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Last Train Home

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Learn More About Trade with China

In Last Train Home, the Zhangs leave their rural home to work in factories, hoping to provide a better life for their children. Discover ways to discuss trade with China, labor practices and the importance of education with others in your communities.
  • Convene a study group to look at U.S. trade policy with China. Identify the government bodies that craft and negotiate that policy. Culminate your efforts by imagining that you are crafting a trade agreement between the United States and China (or another economically developing nation). What protections would you want to see included for factory workers like those you saw in the film? Share your answers with your federal legislators and other federal officials involved in trade negotiations.

  • Host a screening of Last Train Home as part of a community initiative to improve high school graduation rates. As part of the event, organize a speak-out where parents and teens can share their visions for the future and discuss the role that education plays in those visions.

Get informed about the issues in the film and lead a discussion in your community.

Discussion Guide

Discussion Guide

Like so many of China’s rural poor, Zhang Changhua and Chen Suqin left behind their infant children for grueling factory jobs in the city. Every spring, 130 million Chinese migrant workers compete for train tickets that will enable them to spend the New Year’s holiday with the families they left behind in their home villages. Last Train Home documents their journey — a mass exodus that is the world’s largest human migration. The epic spectacle reveals a country tragically caught between its rural past and industrial future. As an outreach tool, the film forces viewers to look at the human cost of China’s ascendance as an economic superpower and confront the ways in which poverty and policy fracture families.

Lesson Plan

Lesson Plan

In these two lessons designed to accompany Last Train Home, students will examine issues facing China today. In one lesson, students to examine the ethics of outsourcing labor to China, taking into account labor practices and working conditions. The second plan examines the traditional Chinese values of Confucianism and how they come into conflict with contemporary Chinese society.

Reading List

Delve Deeper

This multi-media resource list, compiled by Gina Blume of the Monroe Township Public Library, includes books, films and other materials related to the issues presented in the film Last Train Home. Learn more about migrant workers in China, shifting traditional Confucian values and the effects of globalization on China.

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Remarkable... Fan has visual panache — Last Train Home has some gorgeously composed shots — but he also has something that can’t be taught: The patience and understanding to allow a family to tell their heartbreaking story in their own way...”

— G. Allen Johnson,
San Francisco Chronicle

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