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China’s Forgotten Daughters

Vincent Du & Han Meng

Release year: 2017

Run time: 90 mins

Film type: Documentary


China’s Forgotten Daughters is a character-driven documentary exploring the long-lingering impact of China’s controversial one-child policy. Through the intimate journeys of two women who search for the families that abandoned them decades ago and a passionate volunteer who attempts to facilitate these reunions, viewers are given insight into the deep wounds that China’s national planning policies wrought on ordinary citizens.

Cai Fengxia, who has been looking for her birth parents for 12 years, is fortunate enough to find her parents through a NGO that helps people to reunite using DNA match technique. Unfortunately, due to cultural and language differences, Cai Fengxia feels disappointed after the reunion dinner at her birth parents’ home. The situation is not what she expected. Cai Fengxia and her adopted father travel to meet her biological parents in Chinese New Year 2017. How will Cai Fengxia handle this new family relationship? Cai Fengxia’s story is about love and confession.

Although suffering from domestic violence, Yang Yuqin still tries her best to find her birth parents. Her alcoholic husband beats her up several times, because he worries that she’ll leave him forever if her birth parents are found. Family seems like a prison for her. Yang Yuqin plans to attend next year’s relatives searching event, accompanying with her 80-year-old adopted mother, whose health condition is worse and worse. Can Yang Yuqin make it for the event under her husband’s pressure? Yang Yuqin’s story is about love and resilience. This film is about confession, forgiveness, and resilience. It also documents the complicated emotion and relationship among abandoned daughters, their biological parents, and adopted parents.


Director biography

Vincent Du is a Beijing-based filmmaker, who concentrates on the social landscape of contemporary China. As director and/or cinematographer, he has made three films, China’s Little Rock Star (2013), For My Blue Brothers (2014), and African Business in China (2015) separately for Al Jazeera. His social-issue, documentary-style fiction film Five to Nine (2015), co-produced with three other Asian directors has been screened at the Singapore International Film Festival, Osaka Asian Film Festival, and Taiwan Golden Horse Film Festival. He was selected to Berlinale Talents at the 64th Berlin International Film Festival 2014. Vincent now teaches documentary at the Journalism School of Tianjin Normal University.

Co-director Han Meng is a journalist and photographer. She has worked in Chinese media for more than 10 years, mainly focusing on women’s rights. Her works include the photo essay Chinese Adoptees at Home in America, published in the New York Times, and South China Morning Post, and Finding the Women at China’s Big Meetings, published in the China File of the Asia Society.