The Questioning[1]: The Arrogance of the Police[2]

To be shown to a small audience in 1908 Bookstore (香港1908书社), Hong Kong, August 23, 2013, and followed by a discussion: From Independent Chinese Films to Video Recording of Interviews. Event information can be found at: http://www.hkjp.org/activity.php?id=207

Watch The Questioning on a hot summer day at a time when Chinese government’s anti-democracy and anti-constitutionalism Document No. 9 is revealed to the public, and Miss Lam in Hong Kong has been subjected to police investigation for defending justice.

On July 25, 2012, Guo Feixiong (郭飞雄), Sui Muqing (隋牧青), Guo Chunping (郭春平), Zhu Rikun (朱日坤), and Li Yonglin (李勇霖) went to Xinyu, Jiangxi province, to visit rights defenders Liu Ping (刘萍), Wei Zhongping (魏忠平) and Li Sihua (李思华). At 12 o’clock midnight, police officers knocked on the door for a “room inspection…..”[3]

Dreary and absurd, the film The Questiopning presents the Chinese bureaucracy in its Kafkaesque extreme, in which one’s existence and meaning are only provable by various identity documents. A group of policemen enter a hotel room and ask questions of the guests for 20 minutes just to force them to acknowledge information already recorded in a passport. Human dignity is humiliated over and over again during the interrogation. When a guest protests quietly that “I don’t have to answer you,” the police officers say, “‘Not answer’ is a law of Hong Kong, not of the mainland China. You can choose to keep silent in Hong Kong, but not here.” The hubris of Chinese police is a reflection of the totalitarian violence that they embody that knows no constrains. When such violence needs to disguise itself, police bureaucracy becomes that disguise. Undiscerned by the populace, it permeates into daily life of ordinary citizens, now into life in Hong Kong.

Beyond the camera, the three Xinyu activists Liu Ping, Wei Zhongping and Li Sihua had, prior to the filming, repeatedly disappeared, been placed under house arrest and beaten for their practicing citizen’s political rights and for their participating in local elections of peoples’ representative as independent candidates. Lawyers and netizens who had gone to Xinyu to support them were beaten, driven away or robbed. The three activists have been arrested since April 2013, and the charges against them have changed from “assembling a crowd to disrupt public order” to “inciting subversion of state power” to “illegal assembling.” Guo Feixiong, was detained since August 8 for “assembling a crowd to disrupt order in a public place.”

For the time being, the film has no plan to be publicly shown. You may come to the screening and take part in the discussion. You may also pay RMB 60 yuan to receive an authorization code for online viewing. You can make a payment through Paypal (zengjinyan@gmail.com) or Alipay (zengjinyan@yahoo.com) during August 20 – 25, 2013, with the payment title “The Questioning”. Online viewing (mainland viewers need to scale the GFW) is available from August 26 – 31, 2013. Alipay users, please leave your “comment information” in the “subject.” The poster, designed by Wang Wo[4], and DVD of the film will be released later this year (check http://www.acopy.net/en for details). The entire proceeds will go to the families of the four activists.

The Questioning

Duration: 20’30’’

Year: 2013

Genre: Documentary short

Director: Zhu Rikun (朱日坤)

Produced by Huangniutian Production and distributed by Fanhall Films.

Film festival screenings:

March 2013, Cinéma du réel(真实电影节)[5] , France.

May 2013, MoMa, Chinese Realities/Documentary Visions[6], New York, USA.

May 2013, International Documentary Festival, Madrid, Spain[7].

Coming Film festival screenings:

September 2013, Message to Man film festival[8], Russia.

October 2013, DMZ Korean International Documentay Film Festival[9], South Korea.

November 2013, CPH:DOX film festival[10], Denmark.

December 2013, Festival Del Popoli 2013[11], Italy, and Festival le “Cinéma des peuples” d’Ânûû-rû âboro, New Calédonia[12], France.

About the director:

Zhu Rikun (朱日坤) is an internationally recognized independent film festival organizer, producer and director. He was a graduate of Guanghua College of Peking University and the founder of Fanhall Films.


[1] Acknowledgement to @YaxueCao for translating this introduction.

[2] Stay tuned for the next issue of Films and Authors (电影作者) and The Life of an Agent, one of the films in my documentary series about policemen.

[3] Sui Muqing’s journal about the event: http://beijingspring.com/bj2/2010/150/2012830195317.htm

[4] Wang Wo is an artist, an independent director whose work includes Outside, Noise, Zheteng, and a graphic designer who designed, among many other works, the Ai Weiwei the Door God series.

[8] The film is selected to be in a special unit and has not been announced online. Other films can be found at: http://message2man.com/eng/

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