Jazz, film, and improvised culture.
Free China: Falun Gong Courage in the Face of Persecution
are excellent you have many products lying about the house that were assembled
by Falun Gong practitioners. The Chinese
Communist Party forces millions of religious and political prisoners to serve
as outright slave laborers. Many victims
of the so-called Laogai work camps are in fact Falun Gong practitioners. Two such Laogai survivors tell their
harrowing stories in Michael Perlman’s exposé, Free China: the Courage to Believe (trailer here), which opens this
Friday in New York.
on traditional Chinese Taoist and Buddhist beliefs, Falun Gong was not always prohibited
by the Party. In the movement’s early
days, many Party mouthpieces even hailed practitioners’ healthy lifestyle. However, despite the lack of an organized bureaucracy,
when the estimated number of practitioners exceeded total CCP membership, the
Party freaked. Despite growing adherents
within the military, the government responded much in the same fashion as it
did at Tiananmen Square—with extreme brutality.
Zeng was a Party member. Dr. Charles Lee
was an American citizen. Both assumed
their statuses would provide some protection, yet both were condemned to the Laogai
system. Soon after international
activists secured his hard fought release, Dr. Lee found the very Homer Simpson
slippers his work camp had manufactured in an American retailer.
Perlman’s primarily focuses on the Falun Gong experience, he necessarily
touches on human rights abuses that apply to all faiths and prisoners of
conscience oppressed by the Party, including the Tiananmen crackdown,
allegations of prison organ harvesting, and the notorious internet firewall. Frankly, one would have liked to see Perlman
pull a Michael Moore on Cisco executives, whose Chinese division regarded the
intrusive Communist internet policing to be a swell business opportunity.
testimony of Zeng and Lee is simply harrowing, encompassing tremendous physical
and emotional torment. Perlman also
incorporates expert commentary from Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ), probably the most
principled human rights advocate in the U.S. Congress, and former Canadian MP David
Kilgour, who left both the Conservative and Liberal Parties for reasons of
Free China wants to end on
an optimistic note, but it sadly feels like a bit of a stretch. Yes, dissident Falun Gong supporters now have
the means to report to the world the human rights abuses inside China, having
founded NTD TV and the Epoch Times
(which I proudly contribute to, in full disclosure). Yet, the Party’s oppression continues unabated. Since the current administration has
essentially mortgaged our economic future to China, those like Rep. Smith who
strive to alter the Party’s abhorrent behavior will have limited leverage for
the foreseeable future.
China is right on target diagnosing the problem. Indeed, it does so with commendable economy,
clocking-in at just a whisker over an hour.
A timely wake-up call, it should be seen by everyone who values the right
to think and worship freely. Recommended
especially for younger New Yorkers, who must learn to appreciate these values, Free China: the Courage to Believe opens
this Friday (6/7) in New York at the Quad Cinema.
Labels: China. Laogai, Documentary