On July 1, 2013, the first public screening of the newly released, award-winning documentary Free China: The Courage to Believe took place in the British Parliament. Members of Parliament (MP) and the public were visibly shaken by the stories portrayed in the film.
Several MPs talked about the importance of enabling more people in mainland China and the international community to see the film, so that more people will become aware of the crimes committed by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).
British Conservative MP Neil Parish introduced the film to Parliament. Senior Conservative MPs Julian Lewis and David Burrowes, as well as staff from other MPs’ offices watched the documentary with members of the British public. After the screening, Mr. Parish, along with the director and co-producer of the film, Michael Perlman, hosted a general question and answer session.
Several MPs said that they would urge the British government to take action to stop the CCP's crimes of organ harvesting from living practitioners and end the persecution of Falun Gong.
MP: “Falun Gong Should be Respected”
MP Neil Parish stated, "This film clearly depicts how Falun Gong is being persecuted by the Chinese regime in China. It also covers the issue of organ harvesting, which is just horrendous, and how thousands of innocent Chinese peoples' lives are being affected.”
|Member of Parliament Neil Parish|
MP Parish said that he was moved by the film, especially by how people in China have been completely brainwashed by the CCP. "It is a very powerful film. It also shows real people and the problems that they’ve encountered,” he explained. “Like the mother who was so badly persecuted and her daughter who was so brainwashed that she thought that Falun Gong was evil. And it just shows you that when you have a totalitarian state, it can actually turn people’s minds against an innocent group of practitioners.”
The film includes content about the Chinese regime's practice of organ harvesting from living Falun Gong practitioners, as well as a letter from 106 members of the U.S. Congress demanding that the U.S. government disclose the evidence that it has gathered about organ harvesting in China.
“Even one person [having his organs removed while alive] is too many,” said Mr. Parish, “yet there are thousands and thousands of people sharing the same fate. Now that I know what is going on, I will propose some measures to the government and get things rolling.”
"Falun Gong practitioners’ plight should attract worldwide attention,” said MP David Burrowes. “Our government should table the discussion to ensure that this evil [organ harvesting] is fully stopped. Falun Gong should be respected. They should be allowed to exercise their natural human rights."
Film Director of Free China : The World Needs to “Recognize the True Nature of the CCP”
Michael Perlman, the film's director, was hopeful that more British elected officials and lawmakers will have the opportunity to see Free China. He reminded them that although the film centers mainly on two Falun Gong practitioners who were persecuted in China, it reveals the dark side of the Communist dictatorship. He believes that it is important for the international community, including the U.K., to recognize the true nature of the CCP and re-examine their relationships with it.
Mr. Perlman stressed the issue of China's forced labor practices, its Internet blockade, and national security issues, as well as large-scale organ harvesting from living Falun Gong practitioners.
"Organ harvesting is an abomination,” said Mr. Perlman. “When people hear about it, they're so shocked that they can’t actually believe that this is happening… But I think that others, obviously people from the West, but people in China, too, realize that it’s just wrong and it just needs to end.
"I think more countries are beginning to become aware of [organ harvesting] and are starting to pass laws to end the practice. Also, universities in America and throughout the West have to be assured that the Chinese who come to the West to study medicine are not there so that they can return to China and use their new skills to harvest organs from living people. It's really important to vet those students.”
Filmmaker and Vocal Coach: I Understand Why the Chinese Regime Persecutes Falun Gong
|Filmmaker and vocal master Valentine Palmer|
Following the screening, the question, "Why does the Chinese regime persecute Falun Gong?" kept coming up in the Q & A session.
Mr. Perlman said that the Party launched the persecution of Falun Gong for several reasons, one of them being that Falun Gong had spread very quickly, and within a few years the number of people practicing Falun Gong had exceeded the number of Chinese Communist Party members. Another reason was that Falun Gong practitioners had the courage and strength of faith to expose the Party's lies about Falun Gong.
Valentine Palmer, a filmmaker, vocal master, and former actor, also attended the screening of Free China. He noted that the persecution of Falun Gong didn't happen out of the blue. Rather, it happened because the Chinese regime has always been afraid of Falun Gong because Falun Gong promotes goodness and kindness.
He also feels that the Party was afraid that Falun Gong would revive traditional Chinese culture, the same culture that it has worked so hard to destroy, before, during, and after the Cultural Revolution.
Mr. Palmer said: “It is immoral for anyone in power to rule using corrupt means. Subconsciously, it [the CCP] would always be afraid of being found out because it knows it is not good. And, thus, evil needs to pretend to be good in order to persecute that which is good. But sooner or later the disguise has to come off.
"Mao completely ruined China's traditional culture and values. So Chinese traditional culture has to be revived and carried forward, which is what Falun Gong practitioners have been doing. So the Chinese regime is afraid of Falun Gong.
"I highly respect those who sacrificed their freedom and even their lives for their faith. I don't know whether I would be able to do that. We saw that in this movie."
Human Rights Lawyer: What Falun Gong Promotes Is Beneficial for China and the Rest of the World
|Human rights lawyer Rhonda (front, left) talks with film director Michael Perlman (front, right)|
Also in the audience was Rhonda, a young African human rights lawyer. She stated that Truthfulness, Compassion, and Forbearance, the guiding principles of Falun Gong, are not only beneficial for China but for the rest of the world, too.
"In today's global society, what happens in China affects every country. Nowadays, the whole world is faced with moral decline. Political corruption is ubiquitous. Yet, Falun Gong teaches people to be honest, kind, self-disciplined, and tolerant, which are very important qualities for any politician.”
“The values of Truthfulness, Compassion, and Forbearance that Falun Gong advocates are universal values that the world needs,” Mr. Perlman agreed.
Mainland Student: Please Make Sure All Chinese Students in Britain Watch This Film
During the Q & A session, a young Chinese woman who is studying in the U.K. said that she hopes that the film's director and Members of Parliament could make sure that all Chinese students in Britain watch Free China. She said that she too had been a victim of the CCP's brainwashing, noting that it was only when she left China to attend school in Britain in August 2012 that she discovered so many shocking truths about the Communist Party.
"Knowledge from books is, of course, precious, but freedom is more valuable. Only from outside of China can one really see what's happening inside China, and how and why things took place,” she said.
"I believe that after Chinese people see this film, after this 'beginning,' they will gradually discover the truth and unravel the lies about the CCP. They will discover their own humanity and they will know what to do next!"
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