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Cartoon Deals with AIDS

A cartoon film and its animated heroine are being used for the first time in China to raise awareness about the dangers of AIDS.

The 25-minute cartoon, "Xiao Rong's Family," is the first of a film series called "Say No to AIDS, Care For and Cherish Life."

It depicts the tragedy of Xiao Rong, who suffers from heart disease and whose only hope lies in the money her father earns from selling his blood to an illegal collector.

He unwittingly becomes infected with the deadly virus and infects his wife, who later gives birth to a baby boy who is also a carrier.

Xiao Rong remains uninfected, but the family is forced to put up with discrimination at school and in their workplaces and neighborhood.

A suicide attempt by one member of the family prompts the local authority to offer free medical treatment to Xiao Rong's parents and baby brother, and give other financial help to a family on the brink of collapse,

"We are pondering how all audiences can be easily educated about the three major transmission channels of AIDS - blood transmission, sexual transmission and mother-to-child transmission. Finally we chose cartoon," said Li Jinzhu, director of the board of Shenzhen Huaguiting Culture Co, the film investor and maker, at the film premiere yesterday.

The Shenzhen-based private company spent more than a year and some 5 to 6 million yuan (US$604,000-725,000) making the cartoon, she said.

(China Daily July 19, 2005)

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