Food for Thought: Cinnabar & China’s One Child Policy

Recently I was attending a conference in San Francisco and one afternoon I had some free time, so I decided to take a “window shopping walk” through the streets of Chinatown.

As I entered one shop I saw some very pretty, bright red & black jars and containers decorated with beautiful carvings.  I soon learned this particular type of Chinese art is known as Cinnabar.   As I was admiring these pieces the clerk came over and struck up a conversation; she said Cinnabar is an ancient Chinese craft that is disappearing.  She continued, saying that knowledge of this particular craft is becoming rare due to China’s ‘One Child Policy’.  She went on to say that in her time, people used to have large families and the oldest children would go to college while the others would learn a craft or trade.  She repeated that knowledge of this skillset is disappearing because of China’s One Child Policy!

Now I have known about the horrors of China’s One Child Policy and forced abortion for quite some time, but as this woman pointed out, in addition to the millions of lives which have been lost and will continue to be destroyed, there is another side to the story.  I am sure there are many who don’t even pay attention to the issue of forced abortion in China and many others who believe this practice is perfectly fine, but have these same people ever stopped to think about the resulting economic impact or that some of these ancient crafts will soon be lost forever?

One Response to “Food for Thought: Cinnabar & China’s One Child Policy”

  1. Hi Janet,

    Thanks for bringing to light the cultural impact of the One Child Policy. China is losing its cultural heritage, along with its children.

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