Tags: CCP, China, documentary, Falun Gong, film, human rights, Kilgour and Matas, labor camps, organ harvesting, persecution of dissidents, Society
“Davids and Goliath,” a film about organ harvesting from living Falun Gong practitioners in China, won Best Documentary at the 9th Hamilton Film Festival in Hamilton, Canada. The movie is currently available here to view for free until Nov. 27: http://tinyurl.com/nzx7fed
“It’s a movie like this that needs to get out to the public, and more people to become aware of it that it’s happening and how it’s happening. That kind of thing needs to be stopped.”— Administrative director of the Hamilton Film Festival, Nathan Fleet.
“Davids and Goliath” focuses on the investigation into organ harvesting by Canadian human rights lawyer David Matas and former Canadian Secretary of State (Asia-Pacific) David Kilgour. Both were separately nominated for the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize for their work on forced organ harvesting in China.
Read more: http://tinyurl.com/q5cjkzm
Tags: archaeology, Body & Mind, CCP, China, Culture, environmental issues, film, funny things, health, human rights, IT and Media, labor camps, Nature, persecution of dissidents, Science, Society, sustainable development
And some more…
By Michelle Yu
“When I die, bury me on the sunny side of the hill, because I’m afraid of the cold,” a child, now nameless and faceless, said to his fellow teenage prisoners over half a century ago. For the 4,000-5,000 juvenile prisoners at the Dabao labor camp, such requests were common, as the children were surrounded by death every day.
By Gu Qinger
Chinese torture victims have confronted Xinhua, the official propaganda organ of the Chinese regime, over its publication of a report by Liaoning officials which denies that inmates are being tortured at a labor camp in the northeast of the country called Masanjia.
By Matthew Robertson
It would have been impossible even very recently in China to produce a documentary about torture and slavery in an officially-run labor camp, and not be thrown in jail for it. Chinese independent filmmaker Du Bin, however, has done just that, and he’s now in Hong Kong speaking at film screenings and blithely taking interviews from overseas media.
By Shar Adams
WASHINGTON—After five days and 40 testimonies from international witnesses from the military, scientific and academic fields, a committee of six former Congress members agreed to seek international support to break a “truth embargo” on encounters with extraterrestrial life.
By Jack Phillips
Some are questioning the origin so-called “ring around the sun” that appeared on Monday.Reports said that the ring is a 22-degree halo, also known as a sun halo, according to ABC News. The halo is formed by small ice crystals that are contained in cirrostratus clouds. The sunlight then refracts through the ice at the 22-degree angle, creating the optical phenomenon.
By Matthew Robertson and Carol Wickenkamp
A group of nearly a dozen Chinese human rights lawyers who attempted to investigate an extralegal “brainwashing center” in the southeast of the country were violently set upon by guards on May 13, before being handed over to police, who beat them further and held them overnight before releasing them.
By Cassie Ryan
While the latest official news from China says that the H7N9 bird flu outbreak is now under control, a new international study urges continued caution.
By Gao Zitan
Chinese media recently exposed quality issues in the bottled water industry, saying its regulation levels are from the Soviet era.
Beijing News reported May 2 that over 10 Chinese experts had found that the standards for bottled water are very low, with only 20 test indices versus 106 for tap water quality.
By Will Hickey
One reason behind greater pollution leading to global warming has been artificially lowered gas prices brought by subsidies. Governments have carried on this shortsighted policy to foster growth and satisfy consumers. But as world fuel prices begin rising again, the costs of subsidy—both budgetary and environmental—will come to the fore.
By Matthew Robertson
University professors and administrators in China have been given clear instructions recently about precisely what topics of discussion are off-limits in the classroom.
By Sally Appert
Communist officials in Shaanxi Province have resorted to hiring fake monks to collect donations in an attempt to recover the debt they incurred from a large development project near the ancient Famen Temple.
Accused of violating one-child policy, Zhang Yimou’s real crime was backing Jiang Zemin
By Xia Xiaoqiang
A successful Chinese film director becomes entangled with the propaganda schemes of a brutal dictator. The director enjoys a rich and privileged life, but then loses everything when the dictator’s political opponents charge him with violating the nation’s family-planning laws.
By Zachary Stieber
Byzantine mosaic floor: The “extraordinary” floor was in a public building during the Byzantine Period in what is today Isreal, according to the Israel Antiquities Authority.
Tags: Body & Mind, CCP, China, Culture, documentary, environmental issues, film, human rights, IT and Media, labor camps, Nature, organ harvesting, persecution of dissidents, Science, Society, sustainable development, technology
Since I have not posted any articles in a long time I will post some so you can select those that are of interest to you.
By Sarah Laskow
We have seen a lot of solar chargers in our day. And among all of them, this is the first one we’ve seen that we will definitely run out and buy as soon as it’s made available in the U.S. It’s a portable socket that gets its power from the sun rather than the grid. You plug into a window instead of into the wall. It’s easy.
By Joshua Philipp
Epoch Times Staff
Watching the soft glow of fireflies could become a more common activity if researchers at Syracuse University have anything to do with it. They’re developing a method to artificially create luciferase, the chemical behind the soft glow of fireflies, and are working to create commercial lights that mimic the insects’ bioluminescence.
These migrants know why they keep moving
By Francisco Gavilán
When I was going to travel through Central Asia for the umpteenth time, I was looking for new and enriching experiences, including living for a while with the nomads of Song Kul, in Kyrgyzstan.
By Tara MacIsaac
Earth permanently deformed: Geologists have discovered that the Earth’s crust may not be as elastic as previously thought. Quakes in Northern Chile have permanently deformed the Earth.
