March 17， 2022
“Rights defense lawyers” emerged at the beginning of the 21st century. From their appearance, to the notorious 709 mass arrests in 2015, to today, the Chinese Communist government has subjected them to intimidation, disappearance, torture, imprisonment, and disbarment, ignoring the UN Basic Principles on the Role of Lawyers. This 68-minute documentary film reviews the twenty-year journey of human rights lawyers in China.
Written by China Change editor Yaxue Cao, the documentary is built from existing footage, partly from China Change’s own footage and partly from other sources. We are deeply indebted to Professor Ai Xiaoming (艾晓明), whose documentary films Taishi Village (2006), Citizen Investigation (2009) and The New Citizens Trial (2014) provided precious footage of lawyers; and to artist Ai Weiwei (艾未未), whose interviews with lawyers Li Heping (2011) and Jiang Tianyong (2011), as well as the footage of lawyer Pu Zhiqiang from his documentary Disturbing the Peace (2009), have provided us with indispensable material. The two Ais are as gracious and supportive as their works are invaluable. We are also grateful to Deutsche Welle, Associated Press, Boxun, The Netherlands Online, Voice of America, Kyodo, David Missal, and Wang Qiaoling for their content. Without these existing and diverse materials, it would be very difficult to produce this documentary, so badly needed for our advocacy work.
About 33 lawyers appear in this documentary in video or audio form, and many more in photographs, making it a portrait of human rights lawyers in China. Nonetheless, the “existing footage” imposed a constraint on the production of this documentary, and we hope you will understand and forgive us for not being able to include more lawyers for lack of footage and for the risk of filming in China.
Finally, I would like to thank the protagonists of this film – the human rights lawyers in China. They are among the unsung heroes of our time.
March 15, 2022
这部记录片由改变中国主编曹雅学撰稿，采用以往已经存在的影像素材而编辑制作。改变中国在此深深感谢艾晓明老师，我们从《太石村》(2006) 、《公民调查》(2009)、 和《新公民审判》(2014) 这三部记录片中剪取了珍贵的历史镜头；感谢艺术家艾未未，他对李和平律师和江天勇律师的访谈(2011)、以及《老妈蹄花》(2009) 中浦志强律师的镜头为我们提供了难得的素材。我们感谢德国之声、美联社、博讯、中荷对话、美国之音、共同社、David Missal、以及王峭岭拍摄的素材。没有这些已经存在且多样化的素材，单靠改变中国自己的访谈素材，这部记录片要么无法做成，做成了也会枯燥无趣。