THE government’s flagrant persecution of our fellow countrymen who practice Falun Gong has continued for six years since it began on July 20, 1999. As the 6th anniversary approaches, Falun Gong practitioner Hao Qiuyan from Shijiazhuang city has been unlawfully detained for over half a year now by the local government, and her husband Huang Wei, who also practices Falun Gong, is being unlawfully detained as well. This is the second time the local government has detained Huang Wei; he has suffered in detention for over five of the past six years. This is the current reality and there has yet to be any sign of change.
Both the young husband and wife have a good university education, and those who know them speak highly of the two. Ever since meeting them separately, the qualities that they both exhibited—calmness, well-cultivated character, magnanimity, and faith in living a noble life—have lingered in my memory.
When talking with them, one senses that they aren’t down on society, despite having been persecuted. When speaking with Huang Wei, I was brought to tears by his deep and tender feelings for his family. He told me that whenever he heard the sound of children playing outside the high detention center walls, he would close his eyes for a long time and imagine the “happy scenes” of being with his wife and child. When he talked about his parents and his in-laws, I saw tears in his eyes. He told me he was pained not because he could not show filial piety toward them, but because it was his and his wife’s income that had kept the entire family going. Both his and his wife’s parents are elderly and in poor health. They don’t have enough income even to take care of their basic needs. In addition, because of the young couple’s detention, the grandparents now have to look after their young child. Huang said he would never understand how the government could benefit from detaining people like him or his wife. As he told me, “Long-term detention is a huge disaster for us and for our families, and it offers no benefit to the government. Moreover, such detention violates the Chinese constitution and basic legal principles.”
In today’s China, as many as one hundred thousand Chinese citizens who practice Falun Gong have been held in long-term detention like Huang Wei and his wife.
In February, I carried out a fact-finding investigation into the government’s persecution of the Falun Gong, which has brought harm to the people since 1999. The facts are stifling. What I found so truly horrifying was not only that such atrocities, which are offensive to God, had taken place, but that you could really feel and see that those disasters were continuing. Not long before we arrived in Yantai city, which looks rather nice on the surface, another ten innocent Falun Gong believers were arrested and sentenced. The reason for their arrest and sentencing? Someone had published on the Internet a list of the names of the wicked perpetrators who persecute Falun Gong people. The local government became panic-stricken, as if faced with a formidable enemy. Therefore, in the name of “national security,” it began carrying out large-scale arrests, and a group of Falun Gong adherents who had long been labeled as “stubbornly resistant to being ‘transformed’” were once again put into prison.
For Chinese citizens, especially those who practice Falun Gong, their personal freedoms, and even their very lives, are under constant threat; as soon as the authorities feel a little “unsafe,” these persons may face imminent disaster. The history of our current regime reveals that whenever the authorities or a particular leader feels unsafe—regardless of whether this feeling has any basis in reality—the habitual reaction is to arrest a large number of people from the group being perceived as a “hostile force.” This is known as “eliminating unstable elements in their embryonic stage.” Whenever the authorities feel fearful or construct some kind of assumption about a particular group, they arrest people. In today’s China, the days on which the authorities do not feel fearful are few and far between. Thus, very few days in a year pass by without mass arrests.
What has really made people feel desperate and helpless in recent years is the way in which the authorities have been using any possible excuse to arrest Falun Gong believers. Hao Qiuyan was arrested simply for trying to obtain legal representation to deal with her husband’s wrongful imprisonment; the explanation for her arrest was that she not only “refused to be transformed,” but was also “very active.” Hao Qiuyan is still jailed. Some Falun Gong practitioners were detained and interrogated, even beaten and tortured, simply because they had agreed to cooperate with my investigation. Several practitioners’ homes were savagely ransacked just a few hours after I interviewed them. Because of all this, I was left with no choice but to end the investigation with a pained heart.
This regime’s twisted undertaking of brutally suppressing people of faith is not something that started a mere six years ago. However, the cruel nationwide persecution of Falun Gong believers has seen no precedent both in terms of the number of people unlawfully detained and killed, and in terms of the degree of brutality. Six years have passed, and yet there is still no sign of even a modicum of good intent on behalf of local governments to abandon their evildoings and change for the better. The ongoing unlawful detention of Huang Wei and his wife, along with the simultaneous arrest of twelve Falun Gong practitioners from Yantai and another six from Chongqing, is the latest confirmation that local governments refuse to stop doing evil and to act humanely.
