Release year: 2001
Run time: 50 mins
Film type: Documentary
The city of Shenzhen, close to Hong Kong, was designated a Special Economic Zone in the 1980s, a measure aimed at stimulating the local economy through reduced labour costs. This growth is taking its toll, however: every year, ten thousand migrant workers are injured performing their factory work. Three labourers tell their stories: their hope of a prosperous future was smashed by disappointment on the shop floor; many fully educated people ended up at a conveyor belt in a toy factory, where they have to assemble Santa Clauses. All three of them have lost a limb while being forced to work under dreadful conditions, fourteen hours a day, seven days a week, often without a lunch break. The lawyer Zhou Litai took pity on them, offering them legal support, but also food and shelter. In a sober but effective way, the downside of Western demand for cheap products is starkly revealed.
Shu Haolun is a film director and screenwriter. He graduated from East China University of Technology in 1994 with a Bachelor's degree in Engineering. He later studied film directing and screenwriting at Southern Illinois University in the United States, earning a Master of Fine Arts (MFA) degree. After returning to China in 2003, he directed and wrote award-winning documentary and narrative films. He currently resides in Shanghai and is also a faculty member at the School of Film and Television at Shanghai University.