Report from the Canadian "Urgent: Rescue Family Members in China!" Group
1. From the perspective of the Fa, this rescue activity is an effective method to call for more support and tell people the facts
Since last year, some practitioners in Toronto have been searching and collecting information on this topic in Toronto and the rest of Canada. They also made some attempts, although these efforts were only limited to some individual cases. As the ruling Chinese regime continued to escalate its persecution against Dafa, more and more local practitioners' family members suffered persecution in China and were illegally detained.
The ability of one individual is, after all, limited. After one practitioner made a suggestion, a dozen practitioners sat down together to discuss it. Some of them had their family member(s) detained in China because they practiced Falun Gong, and some other practitioners suffered persecution in China themselves. Through Fa study and sharing of experiences, they all thought that although these individual cases looked like personal matters, they actually involved all practitioners since they are connected to Dafa. Since all of this persecution was targeted at Dafa, these cases would be the factual evidence that proves the evil's persecution of Dafa and Dafa practitioners. If we publicize these cases, we would be exposing the evil, saving our family members and clarifying truth at the same time.
The discussion also eliminated some practitioners' fears, such as would the persecution intensify if these cases were publicized? Through discussion, the practitioners agreed that anything could happen, but exposing the evil and gaining international support would greatly alleviate the conditions in China. Considering that some practitioners' family members in China do not practice Dafa, the practitioners stressed that this rescue effort should be undertaken carefully.
Our family members suffered persecution because they practice Falun Gong. They are not merely members of our families; they are also members in the family of Dafa practitioners. Through the "rescue of family members" effort, we will enable more people to learn about the truth. It is also a way to offer salvation to people and expose the evil. We will keep appealing until the persecution of Falun Gong in China ceases to exist. During this discussion, the practitioners agreed that in order to keep this long-term rescue effort running on a large scale, they would study the Fa together every Sunday night and share experiences so they could improve based on the Fa. From then on, the Toronto "Urgent Rescue!" group has persisted in studying the Fa and sharing experiences every Sunday night.
2. Working as a whole and spreading the "Urgent Rescue" message quickly
When we introduced this effort on a large-scale during a weekend group study that covers the greater Toronto area, quite a few practitioners immediately took action. We published an appeal letter entitled "Please Extend Your Helping Hand and Save Our Family Members" in a local Chinese newspaper, and in subsequent issues we covered two cases per issue in detail on the situation of our family members being persecuted and jailed in China.
Another group of practitioners carefully made a videotape of approximately10 minutes, with both a Chinese version and an English version, about the Canadian citizens' family members who are being detained in China. We also produced a radio program. Some practitioners collected contact information for various social organizations, and they wrote letters to the leaders of these social organizations, asking them to help the Canadians to rescue their persecuted family members.
3. Urgent rescue effort shocks the Chinese community, and gains attention and support from Canadians from all walks of life
These reports greatly shocked the local Chinese people. Some of them who came from China said to the practitioners after seeing these reports, "Falun Gong is indeed amazing. Even though the persecution is so severe in China, you guys dare to appeal with your real names. That is truly great." Some non-practitioners' family members were also detained for practicing Falun Gong, and they contacted us after learning about the rescue effort, being eager to find out how to rescue their family members.
Following the press conference on July 20 that took place in Ontario's Provincial Parliament Building, we officially presented the urgent rescue effort publicly. When we presented to people who participated in the press conference the detailed stories about the persecution against Canadian residents' 12 family members in China, and the death of two of them, they were greatly shocked. Member of Parliament Mr. Godfrey, who also attended the press conference, said, "Every Canadian political party is supportive of Falun Gong. We will continue to send messages to the Prime Minister and take measures to urge China to stop persecuting Falun Gong." Ontario Member of Parliament Michael Bruce said in his speech, "[Falun Gong practitioners] are being thrown into jail and face dangerous situations, simply because they practice the easy-to-follow exercises and believe in Truth, Compassion, Tolerance." He said that all Falun Gong practitioners persecuted in China are "prisoners of conscience," and he will do his best to support the rescue effort.