Celebrating compassion and higher living across the globe
By Arshdeep Sarao
In India the full moon day of May 25, 2013, is being celebrated as Buddha Purnima or the birth anniversary of Buddha Shakyamuni. This year the Buddha becomes 2,556 years old.
By Matthew Robertson
‘I didn’t take blood money from a government that is murdering its people,’ says Jeffrey Van Middlebrook, Silicon Valley inventor.
By Leonardo Vintini
Everybody longs for happiness, but it seems like a hidden treasure. One way or another—consciously or unconsciously, directly or indirectly—everything we do, our every hope, is related to a deep desire for happiness.
Tags: CCP, China, Culture, documentary, film, human rights, labor camps, persecution of dissidents, Society
The documentary “Free China: The Courage to Believe,” co-produced by NTD, screened at the Swedish Parliament in Stockholm on Tuesday. The film is about a man and a woman who practice Falun Gong. They are imprisoned and tortured for standing up for their beliefs in China.
The film exposes some of the abuses behind China’s economic success—like slave labour—showing the cruel conditions in China’s forced labour camps.
The woman in the film, Jennifer Zeng was thrown into a Chinese labour camp because she practices Falun Gong. It’s a meditation practice the Chinese regime has been persecuting since 1999. In the labour camp she was forced to make handmade toy bunnies, shoes, Christmas lights and other products that are sold in the West.
[Jennifer Zeng, Main Character in Free China]:
“I hope that international companies must become aware. What kind of business partner and the whole environment inside there is? This is a state sanction system to use innocent people as free slavery that makes profit for the [Chinese Communist] Party. And the international companies and consumers overseas I think unknowingly become part of this. I don’t think they want to become part of this.”
China has the world’s second largest economy and is becoming increasingly more important in the world.
The producer of the film, Kean Wong and Jennifer pointed out that a better economy in China does not automatically grant freedom of speech for the Chinese people.
[Kean Wong, Producer]
“You are dealing with a mafia that is willing to kill their own people. They don’t really care about your company. They want to do business with you, make as much money as they can and eventually steal your market share.”
Kean Wong says that companies today that are doing business with China can no longer put all the responsibility on politicians to work for human rights in China.
[Kean Wong, Producer]
“If you don’t create an environment that is open, that is human, that allows freedom of speech as we are given here in Sweden and around the world, you can not have a proper trading partner.”
Several members of the Swedish Parliament, across party lines, support the film.
[Boriana Åberg, Member of Swedish Parliament]:
“While there is one single person who is denied human rights, the rest of us have to fight and stand up for those values of freedom, to say what you think, express yourselves, write without fear of being thrown into prison or in labour camps like Jennifer here.”
The award-winning documentary “Free China: The Courage to Believe” is directed by Michael Pearlman. Free China has also been screened at the European Parliament and the at the United States’ Congress.
The film team is planning to release “Free China” for threatrical release this summer.
NTD News Stockholm, Sweden
Tags: CCP, China, Culture, documentary, Falun Gong, film, human rights, labor camps, organ harvesting, persecution of dissidents
Award-winning documentary focus of gathering by human rights groups at National Press Club
WASHINGTON—While China has one fifth of the world’s population, the Chinese regime racks up far more than that proportion of the world’s human rights abuses. Responsible for Equality and Liberty (REAL) and several other human rights groups marked Human Rights Day with that unfortunate fact in mind by screening the award-winning documentary “Free China” and hosting a talk by one of the subjects of the film, in an event held on Dec. 10 at the National Press Club.
“You can’t be a human rights group if you’re ignoring 20 percent of the world,” said Jeffrey Imm, the founder of REAL and master of ceremonies for the event. “It’s in humanity’s interest,” to pay attention to human rights abuses in China, he said.
“Free China” tells the stories of two Falun Gong practitioners who each faced detention and torture for their beliefs and portrays the efforts of people around the world to stop the persecution by the Chinese regime of this traditional spiritual practice.
Dr. Charles Lee is one of the two individuals featured in the film and spoke at the event. Lee is of Chinese origin but held U.S. citizenship when he visited China in 2003. He was thrown into prison for three years.
Lee had returned to China to oppose the regime’s campaign against Falun Gong. He had plans to insert into television broadcasts documentary information about this persecution—information that is heavily censored in China.
Lee explained how this persecution came about. “We found a way of life which is much better than the doctrines given by the Communist Party,” he said, explaining the attraction of tens of millions of Chinese to Falun Gong during the 1990s. That led to paranoia from the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), Lee says, which was terrified of losing power.
Lee also spoke of the large number of human rights crimes committed by the CCP over its decades of rule, some of them particularly grotesque. These included descriptions of violent torture, public executions, mass starvation, cannibalism, and other atrocities.
This led Lee to a discussion of the most recent round of systematic and concentrated human rights abuses in communist China, carried out against Falun Gong practitioners since 1999. Lee focused in particular on the harvesting of organs from living Falun Gong adherents.
Organ harvesting targets Falun Gong practitioners detained in labor camps and prisons. They are blood-typed and then forced into having their organs pillaged when a matching donor requires an organ.
According to Corinna-Barbara Francis, a senior East Asian researcher at Amnesty International speaking at a recent European Parliament hearing, “Thousands and thousands of organ transplants occur in China… Belatedly, after a number of years of the issue having been exposed, [the regime] stated that the majority of the organs were harvested from executed prisoners.”
Francis said that much more horrifying and disturbing is the “allegation that these organs may be taken from live people. So in other words, individuals in China have their organs harvested and in the process of that they die… There are many groups that these organs may be taken from, the Falun Gong being one of the main groups. There are many things that provide supporting evidence that this may have occurred and may still be occurring.”
