By Yifan, Unite States
This is a considerably challenging film, which only revolves around a family of four. The debates between father and children are closely interconnected and thought-provoking, stage by stage revealing the facts and truth completely. The ending of the movie seems to be a little sad, but it is a foregone conclusion.
Zheng Yi is a Christian, while his father Zheng Weiguo is the minister of the Municipal United Front Work Department in a city of China. To put it plainly, Zheng Yi is a believer in God but his father is someone who arrests believers in God. Because of their contradictory status, they can’t get along with each other. Zheng Yi heard that the CCP government had been persecuting Eastern Lightning cruelly and had arrested many Christians when he studied in the USA. Prompted by curiosity, he investigated Eastern Lightning on the website of the Church of Almighty God. Then he found that the words expressed by Almighty God are the truth and they are the voice of God. Therefore, he accepted Almighty God’s work of. The Red Re-education at Home starts from the scene in which Zheng Yi comes back to China after four years.
Zheng Yi is given a dinner of welcome by his family. In the same night, he knows from his father that the CCP is intensifying efforts to suppress and persecute the family churches, and that the persecution especially of the Church of Almighty God is even crueler. What Zheng Yi says at the table resonates among his family, and everyone approves of his viewpoint. His father, Zheng Weiguo, who is proud of him for his growth, believes that he will be successful and have a bright future. However, Zheng Weiguo never thought that his son, whom he is proud of, has accepted Eastern Lightning. The family education of the CCP is that children of the party members must believe in Marxism-Leninism and Mao Zedong Thought, and thus believing in God is forbidden. If they, that means they betray the CCP. The children of the CCP members must listen to the Party’s words, follow it and belong to it forever. Therefore, Zheng Weiguohe can never accept the fact that Zheng Yi and Zheng Rui have believed in God and followed God and does his best to oppose and hinder them.
In fact, it was once a happy and harmonious family, which can be seen in many details. In the movie, many photographs of the whole family are seen in close-up, especially when Zheng Weiguo debates with Zheng Yi and Zheng Rui on belief. Through these close-ups, the director wants to stress that this is a happy and harmonious family. However, the CCP’s persecution of belief makes this happy family break apart, just as Zheng Weiguo puts it: “The family has broken apart!” How does the family break apart step by step?
Zheng Rui, having been a journalist for several years, also finds the crisis of belief in the Chinese society: The Chinese people generally have no belief, so their spirit is empty. People put money above all and enjoy the pleasures of sin, which makes their heart more and more evil. They don’t walk the right path. These have direct relation to the atheist regime and the national education. She has seen through these things after years of faith in the Lord. However, during the dinner, the words from her brother are clearer than her perspective, which excites her envy. Zheng Rui, when spending time with her brother, can’t wait to seek out him for fellowship. Through his testimony, she feels regret that she didn’t investigate Eastern Lightning in time. Afterward, by reading the words of Almighty God, she ascertains that Almighty God is the return of theand accepts the work of Almighty God of the last days. This is the only scene in which the witnessing of God is not interfered with in the whole movie. Their fellowship is positive and progressive, which is not only a feast for our eyes, but also a feast to our ears. Especially the scene filmed in a park in the morning, in which there is fresh and quiet environment, melodious song of birds, and bright sunshine. All of this makes us feel happy, yet this happiness didn’t last long.
How can the father, as the minister of the United Front Work Department, possibly permit his children to believe in God? The father opposes them believing in God, and stresses over and over again, “I will definitely not allow you to believe in God and preach the gospel.” “I will definitely not permit you to believe in Almighty God!” The father’s authoritarian words and behaviors make them feel quite constrained. During their debates, he always says such tough words. The father represents the typical communist who resists God. The CCP was established through lies and violence. Even at home, the father, as a communist, still takes charge of the family by means of confining the thoughts and of mental violence. His authoritarian parenting style not only makes his children feel very oppressed, but even makes his wife who has been living with him feel the same.
