Director: Mengtai Zhang

Institute History

  • 2022 Sundance Film Festival


In the early 2000s, the internet was rapidly popularized in China as young people started to spend more time home alone with computers, especially after the 2003 SARS epidemic. State-run media began calling video games “electronic heroin” and “spiritual opium,” raising panic among concerned parents. This was followed by the boom of the “internet addiction” rehab industry, under the banner of medicine and education. The Chinese government treated so-called internet addiction as a national public health crisis and intervened aggressively.

Diagnosia is an immersive documentary that portrays the director's memories of being incarcerated in a military-operated internet addiction camp in Beijing in 2007 when he was labeled a teenage “internet addict. Zhang raises questions about the extensive research publications that have come out of this institution, and how they entangle with the scientific literature of “internet addiction” on a global scale. By tracing the lineage of internet addiction in China’s context, Diagnosia explores how societies can create or manifest pathologies as a tool for social control.

Screening Details

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