Content POV: Yun Wang and Yasa Guo

In this edition of Content POV, RFA Mandarin Service reporters Yun Wang and Yasa Guo share their insights on what working on this project meant to them.

New York, NY | July 29, 2020

The famine in China from 1959-1963 has been known by many names. It was either called "Three Years of Great Famine" or "Three Years of Natural Disasters". After the 1980s, the Chinese government renamed it the "Three Years of Difficulty". The estimates of deaths due to starvation range in the tens of millions.

RFA reporters Yun Wang and Yasa Guo worked together with three scholars of China’s Great Famine to tell the stories of those who lived through the man-made catastrophe that unfolded between 1958-1961. Their efforts culminated in China’s Great Famine: Sad Songs of Peasants in a Food War, which earned Gold in History Documentary from the Grand Jury.

“Peasants have been the silent majority throughout China’s long history, but especially since the establishment of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) regime. They have also been the group that suffered the most from political and social tragedies in China. China’s Great Famine gives voice to their grievances and sadness and exposes the difficulties they’ve faced. As a journalist, I feel obligated to write this history and tell millions of ordinary people in China that this history is not far removed from us. We must learn from our own history, learn from it which path we should take into the future.”

– Yun Wang, reporter, China’s Great Famine: Sad Songs of Peasants in a Food War

“As a news reporter, I'm driven to record, reveal, and reflect history for our audience. I think this documentary is the epitome of what we strive for at RFA—delivering reliable information to our audience, especially those listeners that are fed false narratives about the past inside China's Great Firewall. As the CCP tries to erase its history and justify its authoritarian rule in the current era, all while increasing online censorship, oppressing dissidents, cracking down on religious gatherings, and tightening control over Hong Kong, this inhuman history caused by its ruthless domination should be revealed and recognized to prevent future disasters.”

– Yasa Guo, reporter, China’s Great Famine: Sad Songs of Peasants in a Food War