers to reorder social and political life. To understand the broad consequences of governmentalizationv—some predicted, many more unpre— dicted—~we must begin then by understanding the larger capacities and proj— ects of the PRC regime. Since it came to power in 1949, the Chinese communist regime has sought to remake the Chinese social order through the creation and forceful impo— sition of new social categories, Such classifications of life have ranged from special categories created during the Cultural Revolution to punish class en— emies, to broader classifications of class, residence, ethnicity, and gender de— signed to organize and regulate the whole population.‘ Yet the effects of these state projects have almost always differed from their lofty goals of creating a socialist modernity featuring a rapidly industrializing economy and egali— tarian society. Only too often have these classifying practices replaced old stratifications with new and set some categories of persons back, even as oth— ers have been propelled forward. And so it has been with population. The greatest social engineering venture ofthe reform era, the state’s birth planning project sought to quantitatively trim and qualitatively upgrade the Chinese population in order to speed China’s transformation into a global 245 ...
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Susan - CHAPTEH I The Shfling Local Politics quopulation WHEN THE pRC’s POST—Mao leadership created its project to radii-ally “modernize”

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