Slave labor, forced abortion and live organ harvesting in China. These issues were brought to light at the Canadian premier of "Free China: The Courage to Believe" in Ottawa over the weekend.
The award winning documentary film reveals the ordeal of two former prisoners of conscience in China. Both are practitioners of Falun Gong, a spiritual discipline the Chinese regime has been persecuting since1999.
After seeing the film, the Executive Director of the Ottawa International Film Festival, Nina Bains said she wanted it to premier in Ottawa. She was inspired by Jennifer Zeng—featured in the film—who chose to tell her story despite going through severe persecution.
[Nina Bains, Executive Director of Ottawa International Film Festival]
“I could not even imagine having three years…For three years being separated from my child, and needing to run away from my family in order to save my own life, in order to be free, in order to give my children a free life…Jennifer has so much strength.”
Also featured in the documentary is the Honorable David Kilgour, Former Canadian Secretary of State for the Asia Pacific region. He and Canadian human rights lawyer David Matas co-authored an investigative report that exposes state-sanctioned organ harvesting from live Falun Gong practitioners.
Kilgour attended the Premier on August 18th, and reiterated the severity of the issue.
[Hon. David Kilgour, Ret. Canadian Secretary of State—Asia Pacific]
“The website of the Foreign Affairs Ministry of the government of Canada should at least say that if you go to China for an organ, there’s a very likely possibility that the organ is coming from a Falun Gong practitioner that’s been convicted of no offence, is a prisoner of conscience like Jennifer and Doctor Lee, and is being killed for their organs.”
In its 2012 Human Rights Report on China, the US State Department documented the allegation of live forced organ harvesting. After attending Free China’s Ottawa Premier, audience member John Kusumi said the practice needs to stop.
[John Kusumi, Founder of the China Support Network]
“It violates all of the norms of civilization and international law and human rights and so we should continue. We should still be stopping the organ harvesting. That’s something we should raise far and wide, and loud and strong. We should work to condemn and stop the organ harvesting.”
NTD co-produced Free China with award winning director Michael Perlman and the film recently won the inaugural Free Speech Award at the American Insights Free Speech Film Festival in Philadelphia.