Lee not only spoke about the crimes of the Chinese regime, but also about how China could recover from those crimes.
He considers the Tuidang movement the foundation for China’s future. That movement calls for Chinese people to renounce their ties to the CCP and its affiliated organizations.
Lee said the Tuidang movement leads people to understand “the basic principles and moral structures of being a human being,” something that he believes that 60 years of communist rule has distorted.
Other speakers on the day included Niemat Ahmadi of Darfur Women Action Group, Carolyn Cook of United for Equality, a gender rights group, Nathalie Nguyen, with the International Committee To Support The Non-Violent Movement For Human Rights in Vietnam, and Ahmar Mustikhan, Senior Balochistan journalist. Balochistan is a region divided among Pakistan, Iran, and Afghanistan. The Pakistani part is that nation’s southwestern province and holds rich mineral deposits and a robust nationalist movement.
Mustikhan spoke about the persecution of Balochistani dissidents and the struggle of his people for independence. “China is deeply involved,” he said. “Some of those being tortured report the presence of Chinese intelligence personnel. I hope the U.S. will not be sleepy on this.”
- Fighting for One’s Belief: ‘Free China’ at the US Capitol
- ‘Free China’ Film Wins Award at Houston Festival
Tags: CCP, China, documentary, Falun Gong, film, human rights, persecution of dissidents, Society
Stop the Chinese Communist Party from killing people for their organs
On Nov. 1, I travelled to Canada for the first time to attend the Free Thinking Film Festival in Ottawa, as the subject of an award-winning documentary, Free China: The Courage to Believe.
This film examines widespread human rights violations inside China—from forced abortions to live organ harvesting of prisoners of conscience—through the stories and experiences of Dr. Charles Lee, an American-Chinese businessman, and myself, a mother, author, and former Communist Party member.
Both Charles and I, along with hundreds of thousands of peaceful citizens in China, have been incarcerated, tortured, and subjected to slave labor for our spiritual beliefs—we both practice Falun Gong.
After the screening, I observed that the audience was quite moved by our experiences. Many were also shocked by the extent of the physical and psychological torture that Charles and I had to endure and at learning that Falun Gong practitioners have been killed for the harvesting of their vital organs. One audience member angrily asked, “What has the UN done in all these years?”
Another audience member, MP Bryan Hayes of the Conservative Party, asked, “What is the one thing you’d like the Canadian government to do?”
Mr. David Kilgour, a 27 year Canadian Parliamentary Member; and co-author of Bloody Harvest, The Killing of Falun Gong for their Organs, which provides a comprehensive analysis based on intensive investigation into the live organ harvesting of Falun Gong practitioners in China, answered by saying, “Well, we actually have 25 things that we’d like the Canadian Government to do. The Foreign Ministry can at least post a warning on its website to inform Canadians that if you go to China for an organ transplant, there is a high chance that someone like Jennifer could be killed so that you can utilize her organs. Would you then still want to go to China?”
For me, I would like the Canadian Government, as well as other governments around the world to demand the Chinese Communist Party stop persecuting Falun Gong practitioners immediately. This includes:
1. Stop killing Falun Gong practitioners for their organs;
2. Release all imprisoned Falun Gong practitioners;
3. Lift the ban on Falun Gong and allow publication and distribution of Falun Gong books in China.
The question here is how far is the Canadian government, and how far are other governments, prepared to go to make this happen? What has the world done to stop the Chinese Communist Party from killing thousands or tens of thousands of Falun Gong practitioners for their organs? What level of heinous crimes has to occur before governments are willing to do anything?
There have been so many times when Falun Gong practitioners have attempted to raise awareness of live organ harvesting when people would ask, “Where is the evidence?” Whenever I hear this response, my heart becomes heavy.
Falun Gong practitioners are a group of peaceful and law-abiding citizens who hold no state power at all in their hands. When Anne, wife of a Chinese doctor, first informed the public back in 2006 that her husband alone had removed corneas from the living bodies of more than 2,000 Falun Gong practitioners; and that thousands of Falun Gong practitioners were still jailed in an underground facility and could be killed at any time, I felt like l was hearing the most terrible news about my missing family members.
For me, the logic is very clear. If the allegations are there, if respectable individuals like David Kilgour and his co-author David Matas have already used their own resources and undertaken investigations to prove that this IS happening, if knowledgeable transplant doctors like Dr. Jacob Lavee cried out that this IS happening based on their professional judgment, if 106 US Congress members have written to the U.S. Government to demand the release of organ-harvesting related information that the U.S. Government might have, isn’t it the obligation of the United Nations or any other government that really respects human life to take action?
Why is it so difficult to undertake further investigations, or to publish a warning or condemnation? Do we have preferences or selections when attempting to uphold justice? If there is a differentiation or selection about what kind of “justice” we are prepared to uphold, can we still call it justice?
Sure, we are doing business with the Chinese Communist Party; and the party still controls the largest military force in the world. However, with the attempted defection of Wang Lijun, former police chief of Chongqing city, with the sentencing of Gu Kailai and the ouster of Bo Xilai, more and more evidence of the real crimes behind these men’s actions, which are attributed to the live organ harvesting of Falun Gong practitioners, is emerging.
A crime of such a scale cannot be hidden forever, and the Chinese Communist Party is not as strong as we imagine. I believe that as soon as the crime of organ harvesting becomes known to the majority of Chinese people, the party will collapse.
What we may need to do now is only to put the last straw on the camel’s back. Otherwise, when our children or grandchildren ask us, “why didn’t you do anything to stop this crime?” what can we say?
