Book launch event : Reproductive politics in East Asia : rethinking reproductive agency amid demographic crises

Streaming Media


Department of Sociology and Social Policy

Event Title

Book Launch Event

Document Type

Book Talk




3:00 p.m. -- 4:30 p.m.


Computer Room, 1/F, Lingnan University Library & Real-time Online Session


Since the beginning of the 21st century, East Asia has entered an era of demographic crisis — with an expanding ageing population and a persistent decline in the fertility rate. While increasing the fertility rate has become an urgent task for East Asian governments and societies, individual reproductive agency has been neglected under the dominant pronatalist rhetoric. Reproduction is a private experience and a matter of personal freedom and bodily autonomy, yet it is subsumed under the state's biopolitical governance through various regulatory measures. This book launch, as well as the interdisciplinary panel, focuses on the reproductive politics in East Asia and brings to light diverse reproductive experiences and subjectivities, including premarital abortion in mainland China, abortion politics in Taiwan, contraceptive decision-making in Japan, and reproductive aspirations in mainland China. It explores a timely and under-addressed topic, offering insights into the relationship between personal and public politics in the context of reproduction.

Abstract of the Book:
Drawing on participant observations, in-depth interviews, and content analysis of online materials, "Premarital abortion in China: intimacy, family and reproduction" investigates the role of individual choice, relationships, and institutions in unmarried Chinese women’s decisions to terminate their pregnancies. Where previous studies have focused on abortion in China as a state-mandated procedure to enforce the one-child policy, this book looks at a new era, where abortion is primarily based on individuals’ decisions. While young women in China enjoy greater freedom to pursue their personal, sexual, and reproductive aspirations, their autonomy remains constrained by structural inequalities of gender, class, and migration status, which are reproduced through the intersection of state policies, market forces, and patriarchal family culture. In this book, the author recounts the stories and presents the voices of unmarried young adult women, and documents the impact of sweeping socioeconomic transformation on their reproductive experiences in contemporary China amidst the ending of the one-child policy.

Author’s Bio:
Ruby Lai Yuen Shan is a Assistant Professor in the Department of Sociology and Social Policy at Lingnan University, Hong Kong. Her research interests revolve around gender, family, reproductive politics, and ethnicity in Hong Kong and China.

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Additional Information

Recommended Citation

Lai, Y. S. R., Choi, S., Jhang, J., Shoan, Y. C., & Cheng, S. (2023, March 10). Book launch event: Reproductive politics in East Asia: Rethinking reproductive agency amid demographic crises [Video podcast]. Retrieved from