China: In the Mood for Life

China’s controversial one child policy may have been abandoned but the forced abortions and sterilizations and harsh punishments for unauthorized pregnancies continue. It remains illegal to have a child outside wedlock, become pregnant under the age of 20 or have more than two children. China holds the world record in abortions with more than 30,000 carried out every day.

This unique investigation, filmed over two years, reveals the human cost of China’s strict family planning policies. We follow three women who try and resist and witness on camera the brutality of the system.

Meili decides to go into hiding, leaving her village and family, to carry her ‘illegal’ pregnancy to term. Xia, abducted from her home at 6 am and forcibly sterilized, is bringing a historic legal case to hold the state accountable while lawyer Lu Miaoqing is prepared to risk prison to defend the victims of state-enforced birth control.


  • Year: 2016
  • Duration: 52 mins
  • Production: ORIENTXPRESS
  • Available Versions: ENG, FRA
  • Country of production: France



  • Special Mention 2016 at Press’Tival; Youth Jury Award at Festival International des Cinémas d’Asie de Vesoul 2017 (France) Press’Tival 2016 (France); Festival International des Cinémas d’Asie de Vesoul 2017 (France); FIGRA (France); Dig Awards (Italy)

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