Chinese Viewers Denounce Short Film on Surrogacy

The filmmakers say their work — produced as part of a reality TV series — was never intended to encourage a practice that is officially banned in China.

The season finale of a Chinese reality television show has drawn widespread criticism for including a short film about surrogacy, a practice that is illegal in China.

Many viewers of the second season of “Everybody Stand By” slammed the 30-minute film titled “10 Month With You” for “romanticizing surrogacy” and objectifying women. A related hashtag on microblogging platform Weibo had been viewed over 500 million times by Monday evening.

“What bothers me most is that the film essentially embellishes the process of surrogacy. Adding a single line at the end establishing its illegality just won’t cut it,” read one Weibo post, referring to a disclaimer in the end credits reminding viewers that surrogacy is illegal and they shouldn’t do it. “This (picture of surrogacy) is simply objectifying women.”

Produced by streaming site Tencent Video, “Everybody Stand By” pits 40 actors against each other to act or re-enact classic scenes from TV dramas and movies. For the season finale, however, the contestants develop their own scripts.

Directed by acclaimed filmmaker Chen Kaige and starring Hong Kong film star Myolie Wu Hang-yee and up-and-coming actor Ren Min from the Chinese mainland, “10 Month With You” tells the story of “the pain of three people behind a newborn,” according to its official Weibo account. In the film, Ren plays the role of a surrogate mother who is at first reluctant to give away the unborn child — “the kid (who) belongs to someone else,” according to her boyfriend, who ultimately persuades her to part with the baby.

Surrogacy is banned in China due to legal and ethical concerns, and many argue that it disrupts the social fabric of traditional families. However, in recent years, more people in the country have been advocating to legalize the practice to better allow single people to start their own families. Continue to read the full article here


– This article originally appeared on Sixth Tone