Chinese Consulate in Houston Refuses to Extend Falun Gong Practitioner's Passport (Photo)
(Clearwisdom.net) I am a Chinese citizen living in Houston, Texas, USA. During the morning of September 2, 2003 I went to the Chinese Consulate in Houston to apply for a passport extension. When I had just arrived at the entrance of the Passport and Visa Office, an associate consul-general saw me and said in a stern voice, "Why are you here?" I said that I came to apply to have my passport extended. He did not answer me and left. Then another official told me that it was already past office hours. This official wanted me to come back at 1:30 pm.
I went to the passport and visa office again in the afternoon. The staff member in the front office accepted my application documents for a passport extension. Visa office chief Wei immediately came out of his office and took my application to the office in the back. I noticed that he had not come out to take other applicants' information.
On my way back to work I received a phone call from Consul Yang Zhuofan. He said that he wanted to get to know my circumstances. After asking me something about my personal experiences after I came to the USA, he asked me about my practicing Falun Gong. I answered all his questions. He asked me why I went to practice in front of the consulate every day. He said that doing this was hurting China's reputation and that Falun Gong is against the law, etc. I said that this is the United States and I have not violated any law and have obeyed U.S. law.
Let me explain: In China, hundreds of thousands of innocent Falun Gong practitioners are maltreated during the persecution. Many practitioners have been tortured to death. They have no place to appeal for justice or make their voices heard. I practice in front of the consulate just to let the world's people learn about the persecution in China, and to urge certain people in China to stop the brutal persecution.
He wanted me to stop practicing in front of the consulate. I indicated that if certain people in China would stop the persecution, as a matter of fact, I would go to practice in the park where the environment is much better. He said more words wanting me to stop practicing in front of the consulate. Seeing I was very insistent, he terminated the conversation. We had talked for half an hour.
The next day I went to pick up my passport. The person in the front office told me that my passport had not been extended. I demanded an explanation. Then the visa office chief Wei came out to talk to me. He said that they wanted to send my application to China for approval and then let me know after the approval. I asked why my application to have my passport extended had to go through a special procedure while others did not. He said that Yang Zhuofan had already mentioned the reason yesterday. He said that I should know the reason. I asked if it was due to my practicing Falun Gong. He said that Yang had already explained and he would not repeat it. He returned the passport to me without an extension.
Later, I went there twice to apply for an extension and I was refused on both occasions. I went there once at 1:30 pm. The person in the front office told me that my passport would not be extended. I told them that Falun Gong practitioners in China are being arrested, tortured, detained and killed, while outside China, the Chinese consulate has gone so far as to use these methods to persecute us. After asking Mr. Yang Zhuofan, the staff members in the front office told me that Yang would come to talk to me at 3:00 pm and asked me to wait. Mr. Yang, however, did not show up, even by 3:30 pm. I told them that I had waited for so long and asked why he did not keep his word. The persons in the front office said they did not know the reason. At the same time they asked me to leave in a hurry since they wanted to close for the day.
One official in the consulate told me that they would extend my passport if I would stop practicing in front of the consulate.
As of today, my passport still hasn't been extended.
June 27, 2004