She was brutally murdered in the US. Now her life is remembered in film
Zhang Yingying was 26 years old when she left China for the US as a visiting scholar to study climate change on crop yields in mid-2017. Just six weeks after she arrived in a new country, with its unfamiliar culture and language, Zhang disappeared, never to be seen again. In June that year, police arrested a former physics PhD candidate, Brendt Christensen, after surveillance footage showed that Zhang had entered a car driven by him. A jury later found him guilty of murder and he was sentenced to life in a federal prison. Prosecutors said he raped her and murdered her using a baseball bat and a knife. Zhang’s disappearance sent shockwaves through Chinese students in the US. Before Christense
How a 3am call and a secret inspire film remembering China’s abandoned children
One Sunday afternoon in February 2017, Chinese film director Yuchao Feng was in his flat in the US state of New Jersey when he received a phone call from his mother that would shock and inspire him. Feng knew something was wrong – not just because it was 3am in the northern Chinese city of Tianjin, where his mother, Wang Jingjing, was calling from, but because they rarely spoke. “My parents were not around much when I was growing up in Ningde,” says Feng, recalling the city of three million in Fujian province, in the country’s southeast, known for its tea cultivation. “And we talked even less after I moved to the US to study film in 2011.” Feng’s mother was having a nightmare similar to thos
Everything I learned from watching China’s newest ‘Rambo movie’
China’s latest propaganda-laden blockbuster, Operation Red Sea, has become the fourth-most lucrative film in the country, making nearly $500 million at the box office. To save a single Chinese office worker kidnapped by terrorists in a war-torn African country, a team of eight soldiers from the Jiaolong commando unit – China’s Navy SEALS – venture deep into conflict zones, finish their mission despite heavy casualties and intercept several tons of yellowcake uranium intended for a dirty bomb. Think Black Hawk Down, only with more violence – and a heavy dose of Chinese nationalism. Here’s what I got out of two hours at the theater yesterday: Lesson 1: China is flexing its muscles in Africa O