Under their father’s high-control parenting, the two young people once and again speak out their mind to him, “Why is it that wherever a communist party is in power, there is no freedom of belief? The CCP always practices Red re-education and Red rule. Isn’t the CCP too evil? It is simply unbearable!” “We don’t object your governance as an official, but can you give us some freedom of belief? We do not want other freedom. As long as we have religious freedom, that is enough. Can’t we be given this little bit of freedom?” From what they say, we clearly know there is no human rights or freedom of religion at all in China .Though it claims itself to be a country with “religious freedom,” its so-called freedom is just the speech that cheats people.
In order to hinder his son and daughter from believing in God, Zheng Weiguo argues with his children many times. Through their arguments, some questions are made clear, such as: What is a good religion? What is an evil cult? Do believers in God not care about their families? and so on. So, the audience can not only enjoy the wonderful arguments, but know the truth. The main threads of the movie are based on arguments. We don’t feel the slightest visual fatigue when seeing the plot development though most of the scenes are filmed in their home, an enclosed space. For example, in order to hinder the two children from believing God, their father threatens their mother with the rumors of the CCP, and draws her over to his side. In the following plot, the pleasant discussion of the whole family introduces the debate on the question why believers in God still preach the gospel boldly under the severe oppression of the CCP. And there is a dialogue between Zheng Weiguo and his wife in the balcony in the evening. All this promotes the plot development in differing degrees, each plot is closely followed by another and all of them are indispensable. Some expression forms of the film are visually striking, for example, the scene where the whole family go out for an outing, but what really attracts us are their debates.
After many debates, Zheng Rui is somewhat passive. She is afraid that she and her brother debating with their father will make their parents sad, and that such debates will cause family disharmony and make she and her brother get on the wrong side of their parents. Most people must hold the viewpoint like this. In their opinion, the two young people should cherish the family, and both of them don’t seem to be sensible. However, from Zheng Yi’s fellowship, we understand: they debate with their father thus completely for enlightening him, so that he will no longer be deceived by the rumors of the CCP or resist God along with it. For the devils who resist God will not meet a good end. They have debated with their father time and time again just because of loving their parents. If they do not make the disadvantages and consequences clear, their father will walk down the wrong path of doing evil and resisting God, which will predispose him to a dangerous outcome. But he doesn’t seem to understand his children’s heart. At the very end, he defines his position that he is determined to follow the CCP all his life, and that he is even willing to go to the eighteenth level of hell to meet Karl Marx. Finally, because he fears the evil power of the CCP and wants to protect his position and livelihood, he stands stubbornly with the CCP and drives Zheng Yi and Zheng Rui out of the house.
On that night of pouring rain, Zheng Weiguo insists that as long as he is alive, he won’t allow his children to believe in God. Therefore, he forces them to make a choice between the family and God. For Zheng Yi and Zheng Rui, this is a mournful choice. But they finally choose to follow theof the last days firmly. As we human beings are created by God, it is right and proper for us to believe in God and worship God. Believing God is the only right path in life and nobody has the right to interfere.
Who is the culprit that tears the family apart? The answer must be clear in everyone’s heart. The rumor that believers in God do not care about their families collapses itself. Do believers want to abandon their families? If not for the persecution of the CCP, would they leave their home? The movie clearly shows audience the truth of the family conflict of believers in God, making them know the real reason why the believers in China have to abandon their families.
At the end of the movie, a flock of seabirds spread the wings and fly up, and the sea melts into the sky. When the ending song starts, Zheng Yi walks resolutely along the seashore. The smile on his face shows that he will never regret his decision. He finally gets rid of the bondage of the red re-education, and lives free and released between heaven and earth created by God and worship Him, which is the true happiness. He is just like the seabird flying between heaven and earth, flying further and further, higher and higher. He is finally free, which does not refer to the freedom of his flesh, but the true release and freedom in his spirit. How rare and precious it is to enjoy the real freedom under the CCP’s domination which shackles people’s mind.
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