Reunited in the Free World after Suffering Ten Years of Persecution (Photos)
(Clearwisdom.net) At the Frankfurt airport in Germany, a man wearing glasses and holding a bouquet of lilies waited eagerly at the arrival gate. In front of him was a banner with the words, "The World Knows Falun Dafa Is Good."
Reunited at the Frankfurt Airport
On June 22, the flight from Beijing to Frankfurt was delayed for two hours. For Guo Jufeng, who had waited for 17 months, two more hours of waiting were not the end of the world.
Guo is an engineer. He was tortured in China for practicing Falun Gong. He came to Germany 17 months ago and was granted refugee status in Germany. That day he was waiting for his wife, Ms. Yu Hailing, a medical doctor, and his son, Guo Fangzhou, whom he had never met.
On June 20, 2009, Guo Jufeng finally reunited with his family.
On June 5, 2002, Guo Jufeng was released from Huludao Prison in Liaoning Province. He had been imprisoned in three different places by that time. On the right was his fiancée, Ms. Yu Hailing.
Guo Jufeng's son, Guo Fangzhou, at two months.
After most of the passengers on the Beijing flight had disembarked, Guo finally saw his wife and their son. She was holding him in one hand and the baggage in the other. Tears ran down his face. As he reached for his son, the boy dodged, for Guo was a complete stranger to him.
In 1995, Guo was a 22-year-old college student. He practiced Falun Gong. After he graduated, he knew many practitioners. "Everyone followed the principle Truth-Compassion-Forbearance," said Guo.
"I remember clearly that after work, while my roommates were playing mah-jong and smoking, I studied the teachings of Falun Gong alone or with other practitioners."
After the persecution started in July 1999, everything changed overnight. "The entire media was slandering Falun Gong. Many practitioners were arrested and nobody did the exercises outside anymore," said Guo. He couldn't stand Falun Gong being treated that way, he wanted justice for Falun Gong, and so began his journey of appealing for the right to practice Falun Gong.
Guo was imprisoned unlawfully four times for refusing to renounce Falun Gong. The last time he was sent to a prison in Liaoning. "A guard shocked my neck with an electronic baton. I convulsed and bit my lips. My skin was scorched and the smell of burning flesh filled the room."
Guo was locked in solitary confinement for 50 days. The cell was 5 by 7 feet. No matter how cold the weather was, he had to sleep on the ground. He ate two meals a day, each meal a piece of cold bread with pickled cabbage. He had to drink sewer water when he could no longer bear his thirst.
It's been several years now but Guo still has nightmares about it at times. His physical pain is over, but his mind will take long time to heal.
Never Give Up
While Guo was in prison, his girlfriend, Yu, remained true to him. She appealed to many officials to have him released. Once she dreamed of him with blood on his face asking her to save him. She went to the prison to see him but she was turned away. She later learned that he was suffering the worst torture during that time.
Yu was under a lot of pressure from her family. "No one I knew wanted me to continue seeing him. Everyone believed that his life was over and I needed to move on," she said.
"I was not a Falun Gong practitioner and didn't know much about it, but there was one thing I did know: Guo was a good person, very sincere, kind, responsible, and attentive. He cared a lot about me and we got a long very well. I was in love with him and couldn't forget him." These thoughts kept Yu going during that time.
Guo and Yu were classmates in high school and college. She had known him for a long time, and she knew that she was right about him. "From 1999 to 2004, everyone told me to leave him. I did not, and they stopped trying. When we got married in 2004, everyone knew I had been waiting for that moment for so long that they did not dissuade me."
On May 13, 2004, they were married. They did not invite anyone to the wedding, and there wasn't a ceremony. She did not even wear a wedding gown. They took a few pictures to remember the event. Every tribulation made them cherish each other more.
Facing Dilemma Again
Life wasn't easy after they married. If the persecution hadn't been in place, Guo being an engineer and Yu being a doctor, they could have lived easily and comfortably. To avoid persecution, they left home and moved frequently so they couldn't be found. They ended up tutoring students after school.
In 2007, Yu was pregnant. The couple was excited and couldn't wait to see the new life. They were going to call the baby Guo Fangzhou. This name carried his parents' wish for him. "We wanted him to be like the ark (fangzhou) of Noah in the West who was known to help those in danger," Guo explained.
At the moment, things were changing for the better. A company hired Guo as an engineer and sent him on a business trip to Germany. In January 2008, Guo arrived in the center of finance in Europe, Frankfurt. What welcomed him was the air and morning sunlight of a free country.
Like a few drops of rain on a steamy summer night, they can bring joy but can't eliminate the suppressive sticky air. After Guo arrived in Germany, five people were arrested in his hometown of Shuangya City, Heilongjiang. Then, police broke into the houses of Falun Gong practitioners and arrested 15 of them.
