'One Child Nation' Exposes the Tragic Consequences of Chinese Population Control

Documentary filmmaker Nanfu Wang on the horrors of China’s one-child policy


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Imposed in 1979, China's one-child policy devastated generations of families. Countless children were abducted or killed, women were subjected to forced abortions and sterilizations, and millions of girls disappeared before the Communist Party finally ended the policy in 2015.

In the documentary One Child Nation, out now in select theaters and later this year on Amazon, director Nanfu Wang revisits her experience growing up in rural China in the late 1980s and '90s. The film is both a deeply personal portrait of family life under the one-child regime and a searing exposé of its draconian horrors.

One Child Nation won the Grand Jury Prize at this year's Sundance Film Festival and has earned rave reviews from critics. In it, Wang interviews both the victims and the officials responsible for enforcing the one-child policy, revealing the true devastation it wrought on all Chinese citizens, including her own family.

Wang sat down with Reason's Justin Monticello to go behind the scenes and delve deeper into some of the revelations contained in her highly-anticipated film.

Produced by Justin Monticello. Cameras by Paul Detrick and John Osterhoudt. Music by Silent Partner.

Image credits:

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Geovien So/ZUMA Press/Newscom

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Peng Zhaozhi Xinhua News Agency/Newscom

One Child Nation/Courtesy Amazon Studios