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Taiwan/US: John/Jane/Sharon/Yaning

Monday, April 30, 2007

(Continued) Yaning's Mother

Almost seven years ago, on February 4, 2000, my mother was kidnapped on the way to Tiananmen Square. Two days after that, February 6, 2000, the policemen searched my parents apartment, confiscated all the Falun Gong books and a computer. A couple of months later, they barged into our apartment again to take pictures. A Chinese official newspaper, Legal Daily even reported my parent’s apartment as a “black den of evil cult”.

On October 12, 2000, my mother and eight other Falun Gong practitioners were put on trial under the same charge: for “having disturbed the law from being implemented” and “colluded with foreign anti-China forces”. The only evidence they had for charging my mother was that she participated a Falun Gong cultivation experience sharing meeting with practitioners from Australia.

As a family member, my father attended the trail on October 12, 2000. It’s not an open trial. Each defendant could only have one family member to audit and the courthouse was strictly guarded. Even the bus stops nearby where re-routed on that day. My father couldn’t talk to her on court and he had no rights to lodge an appeal or engage a lawyer for her because the court does not allow it.

Between February 4, 2000 and October 12, 2000, we did not know her whereabouts. Later we learned that she had been detained in Beijing Public Security Bureau Branch Seven where they keep prisoners on death roll. Then she was transferred to Beijing Xicheng District Detention Center. After the trial, she was imprisoned in Beijing Tuanhe Juvenile Prison until she was released on February 1, 2003.

In Tuanhe Juvenile Prison, she and a lot of other Falun Gong practitioners were separated to different platoons with each platoon composed of 100 criminal prisoners. The policemen even encouraged prisoners to harass her while for example waiting in line to get meal. And the policemen would ask the prisoners to give my mother false articles of Mr. Li Hongzhi, founder of Falun Gong, in order to brainwash her.

Even after she was released in 2003, the policemen of Shuangyushu substation are still watching my parents closely. They tapped into our telephone and they would pay a visit to my parents every couple of months. My letters and packages sent to my parents were often times opened and damaged.

My mother’s recent arrest is not an isolated case. I've heard quite a few Falun Gong practitioners were arrested because the 2008 Olympics Games is approaching -- the Chinese communist party has a tradition to start mass arrests before big events.

posted by Yaning Liu @ 10:00 AM    1 comments

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Hongwei's husband

I'm posting the following letter from a fellow Falun Dafa practitioner, Hongwei, who's a friend of mine in L.A..

My name is Hongwei Lou. I have been living in LA since I graduated from University of Cambridge in England. I have been trying to seek help by all means I could think of to rescue my husband – Dongwei Bu (David Bu) since he was illegally arrested as a Falun Gong practitioner in Beijing on May 19, 2006. I cried a lot till I had no tears. I am so desperate but have to be strong-willed because I still have a two-year-old daughter and elderly parents who need my help, though I cannot be their side at present.

David is a staff member of a U.S. organization -- the Asian Foundation, headquartered in San Francisco. He was a project manager of Asia Foundation's Beijing Office and responsible for providing legal aid to immigrant workers in China. It is ironic that such a person was illegally arrested without any legal aid.

My husband is currently imprisoned in a "Re-education through Labor" camp in China called Beijing Tuanhe Labor Camp only because he kept some Falun Gong books at home. He was arrested by seven Chinese policemen while he was staying at home. Later he was sentenced to 2.5 years re-education through labor (RTL) without even a trial or access to any lawyer. The whole process is totally illegal.

I have been enduring so many sleepless nights. My parents told me that our daughter has been missing her father badly for months. She always asked them one question again and again, " Where is mama? Where is
daddy?" My parents don't know how to reply but to tell her, "mama is in America." and avoid her question about her daddy. My daughter has to face such a tough life though she is only two years old.

Luckily more and more kind-hearted people are helping me and I feel much better now. Amnesty International has classified David as a prisoner of conscience and issued an urgent action worldwide to rescue him. For your reference.

Amnesty International: Urgent Action

We all know that prisoners who are noticed frequently receive better treatment than those who are rarely if ever asked about. Please find the photos of my husband attached.

Thank you for your concern about this issue.

Sincerely yours,

Hongwei Lou

posted by Jane @ 10:49 PM    0 comments

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Yaning's Mother

My name is Yaning Liu. Like Jane, I grew up in Beijing China. I am the only child of my parents who still live in Beijing. We used be a happy family of three.

In 1998, I came to the United States and studied at Vanderbilt University in Nashville. After graduated from the university, I moved to Phoenix, Fresno, and now live in Los Angeles, California.

My mother, Shuying Li, is a 63-year old retired physics teacher of Beijing Zhongguancun High School. She had been a teacher for 30 years. She was honored as an “excellent teacher” by her school. She began to practice Falun Dafa in 1995 after learned it from a colleague.

