”Dying To Survive“ —Text Review—Hengyuan Chang

Dying to Survive” is a movie that mainly based on the Chinese society in 2004.  At that time, there were a large number of leukemia patients who could not afford the expensive German imported cancer drugs to help them treat. The main character, Lu Yong, smuggled a large amount of generic drugs from India and sold them to leukemia patients at a very low price.

In this movie, I think there are four concepts we learned this semester to help us better understand.

The first one is about the Lu Yong. After he observed that a large number of leukemia patients had no money to buy cancer drugs, he bravely chose to go to India to buy generic drugs and sell a leukemia patient to help them treat them at a very low price. And in the movie he gave these leukemia patients confidence and strength. I think Lu Yong represents great leaders like Dr. Martin Luther King and Lewis. Because Lu Yong not only discovered the problem, but at the same time he bravely stood up to help these leukemia patients. Also, he was the first to speak out for leukemia patients who could not afford the drugs.

Second, leukemia patients were “Othering” in Chinese society. They were discriminated against and disrespected by others just because of leukemia. In the movie, they are not allowed to take off their masks in public, and people think that leukemia is an unlucky disease. Although they received discrimination, they chose to remain silent, which led to more discrimination and disrespect.

The third is the ordinary people in Chinese society. They fell into the trap of “single story” and formed discrimination against leukemia patients. At that time, Chinese society did not popularize knowledge about leukemia, and people did not understand how leukemia was transmitted. Therefore, people are very one-sided believe that as long as they stay in the same area with leukemia patients or talk to leukemia patients, they will be infected. Because of the “single story”, they formed a prejudice against leukemia patients.

The fourth is about the police, doctors, and relevant government officials who knew that a large number of leukemia patients could not afford to import genuine cancer drugs. What they show behind is the “moderate white” mentioned by Dr. Martin Luther King and Lewis. They know that there are a large number of leukemia patients cannot pay for the drugs, but they choose to ignore and not to help leukemia patients.

At the end of the movie, the Chinese government began to popularize knowledge about leukemia to reduce discrimination, and began to produce cheap cancer drugs and included leukemia in medical insurance. I think “Dying to Survive” symbolizes people like Lu Yong who bravely contributed to “Othering”. The pain and sacrifice of a small number of people could brought happiness to more people in the future.

Picture citation:





Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *