Fa-Rectification by a Family of Dafa Practitioners
(Original text in German)
Honored Master; Dear fellow practitioners!
I have practiced Falun Gong since September 1997. My husband began four weeks earlier. At that time our family consisted of five members. Our daughters then were seventeen, thirteen and nine years old, respectively. It had always been one of my priorities to sustain a harmonious family life and our daughters never gave us much trouble. At the time I began cultivation, my husband and I were already over 40 years old and the first illnesses [of that age] had begun to arrive. We spent most of our evenings in front of the television set, with a glass of either wine or beer. When we both obtained the Fa, however, our lives underwent a sudden, dramatic change. We learned the exercises, went to the exercise site in the evening, read Zhuan Falun and discussed our awakenings. The Fa took over more and more of our lives. My life had found a deeper meaning and I could let the Fa be my guide. I sensed that although my future life will have been changed, everything was taking its natural course.
My daughters had become quite curious and repeatedly asked questions about Falun Gong. Every once in a while during our weekly Fa study at home, one or the other of the daughters would be present. Heidi, our youngest daughter, accompanied us to the Fa conference in Frankfurt. I was astounded how intently she paid attention and listened for those two days, and how she was able to relate to her older sisters, Caroline and Steffi, what she had experienced. That's why Caroline and Steffi wanted to be present for the Geneva conference later on. Things proceeded along a natural course and we became a Dafa family.
In November, we had a surprise addition to our family, a "Fa baby" named Joshua, our son.
We enjoyed an era of joint trips to the exercise site and reading the Fa together in the evenings, activities that deepened our comprehension. If there were disagreements, they never lasted long, because everyone looked inside oneself. We were able to help each other to discover attachments; it is always easier to discover and point out someone else's attachments than one's own.
Everything began to change in June of 1999. Our understanding of the Fa had to be newly examined. The media reports about Falun Gong were wrong and defaming. People were presented with a totally incorrect and derogatory picture of Falun Gong. News of the first torture death reports reached us. To act was urgent. The time where we could concentrate to cultivate in peace and quiet had come to an end. Added to one's own cultivation was the task of Fa-rectification. We had often traveled often during the past three years, to explain and let people know the truth of Falun Gong. It had become even more urgent to let the Chinese people know the truth. As the persecution became more and more brutal, the desire to personally travel to Beijing grew in two of my daughters. Soon they had agreed to make this journey together. That's how it happened that they, together with their father and many other practitioners from all over the world, went to Tiananmen Square.
For a long time, I had harbored the wish to go to China; to go to that land where people, who practice the same system I do, are being scolded, beaten and tortured to death. I wanted to show the Chinese population that Falun Gong is highly appreciated in foreign countries. I wanted to demonstrate to the Chinese government that the rest of the world is very well familiar with and aware of the gruesome persecution, and that it knows of the crimes the Chinese Government is committing. I further wanted to bring courage to the Chinese practitioners, to boost their courage for continued resistance. We flew to Beijing on February 10, 2002. When we arrived there, at the airport, I could not shake a peculiar sensation: I was finally in the nation where millions of practitioners were being persecuted, and where the evil forces have intervened in the strongest way.
The first three days were occupied with visits to temples and to the Summer Palace. It was odd -- we felt that we were being observed the whole time. That time of year, there are not too many tourists in Beijing and, as Westerners, we stood out. We had already considered whether or not to leave small flyers everywhere that said, "Europe knows: Falun Dafa is good," but we did not want to risk arrest prior to our [prearranged] day. Only now do I realize that my trust had perhaps not been strong enough. From a mundane standpoint, I can only comment that it was a tense situation, knowing that we were being monitored.
And yet, as a cultivator, my trust should have been stronger. If it had been, I would have succeeded in conveying the truth to more people without being caught, by sending out righteous thoughts. It was an ugly feeling to be prevented from speaking unhindered, to not have the freedom to relate what one is thinking, to not let others know what is in one's heart. I became dazed sometimes, to see so many people who did not know the truth, so many people who were still lost in the fog.
THE DAY, February 14, 2002, had come, when we had planned to send a signal, to intervene for Falun Gong on Tiananmen Square. Shortly before 2:00 P.M. (Beijing Time) I stood on the square. Suddenly, I saw a banner-holding, western practitioner whom the police officers had knocked to the ground. At another spot on the square I saw a different practitioner, surrounded by officers who were abusing him. Quickly, my father and my sister unfurled their banners on which was written in Chinese "Falun Dafa is Good," (Falun Dafa Hao) and another one, on which was written in German, "Freedom for Falun Gong" (Freiheit fuer Falun Gong). I had just turned around, when someone came up behind me and forcefully covered my mouth and nose with his hand. He was already in the process of dragging me across the square. The officer choked me around the neck so that I could not breathe. I realized that I would not have a chance to unfurl my banner but did not give up trying to free my mouth, and was finally able to yell in Chinese, "Falun Dafa Hao!" The police officer put a choke-hold on me, to the point where I was close to passing out. He dragged me to a police bus, in which there were already other practitioners seated.