Immediately following were the press conferences in other Canadian cities, including the capital city Ottawa, and the second largest city, Montreal, from which we also received positive feedback. Quite a few news reporters interviewed the practitioners, emphasizing the persecution of their family members in their reports. We achieved positive results in terms of exposing the evil and clarifying the truth to the Canadian society.
Although the Canadian government has learned some truths about the persecution of Falun Gong, and although they have helped to successfully rescue three Falun Gong practitioners, they were still greatly shocked when we showed the facts of the persecution to the government officials and many members of parliament. Several weeks ago, during the parliament constituency meetings, the Foreign Affairs Minister said to us that he met with the Foreign Affairs Minister of China during the Foreign Affairs Ministers' Meeting at the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), and he mentioned Falun Gong and the issue of family members of Canadian residents being persecuted. We expressed gratitude for his support and the hope that he would continue the support. Many Members of Parliament said they would request the Prime Minister to mention this to Chinese leaders. Several practitioners received response letters from the Foreign Affairs Minister, and one of the practitioners was told that the Canadian Consulate in China would investigate the persecution case of his mother.
Practitioners in Ottawa held a press conference on Parliament Hill on the third anniversary of the persecution against Falun Gong. Originally they were allotted ten minutes to speak for the press conference based Parliament Hill's strict regulations, but when four people whose family members are being persecuted in China exposed the persecution, everyone present was moved. The management personnel made an exception and allowed all of the speakers to finish their speeches, which took more than 20 minutes. Afterwards, Canada's largest TV station, CBC TV, interviewed a woman whose husband was jailed in China for practicing Falun Gong. Several local newspapers also interviewed these practitioners.
4. Rescue effort greatly suppressed the evil
The rescue effort has not only worked to expose the evil and clarify the truth in the local Chinese community and Western society, but also had a great impact in Mainland China. Some local Canadian practitioners found and made use of the phone numbers of jails and forced labor camps where their family members were detained, including notorious ones such as the Masanjia Labor Camp in Shenyang City, Xin'an Forced Labor Camp in Beijing, those of the "610 Offices" and judicial and legal departments and related government agencies. Practitioners called these places and expressed their concern regarding the detained practitioners, and they also clarified the truth. The voice of justice from abroad greatly suppressed the evil thugs who persecuted the Falun Gong practitioners.
Master told us in "Teaching the Fa at the Washington, D.C. Fa Conference," "Looking at the overall situation right now, on the surface the persecution is still quite vicious, but in reality, few of those wicked, rotten demons that can restrain and control people are left." If we take even small actions here, there will be great reactions in China. Our multi-faceted rescue activities have already received feedback from China.
One practitioner had lost contact with his mother after her incarceration. Recently, he learned through his relative in China that his mother's condition has improved. The police were very nervous and asked her what her son is doing abroad. The police also registered people with foreign connections, highly educated people and people ages 60 years and older. One practitioner's mother was detained in the Masanjia Forced Labor Camp. She was told the governor of Liaoning Province has sent people to investigate her mother's case. This practitioner herself also wrote a letter to the governor. Another practitioner's husband also had improved conditions in the labor camp. Recently, when she called an officer at her husband's work unit, he told her in an excited voice, "You've done a great job! Your husband is world famous now through the rescue effort by Amnesty International. He can go to Canada as soon as he is released from jail." When the practitioner asked how he learned about this, he said he read it online. This practitioner realized that rescuing her husband is also clarifying the truth.
A practitioner who was twice jailed said that for detained practitioners, the prison guard would treat them better if someone visits them. After one practitioner's mother was arrested, his family members in China tried to rescue his mother, but the police department wouldn't release her unless she sign a document, which she refused. His non-practitioner family members did not understand her behavior. They complained and gave up their rescue efforts. With righteous thoughts, this practitioner told his family members in China to ask the police department to release his mother unconditionally. His family members continued their rescue effort, and his mother was released soon after. This man's family members told him that if his mother had been detained longer, she might have been sentenced to jail or labor camp. This incident made us realize that rescuing all arrested fellow practitioners in China is our duty, not to mention rescuing our own family members.
