After becoming a mother, a filmmaker uncovers the untold history of China’s one-child policy and the generations of parents and children forever shaped by it.

While she starts out investigating the policy of forcibly restricting family size, this soon spawns traumatic recollections from her own family’s recent past. These stories, in turn, unleash a dizzying number of revelations from journalists, officials, parents, and activists about the widespread enforcement of sterilization, child abandonment, and state-sponsored kidnappings.

With chilling clarity, Wang’s new documentary reveals how relentless propaganda brainwashed and terrorized countless Chinese citizens into committing unspeakable crimes against fellow villagers and family members. Through interviews with both victims and instigators, along with revelatory data regarding the sheer number of abandoned children (mostly infant girls), One Child Nation breaks open decades of silence on a vast, unprecedented social experiment that shaped—and destroyed—countless lives.

Reviews

A brilliant combination of cultural reporting and interpersonal reckoning...manages to encapsulate decades of underreported events within a palatable narrative accessible to even to viewers with no prior understanding of the policy’s history.
A startling account of collective trauma