They Chose China

They Chose China

53 minutes 9.2/10 based on 40 votes

21 American soldiers came to an astonishing decision following the Korean War: they chose to stay in China and build a life there. They were seen as traitors by their home country and as peaceniks by the Koreans. Oscar nominated filmmaker Shuibo Wang directs.

Using very rare footage, Wang brings the era to life and highlights the dramatic post war differences between the two countries. Using contemporary American and Chinese TV reporting and interviews, and never-before-seen-footage, THEY CHOSE CHINA looks at these brave Americans who decided to stay in Asia.

The U.S government claimed that they were brainwashed and had lost control of their faculties. They were victims of the Chinese Communists. How true is this, really?

Venture inside the Chinese work camps and hear modern day interviews with the survivors.


GD Star Rating
Rating: 9.2/10 based on 40 votes

Discuss This Documentary

  • Dusti

    I wonder how the US troops that weren’t pieces of crap traitors feel they were treated by the Chinese…

    • madscirat

      I wonder how much more you would see and understand if you dropped your judgmental attitude…?

    • US troop

      I served for more than a decade, deployed to middle eastern countries on 4 occasions took home a purple heart and a meritorious service medal. married a moderate muslim woman and moved to Japan…by your logic am I also a “piece of crap traitor” as well? or is it more likely that traveling to new countries and experiencing new cultures during our service grants us an oppurtunity to learn to love something different than zenophobic nationalism, ipods, mcdonalds, and shooting off at the mouth with not even the slightest forethought (Dusti).

      • .

        look at the ocean. sometimes it is flat

    • US troop

      @0f88d31cb5704169df5da2fa0d98bce9:disqus I asked my grandfather (served in Korean war) just to be certain. He said “fine by me”. I hope this answered ur question :)

    • Chris Scalia

      They were not treated well. My father-in-law was a POW for 2 years and 4 months at Ch’ang-Song. A great many of his fellow POWs died in captivity from: starvation, freezing to death, disease, beatings, and outright summary executions.

      While interesting to see this Chinese-made “documentary” to see/hear the traitors’ perspective on things…it is a slap in the face to those POWs who did serve as their captors’ propaganda mouth piece to get special favors (food, recreation, etc.). Many POWs died because of them. I guarantee you the overwhelming majority of POWs did not get big banquets and “Olympic games”

  • madscirat

    Fascinating documentary. I have never seen interviews with these men before, only heard the half baked theories involving brain washing. Showing them in situations with their families that would be difficult if not impossible to stage does much to dispel that myth.

  • bob the builder

    To Madscirat – the world would be a far far better place if people did drop their prejudices and started looking with an open mind. Well said, Sir.

  • John

    You don’t do youtube videos anymore madscirat?

  • animus

    This is one of the best documentaries I have seen, both for its story and the incredibly source footage. The more I find out about the world outside my American bubble, the more I realize that I have been lied to by my government and my public education. Bravo to films like this that uncover truly unique tales of bravery, compassion and humanity.

    • Justice4ALL

      WELL SAID!!

    • thecrud

      As a soldier in Germany in the 70’s I found it hard to come home liked it better there.

      • EuroBirdbrain

        It’s why I stayed in Germany. Will be 40 years next year.

  • Kingsley

    This is a great documentary, the naratives have cleared some gaps in my understanding of American power to charater assisination, no matter who you are, you cannot escape if you are targetted.

  • Chris Scalia

    My father-in-law was a POW for 2 years and 4 months at Ch’ang-Song.

    The only part of this which is a “documentary” are the parts which go into how these traitors lived in China and what they did there before most of them had a change of heart and decided to come back to the U.S. when China was done using them.

    The notion that prisoners were well fed and even got an Olympic Games is a fabrication and applied only to those POWs who turned against their brothers and their country.

    The vast majority of prisoners were treated brutally. They were starved and kept in freezing conditions with no heat and little warm clothing. They were also faced with constant indoctrination by what this “documentary” calls “instructors” The majority of POWs did not survive captivity.

    If you want a good idea what life was really like for American POWs during the Korean War, the book “Broken Soldiers” by Raymond Lech is a must-read.

  • Sujittrachat

    I’ve been dating an American guy for more than 34 years and have lived in America for 40 years. I’m originally from Thailand at 20 years old. I find this documentary enlightening in term of promoting interracial understanding and comradeship which still are not easily found in the world in this 2016, let alone the harmonious integration internationally across the globe. I think the main problem is that we’re still far too different racially and internationally. The best thing I’ve found to bridge this chasm is “contact” and only on the God level can we truly communicate across the races and the nations.

  • mick

    there is a need for information om the culture of different cultures to promote more understanding in the world.
    more films of this sort are required for education of the public, to dispel myths and properganda.

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