Spain: The Film “Sandstorm” Receives a Warm Welcome at a Human Rights Film Festival

In the middle of October, the third International Human Rights Film Festival hosted by Asociacion Gandhi, a Spanish human rights organisation, toured eight major cities in Spain. Sandstorm, an award-winning movie, was shown at the film festival. “Sandstorm” is set in China where Falun Gong practitioners are subjected to a brutal persecution.

Director of Sandstorm Michael Mahonen introduced the film to the audience The audience asked questions of the director

Shortly after Barcelona, Madrid played host to the Film Festival on October 18th, during which Sandstorm was played after the inauguration ceremony. Before presentation of the film, Michael Mahonen from Canada, director of “Sandstorm,” was invited to introduce to the audience the film and its background.

The film is set in a weather-beaten land that has been plagued by a sandstorm for twelve days, during which time a Chinese policeman is reflecting his wrongdoing in arresting a female Falun Gong practitioner for distributing leaflets on the streets, who was later tortured to death. The audience watched the film in awe, particularly shocked by a scene in which the Chinese police are inflicting electric shocks on the female practitioner. The frightening sounds coming along with the electric batons used to torture the practitioners terrified the audience. Many of the audience watched the film with tears running down their cheeks. At the end of the film, the audience expressed their appreciation with extended hearty applause.

Director Michael Mahonen again appeared on the stage to express his thanks to the audience and detailed the persecution of Falun Gong in China. The film was based on first-hand material from China, truthfully reflected the brutal and inhumane persecution happening in China and manifested Falun Gong practitioners’ firm belief stated the director. The strong contrast between good and evil presented in the film shocked its audience. The director told the audience that China’s state run media was manipulated by the CCP to fool the Chinese citizens, and even took part in the persecution. This also explained why people in western countries had little understanding of the current persecution.

The audience was given an opportunity to raise questions and voice their comments. At that point a scholar of Cuban nationality working in Spain said: “Though I have never been to China, I believe the scenes presented in the film are realistic, because I had lived under a Communist dictatorship. I absolutely understand that in the eyes of a communist dictator, human morality, dignity, and basic human rights are of minor importance. The bloody nature of a communist party will be the same everywhere. There is no problem with Falun Gong. China has no problem. Nor does Cuba. It is the Communist Party that has the problem. The solution to the problem is to abandon the Communist Party.”

A middle-aged lady said: “For many of us westerners, China is a country with an ancient history and magnificent culture. We could have never imagined that such a terrifying thing is happening there. A government is treating its own people so brutally. How can we help to change this situation?” When being informed that she could write letters to her own government and the Chinese Embassy in her country to call for an end to the persecution, she said, “I will do it.”

The audience stood line to sign a petition, calling for an end to the persecution of Falun Gong

The discussion continued until the conference room had to close. The audience stood in line to sign the petition, calling for an immediate end to the persecution. More and more people are learning the truth about the CCP’s brutal persecution of Falun Gong, and the kindness and determination of Falun Gong practitioners. More people came to understand the goodness and purity of Falun Gong and further identify with its principles of “Truthfulness, Compassion, Forbearance”.

People came to find out more about Falun Gong and the human rights abuses in China

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