Ximei is a 2019 American documentary directed by Andy Cohen, co-directed by Gaylen Ross and produced by Ai Weiwei. In a gritty, vérité style, the film follows the harrowing crusades of a peasant woman named Liu Ximei. She fights for the survival of fellow AIDS victims who contracted AIDS in the 1990’s when Chinese health officials encouraged millions of poor farmers to sell their blood for a pittance under catastrophic health conditions.
Production of Ximei lasted seven years, due to interference from Chinese officials; Cohen’s phone and internet messages were spied on, parts of the footage regularly confiscated, and he and Ross were expelled from the AIDS villages on various occasions. Subjects of the film were often detained by the authorities and forced to sign statements and the film’s Chinese cameraman was arrested and later released for his activism. Continue