Pasadena, CA (The Hollywood Times) 3/30/20 – The nation is China–and the child is conflicted. Nanfu Wang and Jialing Zhang have uncovered the darker side of China’s one-child policy in their absorbing documentary that appeared at the 2019 Sundance Film Festival. Since then, ONE CHILD NATION has garnered nearly universal critical acclaim and was shortlisted for an Academy Award.
ONE CHILD NATION was released theatrically in the United States on Amazon Prime in August 2019. PBS’s INDEPENDENT LENS will soon air the film on Monday, March 30th, 2020.
China’s one-child policy lasted for 35 years from 1980 to 2015. The policy racked up human rights violations of all sorts such as child abandonment and trafficking, forced abortions and sterilizations, and even government-sponsored abductions.
Adoption agencies that relocated Chinese children during this time often did so with serious ethical lapses. The rich could buy the right to bear more children, but the poor were left to face the emotional fallout caused by less social support from siblings and cousins and fewer available spouses.
At the time when the one-child policy was written into the Chinese constitution, many Chinese citizens believed that the measure was their only option to reduce the excess population and problems with the nation’s food supply. Sociologists and economists have speculated, however, that education and employment for women might have helped to right the balance over time.
Co-creator Nanfu Wang appeared to speak about ONE CHILD NATION at the 2020 TCA Winter Press Tours taking place on Friday, January 10th, 2020 at the Langham Huntington Hotel in Pasadena. Also present were Lois Vossen, Executive Producer of INDEPENDENT LENS, as well as Brian and Longlan Stuy of DNA Connect. The Stuys, who have three adopted Chinese daughters and are featured in the documentary, formed DNA Connect in 2013 with the mission to reunite adopted children with their birth parents in China by means of readily available DNA testing.
“There is definitely a collective trauma that the nation [of China] is facing,” said Nanfu Wang. “Yet I think what’s worse is that a lot of people weren’t even aware of this trauma.” She hopes to address these essential concerns with her documentary.
Wang’s journey began when she herself moved to the United States and became a mother in 2017. Her own mother and brother appear in ONE CHILD NATION and are very positive about the film.
The PBS release at the end of this month is expected to find an enthusiastic new audience for ONE CHILD NATION. “What we believe with all our films is that television is an extraordinary home because it is free and available to every American,” said Lois Vossen. Many PBS documentaries get seen because they are available for free on such a prestigious, respected, and trusted platform.
With many thousands of Chinese adoptees in America, the Stuys and ONE CHILD NATION’s creators are likely to field a flood of responses in the coming months. Comments from the general public can be posted on the film’s PBS site.