A Ten-Year-Old Girl's Trip to Beijing
My name is Christine Lin. My family and I live in California. I am now eleven years old, but when these things happened, I was only ten. During my summer vacation, on June 6th, 2000, my mom (her name is Zheng, Li-Juan, an American citizen) and I took a plane to Beijing. With us came a lady from California (her name is Cheng, Ming Hua). Her family is in Beijing; so on the first day of our arrival, we slept at her house.
Our goal at China's capital was to present our grievances about the crackdown on Falun Dafa, a peaceful spiritual group, to the government, then to vacation and visit my grandparents. We never really expected what was about to happen, but we knew that we might get caught when we simply said that Falun Dafa was great. So we visited the famous places in the capital for the first few days.
On the evening of June 13th, after dinner, our friend, her sister, my mom and I took a stroll to visit other local practitioners. When we got to the practitioner's house, there were already 4 friends there. We said brief hellos and chatted, and my mom asked them how they could live here in such a violent crackdown and still be compassionate to the police.
In less than an hour, there suddenly was a violent pounding and shouting at the door. We asked them who they were and they replied, "Open the door! We are the police! Open up!" Our host finally opened the door. A handful of rough policemen trampled in. They shouted, "What are you doing? Go to the police station, now!"
We asked them why. We were just a bunch of friends meeting, unless we didn't have the right to do that. They asked us, "Are you Falun Gong practitioners?" We answered yes. They grabbed us and yelled "That's why. Let's go!"
They rounded us up into their van and drove us to a police station nearby. There, the nine of us were cramped into one of two small, dusty rooms. We cleaned up the room and by then, it was dark. They yelled at us and explained the unreasonable law that we supposedly broke. Then, near 11:00pm, they pulled us out one by one to bombard us with questions only people like them could ask. After they were done with each adult, at midnight, it was my turn. They threatened me with things like, how my school would expel me, and other things. I didn't tell them that I'm from the U.S.A. because they would send us back right away. We still wanted to visit my grandparents in a southern city, and mom already had the two plane tickets to go there. Even if we didn't get to do that, we had to tell people that we didn't do anything wrong, and that it was the government's fault, that they robbed us of our basic human rights: the right to practice what we want and to visit our own family.
That night we slept on the floor.
The next day, one of the hottest days of the year in Beijing, we managed to get to the bathroom to fill our water bottle, and the nine of us had to share this. When we went to the restroom, they didn't allow us to close the stall doors. If we didn't close the doors people could see. We had no privacy.
They separated my mom and me. Later, I saw mom with handcuffs on through the iron bar door. That wasn't fair; mom didn't do anything wrong. And neither did any of our Dafa practitioners that got treated so badly. I was about to cry.
To my relief, mom got them taken off soon enough. I was with mom. I looked at her and started to cry. There was a guard in the room that said the government always catches the good people of Falun Gong and lets the bad people out of jail early. He was right.
Later that afternoon, it was boiling hot. I felt horrible. I was dizzy and tired. It must have been the heat and the cigarette smoke (there were criminals in the room). Mom asked to send me to a hospital. After a while, they finally let us walk to a nearby clinic with a guard.
The police somehow found out that we were from the U.S. They said we had to go back to the United States. We had no choice. We told the police that we still had our airplane tickets to Canton to visit our family, but they said that we couldn't go. They violated our right to visit our family. They forced us to return immediately to the U.S. Because we couldn't change the destination of our plane ticket, the police made us buy another one. So we returned to the United States with a cancelled passport.
While we were in the police station, we were detained for two days with no food. Our friend Cheng Ming Hua has a Green card and she was detained for five days. As for the Beijing practitioners, they had even worse treatment.
Even though I was not born in China, it is my home country. Unfortunately, their government is so unreasonable and awful that I feel very disappointed.
Category: Accounts of Persecution