Dejan is just an ordinary guy, living in a post-communist country. However, each time a Chinese official visits his country, he’s treated as public enemy No. 1: the state security taps his phones and tails both him and his family members, while the public security pays special attention to him by visiting his workplace and his home. The reason? Because he practices Falun Gong. So, what is Falun Gong? Why is it banned and persecuted in China and what is the connection with Serbia?
By following the events on the margins of the Chinese Summit held in Belgrade in 2014, when the police unlawfully detained 11 Falun Gong activists from EU countries, we discover the story. The activists were held in order to avoid spreading the truth about the persecution of Falun Gong in China. Through their testimony in this documentary, in addition to Dejan’s, the truth is brought to the light of the day. The truth is shocking and hard to believe. The bitter truth about China and the whole world we live in.
about Falun Gong
Falun Gong (Falun Dafa) is traditional Chinese way of cultivation of mind and body. Although it is ancient, it was first presented to public in China in 1992. Because of great health benefits, it spread like wildfire. According to goverment data, 70-100 million people used to practise in 1999.
Although it's benefitial for health and non-political, Jiang Zemin, who was country's leader at that time, decided to bann it in the moment when practitioners outnumbered Communist Party members. From 1999, until today, severe persecution is on: people who practise Falun Gong get arrested, imprisoned without legal procedure, or put in labor camps for many years. Many people are tortured and number of those who died remains unknown.
The Blacklisted was created against all odds: without any financial support from film funds and in spite of huge interference during production:
Protagonists, travelling to Belgrade to make interview, were stopped on the border; Chinese actors refused to play in a film about Falun Gong. All the time we had to wonder is the government interested in what we’re doing, or not? Are they tapping the phones of the crew? Are they tailing us, reading our messages? Will they interfere? Even in the communist era in Serbia, films were rarely banned, but what we knew for sure was that if the Chinese embassy was involved - we would definitely be in trouble.
For the authors, presenting the film for the first time was like being in the film. Troubles started two weeks before premier on BELDOCS festival in Belgrade was supposed to happen, and after director gave interview to Danas newspapers. On the very same day, there was call from Chinese Embassy to the Festival to inquire about the film and festival’s sponsors. What followed was appearance of strange man with black caps, just like those in the film – both director and producer were under constant surveillance.
One night, producer's office was vandalised by unknown persons, and pressure was mounting. Then, just 5 days before premier, city owned DKC venue was unexpectedly closed by Fire police. The film premier was transferred to Kombank Dvorana, but state police closed it for the reason of security of “celebration of Anti-fascist Day”.
Finally, Kolarčeva Zadužbina venue agreed to screen the film but… just one day before premier, they changed their mind. They explained there were political pressures and that Chinese ambassador threatened to leave Serbia if the film is not stopped.
But the word was out and story was already in the media. After the public and film professionals raised their voices, the film was finally premiered on May 9, 2019 in privately owned Cineplexx.