The Blood of Yingzhou District (潁州的孩子), 2006

Ruby Yang is a noted Chinese-American filmmaker whose work in documentary and dramatic film has earned her an Academy Award and numerous international awards. She lives and works in Beijing, directing documentaries and public service announcements for the China AIDS Media Project.
The Blood of Yingzhou District, which Yang directed as part of the project, won an Academy Award in February 2007.
The subject is AIDS in China, specifically in the province of Anhui. The victims are poor families. The adults donated blood in evidently unsanitary conditions: one individual, apparently connected to the blood drawing procedure, describes combining the donated blood of fifty individuals and then re-injecting a little bit of the mixture into the veins of the donors.

Yang enters the Yingzhou region and follows the plight of a number of these orphans, including a particularly unfortunate one, Gau Jun. The suffering of these orphans is all the more devastating for being largely unnecessary: the results of misinformation about the nature of the disease. Abandoned by his family, Gau Jun hasn't uttered a word since then and is now treated as a pariah by surrounding communities. The film reveals how the little boy is taken in by a loving, accepting family and given a second chance.
No-one knows how old Gao Jun is. Four? Older? Younger? Whatever his biological age, he has none of the verbal babble, or ready tears of a child his age. The film tracks this orphan for a year as his closest surviving kin -- his uncles -- weigh what to do with him. The older uncle’s dilemma: if he allows his children to play with Gao Jun, who is HIV-positive, they will be ostracized by terrified neighbors. The younger uncle’s dilemma: so long as Gao Jun remains in the house, the young man may not be able to find a wife.
Though the film is primarily concerned about the social conditions of these children, political issues are indirectly raised. One can't help but dismayed by China's social services. It is hard to believe that China's health system could be so primitive!
Yang reminds us that because of governmental irresponsibility, many other less fortunate children are left to fend for themselves. These children may never find adoptive parents and social acceptance.

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