One Child Nation

  • Nanfu Wang, Jialing Zhang
  • China, United States
  • 2019
  • 85 min
  • Dutch Premiere
  • Best of Fests

Filmmaker Nanfu Wang was born in 1985, during the 35-year period of China’s one-child policy. When memories of her childhood surface after the birth of her first child, Wang returns from her home in the U.S. to her village in China.

In frank interviews with family members, villagers, midwives, officials and a journalist, she investigates the consequences of the draconian law and the still prevalent preference for having sons. Shocking stories are told with striking resignation. About baby girls killed at birth, or left to die along the roadside or at the market. About forced sterilizations and abortions, sometimes of full-grown fetuses. About the adoption industry, the trade in babies, and the deep-rooted corruption.

Gradually, it becomes apparent how everyone cooperated with these inhuman practices. And while the Chinese government describes the one-child policy as a success, it now uses murals, education and cheery propaganda films to brazenly dictate a two-child policy.


  • 85 min
  • color
  • DCP
  • Spoken languages: English, Mandarin
Nanfu Wang, Jialing Zhang
Nanfu Wang, Jialing Zhang, Julie Goldman, Christoph Jörg, Christopher Clements, Carolyn Hepburn
Executive producer
Sally Jo Fifer, Lois Vossen, Ken Pelletier
Nanfu Wang, Yuanchen Liu
Nanfu Wang

IDFA history

Dutch Premiere
Best of Fests

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IDFA history

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