Canada: Film “Letter From Masanjia” Touches Hearts of Audience in Ottawa
(Minghui.org) The documentary “Letter From Masanjia” was screened for four days at the Bytowne Cinema, on September 3-6 in Ottawa. The audience members were deeply moved by protagonist Sun Yi's story of facing torture, imprisonment, and family tribulations with Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance.
The documentary begins with a handwritten letter found in a box of Halloween decorations purchased at a U.S. department store by Julie Keith, a woman in Oregon. The letter was a plea for help by a prisoner of conscience at the notorious Masanjia Forced Labor Camp in Shenyang, China. Keith posted the letter on social media, which soon led to worldwide media exposure of the story. It set off a chain reaction that led to China's re-education through forced labor system being abolished, at least in name, in 2013.
The author of the letter, Mr. Sun Yi, had been detained at the labor camp for his belief in Falun Gong. He risked his life to get his story out to the world through the secret letter, and more recently risked his life again during the making of this documentary to further expose the human rights crisis in China.
While under surveillance by the Chinese authorities, Sun Yi took video footage of his life in China, and interviewed other former Masanjia detainees. Along with his story, Sun Yi shared his drawings depicting the abuse he suffered and witnessed at Masanjia Labor Camp.
David Kilgour: The Film Should Play All Over the World
David Kilgour, former Canadian Secretary of State for Asia-Pacific, said after watching the film, “Sun Yi must be the most courageous person of the world... I was deeply moved. I hope Chinese people will pirate this film (forbidden by the communist regime) and spread it all over the country underground. I hope it will be screened all over the world, too.”
Mr. Kilgour suggested that MPs of the nation watch the film. He also wanted to remind the public that many products imported from China are likely made by slave laborers, the illegally jailed dissidents.
Audience Moved to Tears
“This is a very strong film. I am very happy that it was made. I was in tears,” said Judy Heron, one of the twin sisters who works at the Royal Bank of Canada.
Lorrie Heron, one of the sisters who works at the Ministry of Health, added, “Very, very moving, and very strong! Sun Yi is a strong man. He experienced suffering, transcended life and death, and risked his life to disseminate the truth.
“What worried me most was that I know he is just one of many victims in China. There are so many more (Falun Gong) people still being persecuted. The persecution is wrong!”
Retired school teacher Ms. Jean Good commented, “The film is excellent! Professionally made, excellent, and I very much enjoyed it.” She wished more people could watch the film and more people could learn about the persecution in China.
Chinese audience member Mike Chen praised the courage of Sun Yi. “He endured all kinds of tribulations. He made a great sacrifice for his belief.”
Mr. Chen praised Ms. Julie Keith for making the letter public. “Her action was a very wise one. People who have grown up in western societies value the rights of freedom and faith like the right to breathe the air. So even though the persecution is not happening to themselves or their families, they want to help those being persecuted.”
Film Director: Persistence Will Bring Change
For the first two days, film director Mr. Leon Lee met the audience and answered questions after the screening.
Leon Lee, Peabody Award winner, mentioned three reasons why the communist regime persecuted Falun Gong when answering a question:
The communist regime perceives any religion a threat and has systematically persecuted all the religions since 1949, after it took power. They only allowed some religions to continue after the 1980s, but under the control of the Communist Party.
Second is that the principles of Falun Gong, Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance, is something the communist regime just can't tolerate, because they rely on propaganda and violence to maintain power. If everyone in China actually believed these principles, they would be telling the truth and being compassionate to each other. This is not something the Communist Party wants.
The third reason is the personal jealousy of former president Jiang Zemin, because he took power after the Tiananmen Square Massacre in 1989. Deng Xiaoping liked him because he was forceful against the students. But other senior Party officials looked down on Jiang Zemin, because they felt he took advantage of the opportunity to rise to power. “So Jiang was very threatened and he always wanted to find out who was loyal to him. So Falun Gong became the perfect target,” said Lee.
The film will screen in Calgary, Montreal, and other cities in Canada. It will then be screened in Los Angeles and other cinemas in the United States after September 14.