True Vision

films that make a difference

The Dying Rooms & Return to the Dying Rooms

Back to ‘Our Films’
Runtime:
49 minutes
Producer:
Kate Blewett
Director:
Brian Woods
Released
2013
Category
Website:
cocoa.org.uk/

Producers/directors Brian Woods and Kate Blewett uncover the systematic neglect of abandoned babies in Chinese state-run orphanages. They find "dark rooms" where the weakest and least liked children are left to die. These are known as "The Dying Rooms."

China’s one-child policy has created a race where most families desire boys and therefore parents are forced to abandon their babies. Their unfortunate and tragic lives are left at the mercy of these orphanages where their sad fate is ultimately decided by the staff and ignored by the government.

It is a film that nobody can ever forget or not be deeply touched by. The films have been seen in over 37 countries worldwide, with an estimated audience of over 100 million people. Such has been the outcry to these human rights abuses that the issue has been one of the most talked about subjects for years.

After completing the original film, The Dying Rooms, Kate and Brian were contacted by Human Rights Watch who were in the process of helping a Chinese doctor, Dr Zhang, to escape China. She brought with her copious official documents detailing the policy of "summary resolution" used to keep orphanage numbers in check, plus photographs of babies that had been starved to death in the Shanghai No. 2 Orphanage. This new evidence was incorporated into a second film, Return to the Dying Rooms.

Here you can see Oprah Winfrey talking about the impact of the film

And this is short doc made for the Grierson Awards about the film


This is the Chinese government's response to the film - they produced their own report entitled "A Patchwork of Lies"


And finally, this was the debate Channel Four broadcast immediately after the film was first shown.