“Free China” Warmly Received at Millenium Festival in Brussels

Created: 2013-06-07 18:15 EST

Category: World > Europe

The 5th Millennium Film Festival is being held in Brussels this week. 580 films applied to participate, of which only over a hundred were selected. “Free China”, a documentary produced by NTDTV, was received very warmly by the organizers. A screening and debate were held on June 5th.

[Ms. Zlatina Rousseva, Artistic Director of Film Festival]:
“I think that we'll have a lot of debates, and that is also very important, because it is not only important to see the films. It is the possibility to create space of meeting between the audience, the filmmakers, and also the decision makers.”

Aaron Rhodes, founder of Freedom Rights Project, and former Executive Director of the International Helsinki Federation for Human Rights, attended as a panel speaker during the debate and was moved by the film.

[Aaron Rhodes, Founder of Freedom Rights Project]:
“I was disturbed by the film. I think, a lot of things one learns about conditions in China are disturbing, show lack of respect for the sanctity of life, for the individual rights. Some things are also encouraging. And I think, civil society movements, like the Falun Gong, are encouraging. They reflect a diversity of opinion, they reflect people coming together on the basis of shared values and concerns and beliefs and that's what makes life interesting.”

Willy Fautre, director of Human Rights Without Frontiers, spoke about the importance of getting information and witness accounts out of China.

[Willy Fautre, Director of Human Rights Without Frontiers]:
“First of all, it is important for us to get information – pictures, films, videos from inside China and to be their voice, to be their ambassadors in all international for a including in the European Parliament.”

A victim of labor camp torture in China, Annie Yang, shared her personal account that was similar to what was shown in the film: slave labor, physical and mental torture, pressure to renounce her belief and a miraculous escape.

Audience members were shocked by the level of abuse still present in modern-day Chinese prisons.

[Gijs Vercoutere, Audience Member]:
“I am a bit shocked that there is still so much repression in China. I thought it was better. I hope the documentary will be a success and will have a lot of viewers and that Falun Gong will be known to a lot of people both in Belgium and the world.”

Days before the screening, the Chinese Embassy in Brussels tried to put pressure on the festival organizer in order to cancel the screening, but received a firm rejection. 

[Ahmet Boyacioglu, President of the jury of the festival]:
"I think the Ambassador of China will have a tough time here... no one will care, because the film will be shown, there will be a discussion... no one will listen to him.”

“Free China” premiers on June 7th in Los Angeles and New York.

NTD, Brussels