(Clearwisdom.net) In Berlin, the Pariserplatz in front of the Brandenburg Gate was jam-packed with tourists as usual. All of a sudden, several cries of "Ah! Ah!" could be heard from the northeast corner of the square. The sound drew the attention of the tourists nearby. On the sidewalk was a black cage about waist high. An oriental lady was huddled up in the cage, one of her hands shackled to the rail. Then, the top was opened, and a man wearing a green police uniform and dark glasses waved his baton and beat the woman. She could not help but hide on the other side of the cage, screaming. The police uniform bore several Chinese characters. A tourist stepped forward and shouted at the young man, "Stop it!" The "policeman" explained to this heroic passer-by, "This is just a demonstration of what is going on in China. I didn't really beat her."

Crowd shocked by the demonstration of torture

Appealing for the family of Jiang Renzheng

On the eve of Hu Jintao's visit to Berlin, German Falun Gong practitioners held anti-torture exhibitions on November 5th and 6th at the Pariserplatz in front of the Brandenburg Gate and the Breitscheidplatz located in the heart of West Berlin. Signatures were collected and will be passed to the German government. The purpose was to call upon the German officials to request Hu Jintao to stop the persecution against Falun Gong immediately and punish the Chinese government officials who have persecuted Falun Gong practitioners. An appeal was also made to release Jiang Renzheng, who returned to China from Germany about six months ago and has been imprisoned in a Chinese labor camp ever since.

Peaceful Falun Gong exercises stood in stark contrast against the bloody torture

The role of the policeman, played by Munich engineer Daniel, drew an angry response from the public

Talking about Falun Gong with tourists

Although the Chinese tourists were not as numerous as those in front of the Cologne Cathedral, their hearts were revealed by their reactions. According to Mrs. Zhu, who participated in the anti-torture exhibition, most of the Chinese tourists stood in front of her and watched quietly. Some of them took away Falun Gong materials passed out by the practitioners. Judging from their facial expressions, some of them were so shocked that they could not say a word.

Signature collection at the Brandenburg Gate to call for public support to end the persecution of Falun Gong

Mrs. Wang, who distributed fliers at the scene, noticed that the Chinese people who came from other western countries knew much more about Falun Gong than those directly from Mainland China, and were more willing to accept the materials. On one occasion when she was distributing fliers, a voice in Mandarin came from behind her, "I read the persecution reports about Falun Gong in newspapers in Canada quite often. Now, I realize that those reports are indeed true." When Mrs. Wang turned around, she saw a middle-aged Chinese gentleman speaking to his companion. The gentleman didn't accept the materials from Mrs. Wang, saying, "It is not necessary. I have downloaded a lot of information from the Internet." However, his companion took a copy.

There were also people who opposed the anti-torture exhibition. On one occasion, Mrs. Zhu heard someone beside her saying, "This is all falsified." She turned her head and saw a group of tourists from China standing right next to her. Mrs. Zhu, whose hometown is in Manchuria, told them, "I was imprisoned at the Mentougou Detention Centre in Beijing for more than three weeks simply for displaying a banner in Tiananmen Square to appeal for Falun Gong in October 2000. I was slapped on the face repeatedly such that it was covered with injuries." Although Mrs. Zhu did not personally suffer the torture she was demonstrating in the exhibition, a female Falun Gong practitioner, who was imprisoned in the same cell, showed her lower legs, which had turned black due to brutal beating with police batons. On another occasion, she heard the guards of the prison instigating several male prisoners to beat a female Falun Gong practitioner in the hallway. The bloodcurdling screams were heard throughout the prison. Although the Chinese tourists still said they would not believe these abuses had truly occurred, their insistence was clearly weakened.

"Is it true that this sort of brutal persecution is still happening in this day and age?"

"Is it true that this sort of brutal persecution is still happening in this day and age?"

It is far harder for western tourists to imagine the real situation occurring in China as exposed by the anti-torture exhibition. Sabine, who stood around the signature desk to answer enquiries from the crowd, said, "The thing that people said the most is, 'I can't believe such a thing is still happening in this day and age!'" A line was frequently seen in front of the signature desk. Sabine also noticed that young people, who were usually rather indifferent to human right issues, started to come to sign their names. Many of them have heard about Falun Gong or visited Falun Gong's information booths in the past, either in front of the Chinese Embassy or through Information Day activities.

Support from a passer-by in a wheelchair

The German public's ever deepening understanding about Falun Gong reflects itself not only in the increasing support from German citizens toward anti-persecution, but also in politicians' increasing responsiveness to the appeal made by Falun Gong practitioners. In a recent letter from a Parliament Member, Mr. Groehe, who holds the chairmanship of the Human Rights Committee in the Christian Democratic Union (CDU, which became Germany's ruling party after the recent general election) mentioned, "We will take advantage of the upcoming Chinese president's visit to Germany to bring up tough human rights issues in China. We feel uncomfortable about China's number one frequency rate of the death penalty and capital execution in the world, the suppression of Catholic churches, the situation of Tibet and the long-term imprisonment and forced labour education against Falun Gong believers." He promised that the Catholic Democratic Union "will continue its devotion to making basic freedom and human rights recognised and protected in China." In a reply letter, German largest opposition party, the Free Democratic Party (FDP), also indicated they would "urge the government to openly criticise China's human rights status, which needs immediate improvement, when the Chinese president visits Germany."

Whether the German government would bring up human rights issues in front of Hu Jintao publicly or discuss them in closed-door meetings as in the past is still unknown. It will become clear only after Hu Jintao starts his visit to Germany.