China’s reputation as the World Factory was built on the toil of cheap migrant workers whose stories remain untold. China Blue takes viewers on a rare tour inside a denim factory in southern China which prides itself on never missing a deadline, even if it means its workers must keep production running all night. Among them is a group of teenage girls who left their rural homes for the factory, labouring under poor conditions to support their families. Through candid filming, and interviews with employees, the factory owner, its Western clients, and local officials, the documentary reveals the bitter reality behind the ‘Made in China' label, documenting the systemic injustice workers quietly suffer and their fight for getting paid on time.
Almost twenty years after the film’s release, the World Factory has not been the same. Looking at a piece of its history prompts us to reflect on our roles in this globalised economy.
About the Director
Micha X. Peled is an Israeli filmmaker based in San Francisco. China Blue is one of the three films in his Globalization Trilogy alongside Store Wars: When Wal-Mart Comes to Town (2001) and Bitter Seeds (2011). Peled founded Teddy Bear Films in 1999, a non-profit organization which promotes artistic storytelling and filmmaking. Peled’s films often explore the contemporary Jewish diaspora, the U.S. peace movement, and global social issues. His works have been screened at various international film festivals. They have received multiple awards: the Golden Gate award for Store Wars at the San Francisco International Film Festival in 2001; the Oxfam Global Justice Award for Bitter Seeds at Oxfam International in 2011; and the Amnesty International-DOEN Award for China Blue at the Amnesty International film festival in 2005.
Image at top: Micha X. Peled. China Blue, 2005. Photo: Courtesy of Teddy Bear Films