5. Carry our activities in a more in-depth manner
Master said, "The next person's things are your things, and your things are his things." ("Teaching the Fa at the Washington, D.C. Fa Conference") In order to rescue a practitioner's mother, the practitioners in Taiwan mailed signature forms that weighed about 20 jin [about 11.05 lbs.], which really made us feel that we are indeed one whole body.
Practitioner Lin Shenli in Montreal told the government and media about his own experience of being persecuted. He talked about how he was successfully rescued and regained his freedom because of the relentless effort by the Canadian government and the Canadian people. He hopes that they will continue their efforts in rescuing Falun Gong practitioners who are suffering persecution in China.
He Lizhi, the husband of Toronto Falun Gong practitioner Zhang Li is an outstanding architectural engineer and received the Chinese National Golden Award in the past. He was nonetheless sentenced to three-and-a-half years in prison for practicing Falun Gong. With Zhang Li and other practitioners' appeal, Amnesty International has already launched a rescue effort to rescue He Lizhi. Recently, Zhang Li and other practitioners wrote to the Canadian Engineering Association and asked them to appeal to the Chinese government to release He Lizhi.
We interwove the rescue effort with the international conferences that would take place several months in the future. We asked Canadian government officials to bring up the Falun Gong issue when meeting with Chinese government officials.
Our specific approach starts with collecting signatures from people from all walks of life. Those veteran practitioners who don't speak English would hang the pictures of persecuted practitioners around their necks and collect signatures in the streets. During the APEC meeting in Shanghai last year, the Prime Minister of Canada brought up the Falun Gong issue to the head of the Chinese government. At that time, practitioners in Canada conducted a signature drive, the "SOS, Urgent!" rescue walk across North America, and other activities. Several major labor unions wrote to the Prime Minister, and many Members of Parliament stood up and expressed their support.
The Greater Toronto area is the most densely populated area in Canada. We held press conferences in many surrounding cities and towns. We visited mayors, members of parliament, and members of the provincial parliament in those areas, and we gave them information packages dealing with our urgent rescue attempts of family members in China. We also exposed the evil and clarified the truth. Half of these practitioners have family members who suffered persecution or they have suffered persecution themselves. Most of them don't speak English well, but they did a great job wherever they went. The sincerity moved people. Their participation made the government, Members of Parliament, media and the citizenry realize that this persecution is not only occurring in the distant China; it's happening right beside them.
Within one month, between late July and up to now, we have visited 29 cities and towns and delivered truth-clarification materials into the hands of 35 Members of Parliament, 17 Members of the Provincial Parliament and 28 mayors. During these visits, a dozen media outlets interviewed us and published reports.
Practitioners in Toronto and Vancouver jointly designed a postcard with the theme of rescuing family members in China. They intend to mail them to the Canadian Prime Minister and ask him to condemn the Jiang regime's persecution of Falun Gong during the APEC meeting. Dafa practitioners who are university students spread this news and revealed the persecution to new students around the country during school orientation. Students in Vancouver actively appealed to schools and workers' unions.
At time of this article being written, the Members of Parliament are holding a meeting and many of them have requested the Canadian Prime Minister to rescue Canadian residents' family members and condemn the persecution during the APEC meeting.
We are only getting started. We realized that the process of urgent rescue of family members is also the process of clarifying the truth to almost one million Chinese people in Canada and to the local society. At the same time, it is also a process of clarifying the truth to the people in China. If practitioners abroad can all start taking action and effectively use these opportunities to expose the evil and clarify the truth, it will then greatly suppress the evil and at the same time provide support for Dafa practitioners in China, enabling us to truly become one body. Let's work together and do well in what Fa-rectification period Dafa disciples are supposed to.
September 2, 2002