One Child Nation
2019 | Nanfu Wang / Jialing Zhang | USA | English / Mandarin | CC available upon request | 95 min | R
In order to expose rampant human-rights abuses, filmmaker Nanfu Wang fearlessly confronted Chinese government agents in her 2016 Sundance Film Festival documentary, Hooligan Sparrow. Her goal in One Child Nation is no less daunting: unmask the tightly held secrets of China’s one-child policy and, in so doing, free the voices of millions irreparably harmed by the practice.
For Wang, now a first-time mother, investigating the policy of forcibly restricting family size spawns traumatic recollections from her own family’s recent past. These stories, in turn, unleash a dizzying number of revelations from journalists, officials, parents, and activists about the widespread enforcement of sterilization, child abandonment, and state-sponsored kidnappings.
With chilling clarity, Wang’s new documentary reveals how relentless propaganda brainwashed and terrorized countless Chinese citizens into committing unspeakable crimes against fellow villagers and family members. Through interviews with both victims and instigators, along with revelatory data regarding the sheer number of abandoned children (nearly all of them infant girls), One Child Nation breaks open decades of silence on a vast, unprecedented social experiment that shaped—and destroyed—countless lives.