Nanfu Wang on going back to China – and avoiding surveillance – to make ‘One Child Nation’

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Director Nanfu Wang in "One Child Nation." Photo courtesy of Nanfu Wang.

“One Child Nation,” a documentary about the devastating effects of China’s one child policy, has been nominated for lots of prizes. But director Nanfu wang says any film buff who has to rely on Chinese media to follow these competitions wouldn’t even know her film exists -- it's totally banned in China. 

Wang was born in China and remains a citizen of that country, though she now lives in the U.S. Her 2016 documentary about an activist known as Hooligan Sparrow relied on surreptitiously captured footage that was smuggled out of the country. That film shows Wang and her team as authorities harass and threaten them. Watching “Hooligan Sparrow,” it’s surprising Wang was ever let back into China. 

But she was let back in. And once again, she took on a taboo topic: the forced abortions and child trafficking that happened under China’s one-child policy. She tells us how she made “One Child Nation.”



Kim Masters


Kaitlin Parker