NEW YORK (FDI) – Little Fadu is only 4 years old, but already she understands that her father, Chengyong Chen, was a very brave man.
Four-year-old Fadu carries a photo of her deceased father while in a procession in Geneva during the UN Annual Human Rights meeting.
Chengyong was routinely harassed, arrested several times, and tortured by Chinese police for adhering to his practice of Falun Gong.
His partially decomposed body was found in an abandoned shed in the summer of 2001.
For the past three years, Fadu – who was an infant when her father died – has traveled the world with her mother, calling for an end to the five-year campaign of systematic violence and indoctrination against Falun Gong in China.
Father Killed, Family Torn Apart
Chengyong was employed as a skilled electrician at the Guangzhou Paper Manufacturing Corporation.
When former Chinese leader Jiang Zemin launched the campaign against Falun Gong in 1999, Chengyong joined millions of other practitioners in making peaceful appeals to stop the persecution in China.
Chengyong was arrested and beaten on several occasions for his appeals.
Unwilling to attend state-sponsored “re-education classes,” – a euphemism for brainwashing and torture – Chengyong was forced to wander, homeless and destitute.
His wife Jane and infant daughter Fadu were safe in Australia where Jane had recently obtained citizenship.
Jane says she lost all contact with Chengyong in January, 2001. Five months later, a news report from China indicated Chengyong’s partially decomposed body had been found in an abandoned shed in the suburb of Guangzhou.
Scores of verified reports from China document a variety of methods used by Chinese police to cover-up deaths in custody. Many familiar with Chengyong’s case believe he was tortured to death and his body discarded in the abandoned shed where it was later found.
When Chengyong’s sister was asked by authorities to identify her brother’s body, she was also detained and sent to a forced labor camp for two years for refusing to renounce Falun Gong.
Traumatized by his son’s death and the imprisonment of his daughter, Chengyong’s father died soon thereafter.
4-year-old Calls for Justice and Human Rights; Inspires International Project
Since 2001, Fadu has accompanied her mother to 37 countries around the world to tell the story of her father.
From the United Nations in Geneva to Crawford, Texas; from Vancouver to Hong Kong, Fadu and her mother have appeared in scores of newspapers around the world.
Inspired by Fadu’s story, the international Petals for Peace project (website) was initiated to encourage children worldwide to each fold a lotus flower as a gesture for compassion to other children facing trauma due to the persecution of Falun Gong in China.
Many children continue to suffer as they are separated from their families or prevented from attending school and other educational facilities because they or a family member practices Falun Gong.
In traditional Chinese culture, the lotus flower – which typically grows in ponds or muddy water environments – is a symbol of purity and hope that can emerge from the most difficult conditions.
As an extension of the Petals of Peace project, last month a group of teenagers left Washington, D.C. to embark on a 700 mile bicycle ride to Chicago, where oral arguments were heard in a class-action lawsuit against Jiang Zemin filed by former victims of the persecution. (news)
The teenagers met with local government officials, media and schools along their route to explain the extent of the persecution in China and the dire conditions of children affected by it.