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China Blue: Documentary

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China Blue: Documentary

China Blue,

I first came across this documentary when looking at the website for BullFrog Films. I found a version on YouTube that actually had English subtitles as there are many variations. In researching the film I started to gain an interest in many topics that could be applicable to what I teach in my classroom such as trade-globalization, and consumerism. This also leads to a greater ethical question as to where our products here in the US are produced and also under what circumstances. It is quite the eye opener to see the way that these factory workers producing jeans in China live, what they eat, how many hours they work, and the lack of sleep. Some workers report that they generally get about 4 hours of sleep a night. One particular Chinese man was hinting at the caution he needed to take in reporting this information to the person interviewing him for the documentary. That the words out of his mouth should not be spoken and that unions or strikes to change their current situation in the Chinese factory were outlawed. Even though he wanted change there was no way around it. He then switches the responsibility of the factory issues on the US. Essentially that he slaves away for “our” desires. It really brings it to a personal level to hear that. That “we” in other words are the guilty party in how we live, that makes him live the way he does.

clay dube
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Message from Clay Dube

We screened this film years ago with the director, Micha Peled.

The link above is to a low resolution version. Higher resolution versions are available, including with Spanish subtitles. The dvd, of course, is best. This is an excellent film, made in 2005. Pay particular attention to the negotiations between the foreign buyer and the factory head.

Here is the PBS website for the film:

Another resource for those interested in what cheap products "cost" is The China Price by Alexandra Harney. Here she speaks at Michigan about her work: Another film that is useful in looking at the links between what we buy and how that stuff gets made is Xmas without China by a couple of USC grads: Some of the human cost of the migration that powered China's economic rise is shown in Last Train Home (another film we screened at USC with the director):