Posted on Thursday, July 25th, 2019 by Caroline Cao
Nanfu Wang grew up in China ashamed she had a younger brother. She didn’t know why. Matchsticks, posters, operas, parades, and walls were inscribed with maxims, like nursery rhymes, programming the ideal of the one-child family. To be in a family with two children seemed like an anomaly. Indoctrination had an incalculable impact on the elders and youths of China. Wang was no exception. She shows a photo of her child self, in a choir where she sang about the evils about having more than one child.
Directed Wang and Lynn Zhang, both of whom had first-hand experiences with the psychological effects of the one-child policy, One Child Nation assembles interviews with Wang’s family members, acquaintances, ex-officials, propaganda artists, ex-traffickers who carried abandoned babies to sell to orphanages, American adoptive parents assembling a database to reunite torn-apart families, an exiled Chinese journalist, and a girl bereaved over her missing twin. Woven in are her personal perceptions, shaped by the birth of Wang’s son.