Review of One Child Nation (2019)
Seen in 2020.
A people’s history of the Chinese One-Child Policy, with particular emphasis on how the government collaborated in having superfluous babies adopted abroad, telling the lie that they had been abandoned.
Substantially better than “Missing Women” (2019), being more nuanced. The people themselves get to speak and reveal a broad range of experiences, united by the unwillingness to resist the government; no word on what happened to those who resisted.
As in “Missing Women”, the emphasis is on the spectacular effects of the policy: Abortion, child abandonment, forced adoption. A photographer specializing in dead babies is heavily featured. Nothing is said about the state of contraceptives or education in the years of the policy. Exceptions to it are mentioned, but only just barely. Only one woman is allowed to state why the policy was implemented: the problem of overpopulation was real.