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Documentary depicting care for AIDS orphans in Chinese city wins Oscar
Xinhua  |  February 26, 2007  |  Edited by Luan Shanglin

HEFEI, Feb. 26 (Xinhua) -- AIDS prevention officials and activists in the Yingzhou district in Fuyang, east China's Anhui province have expressed hopes that more people will come to care orphans of AIDS victims, after the AIDS-theme "The Blood of the Yingzhou District" won an Oscar at the 79th Academy Awards.

"I don't know much about movies, but I'm really happy that the documentary won an Oscar," said Zhang Ying, head of the Fuyang AIDS Orphan Salvation Association, a local non-governmental organization.

"The documentary presented true stories of the Chinese AIDS orphans to the whole world, and I believe more people will care and help them," she said.

Directors of the documentary followed Zhang and her colleagues from 2004 to 2005, when they went to visit and help the local AIDS orphans.

Since its establishment in 2003, Zhang's association has helped over 400 AIDS orphans by raising fund to provide each child with 400 yuan (about 51 U.S. dollars) allowance per month, looking for families to adopt them, and organizing AIDS prevention campaigns in the local areas to increase awareness and reduce discrimination.

In Yingzhou, 615 people are infected with HIV, and 36 children were orphaned by parents who died after contracting HIV through selling blood, said Xu Zhenghou, director of the Yingzhou district disease control center.

Xu said the district government invests about one million yuan every year in AIDS prevention work and awareness campaign, and they are seeking better ways to bring AIDS awareness to more people.

"The Blood of Yingzhou District", produced by Hong Kong-born filmmaker Ruby Yang and award-winning producer Thomas Lennon, has won an Oscar for best documentary short film.

According to Lennon, the documentary tells the story of traditional Chinese obligations of family and village colliding with terror of infection.

The 39-minute film portrayed life of Gao Jun, a young HIV-positive boy and other children, who lost their parents to the deadly epidemic and were isolated and shunned by friends and relatives out of ignorance and fear of infection.

Yang said they hope their victory will help improve the plight of children afflicted with HIV and AIDS.

"It was a very emotional journey for me" to make the film in China, as it's very difficult to open oneself up to inner feelings,Yang said at the Kodak Theater.

Yang said she and co-producer Thomas Lennon also had a hard time in the editing room because there were so many sad parts.

Lennon said that he and Yang are working on a series of public service announcements to bring HIV awareness to China.

"We hope the attention given to the film will sustain many of the brave organizations helping to fight against AIDS," he said.

China is facing grim challenges posed by the fatal AIDS epidemic. According to statistics from the State Ministry of Health, Joint United Nations Programme on HIV and AIDS and the World Health Organization, about 650,000 people are living with HIV/AIDS in China.

Currently, China estimates there are 76,000 AIDS orphans.