Price: $310.00

    Code: 2268

    Directed by Ruby Yang
    Produced by Thomas Lennon
    2006, 40 minutes
    Purchase: $310 Classroom Rental: $125

    2007 Academy Award® winner for Best Documentary Short Subject, The Blood of Yingzhou District is a groundbreaking documentary film which exposes the hidden AIDS epidemic in China, a country not commonly associated with this disease.

    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. Orphaned when both his parents died of AIDS, Gao Jun is himself infected with the disease. Director Ruby Yang and producer Thomas Lennon follow Gao Jun for a period of one year as he is moved from foster home to foster home while his closest surviving kin - his uncles - weigh what to do with him. The older uncle's dilemma: if he allows his own children to play with Gao Jun, 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.

    Gao Jun is just one of a handful of children we come to know in this extraordinary film, Nan Nan, who after her parents' death, was shunned by relatives and left to live without adult care with her teenage sister; and the Huang siblings, who vividly describe their ostracism at school.

    At the same time, the film exposes the tragedy of the impoverished Chinese as they are practically forced to donate blood in order to eke out a living, ignorant of the unsafe medical practices that would cause them to contract AIDS. In many of these cases for a mere sum of 50 Yuan, they end up passing the disease to their children. As the parents die, they often leave their children shunned by family, friends and society to live as outcasts on the fringe of society.

    Yet the film is more than a mere catalogue of woes. Nan Nan reveals her impish humor and joy; the Huang children resolve to become educated and outstrip those who shun them; and Gao Jun, in the closing scenes, demonstrates his ferocious determination to live. Shot with small-format cameras entirely by Chinese film crews, The Blood of Yingzhou District achieves a level of intimacy and candor rarely seen in documentary work from China.

    Subjects & Collections

    Festivals & Awards

    * Academy Award®, Best Documentary – Short Subject, 79th Academy Awards Ceremony
    * Excellence in Media Award, Global Health Council Annual International Conference, 2007
    * Winner, Audience Award, Thessaloniki International Documentary Film Festival, 2007
    * Winner, Grand Jury Award, Silverdocs Documentary Festival, 2006
    * Winner, Humanitarian Award, Chicago International Documentary Festival, 2007
    * Winner, Jury Prize, Documenta Madrid Film Festival, 2007
    * Winner, Jury Prize, RiverRun International Film Festival, 2007
    * Official Selection, Margaret Mead Film Festival, 2006
    * Official Selection, United Nations Association Film Festival, 2006
    * 2012 International Aids Conference
    * 2013 Association for Asian Studies Film Expo


    “As a tool of education and social activism, Yang’s film is invaluable. The Blood of Yingzhou District offers an important perspective on the global AIDS crisis otherwise unrepresented in many—indeed, most— contemporary accounts. It is a precious reference and teaching tool, suitable for incorporation into the high school or college classroom. No library, public or private, should consider its collection complete without a copy of this touching and impressive work.” – Asian Educational Media Service

    Editor’s Choice [Four Stars] “At a time when the Western media is playing up China’s growing economic power, this film hauntingly illustrates the poverty (both financial and intellectual) in areas beyond Beijing and Shanghai. A deeply disturbing documentary, this is highly recommended.” - Video Librarian

    “A valuable resource for raising awareness about this global issue.” - Booklist

    “A heartbreaking portrayal of the situation facing children in rural China who have been orphaned by AIDS…. At the center of the film is Gao Jun, an HIV-positive toddler, who neither speaks nor shows any of the joy of children his age. His journey to find a home where he can be accepted is the bright light amid the darkness of this tragic situation.” - LA Times

    “A necessary film... the sort of tool you use to bring attention to a neglected issue.” – Boston Globe

    “Heartbreaking? Yes, but told with a dispassionate eye. There's no narrator or cues from a music score. There's just an unseen interviewer asking the occasional question, and a camera that follows the kids as they stumble through a broken childhood. Needless to say, it's powerful stuff.” - Rocky Mountain News

    Further Reading

  • “U.S. Filmmakers Help Bring AIDS Out of the Shadows in China”

  • an article on the making of the film in the Washington Post
  • Official Site of The Blood of Yingzhou District
  • Official Site of the China AIDS Media Project

  • Trailer