Hell in Paradise: Romanian public TV to air documentary on Romanian man who spent 8 years in a Chinese prison

Marius Balo Marius Balo, profesorul care a petrecut 8 ani de închisoare în China a ajuns acasa, Observator News
Marius Balo Marius Balo, profesorul care a petrecut 8 ani de închisoare în China a ajuns acasa, Observator News

Romanian public television station will broadcast a documentary about Marius Balo, a Romanian teacher who was arbitrarily imprisoned in China for eight years.

He was released from a Shanghai jail and shipped home to Romania in April 2022. Since then, he has written a book: ‘The Pink Blanket. Imprisoned in Communist China, done a pilgrimage around Romania, and now features in a documentary about his ordeal.

Mr. Balo, now 42, spent eight years in captivity in grueling conditions. He arrived in China in 2010 to work as a university English teacher, and was arrested by Chinese authorities in March 2014 and charged with a alleged US$80 contract fraud and was later, in 2016, sentenced to eight years and fined 13,600 Euros.

His uncle paid the fine by selling a flat in Cluj, in Romania’s northwest region.

He billed the documentary  called „Hell in Paradise” (Iadul in Paradis) as „one of the most disturbing stories ever told on Romanian Television.”

He called it a story about „suffering and joy. A story of hope and despair. A love story.

In the promo, Balo, who is the narrator, says in English: “Evil has to exist. We cannot eliminate it. We have to learn from it how not to be. Study it and protect ourselves. We have to keep the other bad guys from the door.”

Even when he was locked up in a Shanghai prison, Balo, said he „found the courage to live in the truth [which] immediately sets you free. No obstacle in the world can stop you.”

The film is directed by experienced Romanian journalist Irina Szasz whom Balo calls „perhaps the most courageous Romanian journalist I have met in my entire life.”

„I admire and love her because she has courage. She has the courage to tell the truth. She has the courage to speak the dangerous truths,” he wrote on a post on Facebook.

Several years ago, Szasz traveled to India on her own money to make a film about the Dalai Lama. The film was then broadcast on TVR, the public broadcaster.

The next day she was shocked to receive a call from an employee of the Chinese Embassy in Bucharest. „The Red Dragon began to scold her.”

„With perfect calm and grace, the Transylvanian woman listened to him and then answered succinctly, at the first pause in the conversation.”

„Dear sir, let me say this in Romanian: „Go f%*$ck yourself!” The dragon became as small as a flea and never picked on her again.”

Iadul din Paradis will be broadcast on Thursday evening at 10 p.m. on TVR 1.

Marius Balo has written about his ordeal for Universul.net.

Romanian teacher publishes book on his eight-year detention in China


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