“Four Generations of Change” : Outcomes of the One and Two-Child Policies – Musings from an Australian Perspective

This is not an extract from Li’s book, The New Chinese, but it is such an important development in recent Chinese history that I thought it deserved its own post. There are plenty of accurately researched articles about the policy’s history and about how it was/is implemented that can be easily found; this article will be more a gathering of threads together to explore what the One-Child Policy, and the recent revoking of it into a Two-Child Policy, means in an Australian context.

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“The Four Generations of Change: The Baby Boomers” – Musings from an Australian perspective

 There’s a lot of babies in this chapter. I myself am not overly fond of newborns (I’m told my opinion will change when my friends or I start having children. I’ll wait to believe it.) but it seems that China, between 1949 and 1979, was. If you’ve ever wondered what was happening to China’s population when the one-child-policy was bought in, here’s the breakdown according to Li:

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“Four Generations of Change: Chinese Gen X” – Musings from an Australian Perspective

If you haven’t heard the ‘Chinese G X’ term before, don’t worry. It’s one made up by author Barry Li to describe the generation of mainland Chinese born between 1966 and 1976. This period of ten years is significant in Chinese history for being the years of Chairman Mao’s Cultural Revolution. The Cultural Revolution is something I know bits and pieces of, and have tried to comprehend as a whole; if you’re like me and are maybe not quite familiar with its concept and policies don’t worry, my last blog briefly tracks through some of its ambitions and policies.

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Australian Financial Review

“The morning Barry Li woke up with the worst hangover of his life was the moment he realised he no longer belonged in China. It was the day after New Year’s Eve 2010, and the young accountant had been pressured into joining colleagues at the Agriculture Bank of China for a formal dinner involving vast quantities of Chinese liquor.”

View full post at: afr.com/lifestyle/arts-and-entertainment
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Smith, Michael. “Barry Li on the new Chinese changing Australia”. The Australian Financial Review. July 28 2017. http://www.afr.com. 

“Four Generations of Change: Chinese Gen X” Cultural Revolution – Musings from an Australian Perspective

I’m taking a quick side-step on my discussion of Barry Li’s book The New Chinese: How They Are Changing Australia to briefly discuss the Cultural Revolution. This event, from 1966 – 1976 is significant in the lives of the next two generations Li covers in this chapter – those of the Chinese Gen X and the Chinese Baby Boomers. Understanding the way in which the Cultural Revolution shaped the lives and mindset of millions of Chinese is important in understanding how they act today, and the manner of influence they have on the younger generation. Continue reading



80后作家Barry Li出生于文化大革命结束后不久。在中国生活了二十二年,与许许多多的中国留学生一样,他在大学本科毕业后来到了澳大利亚留学。在澳洲毕业并工作了几年以后,他带着妻子回到了中国寻找发展机会。出乎他们意料的是,就在他们离开中国的几年中,这个国家发生了翻天覆地的变化。一年之后,他们带着尚未出生的孩子离开了中国,正式移民澳大利亚。Barry本科毕业于对外经济贸易大学,在澳留学期间获得了麦考瑞大学商学硕士学位,现就职于新南威尔士州审计署,是一名审计师。《新中国人:我们如何改变澳洲》是他的处女座。






“Four Generations of Change: The 90后” – Musings from an Australian Perspective

If you’ve read my previous passage on 80后then you’ll know that 90后 refers to the Chinese generation born between 1990 – 1999 (congrats on your Mandarin 101 Learning!). If I had been born in China this is where I would fit in. Continue reading

“Four Generations of Change: The 80 后” – Musings from an Australian Perspective

80后 hòu is the Chinese term used to describe someone born between 1980 and 1989. This is the generation that Barry Li, author of The New Chinese, belongs to. This is a generation of a rapidly changing environment from post Cultural Revolution to technology, infrastructure and an opening up to the West.

Li describes growing up in Suzhou (China’s version of Oldtown from Westeros) with his great-aunt and his cousin (who really was actually the daughter of his grandmother’s adopted daughter. Complicated. For all intents and purposes, he calls her his sister, which is the done thing among the one-child generations. It used to confuse me a lot when students I used to teach in Beijing would tell me of their multiple brothers and sister; for a long time I thought it was just an English error they were making.) Continue reading