"Chinese New Year was approaching at the time of the arrest. Three of those arrested were in their 60s. I met some of them last year when I visited home. I couldn't believe that, a month after I came to a free country, practitioners from my hometown were arrested and suffered torture," Gao said sadly.
The arrests shocked and saddened him. He had the feeling that a nationwide arrest of practitioners would soon begin. "When I learned about the new round of suppression of Falun Gong that was to take place before the Olympics, I realized my dilemma. What would happen if I returned to China? Should I stay for my safety? From Germany I could help rescue those arrested," Guo thought.
Guo had one night to think about it. That night, his wife and his baby that would be born in ten days occupied his mind the most. "After I came to Germany, we talked about the baby on the phone all the time--what he would look like, what we would call him, and how to be good parents. I so looked forward to reuniting with my wife and son after I returned home.
"If I didn't return, would she understand? It could made the delivery more dangerous if she was upset. If I made the decision to stay, I would not be with her when she delivered the baby, and I didn't know if I ever would see her again. She would have to raise the child alone and face other people's nasty remarks."
However, Guo was also reminded that, over the past nine years, nine of the Falun Gong practitioners he knew had been tortured to death. The youngest was 27 years old. Five of them left young children behind. "If I returned, would I be able to stay with my wife and child or would I be taken to a forced labor camp? They would be so worried about me if I was taken to a prison. Then, shouldn't I remain in Germany?"
To Live Far Apart and Support Each Other
Guo lost sleep that night. "I don't think anyone would've understood what a painful decision that was. I was so helpless." He eventually decided to stay and apply for asylum in Germany.
Yu, at first, couldn't accept Guo's decision. She did not know whether she would ever see him again. "I had the feeling that I would never see him again. I would have to raise our child alone," Yu recalled. "Later on I came to my senses. I hoped he stayed in Germany and never returned to China, so he would be safe and alive. In China, the government would not let us reunite and he would be in trouble."
Guo was surprised that Yu understood his decision. She promised to give birth and take care of the child. Guo promised that he would work nonstop in the free world to rescue the practitioners unlawfully imprisoned in China. "I still believed that one day I would reunite with my family in the free world, even though I did not even have an identity at the time," Guo sighed as he remembered the past.
Though far apart, they supported each other and kept their promises through the toughest times during the 17 months they were separated.
Yu talked about how she lived through those days, "I lived alone in another town with my son. People thought that I was divorced. It was so cold in the northeast in winter time, and people store coal for the winter. I spent three days just to move three tons of coal little by little. Having a baby, I sometimes didn't even have time to take a shower and had to have someone get groceries for me."
The couple talked every couple days. There were numerous things to do the first two months after the baby was born. Once Yu told Guo, "I sleep very little because the baby wakes up frequently. I have to clean his diapers. Life seems so hard, and every minute is too long. But I believe I can do it. This is definitely easier than the tortures you would have to endure if you were here."
In a letter Yu wrote to Guo, she said, "It's midnight now. The baby is fast asleep. He is a healthy and a pretty boy. His nose, eyebrows, and eyes look so much like his father's. This is a great consolation for me."
Guo partook in many activities to protest the persecution. He had interviews with the media to expose the Chinese Communist Party's (CCP) lies and the slandering of Falun Gong. He protested outside the Chinese Embassy, participated in torture re-enactments, joined candlelight vigils, attended human rights conferences as a witness, wrote letters to politicians in Europe asking them to lend a hand, and so on.
It was of great concern whether Guo could stay in Germany. "I applied for asylum in January 2008 and on December 24, the German government approved my application. I believed this to be a gift from God."
Since Guo's application went smoothly, a large weight was lifted from Yu's shoulders. She and her family had not thought Guo would be granted asylum. For Guo, it was understandable. What with the Nazis persecuting the Jews in World War II, the Germans feel more obligated than others to provide help to those that are being persecuted.
The family was not separated forever, not even for ten years, but only a year and a half. Fangzhou called for Daddy a lot over the next few days. It was as if he wanted to make up for the past year and a half.
Not many couples can endure such adversities. Guo and Yu kept their promises to each other and their wishes were finally granted. Yu recalled the past ten years of persecution, "We moved all the time, we were destitute, we were separated by the government several times. Now it's all over."
"The CCP persecution distressed me a great deal. I am not a practitioner and was not a direct target of torture. But I never stopped worrying and being scared. I worried that my husband would be taken from me at any time, so I chose to move around with him and couldn't have a stable job. The persecution of Falun Gong didn't just change the lives of tens of millions of practitioners, but also those of their families and friends."
Guo commented, "We don't really want to live in any foreign country. The only reason we left China is because of our belief and freedom. I saw a statistic that there are practitioners in 114 countries. Only the CCP persecutes Falun Gong. The Chinese people really need to give that reality some serious thought.
"Now my family is reunited. There are still tens of thousands of practitioners imprisoned. Their families were broken apart. We will do our best to help end this persecution as soon as possible and help other families reunite."