(Clearwisdom.net) My name is Li Yishi and I am 59 years old. In 1990 I was diagnosed with diabetes; my blood sugar level was 24.7. I received treatment from Fuzhou City's Traditional Chinese Medicine Hospital for almost four years but saw no positive results. The doctors said that there was no cure for my condition, and I was dying.

Our whole family was overcome by this most anguishing news. One day in September 1994, I passed by a Falun Gong practice site near my home. Two practitioners there introduced me to Falun Gong. They told me why one should be a good person and told of the health benefits from practicing Falun Gong. I liked what I heard, telling myself I was about to die anyway and might as well give it a try. The first time I practiced, an electric current passed through my whole body. Merely two to three days later I felt that all my energy meridians had opened up. I was greatly inspired. After enduring a long-term illness, I never felt better in my entire life.

Two weeks later I was fortunate enough to attend Master Li Hongzhi's last lecture in Guangzhou. The lecture opened my heart and made me realize that Falun Gong is such a profound science. Falun Gong purifies people's minds and bodies and upgrades people's moral standards. I made up my mind during the lecture - I will tell everyone about this great practice and help everyone benefit. After returning home, I worked together with other practitioners to organize many seminars to promote Falun Gong. The total number of practitioners in my area increased day by day, from a handful at the beginning to over 30,000 before July 20, 1999.

I was persecuted in China

On April 25, 1999, Tianjin police officers beat up and arrested some practitioners; they also slandered Falun Gong directly. Some practitioners spontaneously came to Beijing to visit the central government and tell them what happened. Some other practitioners decided to hold a rally in Zuohai Park in Fuzhou City to support those who went to Beijing. We informed the police in advance. That day more than 10,000 practitioners showed up. We practiced the exercises as a group and told the people about what happened in Tianjin. From that day on, the local police kept harassing Falun Gong practitioners by inciting practitioners from other Qigong practices and the park management staff to give us a hard time. We avoided having conflicts with them by following our principles of "Truth, Compassion, Forbearance." Whenever we moved our practice site to a new location, some other group would follow and try to create more conflict.

Shortly before July 20 in 1999, the Taijiang police criminal team leaders and some other police officers came to our practice site, the Cultural Hall. They threw me, Zhang Aimin and seven or eight other practitioners into a police van. The van drove to the suburbs and stopped near Fuzhou University. They dumped us onto a patch of bare ground and said, "This is just a warning; if you insist on practicing Falun Gong, we won't be so easy on you next time." The walk home that day was over 15 kilometers.

The police officers' words of "won't be so easy" reminded me of my uncle Li Lianju, who was the deputy governor for Fujian Province. Because he used to serve as governor under the Nationalist Party, during the Cultural Revolution he was labeled a traitor and beaten to death. His body was wrapped in a straw mat and dumped on the street.

After July 20, 1999, the police searched all of the practitioners' homes. Their purpose was to take our books away and force everyone to write a promise to stop practicing. I told myself that Falun Dafa has given me my second life, and I can't do anything against my own conscience. I did not give them my books, nor did I write down any promises. The building I lived in then was being demolished and I was moving, so the police could not locate me. One day a friend showed me a letter that the police sent to my employer. The police said that I had become a key suspect on their blacklist and demanded that I come to answer some questions, and otherwise I would face severe consequences. To avoid arrest, my wife and I went into hiding. My family members told us not to come back home. They also told us that many fellow practitioners were arrested and sent to forced brainwashing or forced labor camps. We didn't want to be treated the same way. On July 23, 2000, we came to Australia to stay with our son's family.

Peaceful appeal; passport extension denied

After arriving in Australia, we remained diligent in our practice and cultivation. We participated in many activities to promote Falun Gong and to appeal for an end to the persecution. The harsh persecution of Falun Gong practitioners in China forced us to take action: appealing at the Chinese embassy and consulate, holding press conferences, organizing anti-torture exhibitions and launching lawsuits against Jiang Zemin.

At first, our son was opposed to our Falun Gong practice. He planned to do business in China and feared that he might not be able to return to China if his parents were practicing Falun Gong. We invited him to participate in all the activities we attended, thinking that he should know what kind of people we Falun Gong practitioners are.

One day in March 2001, his boss asked him to rent a truck and transport bricks from the brick factory. The driver for the job had just left for home and the job was very urgent. Without any experience for the job, he rented a 1.5-ton payload truck and came to the brick factory. After loading 6 tons of bricks he was on his way back. The weather was rainy and windy. As he was making a right turn, the truck suddenly turned over. My son was too panicked to do anything, but at that very moment he saw a big, rotating Falun in front. The truck fell slowly to the side. All three people in the truck escaped without injury. Later, the police arrived. After reviewing the accident site, they said that it is a miracle that none of them suffered any injury. According to the police, a truck with a 1.5-ton payload, loaded with 6 ton of bricks would no doubt flip, and the weather didn't help either. The people involved could have very well died. After my son came home, he said that he had to believe in Falun Gong after that experience. He finally accepted our advice on "one person practices, the whole family benefits." Since that accident he became very supportive of our practice. Whenever we have activities, he does his best to be our driver.

Passport of Mr. and Mrs. Li Yishi: Chinese Consulate denies extension

Several years have passed. Our passports were to expire on August 22, 2004. On the morning of August 16 we arrived at the Chinese consulate, accompanied by our son. An official there checked our passports and said, "You are applying for refugee status, and you come to our consulate every Sunday to appeal." He then denied my wife's and my applications.

Practicing Falun Gong and being a Chinese citizen are our fundamental rights, and no one should be able to take them away. Because of the persecution from Jiang Zemin's regime, we were forced to apply for refugee status. We appeal to the Chinese Consulate in Sydney: don't help the evildoers and don't commit more crimes; what you did was very wrong!