January 3, 2002

(Clearwisdom.net) I spent a long time separated from my parents who are on the other side of the Pacific Ocean, but I am not sad. The seagull brings the fragrance of flowers, lingering by the window of our old house, carrying the message from my heart. Occasionally, my father would look up at the clouds in the sky, there were some scratches that was my letter, while my mother would pause to smell the fragrance of the flowers and find it familiar, as it represented the never-delayed greetings from me.

High Resolution Picture

The tides rise and ebb, and so does the sun rise and set. The Pacific Ocean is so vast that it connects the day and the night, the East and the West, and yet it could not sever the connection between our hearts and our memories of each other, being together every day. We broke through the vast distance with a plane ticket, a phone call, or a birthday card. During all this time when we missed each other, the Pacific Ocean served only as a faithful "audience."

One summer evening, though, the waves of the ocean billowed. My heart was lost at the cliff by the sea and it didn't want to come back. I looked into distance, toward the direction of my home, in the darkness and in the pouring rain. I could not find the path I used to take or the people I missed. Streams of my tears poured into the deep ocean, together with my manifold memories.

On the other side of the ocean, on an ancient land, everything was changing so quickly. Overnight, an iron door separated my parents from this part of the world, the door of the prison. It is so narrow, yet it is wider than the Pacific Ocean. Since then, I have not been able to see or hear from my parents, whom I deeply love.

My father is a professor of physics, but he is also good at painting, calligraphy, Chinese chess and playing ancient Chinese musical instrument(s). He is magnanimous and kind, and always treats others' troubles as his own. My mother loves poetry and is very open-minded. In my heart she is a genius. My parents are like a couple in a family of deities. They are well over 50, who blissfully enjoyed the happiness of childhood as well as the ease of adulthood. Having grown up in this free and warm environment, they are more like my friends than my parents. Just like the lyrics in a song, "We enjoy each other's happiness." Even when I moved to New York eight years ago, the distance seemed like nothing.

Soon, my parents got to know Falun Gong and they were surprised by its profoundness and vastness. The purpose of being human is to return to one's true original self. They longed for a life that conforms to Truth, Compassion, Tolerance. They thought about it for a while, then, once again, they joined hands together and decided to cultivate until the end. I felt surprised by their decision for a while, but I couldn't help but research Falun Gong myself. It is such a wonderful practice; it not only improves one's physical health but also purifies one's heart. Unconsciously, our hearts once again went beyond the Pacific Ocean and blended together.

That short period of time was the most beautiful I could remember. My parents' health was greatly improved. In the photo they looked younger and they laughed more. Their hearts were open to all people and they did all they could to help the people they knew, and also the people they didn't know. They learned to demand of themselves a higher standard, and they had more and more friends. Our family also grew larger and larger. The sky above the Pacific Ocean was filled with our laughter. The joy during every telephone call made me feel I was back in their embrace again, and the Pacific Ocean didn't present a distance any more. If there was any distance, it was filled with care and love from so many friends. We enjoyed the happiness of everyone.

Good days are always too short, though. In July 1999, the persecution against Falun Gong began. I almost immediately lost touch with my parents. I was anxious during countless days and nights. My contact with them was cut off; my letters couldn't reach them. Only then did I realize we were living in two different worlds. That ancient land, our beloved home country, was so far away from me.

Later, I learned that my parents were detained for several months and were forced to undergo brainwashing; their home was ransacked. They were under watch 24 hours a day and they had no freedom. My parents who had been upright and kind all their lives could not understand how Truth, Compassion, Tolerance could be wrong; they couldn't see how trying to be good people could be wrong. Because they benefited physically and mentally by practicing Falun Gong, they wished to repay the goodness they received from Falun Gong. They didn't want to do anything against their conscience, not to mention creating slander in exchange for freedom. Their situation became more and more difficult. In the autumn of 2000, they had no choice but to leave home to avoid persecution. They were arrested on January 1, 2001, and in April were both secretly sentenced to three years in jail.

After a long and anxious wait I finally received news about my parents. I could never have imagined that they were incarcerated. From then on, we were separated.

The long-term physical and mental torture has seriously damaged their health. The heavy slave labor that lasts more than ten hours a day seemed endless, in addition to forced brainwashing. Do they want to wash away my parents' pursuit to return to their original true selves? Do they want to destroy people's longing in their hearts for righteous faith? Why would anyone hate words of truth so much?

Countless times I dreamt of the happy past. Nothing had changed. Countless times I spoke to the moon, from night to morning, imagining my parents could hear me. My memories of them flew across the broad Pacific Ocean but they could not fly past the narrow iron door. My heart followed the tide, rising and waning. The full moon turned into a crescent and then back into a full moon once more, but my family could not get together again.

All the beautiful things lost their original appeal. I would think of my parents any time and would wonder what they were doing right then. I would wonder if they wore enough warm clothes, if they were still smiling like before, and if they dreamt of me missing them. However, I never doubted their decision. As a noble person, at the crossroads of life, my parents told me with their actions that people should be responsible for their own lives. The light of the Truth cannot be covered up, not even in the dark prison cell or behind the iron door.

Father, mother, can you hear me? Our hearts are connected by countless predestined relationships and nothing can cut them off. No matter how cold the winter wind is, how long the dark nights are, I believe that more and more friends will stand by us, and will wake up more birds that call for spring. They will stir up the spring breeze and wake up the sleeping earth. Perhaps that time will come quickly, and in a split second, the whole world will change.

Friends, what needs more protection than kindness? Listen to the desire in your heart. Let's go and knock on the door of spring.

Zhang Shuangying: a registered nurse in New York State, U.S.

Father: Zhang Xingwu, former professor at Jinan City Education Institute, illegally detained at Brigade Three, the Liuchangshan Forced Labor Camp in Jinan City, Shandong Province.

Mother: Liu Pinjie, former retired employee of Jinan City Semiconductor Research Institute, illegally detained at Brigade One of Jinan City Female Forced Labor Camp.

They are both in their 60s now. They began practicing Falun Gong in 1995 and their health had significantly improved.

After July 20, 1999, the local police station ransacked their home. They took away my parents' computer, printer, and many books and private letters. My parents were illegally detained. After they were released, they were still under watch for a long time. My father was demoted and his salary was cut. In 2000, they left home to escape harassment. On January 1, 2001, they were detained in Beijing. Because they refused to give their names and addresses, they were illegally detained there until April when police from Shandong Province recognized them and sent them back to Jinan City. They were forcibly sent to a brainwashing class, during which time my mother held a hunger strike to protest and was sent into a hospital. Later, both my parents were sentenced to three years of forced labor. My mother is now detained in the Jinan City Female Forced Labor Camp, while my father is detained in the Liuchangshan Forced Labor Camp in Jinan City. Because they refused to compromise with the demands from the authorities, my father has been under "strict regulation" at the labor camp all the time. In April 2002, my father was transferred to the Wangcun Forced Labor Camp for two months, to undergo intensive brainwashing, during which time he was not allowed to meet with family members. My mother's sentence was prolonged twice within a year. Everyday, in addition to brainwashing, she had to do more than ten hours of slave labor. Her letters were often intercepted, and she was often forbidden to meet with family members due to the authorities accusations that she was "having a problem thinking." When she gets to meet with family members, police are always present and she cannot speak freely.