(Clearwisdom.net) I am a Chinese freelance artist from the U.K. On January 22, 2004, some of my Falun Gong practitioner friends and I went to Paris to take part in a Falun Gong Chinese New Year parade and to enjoy some of the festivities in Paris. Since we were not performing in the January 24 parade, we decided to go to Arc de Triomphe for sightseeing. At around 12:30 P.M., when I was about to take a picture for my friend, a group of French policemen suddenly seized him and held him motionless without offering any explanation. They searched him but did not find anything illegal, but they still bound his hands with plastic string behind his back. At first I was too shocked by what happened to say anything. Then I asked them, "What's happening? We haven't done anything wrong." The police refused to answer. They bound my hands and arrested me as well.
While they were pushing us and binding our hands, I repeatedly heard the words "Falun Dafa" in the conversations over their police radios.
At around 12:30 P.M., the police took us to the Parisian 17th precinct police station. After the police van had parked, a policeman in civilian clothes opened the rear door and looked us over. He smiled and said, "Ah, Falun Dafa." Judging from his response, I thought this policeman knew the truth about Falun Dafa and that he was going to tell the others it was a mistake, but he did nothing of the sort. We were handcuffed to a long bench for more than three hours. It was not until 4:00 PM that another French policeman in civilian clothes from upstairs brought us to his office.
I must also mention an ironic story during this ordeal. At the time of the arrest, it was the period of the 2004 Chinese New Year Festival. There were also many Chinese Cultural Year festivities going on in Paris. As I was pulled from the van at the police station, two policewomen said to me in Chinese, "Gong Xi Fa Cai (May you be financially prosperous this year.)" I asked them, "We are guests of your Chinese Cultural Year. Is this the way to treat your guests?"
At first, the policeman told us that we had been arrested for distributing flyers and it was illegal to distribute flyers. I asked him, "We did not distribute any flyers, why were we arrested? Was it only because we wore yellow scarves embroidered with the words 'Falun Dafa'?" He said that it was because some Falun Gong practitioners wearing yellow scarves had distributed flyers, so other practitioners wearing yellow scarves were arrested as well. Then I asked, "What about me? I am not even wearing a yellow scarf." He said that they were in a hurry to make the arrests so it was understandable that they made a small mistake.
Then he became impatient and ordered us not to ask any more questions about the reason for the arrests. He said that they were merely following an order from the top. He also claimed that he understood us very well and that he thought Falun Gong practitioners were peaceful and not at all a danger to the society. I asked if the Chinese government officials had spread slanderous lies about Falun Gong practitioners being dangerous to the French police and caused the unlawful arrests of Falun Gong practitioners. He said that perhaps Chinese agents might have misled the French police and caused them to arrest us.
Because this policeman had a limited command of English, he asked a policewoman to help investigate the matter. This policewoman was very sympathetic toward us. We told her that yesterday we were performing in a parade in Paris, and today the police arrested us for no reason at all. We told her that we had thought such human rights violations could only happen in an authoritarian country such as China, and that we were sad to see a country known for supporting human rights and democracy like France doing such a thing to law-abiding tourists. After hearing our words, her eyes were brimming with tears.
At around 5:00 P.M., this policewoman released me and two other female practitioners she had investigated. Meanwhile, other practitioners were still held in police custody.