Heaven Has Tears-Large-Scale TV Documentary
Stories behind Warnings on China Fighting against Human Trafficking
Satellite Television Journal 2000.8.30
Who can imagine that in such a materialistic age, and is there still a shooting team like this? The ten-episode large-scale TV documentary Heaven Has Tears-Warnings on China Fighting against Human Trafficking was produced by the Ministry of Public Security Shield Entertainment Center about fighting human trafficking in China. Each episode is as long as 45 minutes having no set-up scenes, actors or performing, but totally real things. Who knows that behind each real and soul-stirring scene, how many difficulties and dangers were faced by the film crew in tracing and shooting? Who knows how high a price has been paid by the chief directress of the documentary Sha Bihong? Let us open the first page of her Diaries on Fighting Human Trafficking.
Sha Bihong’s Inner Voices and Tears
Thinking about the parents who have lost their children, thinking about those abducted children who have fallen into the crime abyss of human traffickers, I cannot help weeping.
It can be said that shooting a large-scale TV play profoundly reflecting on the current situation and social problems of fighting human trafficking in China has been my dream for years, for I always pay attention to the living condition of vulnerable groups in society. In my opinions, a media worker should have a sense of social responsibility. Even an ordinary citizen should have a conscious sense of responsibility, which is a criterion for a nation to enter the civilized world. So a media worker with the opportunity to reflect reality should do more than that. Now I truly feel excited and nervous about acting as chief writer and director of the ten-episode TV documentary produced by the Ministry of Public Security Shield Entertainment Center. I feel excited because I finally fulfill my dream, but I feel nervous because I worry about the dangers and difficulties during my tracing and shooting with the police cracking down on human trafficking. What’s more important, how can I rest assured after leaving my baby just born for months? How can I give up the duty of nurturing her? However, my heart is telling me: “Go! It is your inescapable responsibility.”
This morning, I suddenly received the news that the public security sub-bureau in Luohu District had just rescued nearly 200 women and children, whom I was going to interview. At that time, I held my daughter in arms and kissed her face again and again, suddenly feeling conflicted in mind mixed with delight of departure and melancholy of separation. My family, including my daughter, was seeing me off in the airport. I went to the security checks facing my daughter and staring at her. She stood at the security checkpoint (with her arms stretching like birds ready to fly at me). I hardened my heart, waved at her, turned around and went to the boarding gate, wiping my fallen tears off my face.
It was a very difficult moment. I finally understood why mother would weep sadly every time before I left home… However, as I turned around and went forward with others, I could feel my daughter watching me behind my back. Her stretching arms like birds ready to fly at me at any time finally became a force driving me forward. Though I was not willing to leave her, in a sense, it was her that drove me to another group of abducted children. This sense suddenly enlightened my heart. She made me understand the meaning of responsibility more clearly.
Actually, the sense of responsibility is plain, simple and even tender. Sometimes it only means giving a hand to people in need of help by doing whatever you can do, even the most minor things.
Therefore, I feel delighted at my choice at this moment. I believe I can try my best to create a good documentary, and I know that I am going to clear up cases and confront dangers together with the criminal police.
Written at night of March 30, 2000
Due to the urgency of the incident, Sha Bihong and her shooting team could not hesitate at all, because if they were late, they were unlikely to shoot the real scenes of the public security sub-bureau in Luohu District of Shenzhen rescuing over 200 abducted women and children. Since the phone call telling them to go to the frontline was too sudden, they all had no mental preparation. Thus from the time she received the call, Sha Bihong acted like a general going off to war, commanding several brothers and sisters to take separate actions. Her brothers sent money and videotapes, while her sister came to look after the child in the place of the nanny. Another sister, who was shooting her graduation film in Beijing Film Academy, lay down her equipment upon receiving Sha Bihong’s call, packed her bags quickly and went on the plane to another scene of fighting human trafficking in another province. The photographer and other film crew members all went to different shooting sites day and night from different places. All things proceeded so quickly and hastily. Now, in retrospect, Sha Bihong thinks that in destiny, her daughter has greatly encouraged her, her family has greatly helped her while her friends and colleagues have greatly supported her. She was especially impressed by the quickly organized, pragmatic, competent and united fighting team regardless of pay and personal grievances. Furthermore, thinking of the abducted mute girl who was so despairing and sorrowful that she refused to talk to anyone, Sha Bihong is overwhelmed with emotions. Unlike the usual her who doesn’t cry easily, she again bursts into tears.