Jennifer Zeng is the author of “Witnessing History: One Chinese Woman’s Fight for Freedom and Falun Gong.” Before being persecuted in China for her faith, she was a researcher and consultant in the Development Research Center of the State Council, the State Cabinet. Her story is featured in the award-winning documentary, “Free China; the Courage to Believe,” co-produced by New Tang Dynasty Television and World2Be Productions.
Editor’s Note: When Chongqing’s former top cop, Wang Lijun, fled for his life to the U.S. Consulate in Chengdu on Feb. 6, he set in motion a political storm that has not subsided. The battle behind the scenes turns on what stance officials take toward the persecution of Falun Gong. The faction with bloody hands—the officials former CCP head Jiang Zemin promoted in order to carry out the persecution—is seeking to avoid accountability for their crimes and to continue the campaign. Other officials are refusing any longer to participate in the persecution. Events present a clear choice to the officials and citizens of China, as well as people around the world: either support or oppose the persecution of Falun Gong. History will record the choice each person makes.
- Fighting for One’s Belief: ‘Free China’ at the US Capitol
- ‘Free China’ Movie Wins International Award
Tags: CCP, China, documentary, Falun Gong, film, human rights, labor camps, organ harvesting, persecution of dissidents, Society
WASHINGTON—Some lucky people in the nation’s capital had a first look at the documentary Free China: The Courage to Believe, which had a private showing at the U.S. Capitol. The 53-minute documentary has won four international awards.
Directed by Michael Perlman of Tibet: Beyond Fear, and produced by Kean Wong of NTD Television, Free China tells the story of two prisoners of conscience and how they survived against physical torture and enormous pressures to recant their beliefs.
“There are not enough human rights fighters in Congress,” Dr. Katrina Lantos Swett told The Epoch Times. She is the Chair of the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF).
Swett said that Free China is “a truth-telling film.” It “lifts the curtain on what is really going on in China—the horrible religious persecution of Falun Gong, the appalling practice of organ harvesting, and the slave labor in [the re-education through labor camps] and prisons. Tragically, we have a Western press that so often turns a blind eye to the stunning revelations of human rights abuses going on in China on an ongoing basis. I think this film can be a powerful tool for telling the truth and spreading the story. I hope it is going to be widely seen.”
Swett is the daughter of the late Congressman Tom Lantos and President of the Lantos Foundation for Human Rights and Justice.
After the showing, a panel discussed the film. Sixteen term Congressman Chris Smith (R-N.J.) led off with the statement, “With story-telling of the film, [it] puts a human face on China’s human rights abuse and arbitrary detention of dissidents, harvesting of organs from live prisoners of conscience, and export of products made by prison labor to the West. The film also examines how Chinese citizens are awakening to demand their rights of conscience in the intense Internet censorship and the end of censorship that is so prevalent in China today.”
The sponsor of the film screening at the U.S. Capitol on Sept. 20 was the Congressional-Executive China Commission (CECC).
Rep. Smith is chairman of CECC. The week before, he co-chaired a congressional hearing on “Organ Harvesting by the Chinese Communist Party.” The day before the screening, Smith co-sponsored a Dear Colleague letter with Congressman Robert Andrews (D-N.J.), asking the State Department to release any information it may have that relates to organ transplant abuse in China.
In Free China, Jennifer Zeng, a mother and former Communist Party member, and Dr. Charles Lee, an American Chinese businessman, practice the spiritual beliefs of Falun Gong (also known as Falun Dafa). Both get caught up in the forced labor camps ubiquitous in mainland China.
There, they have to endure a life of torture of electric batons, forced feedings, risk having their organs harvested, and working all day on products exported to the West. They manage to survive without bitterness and become determined to end the persecution of their fellows and help China become free.
Both Zeng and Lee were in attendance at the Capitol preview. Lee said that in prison he held two letters for two years that sustained him during the time. One was from the late Congressman Tom Lantos and the other from Congressman Smith. Lee said, “I knew so many people were working together to stop the persecution.”
Courage to Believe
In addition to all the physical abuse, Zeng and Lee were subjected to the communist party’s brainwashing techniques to make them renounce their beliefs. If one breaks down, the practitioner will have to write slandering articles in the labor camp that are recorded.
Furthermore, one is used to break the will of other practitioners. One doesn’t have a choice in the matter. Renouncing your beliefs is shown in the film by willingness to “reform” others, especially newcomers, an ordeal that is particularly troublingly to the conscience. Hence, the words in the subtitle of the film “Courage to Believe” were chosen for a good reason.
Zeng is the author of the best-selling book, Witnessing History: One Woman Fights for Freedom and Falun Gong. In the film, she recounts going from being upper class society and Party member to prisoner in one day. On her first day in prison, she was made to squat down and look down at her feet in the hot sun for 15 hours. When she challenged the requirement, she was taken away and tortured with electric batons. Her whole world began to collapse, she said.
After she was released, she fled to Australia, to avoid being detained again. About one year ago Zeng moved to New York, where she is now a New Tang Dynasty news reporter. Later her daughter and husband were able to join her.
As an American citizen, Dr. Lee led a comfortable and secure life. But he wanted to do something to break through the propaganda machine of the regime that brainwashes most of China’s 1.3 billion people. He had an idea on how to do it, but on his second visit to the mainland, he was arrested and sentenced to three years. He was released in 2006. Lee is a medical doctor by training and continued his medical studies at the University of Illinois and Harvard Medical School.
Products Made from Prison Labor
Zeng knitted rabbit dolls, hats and scarves. It took her 10 hours to make one rabbit, for which, of course, she was not paid. Lee was forced to make Homer Simpson slippers for export to the West.
Film director Michael Perlman said the film shows that products illegally made and exported that made him wonder how many other products are out there that we don’t know about. He said he spoke to Congressman Smith about the law that disallows goods made with prison labor, and Smith told him that the law is like Swiss cheese, with many holes.
