The Stories of Red Ribbons
Red ribbons in Asia

by Hsing-chi Hu

from Jump Cut, no. 42, December 1998, pp. 116-120
copyright Jump Cut: A Review of Contemporary Media, 1998, 2006

In this article, I would like to introduce the Taiwanese AIDS video series, THE STORIES OF RED RIBBONS (1995), which consists of five videos made by five different directors.[1][open notes in new window] The production group is a Taiwanese media workshop (S.H.E. Workshop) organized by Nancy Wang (Wang Niantsi). These AIDS videos are the first non-official media made about these issues in Taiwan. Now at least people in Taiwan can hear alternative public voices which challenge the national Health Department's AIDS-phobic attitudes.

Produced in 1995, THE STORIES OF RED RIBBONS premiered in December 1995 on Chinese Television Network in Taiwan to commemorate International AIDS Day. The programs were aired late at night on Sundays (22:05-23:00) and during the day on Mondays. Not surprisingly, AIDS issues are usually marginalized and do not easily make the daily news. This video series was broadcast in 1996 on the Taiwanese Television Network. Only one of the five videos, MY NEW FRIENDS directed by Tsai Ming-liang, has ever been exhibited outside Taiwan, and this director was invited to attend the tape's screening at the New York Gay and Lesbian Film Festival, held at Lincoln Center.

THE STORIES OF RED RIBBONS focus on conventionally constructed and "identified," infected subjects: heterosexual women (wives and sex workers), heterosexual men (businessmen), hemophiliacs (students), and gay males. The videos do have an educational purpose, but they present mainly the inner world of people with HIV/AIDS. The tapes present the memories, emotions, opinions, and everyday lives of people with AIDS and do not attempt to instruct viewers about the disease itself. Rather, the tapes seek to refract the complicated social realities/ suppression, ideologies, twisted popular perceptions about AIDS and people with AIDS.


When I was told that I had a chance to translate and edit one of my Chinese articles about THE STORIES OF RED RIBBONS into English,[2] I wondered how best to inscribe issues around AIDS into a special section on "Chinese/ Chinese Diaspora" films. In fact, the AIDS stories that these five videos cover are not limited to Taiwan but also include stories from Hong Kong, Japan, and Thailand. Thus, these Taiwanese AIDS videos are neither purely "Taiwanese" nor contained in the signifier "Chinese." Instead, they indicate an "international" space invented to correspond to the transnational movement of AIDS as a disease. In this series, the AIDS narratives encapsulate the East/Southeast Asian region. Even if the tapes are included in lists of "Chinese" films, it is important to consider how this Taiwanese video production mediates AIDS themes and shows the range of AIDS issues within different Asian communities. The five tapes demonstrate the concerns of a localized Taiwanese AIDS activism to stretch out to encompass the contexts of its Asian neighbors. An AIDS dialogue among Taiwan, Hong Kong, Japan, and Thailand encourages rethinking some similar issues: distorted and stigmatized judgments about AIDS, which lead to surveillance and oppression. These come from various aspects of national policies and health institutions; social and cultural discourses and knowledge; and heterosexualized, patriarchal family structures shared by these Asian communities.

Using THE STORIES OF RED RIBBONS as an example, we can see show socially imposed moral values mentally torture and punish most Asian people with HIV/AIDS. They are not even accepted by their families, much less society. In such a context, the term "AIDS" usually connotes deadly diseases coming from "high risk" groups-homosexuals, prostitutes, heterosexual men having sex with women outside marriage, and drug abusers. In fact, within these groups, people usually lack any non-judgmental AIDS medical knowledge. Asian governments persist in their ignorance and do not treat AIDS as a crucial sphere that deserves the investment and effort to provide sound AIDS education. Nor do governmental health department build grassroots medical activities and organizations to deal with AIDS.