Spirit of Woman Made of Iron and Bridegroom-To-Be
People live in the world with the aim of pursuing value. Money is a necessity. All people want to get a return for their giving. In particular, under terrible conditions beyond the endurance of ordinary people as well as a series of difficulties and dangers, taking no account of personal gains or losses also needs a spirit and power in personality. Practice has proven that human will can conquer anything that cannot be overcome by materials!
Since the day she had chosen the shooting, Sha Bihong has had mental preparation. The places where fighting human trafficking is happening are almost impoverished, backward, remote and isolated mountainous villages far away from urban civilization. Sha Bihong and her colleagues left their footprints in remote areas in northern and southern Guangdong as well as a dozen provinces of Jiangxi, Sichuan, Guizhou, Yunnan, Jiangsu, Hunan, Hubei, Henan and Zhejiang.
For the sake of shooting, they often could not go to bed for several days. Sometimes just as they fell asleep, they had to start off with the police, feeling sick and seeing stars upon standing up. Since human traffickers often take action at night, Sha Bihong, Ping Jiang and photographer Li Yong, Zhao Buhong, Li Ke and Mao Wei braved the rain to shoot, running with the police and hiding themselves in corn fields taller than a person. They crawled and rolled around in the darkness, not daring to expose themselves to prevent human traffickers from escaping and prevent those equipment and videotapes from getting wet. The clothes of Li Yong and Mao Wei were all used to cover the equipment. Li Yong’s shoulders swelled being pressed by equipment. Mao Wei’s foot was scratched, but he kept running gritting his teeth without any treatment. Three male photographers and the criminal police were too tired to crawl up, while Sha Bihong still calmly kept holding on. Who can imagine that at this moment, the usually image-conscious and beautifully-dressed her had the only thought in mind: Quick! Quick! Quick! Shoot as much as possible! And she already looked like a monkey in the mud.
Once, in order to shoot an abducted “White-Haired Woman”, Sha Bihong and film crew had climbed over 14 mountains under the scorching sun and a high temperature of over 40 degrees. They not only had to carry shooting equipment of over ten kilograms, but also had to cope with changeable and severe weather in mountainous regions. It often happened that this mountain was hot and sunny, while that mountain was raining cats and dogs. Each person’s face and body was full of layers of big bites by mosquitoes and flies, feeling itchy and painful with sweat and rain. In order to regulate the mood, Sha Bihong laughingly counted the mosquito bites on her face, which were more than 70! The local guides and film crew members all said: “Directress Sha, you are really a woman made of iron! Even Thatcher cannot compare with you!” However, who knows that Sha Bihong is a delicate wife at home in her husband’s eyes. Two nannies help her do housework. She has a high quality of life, caring for diet nutrition by stewing pig ribs with beans and braising fish and shrimp. She usually talks slowly and gently. She also leads a romantic life by often writing poems, essays and books. But at that time, it was lucky for her to get a full meal in a day. Due to difficult conditions, non-acclimatization and overloaded working without rest, a wide range of diarrhea could often be seen. Everyone fell sick and got IV drips one by one. The originally weak directress Fangfang had twice gone back to the shooting site by removing the syringe needle before the transfusion was finished. The new crew members Cheng Pu, Xiao Jiu and Yang Mingyang were originally fat. Soon they became lean with their weights decreasing by ten to fifteen kilograms.
The photographer Li Yong was originally going to marry, but he had no time for wedding ceremony since he joined the shooting team. His wedding had been delayed again and again, making him a real bridegroom-to-be waiting for marriage. Fangfang’s boyfriend was also looking forward to marrying her after her returning. In the post-production period, Fan Yongdong, Tang Min, Song Di and Luo Yuan also worked intensely for extra hours, eating boxed meals and staying up late with red eyes.
After five months, the difficult shooting across most of China was finally coming to an end. During their shooting, their professional ethics deeply touched the local villagers and public security officers. They had also established “profound friendship in fighting” with many public security officers, who often gave their performance the thumbs' up: “We have never seen such a great shooting team or such a hardworking group…”
Now we are all leading a warm and happy life, constantly changing the TV channels with remote controller in hands. However, do not forget the coming Heaven Has Tears created with sweats, tears, painstaking efforts or even lives. Do not forget those heroes behind the scene, those abducted women and children or those heroic public security officers. Do not forget the quiet contributions by all crew members of the shooting team…