“No goods made with prison labor should be imported in the United States,” Perlman said. Consumers need to be educated and pressure needs to be brought to get enforcement and legislation to end this, Perlman said.
Tags: Body & Mind, CCP, Children, China, Culture, documentary, Falun Gong, film, human rights, labor camps, persecution of dissidents, Society
My daughter was born in Beijing in 1992, the Year of the Monkey. At the time, I almost died from birth complications and the whole family was distressed. Her grandma exclaimed, “What kind of person could this child be, entering this world in such turmoil?”
My daughter learned to say “no” when she was only 1-1/2 years old. That day she had done something naughty. I had put on a stern face and begun to scold her, but surprisingly, she was not scared or upset at all. Looking at me, she just frowned and said very clearly with much effort, “No, mom! No angry!”
It was her first attempt to say “no,” clearly and forcefully. It seemed as if she cared more about my well being than about being reprimanded. Instantly I knew that everything I had gone through, and would go through for her, would be worthwhile.
My daughter began to worry about life when she was just 2-1/2 years old. One day I took her for a walk to a primary school and we sat in the playground.
She looked longingly at a classroom and asked me, “Mom, can I go to school too?” “No, you are too small,” I said.
She was silent for a while, then with a deep sigh, she said, “Mom, when will I EVER be taller?” She emphasized the word “ever” with such force, as if she had been bothered by this problem for a long time.
I was lost for words as I looked into her eyes, pondering silently whether she was actually some sort of a reincarnated philosopher. At last, I answered her in a very non-philosophical way. “Eat more, and then you will gradually grow taller.”
When my daughter was 3-1/2 years old, she actually taught me a lesson. In a serious tone of voice she asked me, “Mom, why are there bad people in the world?”
Astonished, I looked at her and thought, “Yes, why indeed? If there were no bad people, only good people, wouldn’t the world be great?” Hundreds of thoughts and thousands of possibilities flashed across my mind, but in the end I couldn’t answer her question in a way that a three-year-old could comprehend. I could only tell her honestly, “I don’t know.”
She tilted her head and said proudly, “Well, I know!”
Taken by surprise, I said, “Really? Then tell me why there are bad people.”
“They keep on doing bad things, so they turn into bad people!” Gosh, that is it?
One day when my daughter was 4-1/2 years old, my husband and I took her for a car ride. It was probably an auspicious day. We saw many wedding cars along the way, each one more luxurious than the last. My daughter gazed excitedly out of the window.
After a while my husband teased her, “When you get married, do you want to ride in a limousine?”
Sinking back into the seat, she answered instantly in a serious tone, “We will see when the time comes.”
After that she didn’t take a second look. Once more, her reply shocked and amazed me. How did she manage to remain so emotionally unmoved at that age?
My daughter was bright for her age. She was already in the second year of primary school when she was five and a half. When I went to a parent-teacher meeting I saw a big sign near the school gate, which read: “Learning to be. Learning to know. Learning to do. Learning to be healthy and strong.”
After returning home, I asked her, “What does the saying ‘learning to be’ mean?” While I was preparing to give her a lengthy sermon on the subject, she smiled and said with ease, “I know! It is just to be a good person!”
Instantly I forgot the speech I had prepared and just wanted to admire her.
When my daughter was six, one day I overheard her talking to her grandma in the next room. “Grandma, please practice Falun Gong. It’s really good for your health. Believe me!”
It’s true. My daughter knew that I had been extremely weak and in poor health for several years, but after practicing Falun Gong (which is a meditation practice based on truthfulness, compassion and tolerance) I had completely recovered. So she was making a similar plan for her grandma—wanting her to become well too.
Grandma said, “I don’t know how to.”
“Let mom teach you.”
“But my eyesight is bad and I can’t read the books.”
“I can read to you!”
Grandma couldn’t find a reason to refuse her, so she tried to satisfy her by saying,
“Fine, fine, I will learn when I have time.”
My daughter, however, would not give up so easily. She was overcome with emotion when she finally said, “Grandma, I don’t want you to die.”
When my daughter was nearly seven, the local television stations started broadcasting many defamatory and offensive programs against Falun Gong. The lies were so bizarre that I couldn’t believe my ears, and the bombardment was so heavy that I could barely think rationally.
While watching one program my daughter asked with wide open eyes, “Mom, why do they say Falun Gong practitioners are bad people?”
My heart ached like it had been “bitten by a thousand snakes.”
I knew she would never think of Falun Gong practitioners as “bad people” since she never saw any of them doing “bad things.” Besides, I had reminded her to be a good person all the time.
I could not handle the confusion in her eyes or her expectations and forthright demands for an immediate answer. I just did not know how to answer her question. I had the bitter thought of telling her to ask the television people, but then a friend answered her well,
“They distort the truth and have a guilty conscience because of their own wrong deeds!”
When my daughter was seven and a half, I was sent to a forced labor camp for practicing Falun Gong. My daughter came to visit me a few months later. The moment she saw me she started talking intently, “Mom, I’ve learned to play the flute. We now have a ‘little tinkle bell’ in our house.”
She kept on chattering about the fun she had with the “little tinkle bell”, though by the end of her twenty-minute visit I still had no idea whether it was a toy, a pet or a person.
At least I was relieved to hear her talking like that. I thought to myself, “Thankfully, a young child doesn’t know the harsh taste of sorrow. It seems that she is happy and untroubled by her mother not being around.”
More than a year later I learned that her grandma had strictly forbidden her to tell others about my detention in a forced labor camp, where only criminals are supposed to be held. No matter how unjust it was, detention is considered shameful and demeans a family’s reputation.
