Documentary About Chinese AIDS Orphans Wins Academy Award
A film about Chinese AIDS orphans on Sunday won the Academy Award for best documentary short film, and some Chinese HIV/AIDS advocates say they hope the award will increase awareness worldwide about HIV/AIDS in the country, the South China Morning Post reports. The 39-minute film -- called "The Blood of Yingzhou District" and made by Beijing-based director Ruby Yang and producer Thomas Lennon -- records the lives of a group of children whose parents died from AIDS-related causes. The children are HIV-positive and live in the Anhui village of China's Yingzhou province, the Morning Post reports (Ng, South China Morning Post, 2/27). Chung To, a friend of Yang and chair of the Hong Kong-based Chi Heng Foundation, said the award "raises awareness about AIDS in China and especially the plight of AIDS orphans" (Reuters Health, 2/26). Li Dan, director of the China Orchard AIDS Project, said the success of the film might lead to a larger focus on China's HIV/AIDS epidemic. "In the past, when people mentioned the AIDS problem, they often thought of Africa," Li said, adding, "With this film, hopefully, people will pay more attention to the problem in China." However, Li added that the film still is "reserved" about China's HIV/AIDS epidemic (South China Morning Post, 2/27). Unsanitary blood donation procedures in China's Henan province, which neighbors Anhui, in the 1990s fueled the country's HIV/AIDS epidemic, and similar situations are common in Anhui, Reuters Health reports. To said that China estimates there are 76,000 AIDS orphans in the country and that the number will increase to 260,000 by 2010, but he added that there likely are more, according to Reuters Health (Reuters Health, 2/26).
Yang and Lennon received a Kaiser Family Foundation Mini-Fellowship for reporting on HIV/AIDS to support their work.