MARCO RESPINTI | BITTER WINTER
“One Child Nation” by Nanfu Wang is a powerful tale about CCP’s compulsory abortions, forceful sterilizations, infanticide, and human trafficking. And it’s not over.
Ms. Huaru Yuan worked as a midwife for 20 years. She practiced between 50,000 and 60,000 abortions and infanticides. Sometimes, she induced babies only to kill them soon after they were born. “I was an executioner,” she says. She retired some 28 years ago to treat infertility, following the advice of a 108-year-old monk, who told her that by treating couples for the lowest price possible she would repair 100 of her past killings with every new birth she would facilitate with her therapy. “I want to atone for my sins,” she explains.
This is One Child Nation, a documentary directed and produced by Nanfu Wang and Jialing Zhang, the winner of the Grand Jury Prize for Documentary Feature at the 2019 Sundance Film Festival. It is now available on Amazon Prime, in some countries for free. The quarantine is a good occasion to watch it—that is if one has a strong stomach.
Director Nang was born in 1985 in a village in Jiangxi province and is now a US citizen. She tells her story through the eyes of her family and people she personally met, all devastated by the tragedy of the one-child policy. Launched by the CCP in 1979, the policy imposed one child per family, ordering abortion in case of a new pregnancy. Those who did not comply were harassed, and their properties seized. Women were forcefully sterilized. Sometimes, in rural areas, a couple could have two children, but only at a five-years distance from one another, and at the price of social ostracism.
The industry of death and cheat
Ms. Shuqin Jiang was a state family planning officer, performing abortions, and sterilizations. The government promoted her as a model to be imitated. In 1998, she was featured in a propaganda video aired by the state TV, claiming that 338 million Chinese children had been prevented from being born by the policy. “We were fighting a population war,” she says proudly repeating a CCP slogan.
Mr. Peng Wang is a known artist. One of his work features aborted fetuses painted on each page of Chairman Mao’s “Little Red Book.” Some time ago, looking for the right location for one of his paintings, he discovered a discarded human fetus in a “medical waste” sack abandoned in a rubbish bin. In the film, he shows the picture he took and many similar photographs. Wang even keeps one of those “human wastes” dipped in formaldehyde in his studio.
There was more, the film tells us. Children who were not aborted were abandoned by their parents and relatives to die. This tragedy also touched director Nanfu Wang’s family, as she discovered lately. Mr. Shihua Wang, her uncle from her mother’s side, abandoned his baby to her fate at the local market where he worked. In a few days, the baby was found dead, bitten by insects everywhere. And Ms. Guijiao Wang, director Wang’s aunt from her father’s side, delivered her baby to human traffickers.
The one-child policy produced in fact thousands of “orphans,” sold to traffickers by parents and relatives (this was especially true for females.) Indeed, it was also a profitable industry and one that the government fueled willingly. Human traffickers paid the equivalent of some US $200.00 per child, then sold them to state-run “orphanages,” and these facilities, in turn, put babies up for international adoption (officialized in China in 1992), reinvesting the money in more human trafficking. Sometimes, babies were directly abducted. Some 130,000 children have been put up for international adoption, with all sorts of fake background stories, created to lure potential foreign adoptive parents. Mr. Yueneng Duan, a former human trafficker in Shenzen, Guangdong province, and Mr. Brian Stuy, founder of ResearchChina, in Utah, offer saddening details in the film.
Not a thing of the past
In 1982, the CCP officially included the one-child policy into the Chinese constitution. It was and is justified by the fear of mass starvation. The fear was real, after decades of economic and ideological follies that ruined the country, but the massive violation of human rights cannot be the answer. One Child Nation is a powerful movie, and one a large audience needs to see in times of massive propaganda promoting China as a paradise. Note that, unlike the author of this article, director Wang is pro-choice herself.
After 36 years of horrors, in 2015 the one-child policy was stopped, officially stating that “the one-child policy has made the country more powerful, the people more prosperous, and the world more peaceful.” The truth, however, is that now the CCP allows families to have two children. Third children may expect the same horrific fate second children once experienced.