Sandstorm: Award-winning Film about Falun Gong Persecution Screening in New York/Los Angeles in September

NEW YORK — An international award-winning drama, Sand Storm tells the story of a Chinese policeman trapped at home for twelve days in a massive sandstorm. Running out of food and water, he cares for his dying wife as they grieve for their daughter who is missing in the storm. In this isolation he is tormented by flashbacks of his participation in the persecution of Falun Gong practitioners. The devastating realization of his crimes awakens his conscience and brings forth the light of hope.

In Chinese with English subtitles, Sandstorm is screening during September at the following venues and dates:

New York: September 4-10, 2009 Village East Cinema
Los Angeles September 11-17, 2009 Laemmle Music Hall 3, Beverly Hills

Though the film is a dramatization, it closely mirrors the reality of persecution still suffered today by tens of millions of Chinese citizens who continue to practice Falun Gong. Indeed, during a discussion that followed a screening of the film at a college in Southern California several years ago, one young female Chinese torture victim said: “Actually, I hadn’t seen the film before, but that’s exactly what it is like.”

The incidents and dynamics depicted in the film match reality from several angles – from the authorities’ persistent efforts to force Falun Gong detainees to renounce their faith to the brutality of torture methods used to accomplish that aim to how recent years have seen some Chinese, including from within the security forces, ceasing to cooperate in abuses against Falun Gong and in the case of civil rights lawyers, actively challenging the regime’s persecutory policy.

Though the Falun Dafa Information Center was not involved in the production of the film, the following are a number of links we thought might supplement its content and aid viewers in understanding just how close to reality the scenes it depicts truly are. We invite you to further explore our website beyond these links and are happy to answer any questions you have about Falun Gong and the ongoing human rights crisis practitioners face in China: [email protected].

•    Photo galleries of personal accounts from former prisoners and of practitioners who were tortured to death

•    In a Pulitzer Prize winning article, The Wall Street Journal’s Ian Johnson describes how an elderly woman was tortured to death: Full Story

“The day before Chen Zixiu died, her captors again demanded that she renounce her faith in Falun Dafa. Barely conscious after repeated jolts from a cattle prod, the 58-year-old stubbornly shook her head….Enraged, the local officials ordered Ms. Chen to run barefoot in the snow. Two days of torture had left her legs bruised and her short black hair matted with pus and blood, said cellmates and other prisoners who witnessed the incident. She crawled outside, vomited and collapsed. She never regained consciousness, and died on Feb. 21.”

•    The Washington Post’s John Pomfret and Philip Pan outline the regime’s policy to systematically torture Falun Gong practitioners: Full Story

“After a year and a half of difficulties in suppressing the movement, the government for the first time this year [2001] sanctioned the systematic use of violence against the group, established a network of brainwashing classes and embarked on a painstaking effort to weed out followers neighborhood by neighborhood and workplace by workplace, the sources said.”

•    One of the open letters that Chinese attorney and Nobel Peace Prize nominee Gao Zhisheng wrote to China’s leaders relays the findings of his investigation into the persecution of Falun Gong in Northeast China: Text of Letter

“At 4:20 p.m. on October 28, 2005, Ms. Wang Shouhui (mother) and Mr. Liu Boyang (son) from Changchun City were followed by 6-10 Office staff and were illegally arrested. The two were brutally tortured by the police. At about 8 p.m., 28-year-old Liu Boyang died from the torture. About 10 days later, his mother was also tortured to death.”

•    Details of a middle-aged Falun Gong practitioner from northeast China who was recently killed in custody within days of his arrest. Mr. Yang died on July 5, 2009. He was 45-years-old and was one of the latest among 3,292 documented cases of practitioners who have died since 1999 due to persecution: news

•    Hao Fengjun, former agent of the secret 610 Office defected to Australia in 2005 after witnessing the persecution of a female practitioner: news

“I rushed to work and drove with a female officer to the prison of the Nankai Branch of Tianjin Public Security Bureau. When we arrived the prison located at Erwei Rd., Nankai District, I saw Sun Ti sat on a table in an interrogation room. Sun’s eyes were so swollen because of the beating…. Sun stopped me and showed me her back. I was terribly shocked. Almost her entire back [had] turned black and there were two cuts about 8 inches long with blood coming out.”

•    Timeline about the history of Falun Gong through to the launch of the persecution in July 1999

•    Timeline about key incidents related to the persecution (1999-2008)