Starting Friday, December 8, 2017, the BBC will air “The Return,” a documentary directed and produced by Millersville University professor, Dr. Changfu Chang.
Introduced in 1979 by the Chinese government to control population, the one-child policy allowed most couples to have only one child or face the possibility of fines, sterilizations and abortions. For decades, hundreds of thousands of families in China were forced to relinquish their over-quota children. Chang documents one couple’s odyssey to reunite with their lost daughter, bringing closure to one of the most watched stories in China and Japan.
In 1995, when a Chinese couple left their 3-day-old baby on a street, they also left a note with the child asking whoever raised her to bring her back to meet them at the legendary “Broken Bridge” in Hangzhou on the Chinese Lunar day of July 7 in “10 or 20 years.” The couple has since made a trip to the bridge every year, waiting for the daughter’s arrival. Twenty-two years later, in August 2017, their daughter, Kati Pohler, adopted by a family in the United States, finally arrived on the bridge, making her way through the crowd towards her birth family.
The documentary is 12 years in the making. Major filming took place in the United States and China. During the production, Chang worked with a BBC team, a Chinese crew, as well as Millersville University colleagues and students including Maggie McClintock and Cullen Feister.
The documentary will air on BBC World News, which is BBC’s commercially funded international news and information television channel, broadcasting in English 24 hours a day, available in more than 200 countries and territories worldwide, around 300 million households and 1.8 million hotel rooms.
Aside from “The Return” as part of “Our World” on BBC World News, a digital film based on the same story but from a different angle—Kati’s perspective—will be edited and released online; an audio documentary will also be produced and broadcast on BBC World Service. Both versions will be released on Friday, Dec. 8. Chang is also assisting with the production of the two versions.
“This is the first time that I’ve worked with the BBC. I picked the BBC because of its great reputation for high-quality programs and productions. I’m excited to work on a major BBC project for the global audience,” says Chang.
For viewers in North America, the documentary will air on BBC World News on the following dates (Eastern Standard Time):
- Friday, December 8 (4:30 p.m.; 7:30 p.m.)
- Saturday, December 9 (6:30 a.m.)
- Sunday, December 10 (12:30 p.m.; 7:30 p.m.)
- Wednesday, December 13 (7:30 p.m.)
- Friday, December 15 (5:30 a.m.)
- Monday, December 19 (7:30 p.m.)
- Wednesday, December 20 (5:30 a.m.)
More showing schedules are available on BBC’s website.
The South China Morning Post ran an in-depth piece on the documentary – http://www.scmp.com/magazines/post-magazine/long-reads/article/2122313/chinese-girl-adopted-american-family-miraculously.