Jan Wong’s Forbidden China

Jan Wong, pre-eminent Canadian correspondent and author, takes on the role of political and cultural tour guide in Jan Wong’s Forbidden China. Wong reveals to television viewers key aspects of a fascinating superpower, China.

For three weeks in March 1999 while researching her second book, (Jan Wong’s China: Reports from a Not-So-Foreign Correspondent [Doubleday 1999]), Wong disguised herself as a tourist and revisited a China convulsed by change. Also travelling as tourists, filmmaker Robin Benger (Eastside Showdown) and crew filmed her as she went to hidden places and talked to unlikely people; discovering stories that have until now gone untold.

This film is part subterfuge, part pulse-taking, part travelogue, and an intimate portrait of an extraordinary woman at work in the country that obsesses her, In Jan Wong’s Forbidden China, the fearless Ms. Wong takes the viewer right inside the homes, hopes and fears of key players in the future of China. This film provides the rare chance to explore:

  • Tiananmen, ten years after: Wong revisits the scene of the most horrifying dispatches of her Globe & Mail career;

  • The new sexuality: China’s embattled gay community,and AIDS in Hooker Alley;

  • The new poverty: Beyond the mega-millions there are the beggars, desperate unemployed workers and angry peasants; and

  • Broken dreams: A poignant encounter with China’s most famous American Maoists.

Length: 1 hour

Christopher Sumpton, Robin Benger

Director/Writer :
Robin Benger

Jan Wong

Alister Bell

Peter Siroishka


First Airing:
September 15, 1999 on Discovery