First-time mother and filmmaker Nanfu Wang uncovers the untold history of China’s One-Child policy and the generations of parents and children forever shaped by this social experiment.

Also Known As: Polityka jednego dziecka, Born in China, Land der Einzelkinder, Το Έθνος του Ενός Παιδιού, Народжений у Китаi, One Child Nation

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  • k-meszaros-istvan
    k meszaros istvan

    We need a work that records and reminds us of the negative impact of the one-child policy, and this film is successful in this respect.However, this film seemingly talks about China’s one-child policy, but in fact it aims to criticism of the whole Chinese regime from the perspective of one-child policy.The biggest deduction point is to quote the pictures of the grand parade which are completely not related to the policy and describe the one-child policy as “China’s war against its own people”, which shows that the film completely ignores the positive role and other social impacts of one-child policy, and also exposes its anti-China propaganda essence. This treatment will not only bring trouble to the interviewees in the film, but also has no positive effect. It will only incite hatred and create confrontation.

  • rune-gustafsson
    rune gustafsson

    The opening scenes are a display of national pride in great showmanship staged by Government officials and we don’t fully understand the breadth of this sentiment or its purpose until later in the film.It confronts the officials directly in charge of enforcing the policy, it illustrates a bewildering sense of helplessness felt by the citizens of this communist state and it uncovers some of the most chilling consequences in which opportunities for human trafficking that emerged.We follow Nanfu, who now lives in the US and retraces her rural Chinese history with her inner circle of family and locals of her village uncovering fraud, corruption and kidnapping of some of the 130,000 babies sold to international adoption agencies.It’s a chilling account on the systematic installment of medical teams nationwide whose soul purpose was to enforce the one child policy. There’s an emotional distress throughout the film with confronting images of 8 month old fetuses in medical waste bags in garbage heaps as a result of forced abortions and we’re told about the dire situation of hunger and scarce resources of Nanfu’s father’s generation and her grandfather before him in an attempt to justify it. Had it not been for the One Child Policy we’re told this would have been worse for Nanfu’s generation. Unless there is a real genuine understanding of poverty for the viewer, we wrestle with the real essence of the film and the differences in socio-economies and culture. Pro one child defenders explain that their life at that time was about survival not about fulfillment. The difference between those two things to put the national interest before personal feelings is equated to war.Babies were dumped on the roadside, abandoned in streets and marketplaces out of fear of going against the status quo and this opened the door for China to join the International Adoption program and profit from those children. Recruiting networks of doctors, midwives, public transport drivers and ordinary people were established, paid anywhere between US$100-$200 to procure abandoned babies for orphanages who would profit between US$10000-$20000 per adoption. This lucrative business led to the kidnapping of children in defenseless poverty stricken rural towns. More than 130,000 babies have been put up for adoption internationally with many that were not actually abandoned during the period of the one child policy completely unaware of their history and lineage.It’s a devastating story that now sees China with not enough young workers to contribute to the economy and care for the elders. Their new policy now encourages multiple births. There is a strong sense of denial from enforcers and victims and this documentary preserves the memory of a generation lost and who were denied their dignity merely being discarded.The One Child policy lasted for 35 years (1979-2015), the questions that are now being asked by the people weren’t asked by their parents and while it does answer many, we are still left wondering why!

  • jacob-payne
    jacob payne

    One Child Nation feels like a film everyone should see, but it clearly is not for everyone. For the most part, this documentary explores in moving and occasionally horrifying detail the consequences of China’s one child policy. A few sections of the film are less engaging than others. The film raises some questions that it does not answer. While an emotional film, it does not provide a call-to-action or otherwise suggest what an emotionally-engaged viewer might do about a now-discontinued policy.

  • sepp-wipstrik
    sepp wipstrik

    Yes, this film makes a clear case for the serious consequences that happen when paternalistic societies fail to value and provide equal rights for women. Whether it’s rabid anti-choice proponents in America who clearly feel that individual women should be denied the right to make reproductive decisions for themselves, or Chinese communist authorities who perpetuate the party line to force abortions and sterilization, the losers are always women and all of society. We all need to learn this lesson and this film makes this point in a devastating and personal way.

