Complicit

Complicit

Saturday, May 6, 2017 - 2:00pm
Sunday, May 14, 2017 - 6:00pm
Trailer(s)
Screening Sponsor(s)
Heather White and Lynn Zhang | 
US/China |
 2016 | 
88 minutes

THE MAY 6 SCREENING IS PART OF THE JUSTICE FORUM SERIES AND WILL INCLUDE A POST-FILM DISCUSSION.

While people in the West use smartphones to live healthier, happier lives, the construction of such devices has horrific health effects on the people who actually make them. Complicit shines a light on the dark irony of the global electronic manufacturing industry in China, where 90% of the world’s consumer electronics are produced, including 70% of its cell phones.

From factory floors to hospital beds, we meet several workers and activists who speak openly about poor wages, and abysmal working conditions. Terminal illness is also a reality for an increasing number of people. Young women and men, some barely out of their teens, work in buildings with poor ventilation, and no windows. The chemicals used to clean and assemble electronics include benzene, a known carcinogen, and N-hexane, a chemical that been proven to cause damage to the nervous system. Both have been banned in industrialized Western Countries for forty years. Filmed over three years in Shenzhen and Guangzhou, filmmakers Heather White and Lynn Zhang provide an incredible first-hand look at the frontlines of China’s labour movement. (Much of the footage was shot in secret on handheld cameras.) Despite the challenges, the labour activists are organized and dedicated to taking on some of the world’s largest, most avaricious corporations. Corruption and obstruction run deep as workers struggle to get occupational disease diagnoses. There is even proof that hospital departments take bribes from those in power, refusing proper diagnoses to sick workers, who are then forced to cover their own medical bills.

As personal computers, smartphones and other electronic devices become extensions of our bodies and minds, it’s even more important to seek out the truth behind these technologies. Knowledge is power, and in this case, it’s the first step to becoming morally responsible global citizens. -SC

Justice Forum Panelist

Cathy Walker

Cathy Walker is the former National Health and Safety Director of the CAW (Canadian Auto Workers Union).  It has since become Unifor which is the largest private sector union in Canada.  She was appointed to the position in 1992 and retired in 2006.  Cathy has been a national union representative responsible for health, safety and environment since 1975. Since her retirement and moving back to the West Coast, Cathy has worked on China-related projects for: Canadian Labour Congress; Vancouver & District Labour Council; BC Federation of Labour; the University of Technology in Sydney Australia, researching auto assembly plants in China; and met with various Chinese union delegations visiting Canada to build understanding and solidarity between the union movements of Canada and China. Cathy has visited China 15 times between 1974 and 2016, visiting workplaces and meeting with workers and union officials, as well as studying Chinese.  Her most recent visit was with the BC Federation of Labour’s delegation to China in 2014. 

Justice Forum Panelist

Fiona Koza

Fiona Koza is a Business and Human Rights Campaigner at Amnesty International Canada and works to hold companies accountable for human rights abuses and to ensure access to remedy for people who have been harmed.