December 15, 2006, 8pm, three policemen from Shuangyushu police substation of Haidian District in Beijing barged into my parents’ apartment in Haidian District of Beijing. They said they had the order from above. They searched the apartment, once they found some Falun Gong books and CDs, they immediately arrested my mother. They even threatened to arrest my father who they knew doesn’t practice Falun Gong. They also asked if I, the daughter, am practicing Falun Gong in America. My father followed to the police substation but they told him that she had been sent to Haidian District Detention Center in Qinghe, Beijing. My father ask them on what ground they arrested my mother, they said somebody reported that she’s still practicing Falun Gong and no one could practice Falun Gong in China, not even at home, that’s “disturbing the law from being implemented”.

On December 20th, 2006, my father went to Shuangyushu Police Station again. The policemen said the search order is signed by the Chief of Haidian Sub-Bureau of the Public Security in Beijing and the matter is beyond their substation’s control. He has to talk to the Haidian Sub-Bureau.

Around January 29, 2007, the Labor Education Management Committee of the Beijing Municipal People's Government sent my father a notice. It said they intended to send my mother to a labor camp for two and a half years.

The notice advised us that within 60 days of receiving the decision, we could request the Beijing Municipal People's Government to do an administrative review. However, when my father went to the Beijing government to submit the request, the staff told him that he needed to get a power of attorney from my mother. Since they wouldn't even let my father contact my mother, how could he obtain the power of attorney?

to be continued...

posted by Yaning Liu @ 6:56 PM    3 comments

Thursday, April 19, 2007

My friend Wenny

I met Wenny during the last year of my high school in Beijing. She was a gentle and quiet girl, and very gifted in drawing and Chinese calligraphy. Later we went to colleges in different cities. I still have a big pile of letters from her during our college years. In our letters, we often recommended good books we discovered to each other and shared stories about new friends we made. During winter and summer vacations, we spent countless afternoons together and listened to music - both of us were lovers of western classical music. Sometimes we went to parks with a group of (girl)friends.

Wenny loved drawing and chose architecture as her major. After finishing her degree, she worked as an architectural designer at a commercial design institute in Beijing. Wenny got married to a college sweetheart of hers and they later had a lovely daughter. She and her husband both practiced Falun Gong (so did the family of her older sister). Both Wenny and her husband are extremely nice people - I'm sure you would agree with me if you had met with them. (Photo at right: Wenny before the persecution)

In 2002, I heard that Wenny had "disappeared" as a result of Chinese communist government's persecution of Falun Gong. I could not find out what happened to her until late 2004, when -- for safety reason I will refer this person as Ms.A -- Ms.A (in China) contacted me and told me that she heard from Wenny! Wenny was able to make a phone call to Ms.A. Fearing the phone line was bugged (it's not uncommon in China that phone calls are listened, private letters are opened, e-mails are inspected, etc.), Wenny did not say much and did not mention her location. During the past two and half years, Wenny tried to call Ms.A every few months. Once she called on my birthday and asked Ms.A to pass a "happy birthday" message to me... Last time she called was in January. She said she was "doing fine". But with the warnings like "don't record my phone number", "don't call this number back", "I may hang up anytime",..., you know she's far away from "doing fine".

Starting in 2000, like tens of thousands of Falun Dafa practitioners in mainland China, Wenny was forced multiple times to "brainwash classes" and "transforming centers". And she was taken to detention center and beaten by police. They tried to force her to give up Falun Gong practice by threatening and torture. Eventually Wenny had to escape and became homeless.

I do not know where she is now and how she survives. Her husband and her daughter have not seen her for all these years.

Last summer I read a report about her sister's family. It happened in last July. Police broke to her sister's home and arrested her sister's husband, because they did not give up practicing Falun Gong. Her sister, who was at work at that time, was informed by a neighbor that her husband was taken by police and they were waiting at their home to arrest her. She immediately left work and did not return to home. Either she was abducted by police or became homeless as Wenny, I do not know.

posted by Jane @ 10:41 PM    0 comments

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

(Continued) Jane's Story

Several months ago, a friend of mine in L.A., who is a Falun Dafa practitioner, was invited by a local TV station to talk about Falun Gong related issues. The host asked him how many Falun Dafa practitioners are there in Southern California. She was quite surprised to hear my friend answered he doesn't know since Falun Gong has no registration or roster.

That's right. Falun Gong has no fee, no membership, and no registration. It started like that in China before the persecution, and it's the same way now in more than 60 countries in the world (including China). So whether one is a Falun Dafa practitioner or not, no one would give you that title and there is no any form of ceremony. As long as you think you are a practitioner, you can call yourself one.

I did not consider myself as a real Falun Dafa practitioner until fall of 2003.