Being young, however, she was unable to restrain herself. She confided her secret to her teacher in an essay. Perhaps, subconsciously, she thought of her homeroom teacher as the mother she was missing.
Grandma scolded her for that, because she wished to avoid any discrimination against her granddaughter. To avoid this, her father had to transfer her to a new school.
By the time of my release from the camp my daughter was eight-and-a-half. I was lucky to be alive at all after narrowly escaping certain death. A few days later, I found a note on the table in my daughter’s handwriting. She had written, “Mom, I advise you to stop practicing Falun Gong. Please take a look at this book.”
Her school teacher had given her a book that described Falun Gong practitioners as murderers and psychopaths. I tried to explain to her that I was a good person, and that the book had been fabricated and was full of lies.
But she interrupted and shouted desperately at me, “I know you are a good person! But the television says Falun Gong practitioners are bad people! I don’t know who to believe!”
Her dark, sorrowful eyes were sad and she looked like someone who had already gone through too much in life.
My heart felt a stabbing pain. I wondered how much this young life had endured during my absence? How much had her young heart been hurt? How did she respond when her teachers and school friends asked where her mother was? What other torment did she suffer during my absence?
It hurt me to watch her trying to choose who to believe among her teacher, the media, those around her, and her own mother.
I had to tell her about many things that I would not normally discuss with such a young child: the Cultural Revolution, Party Chairman Liu Shaoqi, who was killed during the Cultural Revolution, and the 1989 Tiananmen Square Massacre. Although these happenings were very brutal, there was no other way to confront the lies, and convince her to believe me and love me again.
A few days later, she nodded her head knowingly while telling me what she had discovered. “It seems that whoever is in power stirs up something: Mao Zedong had the Cultural Revolution; Deng Xiaoping had the Tiananmen Square massacre; and Jiang Zemin has the persecution of Falun Gong.”
When my daughter was nearly nine, I faced the danger of being sent back to a forced labor camp. I had no choice but to flee my country, leaving her behind with her father to manage without me. A year later, still having not found me, the police took her father away to an unknown place.
On my daughter’s tenth birthday I phoned her to wish her a happy birthday. She said,
“I am not happy at all!”
Tears welled up in my eyes. I asked her, “Is there any news about your father?”
“It’s all your fault! It’s all your fault!” was her answer.
I was speechless. Coldly she said from the other end of the line, “Do you have anything else to say?”
Tears flooded down my cheeks. I knew she didn’t mean to hurt me so deeply, and that these weren’t really her own words—she must have heard them from others. Still, my heart ached all the same.
It reminded me about a story I had read a long time ago. It was about a female author from the former Soviet Union who had been wrongfully imprisoned. Her teenage daughter wrote to her and asked, “Mother, please tell me, are you guilty or are those who imprisoned you guilty? If it is you, I shall hate you; if it is those who imprisoned you, I shall hate them!”
The mother feared that attacking those in power would put her daughter’s life in danger, so she decided to swallow a bitter pill and tell her that she was guilty. As a result, they both suffered for the rest of their lives.
I did not intend to walk the same path as this author. But living in a foreign country made communication difficult. Also, the telephone in our house back in China was tapped and the letters I wrote to my daughter were confiscated before she received them.
It was very difficult for me to protect an innocent young heart from being poisoned by the constant lies coming from the country’s propaganda machinery.
Recently my daughter turned eleven. In my dreams I often flew back to my home and worried about her losing her innocence and in-born intelligence and thus getting lost. But on many other occasions I thought of sending word to my extraordinary daughter.
This is what I wanted to say: In order not to be enslaved by lies, in order to reunite with you in dignity, in order that your future daughter and your daughter’s daughter would never have to suffer what you have suffered, in order that thousands upon thousands of little girls like you could remain by their mothers’ side, to be loved and pampered, your mother is doing her utmost. This is the darkness before dawn!
Soon you will be able to witness an amazing phenomenon—the truth will overpower all lies and falsehoods; brutality cannot subdue compassion and justice; our days of enjoying happiness and merriment under the sun will once again be here.
This memoir was written just before the author and her daughter were reunited in Australia, in 2004. The daughter is now a university student in Sydney and is doing well.
Jennifer Zeng is the author of “Witnessing History: One Chinese Woman’s Fight for Freedom and Falun Gong.” Before being persecuted in China for her faith, she was a researcher and consultant in the Development Center of the State Council, the state cabinet. Her story is featured in the award-winning documentary, “Free China,” co-produced by New Tang Dynasty Television and World2Be Productions.
Tags: CCP, China, Culture, documentary, Falun Gong, film, human rights, persecution of dissidents
We invite you to join us to see this groundbreaking film at the 2012 LA Indie Film Festival in on Wednesday, September 12th.
Directed by Michael Perlman of “Tibet: Beyond Fear,” the 53 minute documentary film examines the widespread human rights violation inside China – from forced abortions to live organ harvesting of prisoners of conscience – through the remarkable stories of best-selling author Jennifer Zeng, a mother and former Communist Party member, and Dr. Charles Lee, an American Chinese businessman who were jailed and tortured for their beliefs.
This timely film also sheds light on how anti-censorship internet technologies and a re-emergence of spirituality and traditional values is bringing about a new China, one that can be free from the legacy of the most brutal dictatorship in history.
What people are saying about the film:
“Intensely compelling …extraordinary” Karen Curry, former CNN New York Bureau Chief
“I hope this film changes our world.” Margaret Chew Barringer, Founder of American Insight & Free Speech Film Festival
“Free China shows the way to a more democratic peaceful regime…where everybody wins instead of the Communist Party.” Peter Navarro, Author and Producer/Director of Death by ChinaLA Indie Film Festival
ScreeningWednesday, September 12th at 9pm (53 minute film)
Followed by Q&A with filmmakers
Los Feliz 3 Cinemas
1822 N Vermont Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90027
We hope you can come see this important film and help us spread the “Free China” message!
