This soul-stirring film won top international awards, but China banned it for horrific reason

Internet censorship in China is so hard to crack that the country has almost become the “biggest prison for netizens.” Apart from the internet, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) also maintains full control over television, print media, literature, video games, text messaging, theater, radio, and films. This not only cuts off the Chinese society from the rest of the world but the true situation in China also remains hidden from audiences across the world.

Censorship over all forms of media is fully regulated by the authoritarian party, blocking “sensitive” content for both political reasons and to maintain “control” over the populace. In short, “network authoritarianism” has become the CCP’s way of running society.

One such grossly censored term is “Falun Gong” or “Falun Dafa”—a spiritual practice based on the universal values of Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance that was illegally banned in China by the CCP in 1999. Movies, documentaries, books, audio, video, or any other content related to this peaceful meditation practice is absolutely banned in the communist country to the strictest level possible.

Jennifer doing Falun Gong meditation at Prospect Park in New York on June 29, 2017 (Credit: Benny Zhang)

All award-winning documentaries exposing the horrific persecution that Falun Gong practitioners suffer in the hands of the communist party are banned in China—but these real-life stories continue to be screened across the world, making people aware of this tragic genocide in which countless innocent people have already been brutally killed and murdered by the communist party. Some of these documentaries are: “Free China,” “Human Harvest,” “Hard to Believe,” “Sandstorm,” and “The Bleeding Edge.”

A movie still of “Free China: The Courage to Believe” showing Jennifer Zeng at a human rights parade in New York . (NTD Television).

The documentary Free China: The Courage to Believe is centered around two Falun Gong practitioners who have been imprisoned for their beliefs—Jennifer Zeng, a former communist party member, and Dr. Charles Lee, a Chinese-American businessman.

Jennifer was jailed when her faith was discovered via Internet spying, and Dr. Lee was arrested in China when he wanted to expose the persecution of Falun Gong by broadcasting uncensored information on state-controlled television. For refusing to quit their beliefs, Jennifer and Dr. Lee were illegally transferred to forced labor camps where they had to endure extreme physical and mental torture.

Charles Lee, M.D., director of Public Awareness, World Organization to Investigate the Persecution of Falun Gong (Credit: Minghui.org)

However, both of them escaped from the deadly clutches of the communist regime and managed to come abroad, and now reside in the United States.

The documentary, with disturbing photographic evidence of crimes against humanity, reveals the sinister face of the communist party. In the documentary, the two survivors narrate how prisoners of conscience are subjected to forced labor and end up becoming the easy target for forced organ harvesting while they are still alive. Apart from the genocide, the film also highlights how new internet technologies are helping bring freedom to more than 1.3 billion people living in China.

Awards and Honors

Kean Wong, producer of “Free China: The Courage to Believe” at the first Free Speech Film Festival in Philadelphia in 2012. (NTD Television)

The documentary Free China: The Courage to Believe has been honored with the top awards at many international platforms. To name a few, in 2012, Free China won top honors at the inaugural International Free Speech Film Festival in Philadelphia in 2012.

(R to L): Film director Michael Perlman, Jennifer Zeng, Margaret Chew Barringer, Kean Wong, producer; NTD President Zhong Lee, Kean Wong’s parents. Left—Charles Lee (Edward Dai/The Epoch Times)
Jennifer Zeng (Credit: Edward Dai/The Epoch Times)

The 45th WorldFest-Houston International Film Festival, the oldest independent film festival in the world and the third oldest international film festival in North America, gave the “Special Jury Award” to the film. The documentary won the Best Song for Indie Film/Documentary/Short at 2013 Hollywood Music in Media Awards music and was nominated for Best Soundtrack at the 2012 Hollywood Music In Media Awards. In 2014, it also stood out as the International Winner – Feature Documentary at the 12th Annual GSFF, New Jersey.

The movie has also been screened in India and won the Best Documentary Film at the NOIDA International Film Festival on Feb. 9, 2014 and the Best Music Award at the Bangalore Short Film Festival on June 21, 2014.

Falun Dafa practitioner receiving the award the Best Music Award at the Bangalore Short Film Festival on the behalf of Free China: The Courage to Believe in Bangalore, India. (Credit: Falun Dafa Association of India)

Best Documentary Film at the NOIDA International Film Festival, 2014

Credit: Falun Dafa Association of India

Best Music Award at the Bangalore Shorts Film Festival, 2014

Credit: Falun Dafa Association of India

This soul-stirring movie has also been screened at the U.S. Congress, European Parliament, British Parliament, and Google Headquarters. The New York Times has praised the film as “stirring.” Karen Curry, former CNN New York Bureau Chief, has described the film as “Intensely compelling,” and indieWIRE has hailed the film as “deeply inspiring.”

The U.S. Congressman Chris Smith, Chairman of Congressional-Executive Commission on China, said, “This Film will be a Game Changer.”

Jennifer Zeng says in the documentary, “At the end of the day, it is not politicians, or governments, but the choices of every single one of us that will shape and create our own future.”

Watch the trailer below:


Falun Dafa (also known as Falun Gong) is a self-improvement meditation system based on the universal principles of Truthfulness, Compassion, and Tolerance. It was introduced to the public by Mr. Li Hongzhi in 1992 in China. It is currently practiced by over 100 million people in 114 countries. But this peaceful meditation system is being brutally persecuted in China since 1999. For more info, please visit: www.FalunDafa.org and www.FalunInfo.org.

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