Documentary uncovers the double lives of China’s gay men

Illustrated rainbow pride flag on a pink background.

Oscar-winning documentary maker Ruby Yang is to direct a film about homosexuality and the pressures created by China’s one-child policy.

China is known for its strong censorship, especially on sensitive issues.

“There’s a lot of pressure to produce an heir,” Ms Yang told Reuters . “Many gay men are married and live a double life. They lie to their parents, lie to their wives.”

Provisionally called Double Life, the half-hour documentary is expected to be completed in May this year.

Ms Yang believes it won’t have a public release in China and hopes the film will get international exposure instead.

She has also used filmmaking to highlight other sensitive issues in her country, such as HIV/AIDS, the environment and the health damages caused by smoking.

Her Academy Award-winning film, The Blood of Yingzhou (2006), portrayed the lives of AIDS orphans in a Chinese province.

In November last year with the support of China’s Ministry of Health she directed three public service adverts promoting condom use starring Jackie Chan.

These were the first condom adverts ever to air on a broadcaster owned by the Chinese state.

Ms Yang is also campaigning for a smoke-free 2008 Olympics, as China has over 350 million smokers.

“That’s bigger than the population of the US,” she said.

“About 50,000 people die of AIDS a year in China, but 1 million die of tobacco-related diseases.”

Born in Hong Kong, Ruby Yang lived in San Francisco for 25 years before moving to Beijing in 2003.