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China's Unnatural Disaster: The Tears of Sichuan Province

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China's Unnatural Disaster: The Tears of Sichuan Province is a documentary movie directed by Jon Alpert and Matthew O'Neill and broadcasted in the HBO channel. It focuses on the aftermath of the 2008 Sichuan earthquake and the victims’ families. In 2008, a 7.9 magnitude earthquake occurred in Sichuan province in China, causing deaths of 70,000 in which 10,000 were children due to the poor quality of school construction. Since Chin adopts a strict one child policy, most parents lost their only child. This movie records how the parents try to fight for justice for their children. This movie shows that the destruction to the schools is very serious and it provokes the dissatisfaction of the victims’ parents on the quality of the buildings. One of the parents mentions that the buildings for the teachers do not collapse, but oppositely, the classrooms of the students almost collapse. The movie points out that there is inadequate mortar and metal rebar in the buildings due to serious corruption of the local officials. Thus, the construction is said to be shoddy and made of tofu. The local government does not give a response to them and even reports a smaller number of deaths. Therefore, the parents go on a 70m protest to the capital of Sichuan in order to draw attention from the government and ask for a reasonable explanation. The local officials afraid that the protest will damage the image of the country as there are many foreign journalists, so they promise to hire experts to conduct a fair and deep investigation. However, after more than 2 weeks, the experts still cannot give a satisfactory result and they just perform in a perfunctory manner. Eventually, the movie mentions that the government prohibits more than 3 parents from gathering at school sites. She has yet released a formal report on the poor quality of construction and there are no government officials have been investigated or been disciplined. Parents are offered 60,000RMB per dead child in exchange for their silence.

China's Unnatural Disaster: The Tears of Sichuan Province is a very touching documentary and it records the real situation of the aftermath of a disaster in China. Not only will the scenes leave you a great impression, they also cover a hidden message that reveals the real side of China. In this movie, it can be seen that the disaster area is very terrible and the degree of damage is very high. The schools become pieces of debris and cannot be recognized. It shows how weak the buildings are and let us know why they are called tofu construction. This can totally reveal the dark side of China which is always hidden by the Chinese government. For instance, the local government reports a fake number of deaths in order to keep her image. In one of the disaster area, 127 children are killed but the government only reports 58 deaths. Another dark side revealed by this movie is the serious corruption of the government officials. There should be enough capital for building a safe school for students as the movie mentions that the buildings for teachers do not collapse. All of these evidences remind the audience that although China is developing very quickly, there are still many issues concerning the people’ livelihood have to be improved. Apart from the dark sides of China, many upset scenes from the movie impressed me a lot. One of the examples is a mother talking about how she deals with her dead daughter after the hazard. She says that since the crematorium is overwhelmed, she has to bury her daughter’s remains by herself. She and her husband takes their daughter to home by motorcycle at 3am, but unfortunately, the motorcycle breaks and they have to continue their way by feet. When she is sharing this experience, she bursts into tears. This part  makes me feel sorrowful. I like how the directors record this issue from the angle of the victims’ parents because it makes the audience empathize with the parents and the audience can have more strong feelings. China's Unnatural Disaster should be seen. Many people know that China is a developing country with a high GDP, but do not know that there are still many people struggling to live. This movie can let you to explore into different sides of China and know more about this man-made tragedy.



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