Grow, but don’tmultiply

Not even Zhang Yimou, the famous director of Red Lantern, was able to escape the close watch of fertility authorities. The director is under investigation for having had seven children with at least three different women and faces a €19 million fine. When it comes to child numbers, China has been taking no prisoners for 30 years. These days, however, the disputed single child law is raising a few eyebrows.

“If we don’t enforce birth control there won’t be enough food and clothing for children and there won’t be enough schools. We perform minor acts of inhumanity in the pursuit of the highest moral good.” Such is the conviction entertained also by the main character of Mo Yan’s last effort. In his book (Frog, 2009) the Nobel-Prize author tells the story of Wan Xin, a zealous midwife in the city of Gaomi, who is later promoted to officer status.

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