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Saddening truth about the terrible state in China on multiple fronts
Dearest's trailer is sensational, showing all kinds of crying faces and I was not looking forward to see it. But I like Peter Chan, Wei Zhao and Bo Huang. So I went anyway. Well, I cannot say I like it but I think it is worth watching as it shows how disorganized and terrible China is as a country. And I think the director has presented all the facts in quite an objective way.
Based on true events, Dearest tells the heartbreaking story of a divorced couple losing their three-year old son in the coastal city of Shenzhen and the ordeal of searching for him. Yet it is not simply a child abduction story, through the story of Tian Wenjun (Bo Huang) and Li Hongqin (Zhao Wei), we realize that child abduction is widespread in China, as with woman kidnap, and the heartless scam of people tricking parents of the kidnapped kids, and the ridiculous policy of allowing parents to have a second child only after proving their first child is dead.
What the movie did not show is what the abductors do to the children be it training them to be thieves, or sedating them to be beggars, or child labors, or child prostitute, or selling them overseas or to parents who cannot have kids More depressing truths.
But what it shows is already thought-provoking and disheartening. I cried quite a number of times. For a child, it is sad enough being taken away from your family. But what is sadder is being taken away from another family again and could not recognize your birth parents. Wei Zhao is brilliant in portraying a desperate, innocent but determent mother from a remote village who descends to the southern city of Shenzhen to look for her son. Her motive is pure and noble but the complex situation, including her husband's lies has put her in some pathetic situation.
It is appalling that this is based on a true stories as at the end credits, we see pictures of the original parents, the farmer, the abducted child and the support group of parents losing their children. Very impressive but sad because these abductions are still happening every single day.
Another thought is, with such vast geography and disparity of wealth, the quality of the people are incredibly low. So low that they often resort to physical violence to solve problems even outside the courthouse!
We heard about these abductions in the news and on the net but this is the first time I encountered these on the big screen. Looking around us, so what if you have your kid in safety in China, you need to shop around for reliable formula milk powder that is safe. That explains why Chinese are snatching up formula milk from supermarkets all over the world from Japan to Germany, let alone Hong Kong. Life must be very tough if you were born and being raised in China. There is no system, or if/when there is, it is inhuman and unreasonable, not to mention the widespread corruption that hinders justice. Under this kind of system, it seems it would be hard to nourish caring, rational and reasonable human beings who looks beyond money and short term profit.
The ripped off paralegal Gao Xia (Dawei Tung) sums it up well though awkwardly in the movie: if people would consider others' point of view this country would have been so much better. They have just forgot/ignored Confucius' Golden Rule. How ironic. A great glimpse into the terrible life in China.
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