Female Ph.D. Scholar Is Denied Passport Extension as the Chinese Consulate Brings the Persecution of Falun Gong to Stanford University (Photo)
For many Mainland Chinese students who study abroad in the United States, what makes them happiest may be the absence of "political impositions." However, recent events have indicated that, even though we are outside China, we cannot escape the shadow cast by the Chinese Central Government's propaganda that restricts one's freedom, body and soul. As long as we are still Chinese citizens, as long as we have family members or relatives living in China, we are coerced into supporting the current political view. This is no exaggeration! Here is my personal experience.
A "Party Secretary" Comes to Stanford University from the Chinese Consulate
On the afternoon of April 19, 2004, a consul from the California Chinese Consulate came to the International Student Center of Stanford University to help Chinese students extend their passports. The consul explained that he was from the Educational Section instead of the Passport Section and that he only collected application materials and fees for the Passport Section. As my passport would be due in three months, I along with about six other Chinese students, got all the application materials ready and handed them to the consul at the International Student Center.
Since a passport is our most important form of identification, we were all very careful about it. That's why we stayed at the International Student Center for quite a long time. During the processing of our materials, the president of the Chinese Students and Scholars Association (CSSA) of Stanford University rushed in. Upon his arrival, the consul said to him, "I've been looking for you." Then he took a letter from his suitcase and asked the CSSA president to read and sign it. He also asked that the CSSA organize activities among Chinese students related to the issues contained in the letter.
We were all curious about this letter. We could hear the consul telling the president very seriously, "It is a crucial issue since it has something to do with science and anti-science." It was obvious to us that the CSSA president did not want to sign the letter. He said, "I feel it improper to term everything of a different nature as 'Falun Gong' in the article. For instance, the exercises of 'Falun Gong,' the organization of 'Falun Gong,' the leaders of 'Falun Gong' and most of the people are all labeled 'Falun Gong.' It is not proper. We should deal with them separately. Furthermore, I myself cannot represent all the Chinese students at Stanford. At least the members of CSSA should meet and discuss it first."
At that point every one present realized that the consul was asking the CSSA president to sign a statement against Falun Gong on behalf of all the Chinese students at Stanford University. He also asked for a series of activities to be organized on campus to "denounce" and "criticize" Falun Gong.
A student from the Business Department who was sitting next to the consul said to him sincerely, "Consul, we all feel that the government has overreacted on this issue. We should not treat most Falun Gong practitioners that way. I do not practice Falun Gong, but we all have friends who practice Falun Gong. They are good people." And the CSSA president agreed right away, "In fact, his opinion represents that of most people. Most Chinese students at Stanford feel sympathetic towards Falun Gong."
The consul did not give up. Instead, he tried to persuade the students present using politics. He said, "The Chinese students from many other universities in northern California have signed it. Quite a few Alumni Associations in the California area have signed it, too. Stanford University should not be left behind. Moreover, it is a political stance." I have practiced Falun Gong for nearly four years. I was touched when the Chinese students expressed their sympathy with Falun Gong in front of the consular officer. At the same time, I was hoping that the consul's superiors had pressured him into spreading these lies. So I interrupted him politely, "Consul, I am a student of Stanford University and a Falun Gong practitioner. I hope that you could truly get to know Falun Gong and not force the students to sign the statement." The consul turned to me in surprise and asked me whether I knew anything about the "Self-Immolation Incident" at Tiananmen Square. I knew that if the consul insisted on spreading lies, he would for sure mention the "Self-Immolation Incident." Since Jiang's group started to suppress Falun Gong in July 1999, many people denounced the persecution and were disgusted by it. Jiang and his followers knew it was hard to continue the suppression under such conditions, so they staged the so-called "Self-Immolation Incident" during the Spring Festival of 2001, which convinced many previously sympathetic people to hate and fear Falun Gong. After that, Jiang's group started to persecute Falun Gong practitioners in China more openly. Meanwhile, they asked people from all walks of life to judge Falun Gong based on the "Self-Immolation Incident" in order to seek the support of public opinion.
I carefully explained the flaws of the "Self-Immolation" video footage by CCTV and in other relevant reports. For example, how could Liu Siying speak and sing clearly after a trachea operation? I also told them that it is clearly indicates in Falun Gong literature that suicide and killing are forbidden.
The consul asked me with a confused look on his face, "Is that true? That must be from previous articles. I am sure you haven't read the latest articles yet." I did not know what lies he was told, but I explained to him patiently, "Of course I have. It is the same principle in both previous and current articles."
The consul changed the topic immediately, "Do you know? I found out recently that the Falun Gong people who go to appeal in front of the Consulate do not have proper jobs. A person goes to pay them every day at three o'clock in the afternoon." The student from the Business Department listened to us carefully and thought about what we said carefully. He broke in, "But I have seen many Falun Gong practitioners from all over the world appeal there." I admired his clear thinking and finished what he intended to say, "Many practitioners went to Geneva in March. Who is able to afford the flights of so many people?"