Michael Perlman & Kean Wong
Director/Producers of “Free China: The Courage to Believe”
‘Free China’: From Persecution to Hope
By Pam McLennan
Free China: The Courage to Believe profiles the lives of two Falun Gong practitioners and the danger and pain they encountered in China in their quest for spiritual freedom.
It then moves on to how Falun Gong was introduced into this moral vacuum in the early 1990s, and explains why and how the persecution of the practice began in July 1999.
Jennifer Zeng and Charles Lee are introduced early in the film. Zeng was a Communist Party member, wife, and mother who was arrested and sent to a labour camp because of her beliefs. She describes what she endured and the insidious tactics used to break her will and spirit to make her renounce her belief in Falun Gong’s principles.
Falun Gong (also known as Falun Dafa) is a spiritual practice from the Buddha school that uses meditation and gentle movements. Adherents follow the principles of truth, compassion, and forbearance to move to higher inner realms and return to their true self.
Lee, born in China but living in the U.S. for many years, says in the film that he felt “a call from my heart” to go to China to help his fellow practitioners and also his countrymen who were misled by the propaganda perpetrated by the regime to demonize Falun Gong and justify its brutal campaign of persecution.
To do that he left behind his fiancée and a comfortable life, willing to give everything he had to do what he could. Eventually he was arrested, and spent three years in a labour camp before returning to the U.S.
The link between Zeng and Lee is producer of the film, Kean Wong. He met Zeng 10 years ago after she had escaped China and was seeking asylum in Wong’s home country of Australia. At the time she was writing a book about her experiences, “Witnessing History: One Woman’s Fight for Freedom and Falun Gong.”
She was the first person Wong met who had actually survived incarceration in a Chinese labour camp and he thought her story was remarkable. In a phone interview Wong, also a Falun Gong practitioner, explains that he lightly commented to Zeng, “Someone is eventually going to do a movie about your story—it’s amazing.” Little did he know it would be him.
Wong met Lee a few years after he moved to Manhattan in 2004 to work with NTD Television, an independent station that beams uncensored information into China via satellite. Wong describes Lee as a “gung-ho American who went to China to free his people. Very selfless, even heroic.”
The film is directed by award-winning documentarian Michael Perlman, who met Wong, now living in the U.S., in 2009 at a fundraiser in Manhattan.
Perlman was in the middle of promoting “Tibet: Beyond Fear.” Wong said, “If you are going to help free Tibet you’ve got to help free China.” To which Perlman replied, “That’s what I’ve been saying.” They shook hands, agreeing to “make a film called ‘Free China,’” Wong explains.
The documentary was finally ready early this spring and is being presented at various film festivals, primarily in North America and increasingly in other countries. It is also being translated into 12 languages so it can be seen around the world. It has already won numerous awards.
“I think that at the core of the story it’s about the human experience of freedom. Everyone wants to be free. We want to touch people and inspire people to take action,” says Wong.
“People will know the truth, they will want to stop persecuting Falun Gong. [Everyone] from prison guards to people at the top will realize that you can only destroy your own country if you keep on persecuting good people.”
“Free China” details the role played by American companies in aiding the persecution. It also provides new information that connects China’s widespread human rights violations with systemic unfair trade practices and state-sanctioned forced harvesting of living Falun Gong practitioners’ organs for profit.
“We hope that this film will open the path for people to come to realize what has been happening in China, and eventually to take action to help people inside China,” says Lee.
Thread of Hope
However, also evident is a bright and shining thread of hope, as the film explores how Internet technologies are aiding human rights activists in China and around the world by allowing uncensored information into closed societies. In addition, it highlights how a re-emergence of traditional Chinese culture and spirituality through Falun Gong is helping bring about a new China.
Summing up her feelings about the film, Zeng says, “What I can say is, as human beings, deep in our heart we all long for goodness, kindness, beautiful, and wonderful things; we all long to live at a better place, and be surrounded by kind-hearted people. That’s why many people were drawn to Falun Gong.
“This may sound simple in a normal environment. But in a life-threatening situation, and [Falun Gong practitioners] still having the courage to uphold the principles, then things are different. … Human spirit has more power than guns.”
The Epoch Times is a sponsor of 2012 Ottawa International Film Festival, which runs Aug. 15 to 19. For information about the festival, visit oiff.ca/schedule. To see a trailer of “Free China,” visit freechinamovie.com
- China Human Rights Movie Wins Top ‘Awareness’ Award
- Protecting an Innocent Heart During a Time of Lies
Tags: Animal welfare, Body & Mind, Children, Culture, documentary, film, psychology, relationships, Society, sustainable development
This documentary about Buck really touched me. What a nice man he seems to be; honest, soft and firm at the same time and with a huge sense for other living beings, and especially horses since he is a cowboy🙂
Wonderful to see how he is so much in tune with another being, and that’s exactly how it should be! With everything and everyone! Can really recommend it. It’s possible to see this documentary for another 26 days.
Watch it on SVT Play (in English): Buck Brannaman has developed a unique and highly successful method to manage and train horses. It’s all about communicating with horses by using a responsive leadership and without penalty. Mostly he travels between ranches, where he teaches the method to horse owners. He spends most of the year on the road, without his wife and daughters. Bucks childhood was uncertain. An abusive father beat him and his brother, and they were forced to performing all sorts of tricks. The turnaround came when a football coach, after having seen the scars on the Bucks back and legs, helped him to move and find a foster family. (Translated from Swedish)
Tags: CCP, China, Culture, documentary, Falun Gong, film, human rights, persecution of dissidents
‘Free China,’ a film about the persecution of Falun Gong, was targeted
A Chinese consulate in the U.S. has contacted the Palm Beach International Film Festival to warn them about a “harmful” movie they will screen that documents the violent persecution of a Chinese spiritual practice by communist authorities.
