News FocusDemography

Of Population Projections and Projectiles

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Science  17 Sep 2010:
Vol. 329, Issue 5998, pp. 1460
DOI: 10.1126/science.329.5998.1460

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China's one-child policy may appear to be a case of ideology trumping science. But the policy was based on the projections of a 1970s missile scientist and adopted in an atmosphere of renewed faith in empiricism and openness to the West. A key figure in the policy's adoption was Song Jian, a Soviet-trained military scientist and specialist in cybernetics, or the control of machine systems, who moved into the unlikely field of population analysis in part because other Chinese scientists had been persecuted during the Cultural Revolution.