Chinese Consulate Warns Film Festival on ‘Harmful’ Offering
By Matthew Robertson On April 16, 2012
A Chinese consulate in the U.S. has contacted the Palm Beach International Film Festival to warn them about a “harmful” movie they will screen that documents the violent persecution of a Chinese spiritual practice by communist authorities.
The consulate in Houston repeatedly called an organizer of the film festival making “inquiries” about the film, according to a spokesperson who did not want to be named, in a telephone interview with The Epoch Times. “They called asking questions, telling us that they thought it would be potentially harmful to them,” the individual said.
The consular official was told that “We’re in America,” according to the individual, and that the film would be shown nevertheless.
Michael Perlman, the filmmaker, understood the calls from the consulate to be an attempt at censorship. “This brazen attempt to silence free speech and expression of an American citizen in the United States by the Chinese government is dangerous and must be exposed so that these actions will not be repeated,” he was quoted as saying in a press release emailed by New Tang Dynasty Television, a co-producer of the documentary.
The documentary that aroused the phone calls is titled Free China: The Courage to Believe, and was directed by artist and activist Michael Perlman. It will be screened publicly for the first time at the Palm Beach International Film Festival on April 14 and 16. Perlman is also the director of the 2008 film “Tibet: Beyond Fear,” which is about Chinese communist repression in Tibet.
“Free China” documents the persecution of Falun Gong, a popular Chinese spiritual practice, through the stories of two adherents who have been incarcerated and tortured by Chinese authorities because of their beliefs.
Calls to the switchboard and political and media affairs office of the Chinese consulate in Houston rang unanswered on the morning of April 16.