Two years after my previous visit to Beijing when my friend introduced Falun Gong to me, I went there again in the summer of 1996. My sister, who by then had been practicing Falun Gong for two years, had a new book waiting for me. It was "Zhuan Falun", the main text of Falun Dafa. I remember I read it overnight and simply loved it. When I really like something, I have this habit of repeating the experience, such as reading a good book or watching a good movie. So I brought the book with me when I returned to the U.S., and I read it many more times during the next few years. It's just like my friend Wenny told me, you discover new meaning when you read the book again. "It's a book from Heaven," she told me. I did not really understand what she meant at that time. But I knew it is THE best book I have ever read.

Every time when I visited Beijing, Wenny was one of my must-see friends. The last time I saw her in person was 2000. During my two week vacation in Beijing in the summer of 2002, I could not get hold of her. Later on an old classmate of us told me she heard that Wenny had "disappeared" due to her Falun Gong practice. Up to that point, I was not fully aware of the severity of the persecution on Falun Gong in China. Needless to say, I started to pay attention to the issue after I returned to the U.S.. I started to read reports about the persecution on internet. (I will talk more about Wenny's story later.)

I also read the lecture notes from the Falun Dafa official site. It was not an one-day decision, and it took me a few more months to decide now it's the time for me. It did not happen very dramatically. Just one day in October 2003, I called a practice site which is located in my university and made an appointment on learning Falun Gong exercises. A Ph.D. student who was studying at the same university taught me all five sets of exercises at the following Saturday group practice. I consider that from that time, I "officially" became a Falun Dafa practitioner.

I was still the same person, yet I was changed - I know the true meaning of my life.

posted by Jane @ 12:22 PM    5 comments

Sunday, April 8, 2007

First post from Jane

Hello Sharon. Hello John. Nice to meet both of you here! Allow me to introduce myself first - I'm Jane. I live at another part of the globe - Los Angeles, U.S.A.. I was born and grew up in Beijing, China. After finishing my college degree I came to the U.S. for further study. Now I work as a scientist in an university.

My road to Falun Dafa seems less dramatic than John's, and it took much longer. It was in 1994 when I went from the U.S. back to Beijing for my summer vacation, Wenny, my best friend in China since high school, came to my parents' home. At that time my sister, who was an editor at a publisher in Beijing, just started to practice a type of qigong. So we talked about the qigong topic and Wenny, who had had experiences with several types of qigong in the past, said she has found the best qigong. Yes you guessed it right - what Wenny told my sister and I was - Falun Gong (aka Falun Dafa).

Qigong, generally speaking, is a type of ancient Chinese practices using a series of gentle focused exercises and meditation. Qigong was extremely popular in China starting at late 70's, especially in 80's to mid-90's. There are many different styles and schools of qigong (for example, Tai Chi is one of them) and usually people practice them for improving their physical and mental health.

Before I heard of Falun Gong, I had been to a few qigong lectures and had read some books on different qigong. I did not practice any, though. Wenny lent us "Falun Gong", an introduction book to the practice and I read it. I felt Wenny is definitely right. This is the best qigong, and if one day I start to practice qigong - and I knew I will - this must be the one.

My sister wanted to start the practice right away. So we went to a local public park next morning (Wenny told us one can learn Falun Gong at any park, and it's free of charge). The park was full of different groups of people doing morning exercises with different types of music. We walked around and automatically stopped in front of a large group of people who were doing very graceful yet simple movements (later I learned it was Falun Gong's forth exercise), with very peaceful music. We asked one person which qigong it is and he said it's Falun Gong. Mistakenly thought qigong's main purpose is to improve health, and since I felt perfectly healthy myself, I did not practice Falun Gong at that time.

My sister did. From that day, she went every morning to the local park and practiced the five gentle exercises before going to work. And this routine lasted until 1999, when the Chinese Communist Party (the CCP) tried to carckdown Falun Gong (the brutal persecution has been going on for more than seven years - until today).

The spreading of Falun Gong in China was basically by word of mouth. My sister's story is quite typical: three months after she started to practice Falun Gong, one day, a colleague of hers asked her what happened to her. The colleague said my sister looked so good and her face was almost shiny. Until that time, my sister did not even realize her appearance had changed since she practiced Falun Gong! This story soon spread among her colleagues. By 1999 when the CCP started the persecution, there were more than 60 people practicing Falun Gong in her working place, which had about a total of 140 employees.

In 1999, the estimate number of Falun Gong practitioners in China was 70 - 100 million.

Here are some documentary photos:

Fifth (sitting) Exercise. a typical Sunday morning practice site in Beijing
before the crackdown - 2000 people

practitioners doing Exercise One during group practice in Shengyang City,
May 1998

Last year when I visited Beijing, I went to that same local park. There was no one doing any type of qigong anymore (I heard that if someone goes to public park to do qigong, as soon as they rise their arms they may get arrested - even someone who do other types of qigong, security guards may think they are doing Falun Gong.)......

