A True Story


Director & Editor

Wang Wen-Li


Ha Zhao-Zheng

Li Xiao

On-Line Editors

Luis Aldana
Luca Benetti
Li Dao-Ji


Bill Rogers

Narration Written by

Gene Cooper, Clarissa Dong,
John D. Rees, Bill Rogers

Television Adaptation

Matt Bollen


Clarissa  Dong

Robert Ting Huang

Post- Production Supervisor

Ayal Nitzan



Shanghai Television Station


Executive Producers

John David Rees

Clarissa Dong

Mao Mao’s Litigation is a documentary on the rise of the status of women in China.
It addresses a number of economic and social changes in contemporary China.

*Mao Mao’ Litigation was created by Shanghai Television Station.

It aired on over 350 PBS Stations in the U.S. and Canada 2000-2005.


Travel Notes on Ruili


Zhiwei Wang

Associated Production Music ©1990
American Production Music ©2000

Shanghai International Film Exchange

Los Angeles


Bea Miller Ammidown

Math H.J. Bollen, Ph.D.

Donald E. Brown, Ph.D.

Gene Cooper,, Ph.D.

Carrie Chu-Brown, M.A.

John David Rees, Ph.D.

Special Thanks To:

Jeffrey Chang, M.A.

Henry Chua

Nikki Deloffre, M.A.

Irene Y.H. Gu., Ph.D.

Man-Hua (mina) Guo

Heng-Yu Huang, Ph.D.

Kuan (Kevin) Feng

Yilan (Heidi) Luo, M.S.

Ling Ma, Ph.D.

Eugene Moy

Elaine Nesbit

Nana Qin

Ruth Roemer, J.D.

Director Wang Wen-Li

Amy Chan Munthe-kaas Ph.D.
Harold Munthe-kaas, Ph.D.

Film Credits

This is the true story of a woman laborer from Hunan Province in the south of China, who comes to Shanghai to find the man she claims to be the father of her child. She herself is one of the thousands of rural folk, the so-called “floating population,” who have gravitated to the big cities in recent years in search of work more financially rewarding than the farm labor in their native villages. The market-based economic reforms instituted by the central government in Beijing beginning in the late 1970s led to a relaxation of the resident permit system (called Hukou) that characterized the Maoist period, and the strict state control over population movement associated with it.

The outside laborers in the big cities seek the menial jobs that no urban resident would want to perform, and city folks look upon them as second class citizens, country bumpkins, and the cause of rising crime rates. The heroine of this tale is a member of this underclass, but boldly takes a paternity suit on behalf of her three month-old baby girl to the lowest level of the urban court system. That a rural Chinese woman should file such a case in court would have been unthinkable in Pre-Revolutionary China. Indeed, the  status of the unwed mother in those times was equally unthinkable. So strong was the value associated with premarital chastity in traditional times, and so strong the shame of premarital pregnancy, that a woman in such condition would have had little recourse but suicide. That our heroine wins  her case in court, within a short period of two weeks, and without the help of lawyers, is thus all the more noteworthy.

— Dr. Eugene Cooper, Professor of Anthropology, University of Southern California

More about her story is coming soon.

More About Mao Mao’s Story

The mother's candidness about her feelings towards the baby's biological father, and the father's openness about his chargrin at accusing the woman of her "infidelity" was what caused me to want to bring this fine piece of human drama to the awareness of the television viewers in the West. The family was united on account of the television viewers' outpour of donation of food, clothing, money, and offer of a steady job (with dormitory space), which cemented the couple's feelings towards each other, and their child. Ms. Zhao Yi-Li ("Mao Mao") is will be 16 on February 23, 2010.  She will be going for her TOEFL test in order to qualify her for petition for an F-1 visa to come to the US for her last two years of  high school--with her parents' blessings, and God's will.

Mao Mao has grown up
and is now applying to College.