Vancouver, Canada: Stories from a Small Blue Shelter (Part 2) (Photos)
(Clearwisdom.net) (Continued from http://www.clearwisdom.net/emh/articles/2007/8/7/88396.html )
Among Falun Gong practitioners living in Vancouver, nearly 30 of them or their family members have experienced unlawful arrest, detention, brainwashing or forced labor in China. Even now, three family members of Falun Gong practitioners living in Vancouver are still incarcerated in China. In the eyes of their loved ones, these people are the best people in the world, yet they are brutally persecuted simply for practicing Falun Gong, a practice that restores health and purifies the mind.
A Mother's Story
Several Falun Gong practitioners sat in the snow in the winter of 2001 wearing plastic ponchos. Ms. Zhang Xiulian, one of them, recalled, "It was snowing heavily that day. The snow around my body slowly melted, and I was soaked in icy water. I sat from early morning until dusk, which means I was soaked in bone-freezing ice and water for more than ten hours."
Zhang Xiulian (first one on the left), quietly protests in the snow
When asked if she minded the cold, she answered calmly, "It's only a little bit of physical suffering; it's nothing compared to what practitioners in China have to go through. They have to face nerve-wrecking pressure from an entire government machinery. They are not only physically attacked but also endure unspeakable mental anguish. We have resorted to this form of protest to tell the world about what is happening in China and to support our fellow practitioners."
Ms. Zhang emigrated to Canada in 2001. She had several times been awarded the title "Advanced Worker" and received lots of certificates in China. Poor health made her retire in her 40s, but she recovered shortly after she started to practice Falun Gong in 1998. All of her previous illnesses disappeared, and she was able to truly enjoy life.
After the Communist Party began persecuting Falun Gong on July 20, 1999, the local police made her a major target and restricted her freedom of movement. The police constantly harassed her family, which eventually led to its break-up.
Officials from the Residential Committee led the police to illegally arrest Ms. Zhang's younger daughter, a student at a renowned university. They took her to a custody center before the 2001 Chinese New Year because she had written a letter to her uncle in which she said, "Falun Dafa is good! Please don't believe the lies on TV and radio." Her uncle never received the letter, yet the girl was detained for 20 days. University officials sent Ms. Zhang's daughter and several other students who also practiced Falun Gong to a labor camp in May 2001 where they were subjected to brainwashing and physical torture.
Ms. Zhang's daughter said, "It was quite frightening inside the labor camp. I often heard Falun Gong practitioners being beaten. The guards poured cold water over us in January. Some practitioners were shackled. The food was terrible." Five people took turns monitoring Ms. Zhang's daughter, to make sure she did not get a wink of sleep. She eventually collapsed and lost consciousness.
In March 2002, Jiang Zemin issued a secret order: "Kill [Falun Gong practitioners] without pardon" and thus launched another nationwide arrest campaign. Ms. Zhang's daughter went into exile to avoid further persecution and has not been heard from since. Ms. Zhang's husband, in his late 60s, now lives alone and remains uncared for; his health has deteriorated, and he has difficulty walking.
Ms. Zhang Xiulian spoke of the time she was separated from her daughter, "When I ate, the food was tasteless, because I couldn't stop thinking about whether my daughter had anything to eat. I worried about her and thought, does she have a hat in the summer and a coat in the winter?"
When asked about the last time she heard from her daughter, she looked into the distance, and tears welled up in her eyes. Slowly she said, "It was before the 2002 Chinese New Year. She missed me and called me. She dared not talk about anything else on the phone and only said, 'Mom, come back [to China]!"
(Note: Ms. Zhang's daughter has now arrived in Canada.)
Ms. Zhang Tianxiao calls for an end to persecution
Ms. Zhang Tianxiao comes from Qingdao City, Shandong Province. She would often be seen in the group of protesters pushing a baby carriage. She studied medicine at the University of British Columbia. Both of her parents were university professors. Her younger sister Zhang Yunhe worked as the head accountant at a foreign company in China, and Zhang Yunhe's husband Zou Songtao had earned a Master's degree.
Zou Songtao was killed at a labor camp in late 2000 after refusing to give up his belief. He was 28. His infant daughter was 11 months old. His wife Zhang Yunhe was arrested. The police forbade Zou Songtao's family to cry at home because they did not want anyone to know of their crimes. They forbade the family to reveal the truth. Zhang Tianxiao and Zhang Yunhe's mother passed away from chronic grief. Their father and the little baby were the only ones home. Zhang Tianxiao's life was destroyed, and the smile disappeared from her face.
Someone saw Zhang Yunhe at a labor camp, but the Communist regime denied it. Zhang Tianxiao's father wrote three letters to the highest officials but never received any response. Zhang Tianxiao said, "The word 'worry' falls short of describing my feeling when it comes to my sister after her disappearance more than five years ago. If I didn't start practicing Falun Gong five years ago, I would never have been able to free myself from hatred."
Zhang Tianxiao cried for a whole day when she learned about the Party's harvesting of organs from living Falun Gong practitioners. She simply could not imagine such unspeakable atrocities. The persecution has not only harmed Falun Gong practitioners but has also changed Party followers into beasts. By standing in front of the Chinese consulate and calling for an end to the persecution, Zhang Tianxiao is not only trying to rescue her sister and other practitioners, but is also calling for the Party-manipulated accomplices to stop committing crimes.
Continuous protests, family members in China rescued
Taiwanese practitioner June was sitting in front of the consulate in 2006 when a man hurriedly approached her and said, over and over again, with tears streaming down his face, "Thank you! Thank you for rescuing my wife and daughter!"
June was perplexed and asked, "How do you know we rescued them?"
The man could hardly contain his excitement, "I just got out of China. Many people in China know about your long-lasting protest. My wife and daughter were arrested for practicing Falun Gong, but they were released because of your continuous efforts. Before I left China, they repeatedly told me to thank you in person."
It turned out the man's son is a Canadian citizen who had petitioned Falun Gong practitioners to help rescue his mother and sister. The practitioners held a press conference in front of the Chinese consulate. The police in China were nervous when they learned their crimes had been exposed in Canada, and the situation quickly improved.
(To be continued)