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Documentary about Chinese "comfort women" set for debut

(Xinhua)    10:55, August 14, 2017

Documentary “22" displaying life of China's surviving "comfort women" will be released nationwide on Monday, the world's "Comfort Women’s Day".

Director Guo Ke told Xinhuanet in a recent interview that the 90-minute film captures the peaceful daily life of 22 surviving "comfort women."

Guo said some viewers may feel that the documentary lacks conflicts and shows no pictures of the bloody brutality of the enemy.

"There is no need to create the so-called conflicts, to reopen their scars, and to provoke hatred," he insisted.

"It is not a movie that sells pain and tears. It is just enough to bring the audience to them, to look at them, and to know their lives," Guo added.

Original Idea

In 2012, Guo read an article "A ‘comfort woman’ gave birth to a child" by chance and was impressed by it deeply.

The article tells the story of Wei Shaolan and her son Luo Shanxue.

In 1944, 20-year-old Wei was forced by the Japanese aggressors to be a "comfort woman"; however, after her difficult escape from the hell three months later, she found herself pregnant.

She took medicine to kill herself, but in vain and gave birth.

The son, Luo Shanxue, now in his 70s, has been living with his mother.

Luo has remained single all his life, because no woman wants to marry a person with a background like him.

Having taken lots of efforts, Guo finally got in touch with Wei Shaolan, with the help of Su Zhiliang, an expert of "comfort women" issue.

Guo decided to tell the story of the surviving women victims of Japanese brutality.

There were 32 "comfort women" survivors nationwide at that time, but by 2014, when Guo began preparing the documentary, the number dropped to 22.

According to public records, during the World War II, at least 200,000 Chinese women were inhumanly reduced to "comfort women" by the Japanese aggressors and suffered dreadfully.

Pain Continues

Few people know how much miseries the "comfort women" have experienced in their whole life, and even they themselves can hardly describe.

Around the average age of 90, they have diseases and are unable to move much around.

Every day, they just wake up, eat and sleep; if they cannot fall asleep fast, they lean against the kang (a heatable brick bed in North China) staring blankly.

"Understanding them is the biggest help. They have their own way to take in the pain," Guo said, "in order to survive, the elderly people seldom recall those bitter memories. "

"22" aims to remind the audience that, in face of pain, not grudging all the time, but never forgetting history and always keeping calm is the best answer.

Guo still remembered that, after having been through so much suffering, Wei still believed, "the world is so good, now I don't want to die... "

Of the 22 victims in the film, there are only nine living now.

Whenever one died, Guo would add a black frame to her name at the end of the film.

But recently, they went away so fast that he did not even have time to add the frame...

He said that maybe one day he would erase all the frames so that he could go back to the time when he first met them.

They will smile at the camera as if they have never left us, he said.

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)(Web editor: Du Xiaofei, Bianji)

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