Holding letters of introduction from Chinese intellectuals in the U.S., Margaret Sanger, the infamous founder of Planned Parenthood, traveled to China in 1922 to enjoy the praise of journalists and intellectuals who gathered to hear her lectures about her favorite subjects: birth control, overpopulation, and eugenics.

At that time, Chinese intellectuals were just beginning to theorize about how the use of birth control could protect China from the problem of a growing population with limited natural resources. This would be a break from traditional Chinese thinking but some more eugenically minded intellectuals were willing to seek out ideas from the West. And nowhere in the West was the idea of eugenics gaining a stronger foothold at the time than in the United States of America. Even a young Adolf Hitler reportedly closely followed American eugenic legislation. “I have studied with interest the laws of several American states concerning prevention of reproduction by people whose progeny would, in all probability, be of no value or be injurious to the racial stock,” reportedly said a young Hitler. 

So it should be no surprise that Chinese intellectuals consumed by Malthusian fear, turned to a prominent American to hear more about eugenics. Enter Margaret Sanger.

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