FACES OF CHINA

Christopher Clement and Ching-Hao Hung

Documentary being produced by Norwich student after studying in Shanghai

Christopher Clement, a 21-year-old junior at Norwich University, spent four months studying in China in 2005. He returned with taped interviews of Chinese people who had moved to Shanghai to earn money enough to support their families, left behind in the impoverished countryside.

A native of Goshen, Connecticut, majoring in communications, Clement enrolled at Fudan University in Shanghai from September until December, 2005, and while there decided to begin work on a documentary. He was taking Chinese language lessons 20 hours a week at the University and had thought about doing a project based on business in China. But as his language skills grew and he began talking with ordinary people in Shanghai, he realized there might be a better project filming these people discussing their lives.

With help from Norwich University, he purchased video equipment to record the interviews and then enlisted help from some American friends in China, to assist in translation for the interviews.

"One woman I interviewed, a grandmother, talked (about) her life in the countryside where, with any luck, she might get a meal with meat in it once every two weeks. Moving to the city, she was able to get work that gave her meals with meat more often and money left over to send to her family back in the countryside," said Clement.

Clement has about seven or eight interviews that he plans to turn into a brief documentary, tentatively titled, "Faces of China."

Assisting him with the production on campus is Ching-Hao Hung, a 19-year-old freshman from Taiwan, who speaks fluent Chinese and English and is reviewing the translations with Clement. Ching-Hao was enrolled at Taiwan Military Academy but will spend four years earning his undergraduate degree at Norwich, returning each summer for active duty with the Taiwanese Army. After earning a degree at Norwich, he will join the Taiwanese Army as an officer. The Taiwan Military Academy is the Taiwanese equivalent of America's West Point.

Clement, a graduate of Wamago High School in Litchfield, Connecticut, is at Norwich under an ROTC scholarship and has a four-year commitment to serve in US Marine Corps after graduating next year from Norwich.

The video equipment purchased in China for his project returned to campus with Clement. It can be used by other Norwich students who embark on an exchange visit and want to film their experience for a documentary.

The communications program at Norwich has gained acclaim through the years for its student-produced documentaries, which have aired on public television and cable channels. In 1999, a Norwich student team won a College Emmy for a documentary on Vietnam veterans.