Interestingly, the representations of HIV/AIDS patients in this video series are largely alike. The shots disguise or mask the people with HIV/AIDS to protect them front public exposure where they might well he regarded as the forbidden, the taboo. It is difficult to answer if this shooting style is a Taiwanese, Hong Kong, or Chinese way of visualizing the HIV/AIDS infected body. However, such a cinematic tactic seems to provide a visual technique of dehumanization that reinforces the silent agreement about AIDS among several Asian societies. In addition, we need carefully to evaluate the specific kinds of video aesthetics that can embody "AIDS," a topic which will be explored later in this article.

Looking at the five Taiwanese AIDS videos, the locations of AIDS in various geographical territories and in infected bodies complicate how AIDS is prejudicially dealt with in Asia. For example, different meaning arise by placing AIDS in the "westernized" Japan, the "self-orientalized"/ "orientalized" Thailand. In addition, in various tapes, a shy, young, male, Japanese student receives infected, "de-sexualized" blood, compared to the infected blood of a sexually active, "heterosexualized" Thai female prostitute. Japan is portrayed as a clean and advanced country while Thailand only appears as exotic. Thailand is depicted as having exquisite smells, customs, living styles, and implicated promiscuous sexualities overflowing in its booming sex industry. In addition, the Japanese young man with HIV/AIDS is depicted as a naïve victim and thus is presented more openly, with his full figure clearly seen, while the face of Thai female sex workers are veiled in the dark.

First, I will argue, such stratification in AIDS represents a projection of Taiwan's contrasting attitudes toward Japan and Thailand. The tapes are revealing in the way they show a lack of balance among inter-Asia "imaginaries." Regrettably, people with HIV/AIDS will be blamed more if it is transmitted by "dirty" and "abnormal" sex and drugs, rather than by mistakes, such as occur with "innocent" blood transfusions. In these tapes, the body with HIV/AIDS remains stereotyped and burdened with severe cultural and social classification. This article will explore further how AIDS is condensed into and penetrates as a meaning system into diverse hierarchical sites of international formations, knowledge systems, popular discourses, and bodily regions. Following below is a textual analysis of each of the tapes of THE STORIES OF RED RIBBONS with extended critical arguments.


THE STORIES OF RED RIBBONS (Part 1). Dir. Sylvia Chang (Cheung Ai-chai). Location: Taiwan. Language: Mandarin with Chinese subtitles. 52 min., Betacam.

FROM THAT DAY is a re-enactment based on the true story of a Taiwanese woman, Mrs. Lin. Lin is in her thirties and lives in the countryside in the middle of Taiwan. She is a housewife and works part time making handicrafts. She realizes that she is infected not only by a sexual disease but also by HIV. She immediately suspects her husband, who often has sexual contact with other women. Her husband goes for HIV testing, tests positive, and later passes away. Although Lin is infected by her husband, the elders of her husband's family still treat her badly. With their paranoid beliefs, they treat her as if she has not fulfilled her duty to be a "faithful" wife. Her phobic mother-in-law pushes away the dishes Lin has used when they have a meal together. The older woman uses as an excuse that HIV can be transmitted through food. However, as we know, HIV can only be transmitted by bodily fluids or more specifically blood and semen (Patton, 1990: 45).

After being abandoned and rejected by her husband's family, financially Lin can only just sustain herself and her young daughter. Their affection and mutual support provide the most touching moments in FROM THAT DAY. Lin takes her daughter to school by motorcycle; they sing together in the Karaoke center. They share their joys and sorrows to get through the hardships of life.

