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  • My name is Nanfu.

  • In Chinese, "nan" means "man."

  • And "fu" means "pillar."

  • My family had hoped for a boy,

  • who would grow up to be the pillar of the family.

  • And when I turned out to be a girl,

  • they named me Nanfu anyway.

  • (Laughter)

  • I was born in 1985,

  • six years before China announced its one-child policy.

  • Right after I was born,

  • the local officials came and ordered my mom to be sterilized.

  • My grandpa stood up to the officials,

  • because he wanted a grandson to carry on the family name.

  • Eventually, my parents were allowed to have a second child,

  • but they had to wait for five years

  • and pay a substantial fine.

  • Growing up, my brother and I

  • were surrounded by children from one-child families.

  • I remember feeling a sense of shame

  • because I had a younger brother.

  • I felt like our family did something wrong for having two children.

  • At the time, I didn't question

  • where this sense of shame and guilt came from.

  • A year and a half ago, I had my own first child.

  • It was the best thing that ever happened in my life.

  • Becoming a mother

  • gave me a totally new perspective on my own childhood,

  • and it brought back my memories of early life in China.

  • For the past three decades,

  • everyone in my family had to apply for a permission from the government

  • to have a child.

  • And I wondered

  • what it was like for people who lived under the one-child policy.

  • So I decided to make a documentary about it.

  • One of the people I interviewed

  • was the midwife who delivered all of the babies born in my village,

  • including myself.

  • She was 84 years old when I interviewed her.

  • I asked her,

  • "Do you remember how many babies you delivered throughout your career?"

  • She didn't have a number for deliveries.

  • She said she had performed

  • 60,000 forced abortions and sterilizations.

  • Sometimes, she said,

  • a late-term fetus would survive an abortion,

  • and she would kill the baby after delivering it.

  • She remembered how her hands would tremble

  • as she did the work.

  • Her story shocked me.

  • When I set out to make the film,

  • I expected it would be a simple story of perpetrators and victims.

  • People who carried out the policy

  • and people who are living with the consequences.

  • But that wasn't what I saw.

  • As I was finishing my interview with the midwife,

  • I noticed an area in her house

  • that was decorated with elaborate homemade flags.

  • And each flag has a picture of a baby on it.

  • These were flags that were sent by families

  • whom she helped treat their infertility problems.

  • She explained that she had had enough

  • of performing abortions and sterilizations --

  • that the only work she did now was to help families have babies.

  • She said she was full of guilt

  • for carrying out the one-child policy,

  • and she hoped that by helping families have babies,

  • she could counteract what she did in the past.

  • It became clear to me she, too, was a victim of the policy.

  • Every voice was telling her

  • that what she did was right and necessary for China's survival.

  • And she did what she thought was right for her country.

  • I know how strong that message was.

  • It was everywhere around myself when I grew up.

  • It was printed on matches,

  • playing cards,

  • textbooks, posters.

  • The propaganda praising the one-child policy

  • was everywhere around us.

  • [Anyone who refuses to sterilize will be arrested.]

  • And so were the threats against disobeying it.

  • The message seeped into our minds

  • so much so that I grew up feeling embarrassed

  • for having a younger brother.

  • With each person I filmed,

  • I saw how their minds and hearts can be influenced by the propaganda,

  • and how their willingness to make sacrifices for the greater good

  • can be twisted into something very dark and tragic.

  • China is not the only place where this happens.

  • There is no country on earth where propaganda isn't present.

  • And in societies that are supposed to be more open and free than China,

  • it can be even harder to recognize what propaganda looks like.

  • It hides in plain sight as news reports,

  • TV commercials, political campaigning

  • and in our social media feeds.

  • It works to change our minds without our knowledge.

  • Every society is vulnerable to accepting propaganda as truth,

  • and no society where propaganda replaces the truth

  • can be truly free.

  • Thank you.

  • (Applause)

My name is Nanfu.

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B1 US TED child policy propaganda child policy china

【TED】Nanfu Wang: What it was like to grow up under China's one-child policy (What it was like to grow up under China's one-child policy | Nanfu Wang)

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    林宜悉 posted on 2019/09/10
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