Posts Tagged ‘internet’

Online Videos and Communities Confront Social Disorder in China

Monday, October 31st, 2011

By Maya E. Rudolph

"Disorder" compiles numerous videos capturing social disharmony in China


In an age where surveillance videos serve as a kind of documentary and internet gossip supercedes mainstream news cycles, the idea of tragedy is spun into a new place and time.

Several weeks ago, a surveillance camera in Foshan’s Guangfo Hardware Market captured an incident wherein a small van ran over a two-year-old child left roaming alone in the market. The footage, now viewed by millions on youku and other video-sharing sites, has incited a national uproar and, for many Chinese, something of an identity crisis. The video not only graphically documents the gruesome hit and run, but the footage also reveals the apparent apathy of numerous passersby subsequently ignoring the injured child on the ground. After being hit, two-year-old Yue Yue lay as the passed-over object of little pause by eighteen workers, shoppers, a mother and child, and an additional truck that crushed her feet. Not until a trash-collecting ayi encountered the child was help sought and Yue Yue rushed to a local hospital, where her condition is unknown.

The video’s stark presentation of the hit and run and ensuing parade of indifference is shocking to behold and has now inspired outrage and questioning – of both social responsibility and of an existential, moral depth – on the part of Chinese netizens and beyond. On one hand, the hit and run has unleashed a debate on the ethical fabric of Chinese society, a kind of national “soul-searching” that begs at the emotional “numbing” of Chinese citizens. But the practical concerns of involving oneself in such a loaded situation have also surfaced in defense of the passersby. The threat of court corruption, false accusations, and complicated legal procedures may have deterred those who declined to help the child. In a recent article for The Guardian, Tania Branigan cites a netizen who admitted he’d not have offered assistance if given the opportunity, his pragmatism outweighing popular reactions of pathos and horror:

“Would you be willing to throw your entire family’s savings into the endless whirlpool of accident compensation? Aren’t you afraid of being put into jail as the perpetrator? Have you ever considered that your whole family could lose happiness only because you wanted to be a great soul?’” he wrote.

In the film Disorder, Huang Weikai’s 2009 digital documentary collage, the action splices in and out of crime and punishment, malaise and passion in contemporary Guangzhou. (more…)

The Potential (and Perils) of Online Video for the d-Generation

Friday, March 19th, 2010

Super, Girls! (dir. Jian Yi)

This recent article on CNN caught our eye, as it deals with what may be an emerging next wave of the digital filmmaking in China we at dGenerate heartily support. The article cites the explosion of user generated content on Chinese video sites like Youku and Tudou, which one analyst describes as “An unleashing of creativity like the world has never seen.”

Here’s the skinny from the article:

While the bulk of the content on popular Chinese video sites consists of domestic and foreign movies and television programs, a growing share of material is coming from Chinese who are picking up cameras, filming the world around them and sharing it with others for the very first time.

This may not seem extraordinary elsewhere, yet the growth of user-generated content represents a major shift in the way China watches itself and the way the world watches China.

That last line resonates a lot with the mission of China’s dGeneration of filmmakers; thanks to the accessibility of digital video and their own mission to document issues that couldn’t pass through state censorship, these filmmakers brought a radical new element to China’s art and media landscape. However, the ongoing challenge for these filmmakers has been to break out of a small, relatively confined circuit of underground festivals and other distribution channels in China, so that a greater audience can access these films and the important stories they uncover.

(more…)