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
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  • Chrisy B.
    15 hours

    China should still limit them to 1 child per women. You have a population of 1.4billion. Enough is enough

  • JayJay P.
    17 hours

    All countries should be limiting to 1 child!

  • Leisa F.
    19 hours

    They only stopped the one child policy so after they spread the corona virus they will still have enough population for military to take other countries...they have ruined their rivers n agriculture etc to point they can't eat their own toxic milk vegetables etc n buy out other countries supplies atm..often Chinese immigrants like Australia they don't mix with Australians and live in own suburbs and have bus loads going from store to store buying out baby formula etc n sending it back to China.they don't want to be Australian they are just here to multiply use our medical services etc n supply China.our own mothers can't buy formula for their irritates me being conned by this country whose only agenda is control.i have no sympathy for them.they are rude,have no empathy or care for anyone else. No amount of sympathy films like this will I believe anymore..

  • Leisa F.
    19 hours

    China is a evil country..if the ppl( there are billions) really wanted change they have the ppl power to do it.i don't feel sorry for China at all..they all go along with the regime all have one child and overload that child with rigorous stressful obligations to be the best...wither it's a gymnast or whatever even if that child has no talent they are forced from age of 3 to live in training camps etc...China made its bed only they can change it IF they really want

  • Patterlidge A.
    20 hours

    She had me until the end when she starting talking about how the government was taking away our rights by restricting abortions. Abortions are not birth control but are used that way here. I will never understand how killing a baby is a womens' right.

  • Jamerisse C.
    21 hours

    I know it sounds harsh... But if you visit the poorest places in the Philippines... Families that are living on the streets... Homeless People... They have 4 to 12 children... (there are 15 to 20 more from different partners) It's hard to see that those babies are sleeping on the streets begging for food. By the age 2 they are force to go out to beg for money... They are eating food from the garbage. Some parents sell their children to syndicates. Making them drug dealers, drug runners, prostitution, cyber sex, holduppers, criminals, etc. At age 12 years old they are already pregnant. The youngest here is 9 years old... If you can see... The problem is those irresponsable parents producing poor children. I think ONE CHILD POLICY is not the solution but I think IRRESPONSIBLE PARENTING LAW will be better... You can have more child if you can prove that you can take care of them, teach them to become a better person, you can feed them and give them shelter, put them to school and teach them about God. Our President wanted to have a 3 child policy.. But lots of people disagree... Philippines land area has 300square hectares... but we are 106,000,000 population. 70 % are poor people. Today, because of Coronavirus.. Those 70% people without money are dying of hunger. Is it the government fault that you are poor and no money? I think child policy is badly needed for irresponsable parents and parents who has the lowest income in our society... How can you give them a good future if you don't have money to feed them?

  • Kobi E.
    a day

    In Japan and Korea they are having the opposite thing happening people are not having children at all and the population is aging and soon there will be no younger generation to support the older generations

  • Jodie B.
    a day

    brooooo this is what I was on about

  • Morgan A.
    a day

    I honestly think the whole world should have a limit to how many kids u have kids are expensive and in ever part of the world kids get thrown out on the streets go hungry and other things it’s not fair to bring more than 1 or 2 kids in this world especially with our current population sizes from all around the world

  • Tzaddi A.
    a day

    I watched this documentary. Very heart breaking

  • Vicki R.
    a day

    Where are the men - the fathers - in all this?

  • Siriwong S.
    a day

    1birth 1 child but how China have a lot of soldiers

  • Peggy L.
    a day

    Abortion is wrong it's murder any way you look at it

  • Rachel L.
    a day

    That’s why we need to be prolife!!!!

  • Jodie O.
    a day

    Their country is so overpopulated

  • Lisa R.
    a day

    So so sad! Thank you for doing this and being the voice of so many .... I want to see this documentary!

  • Debra D.
    a day

    In China they killed babies and made forced abortions in the US we don’t want to kill anything including the babies! The government isn’t trying to stop anything except murder! Women who don’t want babies should stop having unprotected sex. Why and how does anyone lay down with someone knowing they might get pregnant and do it any way? They do it anyways because there able to just kill the baby and thats that!

  • Travis M.
    a day

    It obviously hasn’t worked.

  • Veronica W.
    a day

    It's all about suppression they care only for the strong men no girls wanted just a diabolical race on earth

  • Martin S.
    a day

    They lifted that rule all of a sudden ta-da: coronavirus