Although Falun Gong practitioners have been suffering for six years under an inhuman officialdom that refuses to stop persecuting, this period of time has seen some changes. More and more people around me, including professionals, scholars, government staff members, and ordinary Chinese citizens have begun to question the rationale behind the campaign against these believers. This has been a palpable change: People used to keep dead silent when it came to Falun Gong, but now, calling into question the government’s persecution of Falun Gong practitioners has become a natural topic of conversation for more and more people. These people have come to realize how unjust, inhumane, and lawless the government’s violent persecution of the Falun Gong people is. This rapid, widespread change in attitude stands in stark contrast to the government’s static, outdated practices. It is really quite thought-provoking.
Well-known progressive thinker Guo Feixiong has written an article titled: “To Trample Freedom of Religion is to Trample the Heart of Human Civilization.” Over the past twenty years, the state of Chinese society, as well as Chinese people’s ways of thinking and concepts, have undergone great changes and are now completely different from what they were during the Cultural Revolution. This is undeniable. The gloomy reality is that the current clique that is in power still uses the outdated means adopted during the Cultural Revolution to control our society. The whole world should clearly recognize this.
Over the past six years, what the Chinese people have again witnessed is another Cultural Revolution-style campaign—an organized, systematic and persecutory campaign. The government, through its terror organization—the 6-10 Office—persecutes tens of millions of Falun Gong practitioners with a policy of “ruining their reputation, cutting off their sources of income, and destroying them physically.” They unscrupulously arrest, beat, detain, fire, and punish Falun Gong believers and try to force them to “transform.” They use the entire state machinery to spread deceptive propaganda, imposing their misconduct upon the whole nation, creating hatred, and trying to force the Chinese people as a whole to oppose Falun Gong.
The 6-10 Office is similar to the Party’s notorious “Central Cultural Revolution Group” and is a Gestapo-like organization. It possesses special powers to control and manipulate all levels of the Party and administrative departments, the courts, the labor camps, the public security and national security systems, and all media in China. The 6-10 Office is the headquarters overseeing the systematic persecution of Falun Gong by means of state terrorism. It orders local police stations to brutally torture, sexually assault, and even murder Falun Gong practitioners, while it also orders political-legal committees across the country to set up brainwashing centers for the purpose of forcibly “transforming” those Falun Gong who refuse to give up their spiritual practice. The effort to establish rule of law in China, a project sufficiently botched in its own right, has now been thrown into total chaos by the establishment of the 6-10 Office.
As the persecution of Falun Gong reaches its six-year anniversary, it is necessary for us to use various means to speak up about the facts we know. The purpose of speaking up is not simply to criticize the government (not that the government does not deserve criticism). Rather, speaking the truth and facing what has taken place—or what is still taking place—is absolutely necessary if ours is to be a civilized society that resolve disputes with rationality. Our government is trying to put the idea of “building a harmonious society” into practice. But until this disastrous and shameful situation that involves tens of millions of people who practice Falun Gong comes to a complete end, that wish will remain only a dream.
To declare war against people’s faith is a stupid thing to do, as this is no different from declaring war against humanity. There has never been a force in history that has successfully vanquished humanity, nor will there be one in the future. Six years ago, those who persecute Falun Gong stupidly decided to take evil actions to fight humanity, and yet, humanity has never been defeated by any power, no matter how mighty. Factually speaking, the persecution of Falun Gong has already failed. Rather than continuing along this failed course, it would be better for the persecutors to return to the track of humanity, face reality, and do one or two humane things instead of continuing to view humanity as an enemy.
In this campaign that began six years ago and is still being carried out by all local governments, those who have suffered persecution and mental torment are not only the tens of millions of Falun Gong believers and their families. All the people of China, and even all the people of the world, are victims. It is a type of intangible injury sustained from being on the receiving end of all the lies used to bolster the persecution. The whole truth will become known in the near future. And, in the process of learning the truth, governments and people around the world will realize how their morality, mental well-being, financial economy, and more have incurred tremendous losses.
We have a responsibility to let the world know the truth.