China is a land of mystery to many Western demographers. After the establishment of the People’s Republic of China in 1949, the size and composition of the Chinese population remained hidden to the outside world, and for decades, the demographic community had to rely on journalistic reports about China’s population concerns. The only information that was reliable to any degree was the age-sex population tabulation of the 1953 census (Aird 1982). Undeniably, there were voluminous studies on China’s population programs and policies, all written in journalistic style and with great appeal to the public interest, but until recently, students of China’s population could not even answer the most fundamental question, What is the birthrate in China?