When we arrived at the police precinct station, I could already hear other practitioners singing, "Falun Data Hao." I also participated. It was a good feeling, something that gave me strength. I made direct eye contact with the police officer next to me. A man in civilian clothes looked at us silently and observed us for a long time. A short while later, I noticed that his eyes began to fill with tears. He left and closed the door behind him so that others would not see his emotions. Many know that Dafa disciples are good people. The time has come for them to act on their convictions!
After they had taken away all our personal belongings, among other things, a large bus drove us to a state security facility close the airport, where we were all separated. When I got off the bus, nobody could prevent me from loudly singing, "Falun Dafa is good; Falun Dafa is an orthodox law; the Buddha's light shines everywhere." After further control procedures, three female officers and one male police officer pushed me into a corridor. They attempted to open a door, but the lock stuck. I stood in the corridor and continued to sing. I was aware of an overpowering strength and it seemed as if my voice was permeating the whole universe and destroying all lies.
A group of police officers marched through the corridor. One of them, seemingly of higher rank, gave me an icy-cold stare, then slapped me in the face, full force and walked on. After a while he returned and unlocked that door. I told him in Chinese, "Europe knows that Falun Dafa is good." He whirled around and again slapped my face, this time with such force that my head thundered against the wall.
I then sat in a room, accompanied by these three female officers and one male officer. They began my interrogation. I sat down on the bed in the lotus position. Immediately the male officer yelled at me to stop that and made a threatening hand gesture to strike me. I asked them, "Why are you so aggressive?" He yelled again and ordered me not to ask any questions.
They then took me to a room where twenty-five other practitioners had already been assembled. We were watched by at least that many police officers. I sat down. Again and again we established verbal contact with the officer, told them why we had come and that the responsibility for their actions is theirs, and theirs alone. We told them about the spread of Falun Gong in the West. Repeatedly other police officers appeared with videos and cameras, to film us for their propaganda purposes. A police officer attempted by force to put his arm around a practitioner for the purpose of creating a "friendly" photograph. Everyone knew, however, that this was only for show. Next to me sat an American woman practitioner who had a nosebleed.
I barely slept because, every half hour, someone else arrived to interrogate us anew. Each time that happened, we refused to answer, saying that we first needed to speak with a representative from our embassies. Still later, a high-ranking police officer appeared and ordered the officers to remove some of us from the room. They literally jumped into the group of practitioners, started to beat them and dragged the particular individuals out of the room. Our numbers shrunk. Prior to my leaving the building they again searched through my backpack. The police officers became disconcerted when they discovered another camera. They tore it away and took possession of it. They were obviously in terror of someone providing proof of their brutalities. Together with other practitioners, they boarded me directly onto the aircraft. Neither my father nor I were ever given back our luggage that was probably still at the hotel. Neither did the police officers return our personal items they had confiscated at the precinct headquarters.
During these twenty-three hours of detention, I had gotten first-hand knowledge of the Chinese police force's unscrupulous, ill-willed and bad-mannered way of dealing with peace loving individuals. During these twenty-three hours, I was exposed to the faces of vicious ghosts [in the form of police officers] who were capable of committing any act. I can only imagine what kinds of sufferings our fellow Chinese practitioners must have to endure. I was protected by the mere fact that I was a foreign national, and because the public would have to know about the way I was treated. But everything I experienced is only a minute fraction compared to what the Chinese practitioners must suffer.
Some practitioners ask why I went to China. I had already had this wish for a long time and I knew that I would go. At first, my father was against my plan. He argued that I was only 17 years old and that he would still carry the responsibility for me. What would public opinion be if the parents of a 17-year-old girl allowed her to go to China and to become endangered?
I remember the day when my father briefly approached me during meditation and laid his hand on my shoulder. He said to me, "As far as I am concerned, you may go."
An indescribably beautiful feeling came over me. A sentence popped into my mind, "Realize your long-time oath."
I do want to say, though, that not every disciple ought to go to China. No, everyone has their own duty, task or path. I knew that, for me, this journey was my path. I also think that everyone who wants to go to China must be clear [about the purpose] in his or her heart. I consider it a wonderful act, if more and more Westerners who have this heart will go to the country where the evil struck in the most overwhelming manner. My personal opinion is that such a trip must not necessarily be fixed on Tiananmen Square. There are other squares, other possibilities to expose the evil over a broad area and to rescue the precious Chinese people.
These words of Master Li come to mind, "If you are able, in evil surroundings, in a situation of evil factors, to validate the Fa to expose the evil and dare to be assertive, then it is a different matter. Think, everyone, isn't this situation, although evil, not also unique? Really unique? When this time has passed, there won't be another chance like that." (Fa-teaching at the International Fa conference in Washington, DC. 2001)
In the plane, I could not shake the thoughts that I simply could not leave like this. I still wanted to let the Chinese people know more about the truth, and was saddened to have to leave this country so quickly. But now it has become clear that in countries other than China, my chances to expose the evil and offer salvation to more sentient beings are much greater.