FROM THAT DAY is composed of fragmentary sections — half, Lin's narrative; half, AIDS social and medical workers speaking in an educational tone and various passersby giving their opinions on AIDS. This video focuses especially on a woman's marginalized position as infected with HIV from her sexually promiscuous husband. Wearing condoms may signify "masculine impotence" to husbands. When the man needs to do so, that medical necessity confronts the presupposed, "legitimate," sexual intimacy and fidelity between husband and wife, a sexual bond socially imposed on the family. In Taiwan, it is difficult to practice safe sex within the normative frame of marriage, especially because notions about AIDS prevention in the private space of the heterosexual family have not yet been promoted as public knowledge. A member of the Taiwanese feminist activist organization, Awakening, Ni Chai-jen points out in this video that the fact that Taiwanese women with HIV/AIDS are infected through privileged marital sexual activities only proves public health policy false. The Taiwanese Health Department has promulgated a ridiculous slogan: "There is love at home. There is no AIDS." Wives do devote their love to their husbands, but sometimes the cost is AIDS.

I am not suggesting that we morally denounce those Taiwanese husbands who arc sexually active outside marriage. Instead, the issues regarding the risks of bringing AIDS home should be seriously examined. Lin's part time job does not enable her to be financially independent. She has to take care of her daughter and pay medical fees, which make her divorce difficult for her. The double pressure and torment, in addition to the physical and psychological abuse Lin has endured, indicate the dilemma of being a wife/mother with AIDS in Taiwan.

In FROM THAT DAY, the official Taiwanese short film "educating" people about HIV/AIDS plays on TV when Lin and her husband's family are watching TV together. By categorizing and normalizing the paths of HIV transmission, in this short film the Taiwanese government equates AIDS with evil by stressing authoritative threats and warnings. The film first introduces heterosexual AIDS and underscores those heterosexual men who indulge in drinking and consorting with women in sex-business nightclubs.

Second, the government film shows homosexual AIDS. The sequence is set in a locale like Taipei's New Park (famous for gay men's activities). Heavy drums are used in the music here, which creates a threatening atmosphere. The sequence begins at night when two men are sitting together and putting their arms around each other's shoulders. This segment implies that homosexuality and AIDS are the same terrifying things happening in the "dark"; so gay men should watch their own behavior, otherwise AIDS will soon follow.

The third type of HIV/AIDS transmission represented in the government film is through injections of medicine, drugs, and blood. But the film only emphasizes the trembling drug abusers — because of their "bad" conduct. The last type represented is direct transmission from mother to fetus. The sequence exclusively concentrates on a pregnant woman sitting on a chair, as if she alone has the responsibility for preventing AIDS infection. Apparently, official attitudes toward AIDS in Taiwan only reinforce fears about AIDS in the public mind.

According to the official interpretations, HIV/AIDS issues are only relevant to certain minorities such as gay men, licentious heterosexual men, prostitutes, hemophiliacs, injecting-drug users, and pregnant women. Moreover, most of the passersby interviewed think that AIDS transmissions are caused by "deviant" sex acts, presumably homosexual or non-marital, promiscuous sexuality, or injecting drugs. One person even said that because he lives a "normal" life, HIV/ AIDS does not have anything to do with him.

Taiwanese AIDS policy echoes the public's attitudes. Public policy treats AIDS as an eccentric epidemic for some aberrant and dangerous groups. AIDS is dangerously close to you only if you behave "abnormally." This AIDS-phobia shared by government and public accounts for why AIDS is still generally misunderstood. Such a widely shared public phobia results in segregating off a sympathetic understanding of AIDS and people with AIDS from other people's everyday lives in Taiwan.


THE STORIES OF RED RIBBONS (Part 2). Director: Yim Ho. Location: Hong Kong. Language: Cantonese with Chinese subtitles. 52 min., Betacam.

THE TRICOLOR SKIES has three sections with three AIDS stories. A female interviewer doing the interviews connects the three independent pieces. The first interviewee is a hemophiliac who is HIV infected via blood transfusion. He is young and optimistic about his future. He cheerfully speaks of his philosophical struggles, physical pain, and expectations after being infected with HIV/AIDS.

