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China's human rights struggle focus of independent film
Protesters march during a scene from "Free China: The Courage to Believe," being screened at 7 tonight at the Smithgall Arts Center.

'Free China: The Courage to Believe'

Southern Circuit Tour of Independent Filmmakers

When: 7 p.m. Thursday, March 28

Where: Smithgall Arts Center, 331 Spring St., Gainesville

How much: $7 adults, $5 students and seniors

More info: 770-534-2787,

A feature film "Free China: The Courage to Believe" will be screened at 7 p.m. Thursday, March 28, at part of the Southern Circuit Tour of Independent Filmmakers at The Arts Council's Smithgall Arts Center in Gainesville.

"Free China" examines widespread human rights violations in China through the stories of Jennifer Zeng, a mother and former Communist Party member; Dr. Charles Lee, a Chinese- American businessman; and hundreds of thousands of imprisoned, tortured and subjected to slave labor for their spiritual beliefs.

As political tensions rise in China with the latest corruption scandals, and more than 100,000 protests occurring yearly, the documentary provides new information that connects China’s widespread human rights violations with systemic unfair trade practices. The practices result in exporting many prison/forced labor products into the U.S., and state-sanctioned organ harvesting for profit.

The film also highlights how Internet technologies are aiding human rights activists in China and around the world, by allowing uncensored information into closed societies. In addition, the film sheds light on how a re-emergence of traditional Chinese culture and spirituality are helping bring about a new China.

Director and producer Michael Perlman will appear afterward in a Meet the Filmmaker Q&A session.

Perlman is an award-winning filmmaker, performing artist, attorney and founder of two not-for-profit organizations. He works with human rights organizations in the U.S., Burma, China and Sudan, and has been selected by Amnesty International as an official Artist for Amnesty.

He produced, wrote and directed the New York Times Critics Choice film "Eyes of the World," as well as the award-winning PBS International documentary "Tibet: Beyond Fear."

Tickets are $7 for adults and $5 for students and seniors ages 65 and older. For tickets, call 770-534-2787 or visit Trailers for each film in the series may be viewed at the Arts Council’s website.