• Thomas Bonifield

"China Cry" is Worthy of an Encore Viewing

This biopic about the towering faith of Nora Lam hit theaters 28 years ago today.

If the name Nora Lam means nothing to you, then you are in for a treat. She is among the great modern missionaries to China and her story will uplift and inspire you in your faith. China Cry: A True Story, captures her personal journey of Christian faith through the most dire hardships and also manages to make its 101 minute run time feel truly epic, in a good way.

Written and directed by the late James Collier, this film begins when Lam, played by Julia Nickson, is a little girl - known then as Neng Yee Sung. Growing up in a wealthy family in pre-war Shanghai, she lives a privleged life until the Japanese invasion forces her to flee.


The action then moves to the early 1950s, after the communist revolution, where we next see Neng Yee as a college student. She graduates with honors, marries her boyfriend, Cheng Shen Lam, and begins teaching law.


Things then take a drastic turn, however, as she and her family face government persecution for their wealthy past and her studies in a Christian school as a girl. At first, she tells her communist tormentors she no longer believes in God, but as their persecution intensifies, Lam realizes that she in fact does believe. When she confesses her faith in Christ to them, she is taken before a firing squad.


The moviemaking in that scene, as in the Lam's book, which served as the source material for Collier's screenplay, is a bit unclear, but by some miracle from heaven she survives the attempted execution. Though her torment continues, Lam's faith is solidified and she begins to meet with other believers in an underground church in Shanghai.


Christian Film Blog will not reveal the details of all her travails, but suffice it to say that the re-education lash that seems part and parcel of any socialist revolution inflicts more stings on Lam before her deliverance by the hand of the Almighty.


Though beyond the scope of this film, Lam's journey of faith ultimately brought her to America and led to the foundation of Nora Lam Chinese Ministries International, which is still functioning today. Lam died in 2004, but 14 years later, the organization she launched has distributed one million Bibles throughout China and Asia.


China Cry, available on Amazon Prime's streaming platform, does show its age in spots - particularly the pacing - and can be a bit melodramatic, but it is a powerful testimony of a devoted Christian sister whose brutal suffering drew her closer to God. Christian Film Blog is confident that your faith will be strengthened by watching her story.

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