What it was like to grow up under China's one-child policy | Nanfu Wang

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What it was like to grow up under China's one-child policy | Nanfu Wang 5
China's one-child policy ended in 2015, but we're just beginning to understand what it was like to live under the program, says TED Fellow and documentary filmmaker Nanfu Wang. With footage from her film "One Child Nation," she shares untold stories that reveal the policy's complex consequences and expose the creeping power of propaganda.

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Earlier gov pushed one child policy, now parents choose it due to economic reason

Author — Vikas


Saw many questions in the comment section so I thought I'd share some information about this policy here:

1. It is ok to have twins or triplets - you wouldn't be fined.
2. If you belong to one of the 55 minority groups you are allowed (in most cases) to have more than one child. Those 55 ethnic groups make up 8% of China's population or roughly 112 Million people (today's population).
3. If your first child has a disability you may be allowed to have a second child.

4. The child(ren) you had in your previous marriage(s) doesn't count as long as they don't live with you. If you're remarried you are allowed to have another one.
5. The policy was discussed and introduced in 1978. The goal at the time was to reduce annual population growth rate to below 1% within 3 years.

6. The National Population and Family Planning Committee was formed in 1981 to oversee this policy. It was merged with Ministry of Health in 2013. In 2018 the words "Family Planning" were officially dropped.
7. Starting from 1984, if you and your spouse are both single child you can have two children.

8. Forced abortion and sterilization were common in rural China but relatively rare in cities.

9. In spring of 1991 there was a gruesome, large-scale "100-days without babies" movement in a rural town in Shandong. Local government implemented a full-scale "crackdown" resulted in zero newborns in the town of 500, 000 in 3 months.
10. A study in 2013 showed the total population of "single child" is around 218 million.

11. The vocabulary of family relationships, once incredibly rich and complex in Chinese, is on decline. Single child doesn't have siblings and consequentially a single child's children don't have uncles or aunts, nor first cousins.

Author — X


So many people who doesn't get her point here, listen to what she said at the end, that's the real message, this video isn't even about the one child policy. The real question is, which country is truly free?

Author — KeKe Li


The message she wants to send is that propaganda does not happen only in China, sadly it is happening in many places all around the world at this moment.

Author — dqyi11


One minor question, 60, 000 abortions. Assume 30 years of practice, that is 2, 000 a year. Assume 300 workdays a year, that is almost 7 a day. This midwife was way too efficient.

Author — Yiqi Wang


It’s a mentality in some country that a daughter would not be able to take care of her family after marriage and will have to provide for her husband’s family only leaving her parents helpless which is why people also wanted to have a son so that he would be able to provide for the family
However this has changed since in today’s time female can provide for the family as well but it is still very hard to change a persons mentality which they have since they were born

Author — Soraya The cool


Hearing the story of the midwife was probably the most powerful part of this. If history has taught us anything, it is that most of us wouldn't stand up and be the heroes we imagine that we are. Most of us would bend to the will of our leaders and do horrible things in self preservation.

Author — Joshua Daggett


Occidentals during all video : "damn life's hard in China"
End of video : shocked
Very end : best quote of century

Author — E Z


I knew China had a one child policy. But OMG China be crazy. I know a woman who’s had 13 babies.

Author — Mallory Lischer


Now you can have as many babies as you wish in china, the country now needs more labor force. But few people would like to have more than one baby due to economic concerns.

Author — Victor Jin


I was born under the one child policy and I moved to the Uk at age 9. I didn’t understand the concept of having siblings, ie parents having more than one child. I was so confused when people asked me at school if I had any siblings

Author — Haowei Shi


She has jumped out from the China's propoganda……and then happlily dived into America's.😂

Author — W. SANG


Great video and good message especially at the end. Thanks!

Author — Rick Harold


(Please do read till the end)
There are reasons why laws in rural Chinese area have to be pushed with harder force of execution: in rural areas, which are mostly considered economically underdeveloped, laws are often ignored because of lack of executive force, a result of being too far (both geographically and administratively) from the centralized government. Despite that rural people are usually praised for their honesty and hardworking virtues, countryside in China doesn't get a good rap when it comes to its corrupt, outdated customs, which contributes to the fact that they won't obey laws.

