I am currently a graduate student and a PhD candidate in the electrical engineering department. I am from Shashi, Hubei Province, in the middle of China. Today, I want to tell everybody my family's story in China, which is a very common story for a Falun Gong practitioner's family.

Both of my parents and I have been practicing Falun Gong for almost 5 years. During these 5 years, my parents and I have had great positive changes in our lives. Falun Gong not only helps us build healthy bodies, but also helps us be good people in society.

My mother is 53 years old. Before she practiced Falun Gong, she was well-known locally as a constant visitor to doctors, since she had so many chronic diseases, which made her suffer a lot for many years. But since she began practicing Falun Gong, her diseases have just disappeared. What's more, she became more peaceful and more considerate to other people, which was very hard for her to do before she practiced Falun Gong. My aunt noticed such a change in her sister's attitude towards people that she decided to practice Falun Gong herself.

Since July 1999, even though the Chinese government began to crack down against Falun Gong in China, my parents both continued practicing Falun Gong, since they believe it is good. They think that what happened in their own bodies and what they have seen in other practitioners should be more credible than what the government says.

Since July 1999, my family has had no personal privacy anymore. Both of my parents have been forced to go down to the local police department to have a so-called "conversation" several times. One day, the policeman showed a cassette tape to my father and said, "You should be careful what you say. All the conversations between you and your son are monitored." It means that they can listen in on all the talk on the phone. My father told me this around November 1999.

Because my parents don't want to give up their belief, my father was demoted from his original working position, and my mother was forced to attend several so-called "transformation classes." One "class" was in January 2000. She was held for about four weeks. Every day they forced my mother to watch videos and read articles from the government, all of which were propaganda against Falun Gong. They forced my mother to sign a so-called "letter of promise" which stated that my mother supports the government's decision to ban an XX, without mentioning Falun Gong specifically. Since they knew that she would not sign if the letter said clearly that Falun Gong is bad, they had to use ambiguous wording to trick people into signing. They threatened that she could not leave if she didn't sign. Under such big pressure and because of the ambiguous wording, my mother finally signed the letter.

Another class was around May 2000. My mother was forced to live in a small room alone for several weeks. Every day, she could eat only steamed buns--no meat or vegetables--and drink a cup of water. She was not permitted to leave the room. The government sent six people to watch my mother to prevent her from running away. These are just the two classes I was told about.

This year before the Spring Festival (or Chinese New Year) in January 2001, my mother was arrested because the policemen found Falun Gong flyers in our home. They used the flyers as evidence to charge my mother with organizing other Falun Gong practitioners. In the middle of February, my mother was charged with "organizing an XX and interfering with judicial implementation" and was sentenced to a labor camp for 3 years.

She was sent to Hanxi female labor camp, which is in Wuhan, the capital of Hubei Province. From the time she was taken away until July, my father was permitted to visit her only once. My father told me that my mother is forced to work every day. She has worked in agricultural fields and in making things by hand. My father was threatened that he may not have any chance to get permission to visit her if she doesn't give up her beliefs.

The newest information I got from my aunt is that my father was able to visit with my mother at the beginning of this month. The reason they could meet is because my mother could not bear the pressure from labor camp employees and wrote a letter, against her will, saying that handing out flyers about Falun Gong is illegal.

That's what has happened and what is happening in my family. In China, so many Falun Gong practitioners' family meet the same problem. They don't have the right to choose their own belief.