Chinese Genealogy and the One Family, One Child Policy

I just returned from a nine-day trip to China and found out a few interesting things about Chinese genealogy.

In China, couples can have only one child–with a few exceptions. One is based on ethnicity and genealogy.

My guide in Beijing was descended from the predominant ethnic group Han, and his wife was from the ethnic minority group Manchurian. By law, they can have more than one child because one of them is an ethnic minority. (They in fact have two children.)

Their children can have more than one child too–but only if they identify themselves as Manchurian. If the children identify themselves as Han, then only one child. The same holds true for their grandchildren. Even if the grandchildren are only one-quarter Manchurian and three-quarters Han and they still identify themselves as Manchurian, then they can have more than one child.

See photos from my trip to China at

Posted on by Jane Wilcox


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