A must-watch film!
80%Overall Score

Verdict: A display of the heartbreaking reality to an ill-thought-out policy.

Stream it on Amazon Prime.

It is a well-known fact that China has the highest population in the world. In an attempt to curb the country’s growing population, the Chinese government enforced the one-child policy in 1979. This policy was a tragic experiment and the people of China are still bearing the brunt of it in spite of the termination of this policy in 2015 which was replaced by the two-child maximum policy. One Child Nation is an American documentary that explores the facts behind the one-child law.

What’s One Child Nation About:

Directors of One Child Nation Nanfu Wang and Jialing Zhang were products of the one-child policy. Nanfu Wang delves deep to break this law down and see how it affected people, especially at the grassroots levels. Through this documentary, we see how having a male child was very important so if a family’s first child is a girl, the child would be abandoned or aborted. The rise of abandoned babies simultaneously gave rise to child-trafficking. It then turned into a vicious cycle where abandoned babies were brought to “orphanages” and then sold to customers in the West. Not just this, women were dragged “like pigs” and forced to undergo the sterilization procedure or have their houses torn down. Twins were separated from each other, and countless other babies from their parents as a result of this policy.

What Works:

The heartbreaking, unspoken, and hidden reality of this law is depicted in a poignant manner. There is one scene where a photographer shows us images of fetuses in yellow plastic bags thrown in the trash. While this was the reality of the law, what was shown to the people of China and the world was a whole different story. The documentary highlights how the Chinese government used propaganda in every medium of communication to promote the one-child program. What they presented was all that the people saw, it was all they were told, their entertainment consisted of it, they even had reward programs to felicitate people with one-child families. The reality is exposed through an examination of what the people actually went through, especially through heart-wrenching interviews. There is a recurring statement that emerges from everyone being interviewed and that is, “We had no choice.”

What Could’ve Been Better:

The film’s final bits seem to lose some steam but that has made up for by just how well the documentary captures the consequence of an ill-thought-out policy.

Why You Should Watch:

At some point, you’ve probably heard of this policy but not given it much of a thought. This is what makes this documentary a must-watch as it will show you the ugly side to a policy that has now been swept under the rug by China’s new policy – “One is too few, two is just right.”