From the makers of The Unseen China, Jiang Xueqin and Brian Keeley, comes another documentary, Children of Blessing. While we are not totally fans of the way the directors have framed their story (and we won’t spoilt the show for you or impose our opinion on you, watch it for yourselves and share with us what you think in the comment section!), this is still a stellar production, and we’d like to share it as our Christmas present to you. Give yourself some time to load up the vids, kick back and watch this show that will open your eyes to another China you’ve never seen.
Part 1: China’s Lahu minority has for centuries lived in the Yunnan hills bordering Burma. The hills have kept the Lahu safe and secluded but also poor and malnourished. Now forty-six ten-year old Lahu girls are sent to an elite Chinese primary school where they will learn to speak Chinese and enter mainstream Chinese society. Can the girls do well at the school yet maintain their cultural identity?
Part 2: The girls prepare to leave their home. They’re all nervous, and one girl refuses to leave. And then they must brave the rough hazardous journey through the muddy tiny mountain paths that separates their villages from China.
Part 3: When the Lahu girls arrive they’re subjected to military training, where they must learn to take orders and march in line. When they fail miserably they become the laughingstock of the school.
Part 4: One of the Lahu girls “The Orphan” falls sick, and is sent home. Another Lahu girl “Flower” is caught stealing a tin cup. And their test scores are the worst in the school. The girls’ experience at the school only gets worse and worse.
Part 5: The girls’ teacher and caretaker is Miss Peng, who is under pressure from the school principal to discipline the girls. She has already spent three years with the girls in the Lahu hills, and loves them. Now torn between her job and the girls Miss Peng is sad and frustrated.
Part 6: The class leader goes missing during the fall outing to the hills. Everyone is worried and Miss Peng sends the girls out to look for her.
Part 7: Finally there’s some good news for the home-sick Lahu girls. Their parents have trekked down from the hills to be with them. But Flower’s mother doesn’t come because she’s run off to the city with a Chinese man. Alone and abandoned Flower cries in the classroom.
Part 8: The Lahu girls’ first semester comes to a conclusion, and the girls have one last chance to prove themselves to the Chinese in the school’s annual winter games. For the sake of Miss Peng and their parents the girls train hard for competitions in pole-climbing, running, rope-skipping, and calisthenics. Will they win?
Previously on Shanghaiist Sunday Show
The Unseen China
Brits Get Rich in China
Know of any other feature documentaries that you’d like to share with readers on the Shanghaiist Sunday Show? Email us at info AT shanghaiist DOT com!