Monthly Archives: January 2013

Mountain Patrol

Kekexili Mountain Patrol 01Mountain Patrol (Chinese: 可可西里; pinyin: Kěkěxīlǐ) (ཨ་ཆེན་གངས་རྒྱལ། in Tibetan) is a 2004 film by Chinese director Lu Chuan (陆川) that depicts the struggle between vigilante rangers and bands of poachers in the remote Tibetan region of Kekexili (Hoh Xil). It was inspired by the documentary Balance by Peng Hui.

Despite its realistic, detached style, the film evokes the dramatic Western genre in several ways. This includes the portrayal of a masculine, harsh way of life and culture of honor at the frontier of civilization; but also the depiction of a rugged, majestic landscape (captured to great effect by cinematographer Cao Yu) that becomes a star of the film.

This characterization is made explicit when the characters profess their love for their homeland, whose very name evokes “beautiful mountains, beautiful maidens” to them.

MCDKEMO EC003The film opens with the summary execution of a patrol member by poachers and then follows, in quasi-documentary style, reporter Ga Yu (played by Zhang Lei (张磊)) who is sent from Beijing to investigate. In Kekexili he meets Ritai (played by Tibetan actor Tobgyal, or Duo Bujie (多布杰) in Mandarin) at the Sky burial of the deceased patrol member.

Ritai is the leader of the vigilantes who, despite poverty and the lack of any government support, roam the land to protect the endangered Tibetan antelope from extinction. Admitted into the patrol, Ga becomes a sort of embedded journalist in the hunt for the poachers across Kekexili.

MCDKEMO EC002The patrol team hunts down a family of poachers and learns from them the whereabouts of their gunman and leader. But the long journey means they can no longer afford to follow on with the entire team and captured poachers. They release the poachers and send one of the cars, driven by Liu Dong (played by Qi Liang (亓亮)), back with the injured and sick team members to the hospital.

He did not have sufficient funds for the medical fee and Ritai tells him to sell some antelope skins to raise the money. Ga questioned the sales of antelope skins and learns from Ritai that they have received no funds from the government for at least a year.

MCDKEMO EC005The two remaining vehicles continue the search but one of them breaks down. Ritai ask them to wait for the other car to return and pick them up, but severe weather forces them to trek their way home. Liu Dong, traveling alone on the way back to join Ritai with his vehicle fully stocked with supplies, is swallowed by dry quicksand when his vehicle gets stuck.

Ritai and Ga finally finds the gunman and leader. But, outnumbered and outgunned, Ritai is killed by the poacher. Ga is free to go as he is not a patrol member. Ritai’s body is brought back home for a Sky burial.

Subtitles at the end of the movie states that Ga, stunned by the atrocities, writes a stunning report in Beijing which alerted the government of the problems in Kekexili and banned the poaching of Tibetan antelopes. Foreign countries also banned the import of antelope skins. Antelope numbers grow back to 30,000 at the time of the movie’s release.

MCDKEMO EC007Mountain Patrol is a film inspired by people’s remarkable mission surrounding the illegal Tibetan antelope poaching in the region of Kekexili, the largest animal reserve in China. The story is brought to the screen with great detail by director Lu Chuan.

Set against the exquisite backdrop of the Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau, Ga Yu (Zhang Lei), a journalist from Beijing, China, is determined to uncover the facts behind the disappearance of the Kekexili Mountain Patrol, the brave local Tibetans who face death and starvation to save the endangered antelope herds from a band of ruthless hunters. Kekexili Mountain Patrol

Year: 2004
USA: Samuel Goldwyn Films
Cast: Duo Bujie, Zhang Lei, Qi Liang, Zhao Xueying, Ma Zhanlin
Director: Lu Chuan
Countries: China / Hong Kong
Languages: Mandarin / Tibetan (English subtitles)
USA: 90 mins
USA Release Date: 14 April 2006 (Limited Release)

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Chinese Baptism

Chinese Baptism 02Baptism is “risky” business for “believers” in China.

It is only “legal” for Christians to be baptized by a church “registered” with the Government, and in some parts of the country, only on Christmas and Easter.

When “house church” baptism services are “discovered,” police are often called … then come the “questions, arrests” and sometimes churches are “shut down.”

So, local believers have to be “tricky, sneaky” and “scheming” to baptize.

I recently heard the story that new believers “love” to celebrate Easter with a “baptism” service in a primitive concrete “pond” filled with luke warm water in a “public” place.

Since the risk of “discovery” is great one must be “stealth.”

When most people think of “stealthy,” they think, “move quickly and quietly; don’t draw attention to yourself.”

But these Chinese believers toke the “exact” opposite approach. Their “stealth” baptism service took “well” over an hour, including a lot of noise, laughter, splashing and waves.

The first “objective” was to get all of the other people at the public pool to “adjust” to the believers’ presence so they would “pay” less attention.

Chinese Baptism 04

Next, the house church “started” to play several “competitive” games. When they felt the other people were “acclimated,” they quickly congregate to one “side” of the pool.

Several believers then line up “shoulder-to-shoulder” and create a “visual” barrier between the other people. Two leaders stood behind the barrier “facing” each other. Then, one at a time, the new believers were “baptized” between the leaders.

Chinese Baptism 01

When the house church was finished and members were toweling off at the side of the pool, a curious man approached them.

He asked, “What a fun game you played. Were winners punishing the losers by drowning them under water?”

The believers laughed and one replied, “The Good News is that there are no losers among us. We are all winners.”

Chinese Baptism 03

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January 2013 Update

Charitable Giving IncentivesVoicing Support for Charitable Giving Incentives
An important issue that is on center stage on Capitol Hill

Why is this an important issue now?

Our country is at an unprecedented point of deficit spending, a fiscal cliff looming at year-end, and anticipated tax reform. Recent proposals, from both Republicans and Democrats, to overcome some of these fiscal issues have included limitations or reductions in charitable giving incentives.

These proposals include caps, a floor, limitations on total itemized deductions, and replacing the charitable deduction with a credit.

While raising revenue, these proposals all decrease the incentives for charitable gifts. The net effect of this is to reduce the amount of funds givers are able to use for charitable giving.

ECFA has been working diligently on this issue on behalf of charities, churches and givers alike, but now we need your assistance.

What should you do?

If retaining current charitable giving incentives is important to you make your voice heard to your political leaders including the President, Senators, and Representative.

The most powerful communications are those which specify how a reduction in charitable giving incentives would modify giving. It is very helpful for elected officials to hear this directly from givers and charitable organizations as it helps illustrate the level of interest on this topic.

A sample of our communications on this issue is available here.

While this may be helpful in your communication, we encourage you to personalize your comments to your officials in emails, through their website, phone calls, social media or faxes.

For additional resources and information, including a helpful video visit www.PreserveGiving.org.

The video is ideal to forward to your supporters.

Charitable Giving Incentives 02

How do you go about voicing your support?

Contacting the White House:
http://www.whitehouse.gov/contact/submit-questions-and-comments

Contacting your Senators:
http://www.senate.gov/general/contact_information/senators_cfm.cfm

Contacting your Representative:
http://www.house.gov/representatives/

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