A Deeper Look at the Plight of Dafa Practitioners in China Through Charles Li's Hunger Strike
Compared to what happens to Dafa practitioners in China, the transparency of Charles Li's case is relatively high. The media, US governmental agencies, Dafa practitioners and Dr. Li's relatives and friends are all concerned about it. However, the Chinese authorities still charged him with "preparing to sabotage TV and/or radio equipment" and sentenced him to three years in jail. On May 27, Dr. Li initiated a hunger strike to protest the illegal detention by the Chinese regime and unlawful treatment he has received from prison guards and officials. While imprisoned, Dr. Li wrote a 96-page document to the U.S. Consulate in Shanghai. However, Nanjing Prison officials removed 8 pages out of the document that contained specific information regarding Dr. Li's request to become a plaintiff in the class-action lawsuit against former Chinese leader, Jiang Zemin, which was filed in U.S. District Court in October 2002. Moreover, they have taken away his Falun Gong books.
Why would Dafa practitioners take risks to intercept TV signals and broadcast Dafa truth-clarification programs? What kind of treatment would Dafa practitioners in China receive in situations similar to Dr. Li's? What price would they have to pay?
The Chinese leadership not only does not allow its people to know the truth, but also fabricate lies to frame and slander Dafa practitioners. In China, what people see, read and hear about Falun Gong is strictly controlled by the authorities. In order to let people know the truth of the persecution, Dafa practitioners, who put the interests of the people before themselves, risk their lives to broadcast programs that reveal the true situation of the persecution of Falun Gong. In my view, this act of tapping broadcast signals is a form of civil disobedience, one that might be comparable to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s peaceful actions. However, the Chinese authorities call this act "sabotage" and slapped practitioners with long-term sentences (up to 20 years), and have tortured or even beaten them to death.
In China, many practitioners clarify the truth through distributing video CDs. However, there is much difficulty with that. Many steadfast Dafa practitioners in China have been forced to leave their homes and go from place to place. Just surviving has become a problem. Building material-producing sites requires money, and safety is also a very important consideration, as it is dangerous to distribute CDs. The grassroots level of the Chinese ruling party -- the residential committees -- have warned their residents to turn in whatever Falun Gong materials they receive. Even if the residents receive CDs, they may not dare to watch them. In addition, many people do not have the machine to play the CDs at home. However, if Dafa truth-clarification programs can be broadcast on TV, the effect would be really great because many people do watch TV. Therefore, practitioners are trying their best to broadcast Dafa programs despite the high price they may have to pay.
Part of Dr. Li's letter was confiscated, which is one of the reasons that he went on a hunger strike. After July 20, 1999, many Dafa practitioners submitted appeal letters to the National People's Congress, the State Department, and other relevant offices to ask the government to reverse their incorrect decision to ban Falun Gong. Practitioners who put their signatures on the appeal letters were met with prison sentences, detention, brainwashing, etc. Because a college professor wrote letters to various governmental organizations, he was tracked down and sent to a brainwashing class. It was said that because his family is associated with a high-ranking official, the punishment he received was not that severe. Otherwise, he would have been sent to a labor camp.
Dr. Li's Dafa books were also confiscated. In China, arbitrarily confiscating Dafa books, searching homes, searching people's belongings, and body searches are a common practice for the police. In addition, no matter where you are, as long as you have Dafa books, you will be arrested. After someone is arrested, the person's family members are not allowed to visit. The authorities also make a big effort to cover up the facts of the persecution.
Dr. Li is an American citizen, yet he's already received inhumane treatment. One can only imagine how badly Dafa practitioners in China are mistreated. Jiang's regime would arrest and sentence anyone who goes to appeal, distributes flyers, or discusses the facts of the persecution in public places. There is no place practitioners can go to appeal for justice.
Dafa practitioners in China strongly request that Jiang be brought to justice. Under his orders, there are Dafa practitioners tortured to death every day. Every day people are arrested, beaten, and sentenced. How can we allow this to continue? Let us jointly condemn the persecution and bring it to an end as soon as possible.