A screening of a new documentary film in Phoenix led to an interview with its Executive Producer. Kean Wong, teamed with Michael Perlman, who wrote and directed, to tell the story of oppression against practitioners of Falun Gong, a meditation exercise system that was enjoyed by an estimated 70 million Chinese citizens.
Initially welcomed by the Communist Party leadership, sentiments gradually changed as the ranks of Falun Gong adherents rivaled, if not surpassed, those of the Communist Party.
This was no a rivalry. Falun Gong was not a political activity. The three principles of Falun Gong are truthfulness, compassion, and forbearance. The practice emphasizes morality and the cultivation of virtue, identifying as a qigong practice of the Buddhist school, with elements of the teaching originating from Taoist traditions.
Through moral rectitude and meditation, practitioners of Falun Gong aspire to better health and spiritual enlightenment. What could be wrong with that?
Apparently, quite a bit, because in July, 1999 the Communist Party leadership officially turned its back on Falun Gong. To put it more succinctly, they initiated a nationwide crackdown, complete with propaganda, detention and imprisonment campaign, and even illicit organ harvesting, intended to eradicate the practice. By October, the Party had declared Falun Gong a “heretical organization” that threatened social stability.
Jennifer Zeng, the central character in Free China: The Courage to Believe, had been a member of the Communist Party who also practiced Falun Gong. She became a best-selling author with the publication of her book, Witnessing History: One Chinese Woman’s Fight for Freedom, and played the starring role in the film.
It should be remembered that while the Communist Party appears to control the flow of information into and out of China it represents only about six percent of the entire population. As such, it is unwise to presume that all that is reported about China or the Chinese people, is as depicted. On the other hand, the information that the public in the west receives about China or the Chinese people, is very likely what the information controllers of the west want them to know (or think) too.
New Tang Dynasty Television is seeking to reach the 1.3 billion Chinese citizens directly, by transcending the firewall that the Communist Party has erected around China’s internet, and broadcasting uncensored programming, including Free China: The Courage to Believe, via satellite in February, 2015.
It is a compelling movie. Enjoy this compelling conversation.
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