Floundering, the consul continued, "How lucky you are to be able to study at Stanford University! You should cherish the chance. In our era, we all had to go to work in the countryside and mountainous areas. We were too old when we finally had the chance to study in the city." I countered, "When the leaders of the country made serious mistakes, if not corrected in time, there would be victims in every household. As for what you said regarding working in the countryside and mountainous areas, who doesn't have such relatives? And today Falun Gong is being so brutally persecuted in China, how could we turn a deaf ear to it?"
The consul denied it right away, "There is no persecution. Not at all." I was surprised. As an officer from the Chinese Consulate, he faces the persecution pictures displayed in front of his building everyday. I said to him, "How can you say that? Haven't you seen the pictures of practitioners being persecuted?"
The consul avoided looking at us and said with no expression on his face, "The pictures could be made up." When I mentioned the reports by western media concerning the persecution, the consul became very impatient and said, "You must know that all western media are against China." By this time, the other Chinese students present became puzzled, too. Obviously they did not expect a high-ranking official to lie so blatantly or become so confused. I thought for a while and replied, "My friend Yao Yue from Tsinghua University was dismissed from school for practicing Falun Gong. We should cherish the chance to study, but we should also show concern for others."
The consul picked up the application materials hurriedly and spit out his last words with hatred, "I hope you do not show concern for others any more!"
The CSSA president left while our conversation was going on because he had to prepare for a test. He said that he would reply to the consul soon. The next day, I phoned him and sincerely asked him not to sign the statement. He told me frankly over the phone, "The consul told me the truth when he said he had no other choice. It was on orders from his superiors. But the Consulate provides quite a sum of money to CSSA to fund our activities. So it makes it hard to decide."
Then he asked me about the extension of my passport and said he had asked the consul not to give me any trouble. I appreciated his goodwill. From the conversation, I could tell that the Consulate had really pressured him. For every Chinese citizen outside China, the Consulate can exercise its privilege to "give or deprive" one of a passport every five years.
My Application for a Passport Extension Is Refused
Two weeks later, the consul notified me to pick up my passport at the Consulate. After I arrived, he retuned my passport and the application fee. I found no stamp of extension on the passport and no explanation for the refusal. I asked for the reason.
The consul declared again that he was only helping the Passport Section and asked me to contact the Passport Section directly. Since it was after office hours, I phoned the Passport Section the next day. After giving my name and asking why my passport extension had been refused, the director of the Passport Section said in a strange tone, "You go in for activities that defy the government..." He hung up without finishing his explanation.
My passport will expire in mid-July, and my research group will go to Germany for an academic conference in August. I had already bought the airline ticket and was only waiting for the extension of my passport so that I could apply for a visa at the German Consulate. I informed my supervisor immediately, hoping that he would contact the Chinese Consulate. My supervisor wrote a letter for me and faxed it to the Chinese Consulate. He said in the letter that I was a responsible student and he did not understand why the Chinese government would have suspended my citizenship.
At the same time, I went to the director of international students at Stanford University and explained the situation to him. He said with disgust, "Again? They did that to students who participated in the democratic movement at Tiananmen Square ten years ago." He told me that he knew quite well about the persecution of Falun Gong practitioners in China. He said that he would contact the Chinese Consulate and apply some pressure. The next day he emailed me, saying that he had phoned the Consulate and left a voice mail and faxed a letter to the Consulate as well.
Several days later, as a result of his letter, the consul asked me to make an appointment with him and the Counselor to talk.
My husband was very worried about this issue. We had gotten to know each other in the States. We have not been married very long, expecting that we could go back to China some day to share our happiness with our relatives. He volunteered to accompany me to the Consulate and to talk with the officials. Although my husband is not a Falun Gong practitioner, he is clear that every Falun Gong practitioner has benefited from cultivation practice and that it is the fundamental principle of a human being to "return kindness." Before we left for the Consulate, he said firmly, "If asked for any sort of statement of guarantee, we should absolutely refuse."
Since both of us were busy and could not make it at the time the Consulate had arranged, the Counselor was not in when we arrived. The consul had to get the director of the Passport Section to talk with us. Initially the director talked for a while about how he himself felt bad about Falun Gong, as if his feelings and thoughts could replace the laws of the country. The consul who had "reported" me sat along side and did not say a word due to embarrassment.
Frankly, I felt that the consul was an honest man at heart. The pity is that it is hard for many Chinese officials to stick to the principles of being a human being. I informed them that Falun Gong could truly make a practitioner healthy both physically and spiritually. The director still focused on his personal feelings using bureaucratic jargon. Then he took out some paper and a pen, saying that if I could write a statement of guarantee not to practice Falun Gong, he would extend my passport.
My husband was eager to get the valid passport but at the same time insisted on the principle of not writing any statement. He said anxiously, "She is a student and very busy every day. She rarely has time to participate in the so-called demonstration activities. She is practicing at home. Please extend her passport." At once the director snarled, "As long as she practices Falun Gong, it is illegal, even though she practices at home." I warned them solemnly, "The suppression won't last long. Overseas Chinese are quite clear about the persecution."
