Inside the Red Wall

The sudden cancellation of Beyond the Red Wall: The Persecution of Falun Gong got noticed by the New York Times today.

John Cruickshank, who is in charge of CBC news operations, said: “I’m happy we didn’t air it. I’m happy we stepped into the process. In the end, we got the journalism right.”

Happy? “Got the the journalism right?” That’s pretty bold.

The contention is that there are “journalistic questions” with the doc. We can guess this has something to do with allegations of organ harvesting. Who knows? Unless you caught it on Radio-Canada, or when it aired as part of a fiscal-year trick at 4 am in March, none if us can judge for ourselves.

No problem, I thought. This is 2007. I’ll just download it from the great #digitaldistractions site and watch it myself. They have all kinds of documentaries. But that site has been shut down, I learned. Something about legal threats.

Maybe the CBC has it online? No, the show “was pre-empted for a timely documentary about Pakistan and President Gen. Musharraf.” Nothing to do with the Chinese at all, you see. And nothing at all to do with our Olympic broadcast in 2008. Be sure to tune into Canada’s Own Network this summer!

Stonewalled again. And I still don’t have the information I need to make an informed decision about Falun Gong or the Chinese government, let alone a good blog post on the subject.

Hold on, am I allowed to blog about it? The answer is not clear. Isn’t my site blocked inside the CBC? To be safe, maybe I should check with the Politburo.

Er, I mean, my supervisor.


  1. Anonymous
    Posted November 12, 2007 at 8:31 am | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    Are we missing something? The CBC had the the program for well over six months. In fact aired in the end of March. It’s aired on Radio-Canada, as well in various countries around the world…. Did the Chinese miss this? I’m sure that the world thought by granting the Olympics to the Chinese that this would encourage them to join the democratic world. It’s a communist country which embraces censorship and opporession. Yet we give them all kinds of business, which makes a “segment” of their population rich (obvious “capitalizing” on the rewards of open societies) while, in essesence using a form of slave labor to make cheap – maninly unsafe – products for export. For any free world broadcaster to even consider bowing to this kind of pressure is sad day for all of us. I know many who are boycotting the upcoming Olympics – incuding not watching events on any network.

  2. Enik Sleastak
    Posted November 11, 2007 at 6:58 am | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    UPDATE: CBC-TV will air a documentary chronicling the persecution of the Falun Gong movement by the Chinese government soon, with minor changes approved by its producer.

    ANCIENT WISDOM: A change to appease the powerful can never serve the common good.

    UPDATE: CBC-TV spokesperson Jeff Keay said an air date will be announced soon, with a tentative date set for Nov. 22 for Beyond The Red Wall: The Persecution of Falun Gong.

    ANCIENT WISDOM: Time and forgetfulness may heal all wounds, but for those committed against history and art.

    UPDATE: The documentary set to air earlier this week was postponed amid fears complaints by Chinese officials had persuaded the broadcaster to pull it from the lineup.

    ANCIENT WISDOM: Some fears are well-founded, and some fearfulness is wisdom in another form.

    UPDATE: But Keay insisted airing the documentary was never at issue.

    ANCIENT WISDOM: Voices without integrity are incapable of truth. Those who speak from a place of enmity and deceit steal the truth from the mouths of all around them.

    UPDATE: “This was never an issue of censorship. We have every intention of broadcasting the documentary,” he said, denying the postponement was linked to CBC coverage of the Beijing 2008 Summer Olympics.

    ANCIENT WISDOM: To speak to others clearly and honestly, one must first be clear and honest within oneself. Those who are conflicted and rancorous can only spread conflict and rancor with every word and deed. Such shamefulness must be banished, or else overtake all with its infection.

    UPDATE: Senior network executives reviewed the documentary in light of concerns raised by Chinese officials and producer Peter Rowe agreed to minor modifications, Keay said.

    ANCIENT WISDOM: To be forced to choose between several evil paths is to find one has no choice at all.

    UPDATE: In an open letter, Rowe said, “it is now clear to me that CBC is not trying to either bury or censor this film.” He said two storylines are being updated and sources “clarified.”

    ANCIENT WISDOM: One does not dare to whisper a tiny truth amid the roar of many larger lies.

    UPDATE: “I believe that the changes and additions we are making to the film will improve the quality of the film and certainly in no way … weaken or diminish the film or the voices heard in it,” said Rowe, who worked on the film for three years.

    ANCIENT WISDOM: There is no greater sacrifice than when credibility is lost, as there is nothing worse than to forever be disbelieved.

    UPDATE: Rowe said he hoped the controversy ensures “many more Canadians will learn the shocking story of the persecution of the Falun Gong.”

    ANCIENT WISDOM: Even the most charitable of lies and misdeeds can never serve the truth. A truthful story told with lies is a story whose meaning is lost in the telling. To tell the truth, one must be true, and resist the untruths that tear away at the soul.

  3. Anonymous
    Posted November 9, 2007 at 10:25 pm | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    This is either bizarre or shameful. Okay, maybe it’s both.

    In other doc news, I’ve been pitching a reality show to cbc, with no response so far. Here’s my proposal:

    Follow Brian Mulroney around with a camera crew for a few weeks. Film everything. And make sure you’re there when he gets arrested. Edit accordingly, add music, maybe some interviews.

    A guaranteed hit.

  4. Anonymous
    Posted November 9, 2007 at 9:35 am | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    Self-censorship from a public broadcaster… A sign of the times?

    “Journalistic questions” that demand that the show be yanked from the airwaves…
    The price of doing business in neo-liberalism land? (Journalists can pack their things, I guess….Just like the historians at the War Museum. No more need for that kind of expertise.)

    A public broadcaster that caves in to special interests, to the detriment of its population’s need to be accurately informed…

    A hood-winked public looking for truth-based, fact-filled stories….

    Key words: spineless, China Olympics, broadcast rights, optics, trade, $$$$$$$$$$$$$$.

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