China’s Hidden Epidemic

2006 August/September  |
Blood banks in China encourage poor Chinese to give blood through popular advertising jingles and the offer of payment. But because of unsafe practices, thousands contract HIV and other diseases. Many abandon family members who get the disease because they are unwilling to bear the cultural stigma, no matter how young the afflicted are. In Blood of the Yingzhou District, Hong Kong-born filmmaker Ruby Yang and award-winning producer Thomas Lennon document China’s hidden AIDS epidemic that leaves many orphans in the Yingzhou district of China fending for themselves. The film recently won the coveted DOCS Rx Grand Jury Award at Silverdocs, an annual film festival by the American Film Institute and Discovery Channel, showcasing documentary and short films. “Silverdocs honors films that exhibit a singular approach to subjects that matter, films that alter our perspective on the world, by showing the deep complexities of the human experience, often from the inside out,” said Patricia Finneran, festival director.
Yang was a series editor for Bill Moyers’ Becoming American — The Chinese American Experience, which aired on PBS in March 2003. She is now based in Beijing and works with Lennon on public service announcements for the China AIDS Media Project, which by the end of this year will have reached hundreds of millions of viewers. To find out more about the project, visit The China AIDS Media Project, Blood of the Yingzhou District is set to screen at the Independent Documentary Association’s DocuWeek festival August 18-24, 2006 in Los Angeles. For more information on screenings, visit