The second interviewee is Mr. Chan, a businessman in his forties. He thinks that he was infected by his ex-wife, who died of AIDS several years ago. He suspected that his ex-wife had AIDS because she had a South African boyfriend when she was a university student. His assumption seems based on the unproven, western scientific constructions that AIDS originates from Africa. When his younger brother found out that Chan had HIV, the brother cruelly cursed him to die since AIDS seemed an insult to the family. In this way, the social stigma of AIDS is powerful enough to destroy the trust and love formerly shared within a family, a family which still cannot accept AIDS as a "normal" disease like the thousands of other diseases in the world.

The third interviewee is Judy, who got HIV from her husband. She is religious and has confidence she can fight the virus. She wishes everybody with HIV/AIDS could live their lives happily with encouragement and hope.

The stories in THE TRICOLOR SKIES and the people who tell them are real. However, as mentioned earlier, in order to protect their identity, they are exclusively represented by the back of the head and the lower part of the body. Such visual tactics — so we "cannot see their faces" — and the depressing interview questions on the soundtrack make viewers feel uncomfortable and bored. For example, most of the time the female interviewer is shown because we are not to see the interviewees' faces. Fortunately, on a visual level, outdoor scenes with seashores for backgrounds enrich and soften the stuffy atmosphere.

However, on the sound track, within the process of the interviews, the interviewer sometimes asks the questions too bluntly, e.g., "Are you afraid of death?" Here, Chan defensively responds, "I have never thought of death." Such social voyeurism in peeping and pushing questions of "death" hurt people with HIV/AIDS and is unkind and prejudiced. Based on the interviews with Chan and Judy, it is clear that AIDS is closely linked with national policy, the medical system, and social structure. AIDS is not simply itself a virus; rather, the nation-state/ society/ culture "pathologically" stigmatizes AIDS. Chan says that he used to do business in both Hong Kong and China. However, the government of China now keeps people with HIV/AIDS from entering China. Chan notes,

"Hopefully, the government of China will revise its AIDS policy after 1997. Otherwise, we will be pushed into ocean because there will be nowhere to go."

Although China, the mother country, always claims she is warm and affectionate to the people of Hong Kong, China exiles marginalized Hong Kong people with HIV/AIDS.

Judy also mentions that in Hong Kong itself, AIDS is discriminated against and regarded as a disease of death, sexual promiscuity, and homosexuality. In addition, HIV testing is still not well organized enough to be a regular component in Hong Kong medical and health institutions. The failure to incorporate HIV testing in general physicals and in Hong Kong hospitals also causes a delay in informing people to whom the disease has possibly been transmitted. This situation within the Hong Kong medical establishment indicates how much AIDS is isolated and excluded by health and medical care regimes as being "specific" and "mysterious," much as the public generally imagines it.


THE STORIES OF RED RIBBONS (Part 3). Director: Huang Chun-ming. Location: Japan. Language: Mandarin/ Japanese with Chinese subtitles. 52 min. Betacam.

FIGHTING 19 is a story of a 19 year-old Japanese young man, Ryuhei Kawada. Kawada was born a hemophiliac. When he was ten, he was told that he was infected with HIV from blood transfusions. In Japan, up to 70% of hemophiliacs have HIV. In the past, the Japanese Health Department did not quickly take action to forbid the use of unheated blood products, so more and more unaware Japanese hemophiliacs continued having non-heated blood transfusions and consequently were infected by HIV.

As one of the victims, Kawada bravely came out to claim his identity of being a blood transfusion HIV carrier. He details errors made by the Japanese Health Department and medical corporations of their errors, and he further requested legal sanction and reparation. Encouraged by Kawada, many Japanese young men stepped out and joined Kawada's protest group. Finally their efforts attracted the public's attentions. The government and the courts are under pressure to enact justice. In 1995, both the Health Department and medical corporations were found guilty and required to pay indemnity.

