November 16, 2007 (Toronto) — The controversial documentary BEYOND THE RED WALL: THE PERSECUTION OF FALUN GONG was pulled from CBC's broadcast line-up last week hours before its scheduled airing. The one-hour FILM by veteran award-winning filmmaker Peter Rowe will now air on CBC Newsworld's The Lens on Tuesday, November 20, 2007 at 10:00pm ET/PT. It exposes the ongoing governmental policy of persecuting citizens, including a Canadian, who suffer from China's attempt to eliminate the peaceful practice of Falun Gong.
After reviewing the film, which was completed and approved for broadcast in March of this year, CBC asked the filmmaker to make changes. "We updated and lengthened our report on the harvesting of the organs of Falun Gong prisoners, as well as provided further evidence of the claim that the Chinese government-alleged self-immolation of Falun Gong practitioners in Tiananmen Square in 2001 was a hoax," said filmmaker Rowe. "We also clarified the affiliations of some of our interview subjects and further identified on-screen the sources of some of our material."
Worldwide press reports in the past week have accused the CBC of "bowing to Beijing." Rowe, pleased Canadian will now have the opportunity of watching the film and learning the shocking story of the persecution, said, "I'm happy to say the work we did has not weakened or diminished the film, nor muted the passionate voices heard in it. The persecution of a peaceful worldwide group, whose motto is 'Truthfulness, Benevolence and Forbearance,' constitutes one of the most egregious human rights abuses of our time."
Chinese officials deny capturing, interrogating, beating, imprisoning, killing, and selling the organs of thousands of practitioners of Falun Gong, an ancient method of exercise and meditation for health and well-being. The evidence, however, in BEYOND THE RED WALL shows the opposite.
British Columbia human rights lawyer Clive Ansley believes the world should not be sending athletes to the Beijing Olympics in the face of such extreme violations of human rights. BEYOND THE RED WALL follows up on the shocking allegations, supported by a report co-authored by lawyer David Matas and David Kilgour, former Secretary of State for Asia-Pacific, that Chinese authorities have removed the corneas, kidneys and other body parts from living prisoners for sale to Chinese and foreign buyers.
Falun Gong, which is apolitical, informal, free of charge, run by volunteers, and practised by millions in some 60 countries, was outlawed in China in 1999. In 2000, Canadian artist Kunlun Zhang, a visiting McGill University professor and Falun Gong practitioner, was arrested on a visit to China. Irwin Cotler, Justice Minister and Attorney General of Canada from 1997 to 2004, was instrumental in spearheading the movement that freed Professor Kunlun from a Chinese labour camp in 2001.
Other political figures who speak out in BEYOND THE RED WALL include U.S. Congress members Chris Smith and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen; Zhang Weidong, Minister Counsellor of the Embassy of the People's Republic of China in Canada; and Canadian reporter Ian Johnson, who won the Pulitzer Prize for his reporting on Falun Gong in the Wall Street Journal. Despite protests by such groups as Amnesty International and individual activists such as Richard Gere, the horrors continue. Thousands of Falun Gong practitioners remain imprisoned in China.
BEYOND THE RED WALL: THE PERSECUTION OF FALUN GONG is written, produced and directed by Peter Rowe, and co-produced with CBC Newsworld, with the participation of Telefilm Canada, Canadian Television Fund, the OMDC Ontario Film and Television Tax Credits, and the Canadian Film or Video Tax Credits. Rowe previously produced Popcorn with Maple Syrup for CBC and is currently the producer of the adventure series Angry Planet, now airing on OLN. The Lens, CBC Newsworld's documentary showcase, airs Tuesdays at 10:00pm ET/PT (repeated Saturdays at 11pmET/PT).
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