FOUR decades ago, China entered the world as its then-paramount leader Deng Xiaoping opened up the country to foreign investors and focused on modernization. Part of his strategy was a blanket one-child policy to ensure economic development would not be nullified by an exploding population which, at the time, was nearing a billion people.

The one-child policy was implemented through draconian acts, including very late-term abortions, forcible sterilization and grossly humiliating treatment of hundreds of millions of women. At the household level, many girl babies were killed or abandoned in the hope the next one would be a boy. Some lucky ones were adopted by foreign couples.

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