By Mark Saldana
Rating: 3.5 (Out of 4 Stars)
In 1979, the government of China implemented a birth planning program which included a strict policy of limiting the birth of children to one per family in an attempt at controlling the population growth and improving a troubled economy. Though the nation was in need of economic remedies, the question will always be, did this strategy go too far? Filmmakers Nanfu Wang and Jialing Zhang investigate into the matter and have made an educational, but disturbing documentary that reveals details about how this policy was carried out and questions the ethics of it all. One Child Nation is a smart and insightful documentary film, but one that is often difficult to watch.
Filmmakers Wang and Zhang were both born during China’s one child restriction. Nanfu Wang, who currently lives in the United States, gave birth to her first child two years ago. As she deals with the challenges of parenting, she became intrigued with the strict Chinese law which affected her nation for close to four decades. As Wang ponders the impact of bringing children into this world, she consider the implications not only on her life, but on a nation as a whole. She and her co-director also examine the umpact the policy had on families in China and the children who were killed in the process.
This really is a fascinating documentary, but one that is often shocking, frustrating and even maddening. Through archival footage and interviews with people in China, One Child Nation reveals a governor that basically brainwashed and overstepped its boundaries to control its people. The filmmakers also compare China’s policy with that of the controversial abortion issue in the United States. This topic will always be relevant as long as government officials desire to exercise control over people and their bodies. Though China is an extreme, but factual example, it is also a frightening and cautionary example of a government exercising too much power.