Director Leon Lee and Yi Sun show audiences a hidden side of China in this insightful and inspiring documentary of one man’s journey towards freedom.
LETTER FROM MASANJIA follows Yi Sun, a former prisoner of the brutal Masanjia labour camp. The collaboration of Lee and Sun aims to open the eyes of people around the world. With compelling animated reconstructions of Sun’s time in the camp, audiences are both moved and fascinated at the extraordinary events that took place.
Whilst imprisoned, Sun wrote a letter that was smuggled out in a box of Halloween decorations, which were to be sent to America. Later discovered in a package by Julie Keith from Oregon, the letter was shared with the local press and sparked a media frenzy, drawing attention to the atrocities happening in China. Yi Sun’s ‘crime’ was that he followed the practices of Falun Gong, a combination of meditation, qigong exercises, and a moral philosophy of tolerance, compassion and truthfulness. Sun produced written material setting the record straight about Falun Gong, which had been slandered in the media. To the Communist Party, the number of people practising Falun Gong was a threat, and therefore had to be made illegal.
In poignant scenes, Lee gives access to the remorseful accounts of those who tortured Sun. Through them a better picture is painted of Sun’s resilient nature with one saying, “he had a lot of backbone even though he looks like a frail scholar.” The animated scenes, which before viewing might seem out of place, work perfectly. They are drawn with a considerable amount of detail, and thoughtfully give us an insight into what happened behind the walls of the Masanjia labour camp.
LETTER FROM MASANJIA highlights the resilience of both Yi Sun and his wife, Fu Ning, and the strength of their love. Important lessons can be learnt from Yi Sun, Fu Ning and Julie Keith: stick by your beliefs, never give up hope and act on things that you believe to be wrong. It is a heart-breaking story, but one we must heed if we are ever to become conscious and make a change.
Leon Lee and Yi Sun have produced an eye-opening documentary in a heart-rendering, yet encouraging way, showing that there are those who aren’t willing to give in.