Synopses & Reviews
This groundbreaking book offers the first full analysis of the long-neglected and controversial subject of female infanticide in China. Drawing on little-known Chinese documents and illustrations, noted historian D. E. Mungello describes the causes of female infanticide and its persistence for two thousand years despite efforts by Confucian moralists, Buddhist teachings, government officials, imperial edicts, and Christian missionaries to stop the practice. However, most of the infant victims were drowned at birth in the privacy of their homes, thereby escaping the scrutiny of the law and the public. Mungello brings this secretive practice to light with a nuanced and balanced analysis of the cultural, economic, and social causes of early infanticide and its contemporary manifestation in sex-selected abortion as a result of the government's one-child policy.