... ... OK it has passed midnight here. I think I will stop for now and will talk about myself next time - how and when I actually became a Falun Dafa practitioner. Seeya.

posted by Jane @ 12:42 AM    1 comments

Saturday, April 7, 2007

Start from the beginning...

I wasn’t sure how start this blog going so I guess the best way would be to introduce myself and explain how I came to be a Falun Gong practitioner.

I am now 32, living in London and run my own business in the creative marketing sector. I was raised in the Scottish highlands and left home when I was 17 for a short stint in India before coming to London to study graphics. I lived in London for 7 years and towards the end of that period I was in a long-term relationship with an English girl. In December 1998 I was invited to a holy Native American ceremony in the US with my father. This ceremony marked significantly the closing of a period in both my fathers and my life. During this ceremony I was to have my first genuine spiritual experience and afterwards my father would find the answer to a vital question he had asked during the ceremony - both of these experiences would lead us to Falun Gong.

Immediately after the ceremony I knew that my relationship was over, never had my intuition been so strong and within in a week I was proven correct. It was not a case of a self-fulfilling prophecy; the relationship came to an end somewhat abruptly and painfully. I was so hurt; in order to take my mind off things I left the UK to go snowboarding in New Zealand. I liked the place so much I decided to stay. During my time there I drowned my sorrows in alcohol and developed a terrible habit that nearly destroyed me as I tried to obliterate the memories of my break-up.

About a year and a half later I returned to the UK for what was supposed to be a short visit. Almost immediately on my return I was struck by how much Dad had changed. He had put on a healthy amount of weight (he lost a lot when my mum died), he was no longer smoking or drinking and seemed to have a sense of calm in him that had never existed before. It was impossible not to notice the change and I asked him what was the cause of this. He casually mentioned that he was practicing qi-gong and didn’t make much more of it than that. About a week later he said he was off to Scotland for a couple of weeks and he left a copy of Zhuan Falun (the main text) behind.

I picked it up and couldn’t put it down. It was everything I had been looking for my whole life. At this point I should explain that as a family we have all been searching for a form of spirituality for as long as I can remember. It seemed as though until this point everyone had found his or her own way apart from myself. I had tried Christianity in my early teens, Buddhism in my late teens and I narrowly escaped the clutches of Scientology in my early twenties. None of them had struck a chord; they seemed lacking, irrelevant and empty. But this book Zhuan Falun just blew a lot of my previous notions and conceptions out of the water; in other ways it confirmed a lot of what I already believed. I found it challenging but only in the most positive sense.

When my father arrived back from Scotland I asked him to show me the exercises. After 2 weeks of that he mentioned the persecution in China. I was horrified at what was happening and wanted to do something as soon as possible. A week later we were outside the Chinese Embassy 24/7 for 10 days straight. This garnered little media attention, so we decided that more needed to be done. So we went there to do the exercises every weekday at 7:45am before going to work. 7 years on and the protest outside the Chinese Embassy still goes on 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

So what was supposed to be a short 6-week visit to the UK turned into 9 months and it had completely changed me as a person. I will say at this point that until I became a Falun Gong practitioner I had suffered from one form of drug addiction or another. I was a highly aggressive and deeply selfish person who found it hard to interact in a socially acceptable manner. I was regularly depressed, suffering from nightmares and hallucinations and had tried to commit suicide 3 times. I find it hard to describe how easy I found it to leave all of this behind without treating the whole thing frivolously. I gave up drinking nearly overnight – I was disappointed at the lack of drama involved, it was really no big deal I just decided I wasn’t going to drink anymore and that was that, done!

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posted by John Buchanan @ 1:42 PM    4 comments

Thursday, April 5, 2007

What is Falun Gong or Falun Dafa?

Thousands of Falun gong practitioners gather in the area in front of the chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hal( 2005.12.; in taipei) The group has in recent years fallen afoul of the Chinese government over its perceived challenge to Beijing’s authority, but its activities in Taiwan are unrestricted.

Falun Gong, also known as Falun Dafa, is a traditional Chinese spiritual discipline for mind and body. The practice involves slow, gentle movements and meditation. It is easy to learn, enjoyable to practice, and free of charge. Its principles are based on Truth, Compassion, and Tolerance. The practice began in China in 1992 and quickly spread by word of mouth throughout China and then beyond. Falun Gong is practiced by over 100 million people in 60 countries. The main works of Falun Gong are available in over 30 languages.

Falun Gong is practiced by people of all ages, cultures, and backgrounds. People who practice regularly find it brings them better health, reduced stress, increased level of energy, inner peace, and deepened morals.

posted by sharon ^ ^ @ 6:11 AM    2 comments

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