This is the story of a group of peaceful protesters across the street from the Chinese Embassy in London. It began in 2002 and continues today after 15 years. Since the day it started, the protesters have run a non-stop protest 24/7 in a relay fashion.
Having persisted for more than 100 thousand hours and counting, these determined individuals have run into all kinds of people.
From inebriated and wandering homeless in the wee hours, agents of the Chinese Communist regime who tried to cause trouble for them, to passersby who showed them kindness.
There were tourists riding on the double-decker bus who cast quick glances at them, children who grew up watching their tireless pursuit, and people who were inspired so much by their endeavor that they decided to join their effort in guarding the same faith.
Some asked them the question: “The British government is seeking to do business with the Chinese, will they take actions on your behalf?”
They too asked themselves such questions: “In the middle of the night, the street is almost empty, and the gates of the embassy are tightly shut. Who knows we are here protesting? Who could even see us?”
When we first approached them, we had similar questions. We wanted to know why they are there? What is it they’re holding onto with such determination? What have they had to sacrifice? And what have they gotten in return?
On Christmas Eve 2016, as we pointed the camera at the angel-shaped Christmas lighting on Regent Street, our filming finally drew to a close. We found the answers to the questions we had set out to ask.
This 70-minute documentary took us nearly one year to finish. In this film, you’ll come to know these individuals and share their laughter, tears, pain, and joy, as well as the passing moments of their daily lives.
In this wintry December, all lives lay in a state of dormancy. Yet the frigidity and bleakness are merely what’s on the surface. Underneath all that snow lies the seed of hope, waiting to sprout and break through the soil after enduring the harshest winter.
One individual in the film said: “If mankind’s fundamental qualities ‘truthfulness, compassion, forbearance’ are undermined’, then it will hurt all of us.”
Another individual in the film said: “Part of the reason my father is so determined is so that this generation of people could have a good future.”
Lately, after learning in the news China’s kindergarten abuse and Beijing’s ruthless eviction of so -called “low-end” population, the words of these individuals in the film are indeed a world apart.
We hope the kindness that every individual in the film works so hard to protect will be a seed of hope, sprouting and breaking through the frozen soil. In today’s reality of profound moral corruption, where so many people live in disappointment and confusion, may this seed restore hope, goodness, and faith for all.
(This blog post is about the film Candlelight Across the Street. Click to watch the full film!)