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The Long Road of Exile – Who Deprived of His Eighteen Years of Freedom?
By Lin Fan
Inheriting the style of the fifth documentary in Chronicles of Religious Persecution in China, The Long Road of Exile sublimates how the Christians are forced to leave home and lead a vagrant life. When it allows the audience to know the Christians bear the Chinese Communist Party’s persecution, at the same time it raises a penetrating problem—is it really that the Christians do not care about their families? Then, who is the real culprit in the destruction of the Christians’ homes after all?
In the opening scene of the movie, against the dark night, some police in plain clothes break into a house. This shows the base means of the CCP police arresting Christians. Because the hero Yang Jing’en has taken his wife and daughter to his mother-in-law’s house, they escape this calamity.
In the face of such an environment, Yang Jing’en’s wife advises him to go out and hide. Although he can’t bear leaving his daughter in swaddling clothes and his weak wife, in order to escape the arrest and persecution by the CCP, he has to choose to flee. After his enforced flight, wherever he goes, he confronts the danger of being arrested at any time. He has no choice but to move again and again, leading the life of vagabonds, of the homeless. However, what makes him most grieved and unbearable is not these, but because of the CCP’s persecution and arrest, he can’t fulfill a father’s duty to let his daughter enjoy the fatherly love, nor does he fulfill a husband’s duty, much less a son’s duty, practicing filial piety by his parents’ side.
In a rental apartment, when Yang Jing’en is going to meet with his daughter after their being separated over ten years, he is quite excited with expectation, but also nervous: Now, how tall is my daughter? Will she acknowledge me? He imagines a series of scenes when he will see his daughter. But he never expects that his daughter will say, “Can I call you uncle?”, which breaks his heart. He replies in a choked voice, “Ok, anything you like …”
That scene makes people dissolve in tears. It is said that father and daughter have a great rapport, and that the daughter is the apple of her father’s eyes, while the father is the daughter’s prop. But at this moment, there is neither apple nor prop. Time and distance break down the relationship between the daughter and father bit by bit, leading them to become strangers with each other. They are so close but feel like they are a world away. Here, it not only heightens the emotion but also restores the truth that “The Christians do not care about their families” is a rumor. What shows us is not that the Christians abandon their families, rather it is that the CCP suppresses and arrests the Christians that they can’t return homes or see their families.
It has been learned: Ever since the Chinese Communist Party took control, it has designated Christianity as an evil cult, calling the Bible the book of an evil cult, frantically making arrests and persecuting the believers in God, which results in countless Christians being imprisoned and critically injured or even die. In order to flee from the persecution by it, still many other Christians have to abandon their homes and live in exile, unable to return their homes. … On the contrary, the Christians in the western democratic countries, also cast aside their homes and careers to spread gospel and testify God, but why are their families not broken? Why is that? Then, the next plots make a better exposition for this.
In September 2012, Shandong police, through monitor, phone surveillance, and other means, controlled some church leaders and co-workers’ whereabouts, and then they carried out the arrest. In the end, Yang Jing’en didn’t escape this arrest, either. After experiencing the eleven days’ cruel torture, Yang Jing’en has been tormented to the brink of death, with his body covered in countless bruises. Whoever sees this scene cannot but shed tears, and will have a more knowledge of the reason why Yang Jing’en abandons his family to be on the run. Experiencing the CCP’s brutal torment, he is like to make a trip to hell. How can the flesh and blood bear?
Afterward, because the CCP persecutes The Church of Almighty God more and more severely, and it even uses the power of whole country to frantically suppress and arrest the Christians, the situation becomes more and more dangerous; an untold number of Christians are arrested. Yang Jing’en has to ask someone to apply for a passport for him everywhere and be ready to risk fleeing China.
The scene where he risks taking leave of his parents before he goes expresses again his guilt and reluctance for his family. His father chokes back the tears and says, “Son, as long as you are alive, you are fulfilling your filial piety. Whether you are together with us is not important. …” His mother says in tears, “Son, stay alive, don’t worry your father and me.” Although these are simple words, these express his parents’ reluctance and helpless, and even strongly emerges the actual fact that it is CCP that forces this whole family to be torn apart.
Facing his parents, Yang Jing’en doesn’t say much, but his eyes have been already full of tears. The parents are only able to use the last dinner to express their reluctance and love for their son. The son sobs while he is eating, and almost can’t swallow; the parents are drying their eyes and watching their son who is leaving, and can only say, “Have some more. …”
Such a whole family is broken by the CCP in this way. Before Yang Jing’en leaves, neither can he find his kid, nor does he know where his wife has escaped to. The atheist Communist Party of China deprives of Yang Jing’en’s everything, constantly tramples on his belief, and ruthlessly devastates each one in this Christian’s family. His child loses fatherly love and also loses her happy childhood; his parents lose their dutiful son; his wife loses her husband as well. But as a father, a son, and a husband, Yang Jing’en’s responsibilities and obligations are all deprived by the CCP. He can only endure all the suffering silently. Yang Jing’en clearly knows in his heart: Along the way, if not for God’s guidance, he would fail to hold on long ago. It is God who gives him faith, allowing him to still continue his belief in those so difficult days.
Now, all we can do is to pray for him, for his family, and for all the Chinese Christians. I believe that no matter how large the dark clouds are, they cannot block the sun’s glory.
The Long Road of Exile has portrayed the Chinese Christian’s escape lasting as long as 18 years. Although the movie only runs over half an hour, it has demonstrated the CCP’s endless persecution of Christians. Its tyranny, cruelty, and suppression breaks up one happy family after another and destroys countless people’s beautiful prospect for freedom. At the end of the movie, the sun rising from the horizon brings hope for people. It means to tell everyone that even though Yang Jing’en has been persecuted for many years, he has the indestructible faith and under God’s guidance, the path of his life will become brighter and brighter.
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