At first, I was also disappointed not to be able to travel to China. I had my work and had to take care of my two younger children. I had no inkling how important my work at home would become and that I would have my Tiananmen Square right here at home.
It was February 14, 2002, the day when my family and many other practitioners were standing on Tiananmen Square. After I had sent out righteous thoughts and found out from a telephone call that all had been arrested, I went to work as usual. Nobody knew of this China trip beforehand, and so my task of explaining had begun. My colleagues at work were shocked and concerned. They had known about Falun Gong and had signed many petitions against the persecution. They were also touched that in spite of everything I had come to work that morning.
My youngest daughter was relieved when I finally returned home, around midday, because she was overwhelmed by all the incoming telephone calls. The callers ranged from relatives to friends to acquaintances, people from radio stations and TV stations. Even our local newspaper had already featured a story with pictures of my husband and our daughter, Stefanie. The local radio station had already aired a report. Two fellow practitioners arrived to provide support. We were constantly kept busy on the two telephones, and fielding questions about what was happening and also [answering] questions about Falun Gong. "Radio Rainbow" people called several times for an interview. When I tuned to their station, they were that very moment discussing a "sect" that was demonstrating on Tiananmen Square. I immediately called the radio station and told them that I refuse to give any further interviews if they ever again used the word "sect." They apologized profusely and promised to watch their words for the next broadcast so that the mistake would not be repeated.
BTV (Badische TV, from "Baden," an area of Germany) asked me for an appointment at our home for the following morning. I had called the Foreign Ministry to inform them that my husband and our two daughters had been arrested in Beijing. The ministry's representative promised to help. The problem was the time difference. They would not be able to make contact with Beijing until the following morning, to reach the embassy in Beijing. So I decided to call the embassy myself during the night. The ambassador was very cordial and promised to try and establish personal contact with my family, but he also let me know that in his estimation, they would be deported within the next few hours. Then, at 5:30 A.M., Steffi called me from the plane, to tell me they were on their way home. This news enabled "Radio Rainbow" to air current reports about the latest news of the status of our family members, during their main news hour between 6:00 A.M. and 7:00 A.M.
Before I was finally able to drive to the airport, I had to submit to many more interviews from newspaper reporters and radio interviewers. That had all been arranged well for me, because I had always held back during truth-clarification; I had always let the others speak instead. Now I had no choice, but to do all this by myself.
After my husband and daughters arrived home, they would be the ones who could deal with all the interviews for radio, TV and the newspapers. RNF (Rhein-Neckar Fernsehen TV) representatives had come to our home and also accompanied me, together with Andre Huber, to be at the airport for a welcome home reception. The program they aired was very positive. Kurpflaz (a section of the Palatinate in Germany) Radio was at our home also and followed up with an hour-long feature about Falun Gong.
I am an educator and employed through the Catholic Church. Because of our family, the congregations had directed their attention toward Falun Gong. Since the media had again and again used the term "sect" in connection with Falun Gong, the parish priest had demanded that I, as a member of this "sect," ought to be fired from my job, unconditionally and on the spot. The priest even came to my kindergarten class to speak with me about it. I told him about Falun Gong and gave him several handouts. In the meantime, he came to the relieved decision that there were no grounds for firing me. As a final act of clarification, to solve the "sect" nomenclature, he sent a letter to the "Assistant for Sect Concerns of the Archdiocese of Feiburg/Baden (Black Forest Area)." I now know that the Office of the Archbishop is looking into the legal aspects concerning this topic. I am still awaiting the results.
This time of waiting is not easy and provides me with many opportunities. On the one hand I am imagining the financial concerns that a termination of my job would bring with it, since I am the sole wage earner in my family. On the other hand, I am keenly aware of the joy I receive from my job but also that it is time to give up that attachment. Besides, it makes me pensive to have to deal with the "sect" terminology, over and over again. In dealing with this, I have to discover where my attachment lies. No matter how this matter with the church congregation will be resolved, I will use this opportunity to tell the members of the congregation and the church hierarchy and the people in the world the truth about Falun Gong.
Working together with politicians has seen an improvement. Our local politicians and also those involved and familiar with human rights issues have accepted the experiences on Tiananmen Square with a positive attitude. It has become easier to get an appointment with them. Dialogues that have already taken place have also become more positive.
When we look back we are aware that the trip to China has not been for naught. All together, the media has reported favorably, the politicians have reacted favorably, and all around us, people are positioning themselves for the future. I think that in other dimensions these actions have not been in vain. But we must realize one important thing -- not to become overjoyed at this realization! Every one of us practitioners does what he or she must do; everyone has a task to do. Everyone is a particle of Dafa.
Thank you, honored Master.