Two Documentary Films on China’s Reeducation-Through-Labor
Two documentary films are scheduled to be screened
in Hong Kong and Taiwan on May 1st.
One is “Above the Ghosts’ Heads:
The Women of Masanjia Labour Camp”;
The other is “Juvenile Laborers Detained in Dabao”.
The two movies have unveiled the darkness of China’s
reeducation-through-labor (RTL) system.
In particular, the film “Above the Ghosts’ Heads”
touches the issue of the persecution of Falun Gong,
this is a taboo topic for the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).
Let’s see more news about these two poignant films.
The film “Above the Ghosts’ Heads” tells the true stories
of what happened to detainees in Masanjia Female RTL Camp in Shenyang city.
Several witnesses recount their personal experiences
of inhumane sufferings there.
They say that “The petitioners and Falun Gong practitioners
were subject to many tortures inside the camp.
The tortures include being locked in solitary confinement,
being hanged up or tied in a body-tearing position,
or being strapped to a tiger bench
with hands and feet tied together.
They were even required to lie down for months,
and banned from taking a shower.”
The movie “Juvenile Laborers Confined in Dabao”
records the painful experiences had by RTL detainees in Sichuan’s Dabao town in 1958.
A total of over 4,000 juveniles were forcibly sent to be
detained in an RTL camp located in Dabao, their ages ranged from 10 – 17.
The high intensity of labor, famine, disease and
mistreatment claimed 2,600 lives.
Tsai Yung-Mei, editor of Hong Kong’s Open magazine,
says that she admires China’s media professionals.
She says that Du Bin, director of “Above the Ghosts’ Heads”,
is courageous and compassionate.
Tsai Yung-Mei: “Du Bin said that in China,
half of the RTL detainees are the petitioners,
and the other half are Falun Gong practitioners.
The RTL camps serve to change these people’s faith.
The detained petitioners are forced to give up
their petitioning, and the Falun Gong practitioners,
to give up their belief in Falun Gong.
I think they were strong-willed in resisting the persecution
and in suffering such brutal physical torture.”
Ai Xiaoming, China’s independent documentary filmmaker,
He thinks the film “Juvenile Laborers Confined in Dabao”
fills a very important gap in the history of China’s RTL.
Ai Xiaoming: “Today, there are still some people who argue
that we should cover up these sufferings in the real world,
that we should show apathy and numbness
towards this truth and forget.
But in my view, people like Xie Yihui and Zeng Boyan
have extraordinary courage and perseverance.
They have unearthed this shocking period
in China’s painful history.
That is a very important breakthrough and an advance,
from the perspective of documentary.”
Xie Yihui is the director of “Juvenile Laborers
Confined in Dabao”.
Xie accompanied Zeng Boyan, an ex-journalist,
he also interviewed a large number of witnesses.
Zeng has verified all the official files in the history of
Sichuan Shaping RTL Camp, which only mention
“successful transformation of over 65,000 people
for their rehabilitation and return to society.”
None of these documents speak of the massive
numbers of deaths of those juvenile detainees.
Critic Lin Zixu believes that China may see some
big changes soon, after this shocking news.
Lin states that besides awakening, more Chinese people
are now making efforts to help their fellow compatriots.
Lin Zixu: “People use their real names to expose the RTL
camps, they actually disclose the CCP’s darkest scandals.
It is all directed at the CCP’s taboo topic,
the persecution of Falun Gong.
Back a few years ago, no one dared to do such a thing.
What the CCP fears most is the inner sense of justice
and courage that the people will surely release.
So far, more Chinese people have dared to shout
『Down with the CCP’.
I really feel that now there is real hope for China.”
Ai Xiaoming remarks that the two films make a searing
criticism of the reality that is today’s China.
So of course any screening in China
will be impossible.
He recommends that the public circumvent the official
internet censorship blocks and watch the movies online.
Ai Xiaoming: “China has numerous real-life RTL victims.
The community and law professionals have
called for abolishing the RTL for years.
The central authority has also promised to
reform the RTL system this year.
I support the abolition of this extremely evil RTL system.”
Nevertheless, Tsai Yung-Mei is worried that Du Bin may
be subjected to punishment if one day he returns to China.