  • nicole-wylegala
    nicole wylegala

    SFF(Sydney Film Festival) 2019 Event Cinema, one child nation, as a Chinese, I thought I’m familiar enough with the policy, but I’m wrong. There are still so many things are hidden that I don’t aware. And how cruel it is to be forced abortion. It’s not about right or wrong, it’s about humanity and the right to question. Everyone is innocent, everyone has no choice, everyone helps execute the policy.

  • stefan-ruzicka
    stefan ruzicka

    Having researched both sides of the issue, I can agree the one child policy had suffered from certain excesses that impinged on people’s rights.However, I completely disagree with the sensationalized nature of this “documentary” that frames the policy as a sinister plot for total control.China versus India gives us the most illuminating case study.Some 40 years ago, China curbed out of control population growth to avoid socioeconomic collapse. Today, China has lifted 800+ million people out of crushing poverty after a century and half of western invasions, wars, and destruction. It’s people enjoy safe streets, full stomachs, clean drinking water, education, a growing economy, etc. Of course nothing is perfect and China has many problems to solve but this achievement is simply unprecedented in human history.In contrast, India allowed out of control population growth and it is currently experiencing a socioeconomic crisis. Food and water shortages. Infrastructure is woefully underdeveloped. Much of the country lacks sanitation such proper toilets leading to the spread of disease.The results speak for themselves.

  • joseph-dixon
    joseph dixon

    Riveting though it seems the documentary focuses on only one side of the story. And blaming a lot problems on one-child policy is simply not right.1. Gender balance. Before the one child policy people tend keep giving birth unless there is a boy. Decision making affects the rate too. That’s why my father had 5 sisters 1 brother and my mother has 3 sisters and 1 brother. You do the math. That contributes to the balance but it’s not that kind of balance you really want. After the one-child, it is mainly abortion that reverts the ratio although China had strict laws forbidden people check gender fetus during the one child policy.2. Abandonment. Children were abandoned in rural areas of China. Parents tend to keep boys and abandon girls. It has been that for centuries maybe. It was mainly due to the fact that the family does not have enough resources to feed everyone. The doc did not mention the children death rate before the one-child policy. My father had 6 siblings and that does not include 4 were dead from suffering illness in early age. Giving up a girl was a way to keep the family alive and yes it is very wrong. People should have just stopped giving births to that many children (male can be workers and bring fortune in old time China). The was less abandonment due to that reason after the policy. Also note that abandonment happened but it was not anyway close to a norm.3. Forced abortion. The law strictly forbids forcing abortion during one child policy. The documentary does not mention that yet brings some voices to force an impression. If you notice, a lot of the voices are from the narratives or started with ” I heard..” There has been forced abortions in the past 40 years in a singular digit reported and were deemed wrong and crimeful even in China. If you search BBC reports, you find that “there was not enough evidence to support it”. I do believe there has been cases of forced abortion. The people who work at the local office used extreme means to guarantee a job and that action was very wrong.3. Twins count as one birth it’s not against the policy so in the movie the girl talked about how she got separated from her twin sister. It’s entirely irrelevant to the one-child policy.4. GDP in China now is 80 times that in 1979 when the one- child policy started 40 years ago.5. There will be other issues like lack of medical resources and abandonment without the one child policy. One child policy is like a two sided blade. Without the policy, China would have added 300 million people in population and that’s almost the entire population of the states. Poverty was imminent.I am not trying to speak up for the one child policy. I was born in 1980s just like the director herself. While wishing that I had a brother or sister, I grew up without noticing any change to our lives caused by the policy. We were the happy generation because we witnessed the tremendous improvement in our life. Now my wife and I (without any siblings) have four parents and two kids to take care of and that’s a lot of pressure. We sometimes need cousins to help on looking after our parents when we are away. That’s the biggest impact if you ask us as the generation of one-child. But one child policy is already in the past, isn’t it?

