In August of 2008, Tibetan filmmaker Dhondup Wangchen was premiering his new documentary, “Leaving Fear Behind”, to a group of journalists in a Beijing hotel when Chinese police interrupted and forcibly shut down the screening.
Feng Zhenghu is a Chinese human rights activist who openly supported the pro-democracy movement that ended in the Tiananmen Square Crackdown of 1989. In the 1990s, Feng studied and worked in Japan. Upon his return to Shanghai in 2000, the Shanghai government sentenced him to 3 years in prison for “illegal business activities.” After leaving jail, Feng became a self-taught lawyer and advocate of the rule of law, offering legal assistance to underprivileged Shanghai residents.
The Tachikawa Air Force Base (AFB) was a US airfield in western Tokyo. The US military and the Japanese government planned to use this airfield for transporting nuclear weapons. In order to accommodate for the larger aircraft needed to transport these weapons, the Tachikawa AFB needed to expand and lengthen the runway for longer landing and takeoff distances. However, that meant that the government would need to use the surrounding farmland for the expansion. The US military announced the plans for expansion in 1955.
The political atmosphere in Japan in the 1950s was anything but calm. Still reeling from the Second World War, citizens were coming to terms with their newly democratic leaders—politicians who, before the war, had been ardently fascist. A growing nationalist movement was forming, as well as strong leftist political factions. These two movements opposed Japan’s strong ties with the United States, and disagreed with the American military presence in their country.