China’s one-child policy has been around for more three decades, preventing about 400 million births. Parents risked huge fines and harassment from local authorities if they had more than one child. William Wan of The Washington Post wrote:
China’s Communist Party leaders enacted the policy in 1980 to curb runaway population growth. It has been one of history’s biggest experiments in state-mandated demographic engineering and has been heavily debated.
The policy reshaped Chinese society, with birthrates plunging from 4.77 children per woman in the early 1970s to 1.64 in 2011, according to estimates by the United Nations. It also contributed to the world’s most unbalanced sex ratio at birth, with boys far outnumbering girls.
Late last year, China eased the restriction, allowing millions of families to have two children if either of the parents is an only child.
Reuters photographer Carlos Barria photographed people born in each year the one-child policy was in effect — and asked if they would like to have a sibling. One child said “I want to have someone to play with.” Another said yes, “because it would be boring for me to stay at home alone.” Others didn’t want a sibling — like a child who said: “No, because I have investigated all my classmates who have brothers or sisters. None of them perform well in their studies.”
Here’s what they all had to say (except the ones too young to speak):
Note: The first few children, due to their age, did not have a response and are only represented in their photographs.