For instance, in the context of one child policy, folks in rural areas have a very strong sexist sense: they prefer boys to girls. The morality behind it is that, rural families are mostly farmers, and unlike highly industrialized farming in US, Chinese agricultural industry has been dominated by small-scale farmer economy for a long time, and the unit of it is, of course, family. Thus, the more male members in the family, the better productivity this small team has. It has been true for hundreds of years and only got little better in modern China.

Despite the fact that more and more rural families choose to send their children into urban area for college to actually improve their lives, rural parents often force their children to drop out of school (the government would literally fund the kids for school, even till today going to college is soooo cheap comparing to US, despite that lowers the average general quality of higher education, another story) to help farming, "helping improving the family" in the most short-visioned way possible. And thus the mentality continues, the more boys the better. It would become such a craze that rural parents insist on having a boy, no matter how much it costs, and girls are all burdens (because they will eventually marry others and become other families' memeber, no point of "wasting time n money"). So they would give birth to child on and on until they finally got a boy.

This kind of child-bearing race can only bring the family into even deeper poverty and will eventually become a burden for the government to deal with. Hence goes the saying 越穷越生,越生越穷 (bear more children to deal with poverty, and then, in return, getting poorer). And it leads to so many other social issues in China such as human trafficking, child abandoning, which are much worse than just "not having a sibling" or "being stared at", and tbh, when I was a kid, we only envy them that they can have bro/sis, no one would "discriminate" them. people can always become 超生户 (over-bearing household, literal translation) if they want to, and during that small amount of time period when the policy became mature, it turned into a symbol of wealth if you can bear more than one child, pay the fine, afford the extra living expense and still be able to maintain certain level of life standard.
To me, as a Chinese under one-child policy, I'm grateful (in the least shoe-licking way possible) for it, cuz otherwise, my parents won't be able to fully support me to receive education in the States. In my opinion, Nanfu's parents are supposed to luv their child no matter what gender it has, rather than giving birth to another child. Not saying Nanfu is targeting the wrong one, but at least their parents are ones to blame too. (Edit: OR, the possible reality is, Nanfu’s family is wealthy enough to give birth to another child, unlike other millions of farmer family, they are the direct benefitees of disobeying the law)

This is something stories of millions of other Nanfu won't speak about in the West, because it doesn't align with the "propaganda" here. actually, I prefer to call it "agenda", because this way it neutralizes the moral judgement in "propaganda", and I do think agendas should be all justified without doubt under its own national context, no matter US's military action in middle East, or China's one-child policy. Agenda, or "propaganda", merely indicates the most significant task that a nation needs to solve at its contemporary time, no matter what it brings or means to other people in the world, it must be a collateral optimized solution for the nation.

But, there is a flaw: if your agenda tells you, "go judge a foreign agenda as bad", it is ok, until it means nothing and even wrong if you wanna actually judge them in their own agenda/context, because you are applying your reasoning cultivated under a completely different political context, which in turn is cultivated under a different culture, which further in turn is cultivated under a different geopolitical environment. It’s often times logically wrong. (Edit: In this case, China has this long-going population game between its people and the government, unlike States even the whole western world that faces completely different social structural challenges)

Thus, isn't anti-propaganda also propaganda?

Author — David Y


Thought the one child policy was going on a lot longer than that...

Author — B uppy


1985 is 6 years after China announced the one child policy (not before)

Author — Alex Li


I was born under one child policy however many families from rural areas were allowed to have the second if the first one is girl. On the contrary, it’s prohibited to do so in urban.

Author — Will D


This speech should have been longer. She is right propaganda change the way we see people different from us without giving ourselves a chance to judge by our own experiences.

Author — ana ML


the shame came from expectations of people arownd you

Author — Miha Brilj


Yep cried a little during the midwife story, treating people like

Author — SauceySandwich