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Date TimeSeptember 25, 2019
VoiceThis powerful and upsetting documentary examines the legacy of a brutal policy that limited couples to a single baby
One Child Nation review – Chinas monstrous plan to shape the future
China’s “one-child” policy lasted from 1979 to 2015 (to be replaced by the two-child maximum, still in force) and is revealed in this powerful documentary to be a cruel and tragic experiment in big-government meddling, a colossal and yet intimate abuse of the family by the state whose aftereffects have still to be reckoned with.
Film-makers Zhang Lynn and Nanfu Wang were themselves a product of the one-child policy, although Nanfu reveals that her own family benefited – if that is the world – from an early softening of the approach for rural communities, allowing a second child if the first was a girl. This horribly institutionalised sexism naturally bred generations of women encouraged to see themselves as inferior and created state-sanctioned market forces for infanticide and child-trafficking. Baby girls were routinely abandoned or sold to “orphanages” that would sell them on to customers in the west – a practice horribly comparable to Ireland’s Magdalen laundries but on a more massive scale.

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