They Chose China

In this feature documentary, Oscar®-nominated filmmaker Shuibo Wang (Sunrise Over Tiananmen Square) aims his camera at the astonishing story of 21 American soldiers who opted to stay in China after the Korean War ended in 1954. Back home in the United States, McCarthyism was at its height and many Americans believed these men were brainwashed by Chinese communists. But what really happened? Using never-before-seen footage from the Chinese camps and interviews with former PoWs and their families, They Chose China tells the fascinating stories of these forgotten American dissidents.

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David Hawkins
Della Adams
Lin Adams
Jessica Adams
Richard Westbrook
Bai Xirong
Shaolei Veneris
Shaoxia Veneris
Lu Wenxin
Cheng Shaokun
Hao Zhanjun
Li Honglin
Liu Xuanzhen
Lu Bin
Pan Chongyuan
Qian Meide
Su Yunbao
Wang Youfen
Wu Dashou
Wu Henian
Wu Jun
Xia Fangmin
Zhou Shanqun
Shui-Bo Wang
Claude Bonin
executive producer
Éric Michel
Paul Saadoun
Ragnar Van Leyden
director of photography
Sylvestre Guidi
Pascale Bilodeau
original music
Peter Chase
Shui-Bo Wang
stock shot research
Pascale Bilodeau
Elizabeth Klinck
Tanya Fleet
sound engineer
Zhang Yong
Sylvain Vary
voice recording
Kathleen Fee
Geoffrey Mitchell
Joanna Noyes
Kelly Ricard
Luis de Cespedes
Paul Stewart
sound editor
Daniel Toussaint
Luc Léger
production team
Catherine Frebourg
Clarisse Gatti
Marie-Christine Gely
Sandra Moella
Malik Menaï


  • “Engrossing and very moving. I had read a book, 22 Stayed by Virginia Pasley, written shortly after their decision to stay in China, and looked online to see what had become of them later. This film was a wonderful discovery and the story it tells is a fascinating contrast to the portrait painted of them by Ms. Pasley (even though I think she was probably quite progressive for that period).” — Errihapeti, 11 Feb 2013

  • Robespierre

    “A fascinating documentary about a little known group of men who did what for most Americans at the time was unthinkable: defection to China. I highly recommend this film. The explorations of the men that are profiled are interesting because, among other things, we are given perspectives from family members as well.” — Robespierre, 6 Dec 2010

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