Having had discussions with my friends, we all agreed that we felt more comfortable when watching FIGHTING 19 than the rest of videos of THE STORIES OF RED RIBBONS. Unlike the other gloomy videos, the narrative's tune and rhythm in FIGHTING 19 are brighter and livelier with explosive energies. The AIDS protest is cheerful and promising. Out on the streets, the university students shout angrily and gesture with vigorous bodily movements. Most important, Kawada is there with his figure visible, fighting and striking hack to win social justice. We should rethink why and how Kawada can reveal his face.

Kawada luckily wins strong support from the media, even NHK, one of the major Japanese TV networks, which also reports on Kawada's political project around AIDS. Kawada is more acceptable to Japanese society because he is regarded as the blameless victim, passively infected by the blood transfusion, as opposed to those people with HIV/ AIDS who are responsible for their own sexual contacts or drug injections. Apparently, moral baggage heavily rides on the body with AIDS. Whether the face must be hidden or not is decided by the social norms defining to what extent if this AIDS case is guilty or deserves redemption.


THE STORIES OF RED RIBBONS (Part 4). Director: Yu Kan-ping. Location: Thailand. Language: Mandarin/Thai with Chinese subtitles. 53 min., Betacam.

At the beginning, I was quite surprised when I watched THE HEART OF BUDDHA. The early part of this video (about 10-20 minutes) looks like a sightseeing or travel TV documentary program such as those available on satellite TV on the Discovery channel. Led by the voice over of an invisible male tour guide who speaks very standard Mandarin, we are introduced to Thailand's opulent landscapes with sights such as monks, temples, martial exercises, and people living on riverboats. After this opening, there is a simple historical review of developments in Thailand since the 70s. According to this video, Thailand is shaped by several forces, such as the U.S. military presence, industrialization, modernization, and tourism, especially sex tourism. Gradually, the narrative moves to the main character's story.

We hear from a 21 year-old young woman who married at the age of 13-14 and lived in the countryside. Several years later, her husband ran away with their child. She was left alone without any financial support. Thus, she became a prostitute in Bangkok and was infected with HIV/AIDS. As usual, her face is not clearly revealed. This time the cinematic techniques used for hiding the face are somewhat different from the ones used in THE TRICOLOR SKIES. Sitting on the chair and telling her own story under a big tree, she sits obscurely in the dark. Her face is heavily shadowed so that only her silhouetted profile can be seen.

It is claimed that 1% of the population in Thailand — that is, 700,000 out of 70,000,000 Thai people — are HIV infected. The general impression in Thailand about the large number of people with HIV/AIDS is that the prosperous sex industry and related tourism contributes to the input and output of transnational AIDS infection. Based on what Thai officials say, the country still seems obsessed with the idea of relating AIDS to prostitutes and homosexuals. Lots of warnings and cautionary posters about AIDS and AIDS prevention appear in public toilets and shower rooms in the popular sightseeing places.

In THE HEART OF BUDDHA, one Thai official says that the Thai government hopes that foreign tourists do not just come to their country to sleep with their women. Instead, foreign visitors should learn to appreciate the friendly Thai people and their customs. It seems that by blaming the foreigners as the migratory vectors who introduce AIDS into the bodies of the Thai prostitutes, Thailand might purify its own national image. However, such nationalist speech also signifies "self-orientalizing," "self-sexualizing," and "self-effacing" Thailand, as if the nation were defenselessly open to economical and sexual colonization from abroad without any resistance.

Thai women, especially female sex workers, are viewed as a potential high risks group likely to convey HIV from foreign heterosexual male customers to their husbands or to other Thai heterosexual men and their wives. The official public policy statement emphasizes that AIDS is a sexually transmitted disease, particularly referring to Thai prostitutes. In this way, the statement reveals its sexism and homophobia. Here, complicated AIDS stratifications cut across the borders of nations, gender and sexualities. The xenophobic complex will not help Thailand solve AIDS problems. What the Thai government should do is construct and carry out a rational, non-discriminating AIDS policy, which aims to prevent AIDS, help people with HIV/AIDS get settled in a good medical environment, and offer them alternative possibilities for work.

