(Clearwisdom.net) Sydney Falun Gong practitioners gathered outside the New South Wales State Parliament House last Wednesday to thank the Australian government for its efforts in securing the release of detained Australian family members.

Relatives of three Sydney practitioners have recently been released from detention in China, helped largely by pressure from Australian politicians, as well as officials from the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. Mr. Grant Lu's fiancée, Ms Li Ying, arrived at Sydney International Airport on November 29, after being illegally detained in a labor camp for two years. Mr. Yan's sister was recently released but is still under heavy surveillance in China, and one of Ms Tao's sisters was also released, although another of her sisters is still held in a labor camp.

On Monday December 1, the Australian Senate passed motion no. 704, which expressed concern over the detention of nine relatives of Australian citizens for their belief in Falun Gong. It also recognized the freedom of Australian citizens to freely practice Falun Gong without fear of harassment.

Since his fiancée, Li Ying, was arrested, Grant Lu has worked tirelessly with the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade to secure her release. Due to pressure from Australian Authorities, Ms Ying was not treated as harshly as other Falun Dafa practitioners during her time in the Shanghai Qingsong Women's Labor Camp. Unlike other practitioners who refused to sign the "Three Statements"*, Li Ying was allowed to receive visits from her relatives. Knowing that one day she would be released and would talk about her experiences in the labor camp, the guards separated her from most of the other detained Dafa practitioners so she would not witness the hardships they were being forced to bear.

Li Ying was first arrested in January 2001 and sent to a brainwashing class. There she protested her illegal detention with a hunger strike, and was force-fed by the police. She was later bailed out by her workplace. Later that year she was again arrested, this time during a business trip to Hangzhou City on October 16, 2001 for handing out truth-clarifying material. Her house was ransacked, her Australian visa application documents were taken, and her mailbox key was confiscated to prevent her family members from accessing her mail. She was sent to Shanghai Qingsong Women's Labor Camp where she stayed for two years. She was forced to work in a toy-making factory from 7:00 a.m. until 9:00 p.m. every night, sometimes working through until midnight, and was constantly under pressure to sign papers renouncing her belief in Falun Dafa.
"This is surely the best Christmas gift for me this year, which our Australian government, the media and our kind Australian people enabled me to have," said Grant, standing next to his fiancée on the sunny Sydney street. "Public support, no matter where it comes from, or how little it may seem, does help and work, and may create an effect you didn't think of. Li Ying is now able to enjoy the freedom that every Australian does, but there are 7 more family members of Australians still suffering in China, and many more Falun Gong practitioners facing life or death situations due to the threat of persecution and torture."

* "Three Statements" - Practitioners are coerced under brainwashing and torture to write these as proof that they have given up their belief. Created by the "610 Office," the three statements consist of a letter of repentance, a guarantee to never again practice Falun Gong, and a list of names and addresses of all family members, friends and acquaintances who are practitioners.

Source: http://www.falunau.org/indexArticle.jsp?itemID=1056

Category: April 25 Events