Exploring China's One-Child Policy

China's one-child policy didn't happen overnight — it was normalized through propaganda, and serves as a warning against countries trying to control reproductive rights.

New perspective on the recent reversal of the policy

Filmmaker Nanfu Wang went through a personal journey while making her documentary One Child Nation. China’s one-child policy started in 1979 with the goal of controlling population. It was when she became a mother that Wang decided to revisit the controversial policy she grew up with in rural China. Her own parents had two children, since the law made an exception for families living in rural areas, as long as the children were at least five years apart — but not until after her mother narrowly escaped involuntary sterilization. Many other women were not so lucky. The policy’s mental, physical, and emotional toll on the country, especially its women, was tremendous.

Two months after Nanfu Wang gave birth to her first child, she was planning to fly back to the the Jiangxi province of China where she had grown up to see her family. Of course, it would be a chance to show the baby off to her family, but the visit wasn’t entirely personal. Her pregnancy, coinciding with the relatively recent reversal of China’s “One Child Policy,” which had forced generations of Chinese families to restrict the number of children they had, had gotten her to think about the devastating impact that such a law had across the country and in her own home.

While Wang was concerned whether she could ever return after her explosive debut “Hooligan Sparrow” implicated government officials in a cover-up when following the activist Ye Haiyan as she brought attention to the sexual abuse of a group of elementary school girls at the hands of their principal, motherhood had given her new perspective in a variety of ways, including how wearing a Baby Bjorn might give her cover. As part of the film, Wang conducted interviews with medical professionals’ smugglers politicians and members of her own family in an attempt to uncover the psychology of the one-child policy and its lasting impact.


08/22/2019 10:19 AM
  • 2.8m
  • 1.2k


  • Paula F.
    08/31/2019 23:58

    Not. The. Same. They promote a culture of death: abortion to control population.

  • Neil S.
    08/31/2019 03:42

    How can you go from condemning one child policy to accepting abortion as a right??

  • Neil S.
    08/31/2019 03:41

    Right to abortions paints an sobering portrait of an Infamous American policy!!

  • Linda A.
    08/28/2019 18:51

    Well said!!!!

  • Vickie S.
    08/27/2019 16:41

    There is some validity to this message and much more to be told. Listen and learn applies here.

  • Elisabeth D.
    08/27/2019 08:20

    Bottom line: a government that has too much control

  • Desiree C.
    08/26/2019 12:25

    We need to apply population control measures worldwide like China did. We need to be at 1 billion humans maximum. Even with lower birth rates in certain places, the collective population is still exponentially growing. The Earth simply won't sustain us, and any unconscionable woman who reproduces knowing what is coming (water and food scarcity, wars, and disease) is complicit in their children's suffering. Why do you breeders need to reproduce? there are countless children worldwide hoping for a forever home. You are selfish and you will reap it for what you've done to the Earth.

  • Ashif A.
    08/24/2019 08:49

    But look what China achieve..... Great victory required great secfice ....

  • Dawn D.
    08/23/2019 07:34

    Thank god im in the USA

  • Umer K.
    08/22/2019 19:48

    because in case of any misshaping they will suffer the most

  • Umer K.
    08/22/2019 19:48

    well they will face it in future

  • Joshua C.
    08/22/2019 18:31

    So why do the STUPID dumbocRATS want our Country to be like China ?????

  • Kathleen S.
    08/22/2019 15:16

    I think the problem is that we have too many young girls and women getting pregnant l and don't have the ability to care for their kids and become dependent on taxpayers to support them. I chose not to have a child because I knew I couldn't afford to do it on my own. Birth control is cheap and self control is free.

  • Mel O.
    08/22/2019 14:38

    2) Why would she think that one child policy was a bad idea for a country with more than 1,300,000,000 people? Would it be ok if they had 3 or 4 kids and the kids died of starvation, diseases, war...? Just look at India, they don't have such regulation and 1,600,000,000 people which more than 85% of them live in utter poverty and now India is exporting human beings to the rest of the world. China and India add up to be 1/2 of the global population. How is that any good?

  • Mel O.
    08/22/2019 14:34

    1) In a society that is ''freer'' than china.!! "freer'' than china.

  • Brut
    08/22/2019 13:21

    Special thanks to Nanfu Wang. Learn more about "":

  • Josue S.
    08/22/2019 12:57


  • Dawna K.
    08/22/2019 12:42

    Well.....looking at the state of the world...One child per couple for every country would be excellent for the health of the planet...

  • Forrest C.
    08/22/2019 12:35

    That happened Decades ago!

  • Vladimir N.
    08/22/2019 10:58

    This is propaganda. Law only applied for Han Chinese not for the other groups of people. This law was good law because there were so manu chinese people, country couldn`t sustain all of them. They could have second child but expenses were enormous. I don`t see where is the problem here. Law was good.