In THE HEART OF BUDDHA, the juxtaposition of the first part, a tourist guide to Thailand, against the second part, focused on AIDS, reveals inconsistencies and ruptures. These ruptures are caused by impetuously exoticizing both the Thai national body and the HIV virus. The split between the two halves of the video may also reflect on how Taiwanese video production could "orientalize" Thailand. Taiwan, even though geographically situated in a so-called "third world" Eastern location is also influenced by global, "oriental" impulses; it often imitates first world imperial gestures. Thus many Taiwanese's perceptions of Thailand parallel those of Western foreigners who go to Thailand for sexual pleasure. As critic John Erni indicates about Thailand, "Tourists from Japan, Hong Kong came to occupy their city and country" (1997: 73). I would add, "And from Thailand."

In the eyes of Taiwan or other Asian countries with economic advantages, Thailand can be seen exotic and sexually desirable. "Orientalism" does not have to take place in the tensions between the West and the East; it can also exist among Asian countries. As long as Thailand is conceptualized either by the first world Western or the third world Eastern countries as the "pathological,""promiscuous," and "sexually dangerous" other, it can immediately elicit the logic of Orientalism and imperialism. THE HEART OF BUDDHA can well be regarded as an "oriental" representation of the national and sexual cultures of post-colonial Thailand.


THE STORIES OF RED RIBBONS (Part 5). Director: Tsai Ming-liang. Location: Taiwan. Language: Mandarin with Chinese subtitles. 57 min., Betacam.

MY NEW FRIENDS is composed of two sections of interviews. The interviewer is Tsai Ming-liang, the director himself, with two gay men infected with HIV (one thin, the other muscular). In the first section, a cozy dialogue between Tsai Ming-liang and the thin man is held peacefully in a dark room with dim light. Conversation topics vary from "When did you begin to like men?" to "What conditions do you think led to your infection?" or even "What do you think about homosexuality?' (Shouldn't another question be added: "What do you think about straightness?") Both voyeuristic and compassionate, Tsai Ming-liang's interview seems caught between contradictory desires for distance and intimacy.

The thin man is shown through close-ups of segments of his body, but not his face. Thus we see his thin arms with protruding veins, his skinny fingers holding a cigarette and smoking away. In order to substitute for the absence of the thin man's face, Tsai Ming-liang's face must constantly appear. No wonder Tsai Ming-liang won a prize for "the best actor" in MY NEW FRIENDS. However, sometimes Tasi Ming-liang also seems too shy to reveal himself; either we see his head sinking into the dark, or, just like the thin man, only the lower part of his body is exposed. This visual style creates an unusual viewing experience for me. Two "faceless" male bodies (sometimes a head is out of frame, sometimes the camera faces the back of a head) are talking. In an extreme way, the mirrors in the room are used to reflect the two of them. At the beginning Tasi Ming-liang's face is shown in the mirrors, but gradually his face disappears. It is as if two mirrored phantoms without corporeal bodies or heads only wish to vanish. At that moment as a viewer, I want to close my eyes.

In the second section of MY NEW FRIENDS, the men's soft conversation and the aesthetics of representation are similar to that of the previous section. The muscular man tells of his everyday experiences and his love life before and after becoming an HIV carrier. Again, as a viewer I do not feel like watching, but prefer listening with closed eyes and slipping into their intimate communications. Halfway through their conversation, Tsai Ming-liang suddenly asks, "Could 1 put my leg over there?" He stretches out his leg on the mattress where the muscular man is sitting. It seems that the barriers between these two men have gradually melted away, and AIDS no longer signifies a fatal threat that stops people's attempts to reach mutual understanding.

At the end of this video, the indoor scene switches to an outdoor scene. The camera functions like an eye shining with tenderness, gazing at the muscular man's back as he is riding his motorcycle home. Simultaneously, the commentary in the background comes from the lyrics of the touching, soft love song that the muscular man sings with the guitar. The love and passion which the muscular man has experienced psychologically allow him to resist the effects of HIV.