As the director watched attentively and fiercely, we left the Chinese Consulate, which should present the solemn image of the Chinese nation to the world.
After I returned to the university, I started to work on my trip to Germany. I first went to the secretary of the Chemistry Department and ask her to prepare some documents for me to certify that I am a graduate student of the Department so that I could come back to the States again in spite my invalid passport. I hoped they could help me return to the States.
She told me that she would try her best to help me, but she was not familiar with the procedure or the documents. She would have to do some research before she could do anything for me. The next day, my supervisor came over to me in a hurry and asked me not to go to Germany since it was too dangerous. It turned out that the secretary of the Department phoned the director of the International Student Center, inquiring about the documents she could prepare for me. When she phoned, the director was not in, so she left a message in his voice mail. When the director got the message, he made an urgent call to the secretary and asked her to make sure not to let me leave the country. He said that German customs did not acknowledge official stamps and were infamous for sticking strictly to regulations. I might not have any problem leaving the States, but once I got stopped at German customs, I might be deported back to China. Since I was on the Chinese government's blacklist as a Falun Gong practitioner, it would be horrible if I were deported back to China. After the secretary of the Department got the phone call, she called my supervisor right away and left a message in his voice mail. Both the director and the secretary asked my supervisor to get in touch with them after hearing the message to make sure that I would not go to Germany. I was deeply touched. For those people, I am simply a foreign student they met only once. Their sincere concern for my personal safety was in sharp contrast to my cruel fellow countrymen who made me a refugee unable to go back home again.
Several months later, people from the National Security Bureau had a talk with my relatives in China, saying hypocritically, "The nation attaches much importance to your talented daughter. We hope that she will come back to serve the country after she finishes her schooling." My mother refuted him angrily, "You do not even extend her passport. She does not have citizenship any more. What's the point of talking about serving the country?" People from the National Security Bureau asked my relatives to persuade me to give up the cultivation practice of Falun Gong. My mother answered, "I do not feel there is anything bad about Falun Gong. Falun Gong teaches cultivators to become good people and serve the society..." One of them interrupted my mother with the absurd comment, "Aren't Buddhism and Taoism talking about the same thing?" As if Falun Gong should be labeled as "evil" and be eradicated and forcibly "transformed" since Buddhism and Taoism have already talked about serving all sentient beings.
As government officials of the People's Republic of China, their thoughts were unclear and their logic confused. It is our nation's tragedy that Jiang's political group has brainwashed and deceived people by having the media spread hate propaganda throughout the country. How could the leaders of the National Security Bureau, who shoulder the responsibility of the life and death of the country, turn a blind eye to its biggest criminal, the one who truly harms the security of the country and takes over the army, police and media of the whole country to serve his personal interest? How could they allow such treatment of Falun Gong practitioners, who act on the principles of truth, compassion and tolerance? Is such a National Security Bureau truly safeguarding our national security or threatening it?
I do not want to blame the clerks of the National Security Bureau. From my relatives' accounts, I know that they are curious about the spread of Falun Gong outside China, especially among Chinese students. However, facing the barrage of hate propaganda and brainwashing 24 hours a day and facing the pressure from their superiors, they become confused by the defamatory notions that fill their minds and by having to spread lies against their will to fulfill their jobs.
The instigator of the persecution of Falun Gong is afraid that those people may get to know the truth after coming in contact with Falun Gong practitioners and their family members over a long period of time. The brainwashing of such people is even worse than of ordinary people. They are the genuine victims of this persecution.
I have recorded honestly what happened before and after my application for a passport extension was refused, hoping to move the hearts of my fellow countrymen who hold Chinese passports and long to be reunited with family members in China. Our passports manifest our proud Chinese heritage and remind us of every fellow countryman, of every street and every scene in our hometown that we miss. In the eyes of the dictator who abuses human rights and only pays attention to his power, however, depriving us of our citizenship, threatening our family members and relatives, separating us from our flesh and blood, and making us become refugees outside China have become a key means of mind control.
Falun Gong Practitioners Lose their Citizenship
Chinese people outside China have to give up their fundamental principles as human beings in order to maintain their citizenship; people inside China have to give up those same principles in order to stay alive. It is really distressing that Jiang controls Chinese people's citizenship and lives using such a standard.
In over 17 countries Falun Gong practitioners' passports have been confiscated or refused an extension over the past few years. These countries include: Canada, Japan, Italy, Switzerland, Hungary, Singapore, England, Ireland, Holland, France, Denmark, Australia, Spain, Belgium, the United States, Germany, and New Zealand. This is not only against Chinese laws but also greatly affects our normal lives of study and work in these foreign countries. The Chinese Consulates have been an abominable influence among overseas Chinese nationals or immigrants by arbitrarily depriving them of their citizenship and passports.