A Film Review: Sweetness in Adversity—Its Unique Forms of Expression and Emotional Impacts

By Xien, United States

In general, most of films on the persecution center around the torture and cruel treatment, and will prefer a straightforward approach in telling the viewers that the protagonist is suffering cruel persecution. But here there is a film that breaks the convention. It brings all contradictions to a climax mainly through debates between persecutors and the sufferer.

At the beginning of the film, the CCP police are holding a meeting to arrange the arrest work to follow. At first sight, you may think that this is a movie about police and gangsters. But in fact, it is a documentary film showing the atheistic CCP’s persecution of Christians.

The heroine Han Lu is arrested resulting from being monitored and shadowed by the CCP police, through which the story unfolds. Subsequently, not only does it show the hot debates, it also greatly presents the course of cruel persecution the heroine suffers.

The film lasts more than one hour. Though it is not long, there are still many key attractions.

Firstly, where Han Lu is interrogated isn’t the interrogation room, but a hotel, which is quite hard to understand. Why do the police interrogate her in the closed hotel, instead of the interrogation room of the police station? Not until I met some Christian friends from mainland China did I know the inside story. In order to ban the religious beliefs, the CCP government has established the secret interrogation places almost in each city of China, and most of them are hotels or deserted houses remote from the urban area. Contemplating it, we can easily understand that it is a means by which the CCP government hides the fact that they persecute Christians with cruel tortures.

Secondly, when the cops question Han Lu, they keep grilling her about who the senior leader of the church is and where the church money is. Such interrogations attract my attention: Why do the police’s interrogations refer to such two questions and always revolve around them? What are their intentions?

Thirdly, after many futile interrogations revolving around the church’s money and the senior leader, the cops scare Han Lu time and again, “Sticking to your faith stubbornly, you are looking to die! Even if you are not shot, we will put you into prison for life and let you die there.” It is right and proper for man to believe in God. What are they guilty of? The whole world has freedom of religion. Why does the CCP severely crack down on, oppose and persecute those who have religious beliefs, and even interrogate Christians by cruel tortures? It’s quite unclear and confusing!

In fact, it is not difficult to find the answers to the questions. In the film, all the names and telephone numbers in Han Lu’s notebook are changed, which really indicates something. From the scenes presented in this film, I cannot help but think: The communications industry is so thriving, while in China the CCP even has restrictions on the Christians’ freedom of phone call. What kind of mistreatment are they suffering? Why do they even have no free access to phone calls? After thinking a lot, I don’t feel it is difficult to understand. As the CCP takes some measures on Christians, for example, monitoring their phones to control them, if they don’t use some means, they will be arrested and put into prison. It is exactly too dangerous.

The most key attractions of this film are two debates between the heroine Han Lu and the CCP police. The contents are not deep mysteries, but the simple everyday language. Han Lu’s words are realistic and objective, and her incisive words dissect directly the essence of the CCP’s persecution of those who have religious beliefs, which helps us see the facts more directly and thoroughly.

The CCP government has been persecuting those who have religious beliefs since the CCP was in power, not to mention the CCP’s persecution of Christians from the founding of the People’s Republic of China to the Cultural Revolution. Its mass coordinated arrest of Christians has never been interrupted since China introduced the reform and opening up policy in 1980, particularly including a nationwide crackdown which took place in 2012, an operation called “Spring Thunder Action” in 2013, and a “One-Hundred-Day Battle” launched in 2014. Nowadays, the CCP has demolished the churches forcedly in the major cities of China. All of these have not been any secret in the entire international community. However, many people, including me, can only know about the facts without understanding the reason why the CCP persecutes those who have religious beliefs. It was not until I watched the debates between Han Lu and the CCP police that I suddenly saw with clarify: The CCP is an atheist party, while the believers in God are theists. In the CCP police’s words, the theist is none other than the enemy of the atheist, and the atheist’s persecution of the theist is class warfare of life and death in the realm of ideology. Therefore, the atheist-ruled country is simply unable to tolerate the existence of the theist. Under the international situation, in order to improve the international influence, China claims that it allows the “freedom of belief” publicly. Yet it crazily persecutes those who have religious beliefs secretly. In order to stamp out religion, the CCP has been trying every possible means. It not only crazily arrests Christians, and demolishes the churches everywhere, but also tries to brainwash people by using all the media and education and forcibly indoctrinates people with the atheist thoughts. Even it has openly declared that the Bible and the books of God’s word are evil cult books, and Protestantism and Catholicism are evil cults. What’s more, it spreads rumors, and establishes feigned cases to frame the church, dreaming of stirring people’s enmity toward the church. Though many people no longer believe the CCP’s words, there are still a large number of people deceived by the CCP and having no discernment of the CCP’s lies. Some people even become the CCP’s tools to shadow and monitor Christians. Under these circumstances, Christians in China survive on the margins of society, and grow hard but strongly.

Contrasting with the convention, the film thoroughly dissects the true essence of the CCP’s persecution of those who have religious beliefs with direct debates, which really makes audience deeply understand the facts of the CCP’s persecution of believers.

In addition, the background music in this film relatively has appeal. No matter whether its rhythms are slow or tense, when served with designated scenes, it always takes audience into the atmosphere quickly. In terms of the film editing, especially in the scene where Han Lu suffers the last cruel torture, the technique of superimposition is adopted. When the background music begins, all audience were grieved by her suffering such a torture and their tears flew down unceasingly.

Also, both costumes and performances of the actors in the film are close to reality. Among the actors, though the one that plays Director Hou is new, he plays the government official lively as if he is experienced. And Captain Ma’s insidious and deceitful; Captain Chen’s wicked, merciless and rascally; Captain of the Criminal Police Team Xiao Ping’s cold, emotionless and ruthless. The actors all interpret their roles well. As the non-professional actors, it is quite not easy for them to reach this level.

After commenting on the film, let’s talk about the heroine Han Lu. She is an inflexible Christian, which is admitted by the CCP police and many audience. And her two performances move me deeply: one is her prayers; the other is the seduction of love for her mother after the cruel tortures. Her prayers remind me of the Lord Jesus’s words: “And you shall be brought before governors and kings for my sake, for a testimony against them and the Gentiles. But when they deliver you up, take no thought how or what you shall speak: for it shall be given you in that same hour what you shall speak. For it is not you that speak, but the Spirit of your Father which speaks in you” (Mat 10:18-20). Under such campaigns of the CCP police, she still can respond to them calmly and dissect the true essence of the issue with incisive words directly. I believe that such is the effect brought by the prayers completely. Only by praying to God and receiving His leadership and guidance, can she stand firm in such cruel tortures and rumors and fallacies, and testify loud and clear. With regard to the scene of the seduction of love for her mother, I believe that many friends feel the same way with me. What Han Lu will choose in that moment touches each audience’s heart. As she has toughed out so many cruel tortures, if she gives in to this hurdle, the former hardships she has suffered will be in vain. However, it is the words written by Han Lu that give the scene and the whole film a perfect ending.

The thrilling words are “Accompanied by God’s Love, I will be faithful to death. Even if imprisoned for life, I will have no complaint or regret!” These words move every audience and also encourage every Christian deeply!

If you have other understanding or new light about this article, you’re welcome to have a chat with us via the online chat window at the bottom of the website or send an email to [email protected]. We Look forward to sharing with more brothers and sisters about your enlightenment from God and growing together in Christ.

You may be interested in this article: Proofs of the CCP’s Persecution of Christians