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China Cry is the true story of Sung Neng Yee (later known as Nora Lam, played by Julia Nickson-Soul) who escaped from Communist China to Hong Kong in the 1950's and then immigrated to the United States where she later became a prominent minister and advocate for those still persecuted by the Communist regime in power in Mainland China.
Sung Neng Yee was abandoned by her birth mother shortly after she was born in 1932. At six months of age, Neng Yee was adopted into one of Shanghai's wealthiest and most prominent families. She wanted for nothing, as she was pampered by her physician father (played by James Shigeta) and doting mother (played by France Nuyen). But their ideal world would be rocked when Japanese forces invaded Shanghai in 1939 during the Second Sino-Japanese War. Neng Yee's family would find themselves on the move as they were driven over one thousand miles from their home, fleeing the foreign invaders.
During the time when Sung Neng Yee's family was fleeing from Japanese forces, her parents still ensured that she pursued her education. She attended various girls' schools where she was exposed to Christian teachings about Jesus Christ. Around the age of 13, Neng Yee would profess to have accepted Christ. However with the end of the Second Sino-Japanese war and subsequent establishment of the Communist regime of the People's Republic of China, her faith in Christ waned as she embraced the philosophies of Chairman Mao Tze Tung, seeing him as the liberator of China.
Neng Yee enrolled in Soochow University, aspiring to become a lawyer and powerful member of the Communist party. She studied hard, intent on one day rising to the upper echelons of power within the new government. While at the school, she met and fell in love with Lam Chen Shen (played by Russell Wong), a fellow student from Hong Kong whom she would later marry.
But Neng Yee's idealist image of the Communist party soon started to unravel. One day, she noticed soldiers harassing Catholic priests and nuns. At the time however, she didn't really give much thought to the incident but then other disconcerting events began to take place. She was detained under suspicion of being a prostitute, all because she dared to be out riding her bicycle alone at the wrong time of day. Her father, once such a respected physician, fell out of favor with Communist officials and lost his privilege to practice medicine, being relegated to custodial duties at the hospital where he had once treated patients. After one of her professors spoke out against capitalism, declaring that China would one day be classless, Neng Yee spoke up to ask who would protect the innocent in their society. She was castigated for asking such a question and ominously made to identify herself.
Neng Yee would go on to graduate from the university with honors and begin to pursue her career as a teacher of history and political science. One day she was pulled from her classroom and questioned about her family and past education, particularly about teaching she received from Christian missionaries at one of the schools she attended. She was accused of having Christian sympathies, which she promptly vehemently denied, but her denials did not secure her release from questioning.
As the questioning continued on for many, many hours and got progressively more physical, Neng Yee became angry with her accusers. When there was a break in the questioning, she turned to God in prayer, asking if He remembered her from her childhood. Neng Yee felt the unmistakable presence of God in the interrogation room and when the interrogations began again, she no longer denied her faith in God. This resulted in her being immediately taken out of the building to be executed by firing squad. Just as the executioners were preparing to fire however, a huge storm blew in and Neng Yee escaped death. She was taken from the facility to a labor camp overseen by sadistic Colonel Cheng (played by Philip Tan), where she would be expected to remain for an undetermined length of time.
Through the years until she gained safe passage to Hong Kong and freedom, Neng Yee faced many trials, but she never again denied her faith in God. She refused to give up, believing that God's promise to remain with her was true and He would be faithful to His word. She was given the opportunity to visit with her husband from time to time and she conceived and bore three children. Though she was repeatedly separated from her family as she was taken back into custody at the labor camp time and time again, she refused to deny her faith. Even when her father passed away after being used for governmental medical experiments and she was unable to be at his side during his final hours, Neng Yee would not recant. She was determined to persevere to the end.
The story of Sung Neng Yee is awesome and yet it is representative of the experiences of so many Christians who have lived and continue to live under the repressive Communist regime. How does the Church live in such harsh conditions and not only live, but thrive and multiply despite all the efforts of those who would snuff out the light? The answer can only be credited to the power of God to do the supernatural on behalf of His children.
China Cry stars Julie Nickson-Soul as Sung Neng Yee with France Nuyen (Mrs. Sung), James Shigeta (Dr. Sung), Russell Wong (Lam Cheng Shen), and Philip Tan (Colonel Cheng). The film is produced by TBN Films and Parakletus and was directed by James F. Collier. China Cry is based on the autobiographical book of the same name written by Nora Lam.
China Cry has been rated PG-13 by the Motion Picture Association of America for mild violence. It is always recommended that parents review all content for their children, but this film is considered acceptable for most audiences.