Lying in the school playground with her mom, seven-year-old Fuyao has no idea what her future holds. Her news anchor dad is doing forced labor. Her mom is not allowed to teach anymore. She and her mom are under house arrest in the school where her mom used to teach.
Fuyao’s parents are victims of Communist China’s new round of religious persecution against Falun Gong. A spiritual practice rooted in Buddhist tradition, Falun Gong is followed by millions and thus hated by the communist regime. Since July 1999, Falun Gong books have been banned and burned. The regime’s propaganda machine demonizes the practice. Hundreds of thousands of followers have been arrested. Many are tortured to death.
Bullied and humiliated, Fuyao thinks this is the worst situation in the world. But things are getting worse. Fuyao’s mom has to leave her to avoid being arrested. She is later captured and thrown into prison to serve a seven-year term for distributing Falun Gong flyers and DVDs. Now, Fuyao is alone.
But this is not the story of a child who helplessly struggles in the cracks of society. Instead, despite the hardship Fuyao faces, she becomes a key source of inspiration for her scared mom, who is surrounded by murderers, drug dealers, and brutal prison guards. As her mom gradually regains her inner strength, she nurtures and safeguards her daughter Fuyao during her turbulent teenage years, using extraordinary means.
Through animation and live interviews, this film brings to life a true story of courage, love, and perseverance in the darkest of times.