Free China Movie - Inaugural Private Screening in Melbourne

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Melbourne held its first private screening on the weekend of a documentary that is taking the American film festival circuit by storm.

The film, "Free China: The Courage to Believe", tells the story of the persecution of Falun Gong practitioners by the Chinese Communist Party through the eyes of two people who were jailed and tortured for their spiritual belief.

[Samdup Tsering, President Victorian Tibetan Community]:
“I feel very sad after watching the movie. In the beginning of the documentary it reminded me of what my parents went through in 1959-60, when the Communist China took over Tibet, so it nearly brought tears in my mind. And then I really share the sadness and the sympathy for the Falun Gong practitioners.”

Free China, directed by Michael Perlman of "Tibet: Beyond Fear", was produced by Kean Wong of NTD Television, a local Melbournian now living in New York.

So far the film has won four major film festival awards.

Many in the audience had no idea of the extent of the persecution.

[Ron O'Dwyer, President of X Men]:
"I had my daughter with me, and I looked to my side, and she was crying, and that's really the effect it had on me. I couldn't quite believe what I was seeing, because there is a perception that China, now in the industrial world has eased its restriction on the Chinese people. So, that it’s still going on, we're just gobsmacked, and it really had a great effect on me, and it has just now motivated me to want to do something. And I will, because this is just not Australian.”

Mr. O'Dwyer felt most people have been duped by the Chinese Communist regime lies about Falun Gong.

[Ron O'Dwyer, President of X Men]:
“... Falun Gong really is about exercise and good living. That's what we practise in this country, and for that to be outlawed, we really just don't understand it, why it would be such a problem, and the persecution. Again, I don't understand it.”

Audience members also raised the issue of the importance of standing up against injustice.

[Gerard Flood, Official, Democratic Labor Party]:
"People can do a very great deal. The first thing they need to do is to examine their conscience, as to how they will face their children one day when they are asked "you knew this was happening, and what did you do?"

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