"The AIDS narrative exists as a technology of social repression; it is a representation that attempts to silence not only the claims of identity politics, but the people marginalized by AIDS" (Patton, 1990: 131).

What Patton demonstrates to be a "technology of social repression" indicates how the video aesthetics of THE STORIES OF RED RIBBONS operate. Unlike "normal" people who can reveal their faces without having to hide, the faces of people with HIV/AIDS are presumably not supposed to he exhibited in the public realm. Treated cruelly as disfigured "monsters," they are feared and dehumanized as "disgusting" by society. "To film without the face" for the sake of protecting people with HIV/AIDS from public display only confirms the mechanism whereby social anxieties around AIDS are displaced and condensed into real bodies with the virus.

This reminds me of what happened to one of the leaders among the Taiwanese group performers, Tian Chi-yen, who died of AIDS in 1996. His dead body was isolated and untouchable, not allowed to be washed, clothed, made up, and not accepted by any of the funeral homes. Such an overwhelming repulsion, discrimination, and annihilation of the body is a most terrifying and inhumane act to inflict on a person with AIDS. The "national AIDS panics" that surround the dead body with AIDS uncover how the state and public in Taiwan coldly turn their backs on a "silenced" body who no longer can speak for his own rights and for justice. Sadly, the collective identities of people with AIDS are not defined by their own. Instead, these collective identities are only invented in socially hostile ways, especially in representing deformed, phantom-like, and entirely rejected bodies. In Taiwan, people with AIDS are still closeted, mystified and marginalized in the dark; generally they have not been strong enough to generate identity politics at this stage.

The productions of THE STORIES OF RED RIBBONS encourage a friendly start. The Taiwanese media has begun to have a concern for AIDS issues, not only locally but also involving Asian regional interests. However, whether in Taiwan or in other parts of Asia, AIDS social movements, battles for in-depth reorganizing of non-discriminatory AIDS health policies, or contestations of media representations of AIDS still have a long way to go. As the female protagonist in THE HEART OF BUDDHA, who slightly reveals her face in a slow-motion shot at the end, states,

"AIDS is not only the business of people with AIDS, but rather it is the business of the nation, the society, and everybody."

AIDS still needs everybody's struggles.


Especial thanks to Adrian and Siu for their enthusiasm and help revising my English version of this article.

1. The five directors are Sylvia Chang, Yim Ho, Huang Chun-ming, Yu Kan-ping, and Tsai Ming-laing. Currently settled in Hong Kong, Sylvia Chang has had a prolific thirty-year career as a Taiwanese actress/director/singer. Yim Ho, from Hong Kong, who developed a filmmaking career in China and Hong Kong, made the feature KITCHEN (1997) based on a best-selling Japanese novel by Banana Yoshimoto and co-produced with Hong Kong, Japanese and Mainland Chinese actors and actresses. Huang Chun-ming, famous as a Taiwanese nativist novelist in the 70s and the 80s, has seen his works widely adapted by Taiwan New Cinema in the 80s. Yu Kan-ping pioneered in making OUTCAST (1986), the first explicitly gay story in the history of Taiwanese cinema. Tsai Ming-liang is a Taiwanese director who won prizes in the Venice and Berlin international film festival for VIVA L'AMOUR (1994) and THE RIVER (1997).

2. This article in English is essentially based on the Chinese article, "Exploring THE STORIES OF RED RIBBONS: the AIDS Video Series," published in the Taiwanese film journal, Film Appreciation, 83-84, 1996, pp. 134-141. I have gained some new perspectives in the process of rewriting.


Emi, John Nguyet (1997) "Of Desire, the Farang, and Textual Excursions: Assembling "Asian AIDS," Cultural Studies 11:1, 64-77.

Patton. Cindy (1990) Inventing AIDS (New York and London: Routledge).