Why a Chinese-Canadian filmmaker chose to stay in China

By Zhang Rui
0 Comment(s)Print E-mail China.org.cn, April 28, 2020
Adjust font size:

A Chinese-Canadian filmmaker told China.org.cn that he is glad he chose to stay in China during the COVID-19 epidemic, while blasting racism against Chinese on the Western social media.

A photo shows Chinese-Canadian filmmaker Danny Wu holds a camera while wearing anti-virus gear in Chengdu, Sichuan province, 2020. [Photo courtesy of Danny Wu]

In January, Danny Wu, a young filmmaker known for his 2019 documentary film "Square One," was actually in the middle of a tour promoting his film in the Netherlands. Then he flew home to Chengdu, China, to celebrate Chinese New Year with his extended family. 

"The plan was to come back to China for New Year, and then continue the tour afterwards. But COVID-19 basically ruined that plan," he said.

On his second day back, Wuhan was shut down. 

"At that time, it was an historically unprecedented move to just lock down a city," he remembered.

Wu was born in Chengdu, Sichuan province, in 1996, and moved with his parents to Canada when he was 7 years old. When the outbreak first started, lots of friends and acquittances encouraged him to return to the West. 

"From my perspective though, I grew up in the West and never had much time to come back to China, at most about once a year. If I were to return back to Canada, I would just be worrying about my family the entire time, so I thought it would be better if I just spend this epidemic locked up with them in China instead," Wu explained. 

"I was happy in the sense that I was able to make up for lost time and spend time with my family. Now that the situation is better in China than Canada, it makes even more sense for me to stay here longer."

Though Chengdu avoided a total lockdown, epidemic prevention and control measures have been, and continue to be, very strict.

After more than three months of arduous fight, Wuhan, the Chinese city hardest hit by the coronavirus outbreak, cleared all COVID-19 cases in hospitals last Sunday. But Canada had more than 49,600 confirmed cases by Tuesday morning, according to the Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center.

Wu said that Chinese culture encourages team thinking, putting the group ahead of the individual, thus making people very self-aware to what they can and can't do in situations like a pandemic. Western culture is centered around individualism, and achieving for oneself, thus when it comes to the virus, "you hear stories about people going out in the public in the time of the virus and not caring about the effects that it could have on other people."

Wu planned to go back to Canada in March, but is now still in Chengdu due to the uncertainty. As a filmmaker, he said he found himself becoming more productive and creative during his time in Chengdu. 

Chinese-Canadian filmmaker Danny Wu in the city center of Chengdu, Sichuan province, 2020. [Photo courtesy of Danny Wu]

During the time he spent in Chengdu, he premiered his film "Square One" online in China which gained more than 1 million views on Weibo and other video streaming platforms. He also started to prepare for his next project, did a report for CNN, and made a 22-minute short documentary titled "Living in China During Coronavirus COVID-19 Pandemic" documenting his experience in China during the coronavirus outbreak.

"One of the emotional experiences was that because I live so close to the Sichuan hospital, I actually saw on Twitter people praising the Sichuan doctors for helping out in Italy," he said.

The filmmaker added that he lives in Vancouver which has a big Chinese population so fortunately, he probably won't have to worry too much about the racism when he goes back to Canada. "However with that being said, I do have friends who have told me there've been racist remarks yelled at them in public."

"I've blocked the words 'Chinese,' and 'Asian' on my Twitter because it was hard to read all the racism against Chinese people on Western social media," he felt upset, but said hopefully, "However, though it exists, I don't believe it should represent the West as a whole because these are angry people and are trying to find somebody to blame in a time of chaos. Even though it's very inappropriate at times, there are lots of foreigners also speaking out against racism against Chinese people."

Follow China.org.cn on Twitter and Facebook to join the conversation.
ChinaNews App Download
Print E-mail Bookmark and Share

Go to Forum >>0 Comment(s)

No comments.

Add your comments...

  • User Name Required
  • Your Comment
  • Enter the words you see:   
    Racist, abusive and off-topic comments may be removed by the moderator.
Send your storiesGet more from China.org.cnMobileRSSNewsletter