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Gao Jun, the child featured in "The Blood of Yingzhou District," does not speak a word until the closing minutes of the film. Little is known about him, not even his age. Yet this young AIDS orphan reveals his ferocious resolve to live while his extended family weighs whether or not to keep him. The documentary tells the story of traditional Chinese obligations of family and village colliding with terror of infection, and how these forces play out in the lives of children in the remote villages of Anhui. Framing the film is Gao Jun's search for a family to call his own.Written by
The sad fate of orphans whose parents have died of AIDS
The subject is AIDS in China. Specifically in Anhui province. 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. It is hard to believe that China's health system would be so primitive! The consequence is not surprising. The donors get AIDS. In the absence of treatment to slow down the progression of the disease, they die quickly. Many had children. They are now orphans. Some of the kids are contaminated themselves. This documentary short is about those kids.
The most poignant case is that of Gao Jun, a toddler sick with the disease and being taken care by an uncle. Fear of the disease by the local community segregates the kid to his own backyard, prohibited from playing with other kids, a trio of chickens his only companions. The uncle finds that keeping a kid with AIDS in his home crimps his social life. Finding a wife is not going to be easy. The solution is to have another family adopt Gao, one where the adults are HIV positive. For Gao this is a solution of sorts, but his health is deteriorating and eventually the state (unclear) takes him away, only one of very few that receive such attention.
In Miao Zhuang Village, what's left of the Huang family are three children. Though uninfected, they suffer discrimination from a local community that is ignorant about how the virus is transmitted.
Health officials do make an appearance in this rural province. They distribute leaflets about AIDS awareness.
In Guo Zhuang Village, Nan Nan, a young infected girl is taking medicines. Her uninfected older sister is about to get married. She vows not to tell the groom about her sibling's disease.
Though the film is primarily concerned about the social conditions of those children, political issues are indirectly raised. One can't help but be underwhelmed by China's social services. At one point, a charity organization comes to help. In my book, charity and communism are antithetical; the latter, if properly applied, obviates the first. The inescapable conclusion is that China's CP is "C" only in name, the lofty communist principles of the past now abandoned. "People's Republic" now an oxymoron.
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