Camille LAEMLE (LES FILMS D'ICI), Isabelle GLACHANT (Chinese Shadows), José Michel BUHLER (ADOK FILMS)
Jiabiangou is a place in the Gobi Desert located about 30 kilometers northwest of Jiuquan, an ancient garrison town in Gansu Province, China. Jiabiangou was originally a military-run farm on wasteland landed on the desert. Becoming, in the course of the anti-rightist campaign, in 1957, a work farm and penal colony - run by the Jiuquan Labor Reform Office - it was in fact a gulag for those accused of political crimes against The State. From September 1957, more than 3000 people were accused of being right-handed: "ultra-right-wingers", "anti-revolutionaries", "bad elements" or "anti-party clique members". Arriving from all Gansu province, these 3,000 people were gathered in Jiabiangou for an undetermined period of ideological re-education and forced labor. It was three years of hard work, maltreatment, malnutrition, starvation and death: out of the 3,000 internees alone, 600 were still alive at the dissolution of Jiabiangou in 1960. These events in Jiabiangou are far from unique. In the late 1950s more than half a million Chinese people were accused of political tendencies or of "right-wing" ideological transgressions; Many are imprisoned in gulags, Gansu and other Chinese provinces. An incalculable number of men died from hunger, ill-treatment and exhaustion. Jiabiangou is a small microcosm revealing the ruthless political persecution that took place during the anti-rightist campaign. From the images and interviews with more than 80 survivors, now aged, from the Jiabiangou camp, this film pays tribute to the men and women who were interned there and relegates this period of Popular China to history. The martyrdom, the humiliations applied to the prisoners, the imprisonment, the non-right and the arbitrariness of the "cadres" charged with "re-educating" them, life in these camps of all horrors has a disastrous impact on contemporary Chinese society.