The consulate in Houston repeatedly called an organizer of the film festival making “inquiries” about the film, according to a spokesperson who did not want to be named, in a telephone interview with The Epoch Times. “They called asking questions, telling us that they thought it would be potentially harmful to them,” the individual said.
The consular official was told that “We’re in America,” according to the individual, and that the film would be shown nevertheless.
Michael Perlman, the filmmaker, understood the calls from the consulate to be an attempt at censorship. “This brazen attempt to silence free speech and expression of an American citizen in the United States by the Chinese government is dangerous and must be exposed so that these actions will not be repeated,” he was quoted as saying in a press release emailed by New Tang Dynasty Television, a co-producer of the documentary.
The documentary that aroused the phone calls is titled Free China: The Courage to Believe, and was directed by artist and activist Michael Perlman. It will be screened publicly for the first time at the Palm Beach International Film Festival on April 14 and 16. Perlman is also the director of the 2008 film “Tibet: Beyond Fear,” which is about Chinese communist repression in Tibet.
“Free China” documents the persecution of Falun Gong, a popular Chinese spiritual practice, through the stories of two adherents who have been incarcerated and tortured by Chinese authorities because of their beliefs.
Calls to the switchboard and political and media affairs office of the Chinese consulate in Houston rang unanswered on the morning of April 16.
Related Articles: Director of Brisbane Film Festival ‘Appalled’ by Chinese Cyber Attacks
Tags: Chinese culture, film
Chinese legendary tale brilliantly remastered in 3-D
Wan Laiming was the Walt Disney of China. Unfortunately, his long-planned masterwork finally came to fruition on the eve of the Cultural Revolution. Just as the second part of his animated adaptation of the Ming-era novel “Journey to the West” was released to general acclaim, the Chinese film industry was shuttered for reasons of ideological madness.
Recognized as one of the greatest Chinese animated features ever, Wan’s complete “The Monkey King: Uproar in Heaven” has been meticulously restored, frame-by-frame, and converted to wide-screen 3-D. Su Da and Chen Zhihong’s “Monkey King” restoration had its North American premiere screenings during the 2012 New York International Children’s Film Festival.
Being in fact a monkey, the Monkey King is perfectly suited to animation. Supernaturally powerful, he happily leads the monkey tribe of Flower Fruit Mountain, but his rambunctious nature attracts celestial attention. On the orders of the Jade Emperor, the Monkey King is whisked up to the heavens, only to be given a dubious title and shunted off to a harmless corner of the cosmos.
The Monkey King does not play that game, though; he creates quite the ruckus before returning to his clan on Flower Fruit Mountain. However, the beings of the higher realm consider his rebellious drive a threat and will not leave well enough alone.
Often thought to be influenced by Hindu deities, the Monkey King clearly fits the Trickster archetype. While he eventually settles down in the source novel, the film features him at his most uproarious. Frankly, some of his moves prefigure several signature sequences from the “Matrix” franchise. He is also quite proficient with his magical staff, delivering plenty of satisfaction for martial arts fans.
However, the look of Wan’s film, by way of the Su and Chen’s restoration, is truly remarkable. It has a rich lushness, but there is also a mystical vibe that resists comparison to other films. It is also hard to describe the film’s color palette, but it is quite distinctive (and a testament to the filmmakers’ restoration efforts).
Tags: art, beauty, classical music, Culture, film, Music
Was it with sadness or joy Mother Mary saw her son Jesus do the ascension? Sadness at having to part from her beloved son or joy that he ascended into the Light? Or both?
Anyhow, Pergolesi’s Stabat Mater is so beautiful…
Have you seen The Philosophy of Beauty? Very watchable film in six parts on YouTube:
Here in the sixth section, you can see the philosopher Roger Scruton speak about Stabat Mater and Pergolesi. Starts at 03:51.
Philosopher Roger Scruton presents a provocative essay on the importance of beauty in the arts and in our lives. In the 20th century, Scruton argues, art, architecture and music turned their backs on beauty, making a cult of ugliness and leading us into a spiritual desert. Using the thoughts of philosophers from Plato to Kant, and by talking to artists Michael Craig-Martin and Alexander Stoddart, Scruton analyses where art went wrong and presents his own impassioned case for restoring beauty to its traditional position at the centre of our civilisation.
Tags: Culture, film, funny things
Tags: Culture, film, Spirituality
WASHINGTON—Awakening, a new 82-minute film by Shen Zhou Film Studio, will have its world premiere at American University. Director Hong Wei and part of her production team will be on hand to meet with the audience and answer questions.
According to Shen Zhou Film studio, Awakening is about three immortals descending to the world from the heavens, reincarnating lifetime after lifetime for a thousand years. During this time, they live as royalty, peasants, and lastly as modern day individuals. Amid delusion and tragedies, they struggle to maintain their sacred vows to one another, while searching for the meaning of life on earth. With the way back to heaven finally within their grasp, they face the hardest challenge of their several lives.
Awakening won praises at the fourth international 2011 Taiwan Film Festival in February. Among members of the audience in Taiwan were movie directors and playwrights. Some commented that Awakening had a flowing story line. One director said it captured the audience and engaged them to think beyond what was shown. He added that the artistic form of this movie was that of “a beautiful picture.”