  • gorshkova-taisiia-viacheslavovna
    gorshkova taisiia viacheslavovna

    A deeply thought provoking and emotionally confronting look at some the people affected by, or tasked with enforcement of China’s one child policy established in 1979. The narrative is mostly driven by the film maker’s recollections of her experience, and interviews with her family and others in the area where she grew up.Excellent film making, use of imagery, narration and examination of a number of different perspectives. Very sensitively approaching the subject, she was able to gently yet persuasively coax some truly shocking admissions of guilt from some of her interviewees. Be prepared for some awful images, but thankfully these scenes are not dwelt on for long as macabre voyeurism was not the intent, but to solidly make the point of what happened to many babies. The story told indicates that the one-child policy was implemented in a harsh, cruel, uncompromising and unforgiving way, although it seems the government eventually recognised the need to protect and find new homes via international adoption programmes for babies that were abandoned by their parents trying to avoid the harsh penalties that they would face.The only criticism is that there is not much in the way of analysis of the reasons that led up to the point of the introduction of the policy in China. This was hinted at by interviews with her mother, but not much else. For an example of a country that should have, but hasn’t introduced population control measures, take a look at India. There, they have well over 100 million people enduring appalling, squalid, miserable poverty and hundreds of millions more struggling daily to eke out a meagre existence. Religious dogma and lack of understanding about environmental impact regarding unrestrained human reproduction are at least partly to blame for the coming crisis of over-population in most parts of the world. If the human race is to avoid large scale wars over food, water and climate change induced migration in the next 30 years, then global population controls need to be carefully introduced and incentivised, but not the way the PRC did it. Seen at NZIFF Wellington by a parent of one child.

  • piererminio-bruno
    piererminio bruno

    Like the film makers, most people I know of that generation are the one- child of the family. I never stopped to think of what might have happened to my friends’ possible siblings. Or that their parents could have murdered, or given away their own babies. The shocking thing is how “ordinary” the perpetrators are. The 84 years old retired doctor who has killed thousands upon thousands of babies – a frail-looking grandma. The filmmakers’ uncle who left his 2 day old daughter to die in the market. The fact that he recalls clearly that she would be 27 now, speaks volumes that he hasn’t forgotten. The taxi drivers and garbage collectors who became baby traffickers.How to make sense of 35 years of state-enforced killings. How does the ordinary citizen agree to kill in the name of the state – not the Japanese / Nationalists / Capitalists – but your own child, an unborn baby? Murder your niece, granddaughter, cousin?The only answer I had from the movie was the artists’ explanation. Decades of indoctrination (brain-washing). The self is not important. Only the collective, the state mattered. That ordinary folk had no choice, they had to kill, to do what the party/the state said to do.Terrifying and real. Must see. Must understand.China in a hundred years of war. From the 1911 Revolution, fighting the Japanese, the Civil War, the Cultural Revolution ending in 1979, then started the One-Child Policy, The internal war on population only ended in 2015. What was the death-toll? This time the casualties were women, babies and families.

  • grant-johnson
    grant johnson

    “As a bookish child, I would come to see the one-child policy as one of the most fascinating and bizarre things about the land of my ancestors, equal parts Aldous Huxley and King Herod.” Mei Fong, One Child: The Story of China’s Most Radical ExperimentHearing about China’s 1979 one-child policy, lasting 35 years, is one thing. Listening to Asians who lived through it is another. The logic of administrators, some of whom who appear in Nanfu Wang’s informative and touching documentary, One Child Nation, almost make sense.Then you realize who is abandoned and who abducted, mostly girls, and you grimace for them and the families who were torn apart by the rule. Assuredly the females had to go first when authorities discovered families with more than one child because the Asian tradition had always favored males.Wang having been given a man’s name (Nanfu translates into “man” and pillar”) shows a deft hand at directing without preaching. She does what I find lacking in too many docs-the other side. Those supporting a one-child policy appear frequently praising it as the salvation of a billion people who would have starved or resorted to cannibalism without the population restraint.The devastating effects cannot be hidden: babies left in baskets, twins separated forever, human trafficking on a grand scale are just a few of the disorders. Propaganda is always there to reinforce the state’s message. Wang presents it all, both good and bad.But like our dark slavery past or Nazi cleansing, heinous plans to control population never seem to survive. The trail, however, is bloody and harrowing.Wang has expertly balanced between a depressing subject and an important history lesson: “Don’t fool with Mother Nature.”