Broken Harmony: China’s Dissidents tells the story of Hua Ze, an ordinary Chinese citizen for whom a discovery of corruption led her into a hidden world of dissidents, citizen journalism, police harassment and kidnappings.
Once a mild mannered TV director, Hua Ze discovered that an old friend reporting on alleged corruption after the Sichuan earthquake had disappeared, along with any mention of him online. Following a trail of leads over the great internet fire wall of China, she discovers not just the fate of her friend, but the truth behind Sichuan’s fatal building code violations, a jaw-dropping array of human rights abuses across China and comes to the realization that the entire internet in China is a state controlled fiction.
Hua’s awakening takes her into a new world of dissidents, journalists and human rights lawyers. As she begins her own reporting, pressure from the government is swift, and her world is turned upside down. She is forced out of her job and placed under surveillance. One by one, her new friends are arrested or detained. Phones are tapped and secretive threats and warnings are made. But Hua cannot turn a blind eye to the corruption and she pays the price.
When ordinary Chinese citizens go to extraordinary lengths to fight human rights abuses, the risks are enormous, even life-threatening. Broken Harmony reveals Hua’s courageous acts and willingness to lose everything to fight for justice and the rule of law.
The Coming War on China, from award winning journalist John Pilger, reveals what the news doesn’t – that the world’s greatest military power, the United States, and the world’s second economic power, China, both nuclear-armed, may well be on the road to war.
Nuclear war is not only imaginable, but planned. The greatest build-up of NATO military forces since the Second World War is under way on the western borders of Russia. On the other side of the world, the rise of China is viewed in Washington as a threat to American dominance.
To counter this, President Obama announced a ‘pivot to Asia’, which meant that almost two-thirds of all US naval forces would be transferred to Asia and the Pacific, their weapons aimed at China. A policy which has been taken up by his successor Donald Trump, who during his election campaign said “We can’t continue to allow China to rape our country and that’s what they’re doing”.
Filmed on five possible front-lines across Asia and the Pacific over two years, the story is told in chapters that connect a secret and ‘forgotten’ past to the rapacious actions of great power today and to a resistance, of which little is known in the West.
For 88 years, a small Oklahoma town has pantomimed a passion play on a bizarre reproduction of Jerusalem built into the Wichita foothills.
Jesus Town, USA is a light-hearted and comedic documentary chronicling the journey of a 100-strong amateur cast, a dozen horses, and very devout community. Once boasting audiences of over 200,000 the Pageant now struggles to find any audience at all. When the man playing Jesus for 8 years retires, his replacement, a long-standing member of the cast, has a secret he is hiding from everyone.
The journey from casting to opening night is a real-life ‘Waiting for Guffman’ set in the heart of Oklahoma. With endearing characters, quirky humour, and stunning cinematography, Jesus Town, USA documents a town grappling with questions of tradition, legacy, and what it means to be a community.
The Yakuza, Japan’s organised crime syndicates, are a dying breed. Their members are aging and the government of Japan has launched a large-scale crackdown on them to eradicate them once and for all. But who are the Yakuza? The cancer of a nation or a necessary evil in a country with one of the lowest crime rates in the industrialised world?
Undoubtedly the Yakuza are involved in crimes including extortion, fraud, murder, drugs & gambling. However, Japan has one of the lowest crime rates in the industrialised world, with crimes related to drugs -officially against the Yakuza code of honour- or street gangs strikingly low, a fact that many contribute to the presence of the Yakuza. Deeply rooted in Japanese society, they are seen as a necessary evil and ‘problem solvers’. They have been around since the 1700s and were said to protect the weak from the strong, following a rigorous code of honour. Several clans even contributed aid for the victims of the recent earthquake and Tsunami, all reasons why the public perception of the Yakuza in Japan is not solely a negative one.
Unlike the Mafia, the Yakuza is a legal, public group making them relatively easy to check on. Their offices are public, their members registered by the police and Yakuza members went as far as freely admitting their guilt in cases of crime investigations, as a part of their code of honour. In reaction to strict government measures against them, the Yakuza has ceased all cooperation with the law. As the police concentrate their resources on the Yakuza, many criminals simply don’t register with clans anymore and start operating underground, evading the grasp of police. A clear trend is emerging towards a new structure of organised crime in Japan, resulting in a steep decrease in the numbers of the traditional Yakuza while the underground is soaring – including foreign Russian and Chinese mafia’s.
This documentary deals with the struggle of the Yakuza for its survival and the restructuring of the organized crime scene in Japan. Furthermore, unprecedented access to the secret world of the Yakuza gives you an insight on who the Yakuza really are: criminals, outcasts, but also family men and a part of Japanese society.