Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Turning a Lens on China Adoption

A profile of Dr. Changfu Chang from the Philadephia Inquirer:
Millersville University professor Changfu Chang figured his first documentary on Chinese adoption would be his last.

After all, how much could he say on the topic?

He thought the same about his second film. And his third, fourth, and fifth.
Now, with eight documentaries in print and a ninth in production, Chang has accepted that the careful examination of this one complicated corner of humanity is in fact his life's work and calling. The story of the adopted children, mostly girls, about 80,000 strong, has moved in directions no one could have anticipated since he produced Love Without Boundaries in 2003.

"I feel like there's more urgency," Chang said in an interview, adding: "You feel like you're part of this global community."

It's not what he expected. Not while working as a reporter for Fujian Television in China, nor while studying mass communication as a doctoral student at Purdue University.

* * *

More recently the narrative around the one-child policy has been upset by news that officials in Hunan seized babies and sold them into a lucrative black market. In August, the New York Times reported that at least 16 children were taken between 1999 and 2006. Officials threatened big fines against couples who had "illegal" births, then took children when parents could not pay.

Chang said he believed China's system was basically clean. At the same time, his films show that girls enter orphanages in many different ways, with complicated backstories, and that official accounts may not bear scrutiny.
Given his unique place in China adoption, it isn't surprising that I've posted quite a bit about Dr. Chang before.

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