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'One Child Nation' Explores China's One-Child Policy—and Offers a Familiar Warning

November 23, 2019





Nanfu Wang's documentary on its birth-restriction program unpacks the same sort of calculated rhetoric that led to family separations at our border.


While Nanfu Wang, director of One Child Nation, interviews her uncle about the death of his infant daughter, his eyes tear up. Initially, Wang’s uncle is stony and cool as he explains the events that led to him and his sister leaving his baby in the village meat market in the dead of night, a little money wrapped into her shirt. He remembers the little girl covered in bugs, alone for two days in the summer heat until she died. Because of China's one-child policy, he tells his niece, it was that or watch his mother kill the baby and then herself. He searches for the right words and fiddles with a cigarette as he tells Wang he thought he could save his daughter’s life by giving her away. But, no one wanted her.


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