The Path Is Smooth When the Heart Is Right: Experiences while Reporting the News
Greetings esteemed Master!
Greetings fellow practitioners!
It is my honor to speak to you about some experiences when reporting news in mainstream society.
When it comes to clarifying the truth about Falun Gong to the government, media and the general public, because of its unique characteristics, media can reach people of different background and classes. Especially, when reporting news, one can come in direct contact with government and influential politicians. Therefore, the media plays a very important role in telling people about the unprecedented persecution about Falun Gong in China.
I live in Brussels, the capital of the European Union, and one of the most important political centers worldwide. Every year, different kinds of summits, international meetings and events that represent different fields take place in Brussels. Furthermore, more than a thousand reporters from different countries are walking the streets of Brussels and it’s like a stage. The elites and VIPs from different fields and different industries are here to perform. It is up to us how well we can grasp the opportunities to better save more sentient beings.
Breaking through Interference and Clarifying the Truth to the Media
When reporting on important events, we will face interference by the Chinese Communist Party's (CCP) minions. The key is how to walk the path righteously and how to use righteous thoughts to face it, as to assure that more sentient beings will know about Falun Gong and the persecution and to better expose those responsible for the persecution.
During the summit between the European Union and China in Brussels on October 6, 2010, a few reporters planned to report on practitioners' activities, including rallies about the CCP’s persecution and summit meetings. Practitioners’ rallies were from noon until mid-afternoon. The summit’s press conferences were supposed to start in the late afternoon.
Originally, I planned to stop by at the European Council Building first, where the summit took place, so I could be ready for that part of the reporting. However, I was stopped at the door by the security staff for security reasons. I used to attend different summits and never had any problems, but this time they refused me entry just because the CCP minions were attending the summit. Obviously, this had to do with the CCP's interference. The European Council staff dared not admit the true reason for stopping from entering, otherwise it would be the same as acknowledging a violation of the freedom of press.
I immediately contacted Brussels' International Media Association, and was able to speak to the Association’s chairman, whom I know quite well and explained the situation. He promised to contact the media director at the European Council immediately.
A few other local reporters from NTD, Epoch Times and Sound of Hope, were also refused entry for non-legitimate reasons. We quickly shared and decided that we couldn’t let the CCP’s interference succeed. We must face this issue directly.
“Wherever there's a problem, that is where you need to clarify the truth and save people. Don't take a detour when you run into difficulties.” ("Teaching the Fa at the Washington, D.C. Fa Conference")
To keep with our original plan, we decided to report on practitioners’ activities first, and then deal with the CCP's interference. We went with ordinary media reporters to our practitioners’ activity site, reported the protest activities and interviewed politicians and human rights organizations' representatives that showed up in support of the event.
Next, a few from the three media groups that were denied entry decided to return to the European Council building entrance. This time, after hearing about our problem, other media cameramen came along to the building with their cameras, to show their support.
We were refused entry, with the guards claiming security was at issue. This time, we stood by the entrance and started clarifying the truth about the persecution of Falun Gong in China to European Council staff members. We told them that staff violated European’s freedom of press because of pressure from the CCP. Their behavior was not acceptable.
At that time the atmosphere became very tense. We were not giving up, kept clarifying the situation and telling them that we should be allowed entry. Our western practitioner cameraman captured the scene, including the CCP officers using a list that looked like a black list to deal with the European Council staff members. Ordinary society media reporters couldn’t get in either, so they stood next to us, questioning the staff members and telling them that they were violating EU’s regulations.
At the same time, the International Media Association Chairman also called the media director at the EU council. He protested and demanded that we should be allowed to attend the summit's press conference.
After a while, as the ordinary media reporters also taped the situation, higher ups informed staff to let us enter. We knew that EU officials finally upheld justice and ignored the CCP’s pressure.
After we entered we set up our equipment to get ready for the summit’s press conference. At the same time, we noticed a few CCP minions watching us anxiously. They again tried to do some backroom dealings to get us evicted. Then, we were told that due to the delay of other meetings, the press conference was cancelled. The reporters that had come to the press conference were shocked and demanded to be told the true reason behind the cancellation.
That evening, some mainstream media reporters interviewed us and reported on the incident. This pushed us to the forefront on the world’s stage. The summit’s main topic had then switched to independent Chinese media’s reporters being denied entrance to the press conference and the CCP’s interference.
At the same time, we reported on the issue and did some interviews to expose the incident. We reported how the CCP minions interfered with freedom of press, using the information we had at our disposal. Because the three media, NTD, Epoch Times and Sound of Hope, share resources, NTD’s reporting was quickly provided to The Epoch Times’s and Sound of Hope’s for reporting purposes. This sharing of resources was utilized to its full advantage, helping to achieve the strengthening effect of truth clarification.
Through this incident, we realized that we needed to use the opportunity to clarify the truth. Reporters from the three media held timely conferences with headquarters and discussed how we could cooperate better. We also discussed how to work with the mainstream media so that we could better expose the CCP's machinations and let more people know about the three independent Chinese media.
The next day, the International Reporters Association chairman got ahold of the First Vice Chairman of the European Parliament and received a statement supporting us. At the same time, he did some further investigations, and through insider channels he verified that the press conference was cancelled because we were allowed into the EU Council building. The next day, all ordinary media reports were condemning the CCP’s interference on EU freedom of press and their trying to stop independent Chinese media reporters from attending a EU press conference.
The incident didn’t just stop here. Two days later, on Friday, October 8, I went to attend EU’s daily press briefing as usual. I wasn’t sure why I was going that day, but I felt that I should go and if I had the chance I would speak.
After arriving, I started to send forth righteous thoughts and asked Master for help. The development took on a life of its own, beyond everyone’s expectation. After the daily briefings, a reporter from the EU Observer, whom I am quite familiar with, started asking questions. He questioned the hosting spokesperson why the EU would be party to an independent Chinese media reporter being refused entry to a press conference. The spokesperson hemmed and hawed and didn’t want to answer the question. He tried to move the questioning into another direction. Then, a reporter form a large U.K. newspaper asked why the EU canceled a scheduled summit press conference. It went back and forth like this a few times.
Everyone knows that EU’s daily news briefings are broadcast live. Everyone who has access to satellite or Internet can watch the entire briefing live. Before the meeting, I asked local reporter practitioners to send forth righteous thoughts while I was at the briefing.
Then, the international media association chairman arrived. He raised his hand and started speaking. He spoke of what really happened, based on his investigation and read a prepared statement from his organization. Besides being rather stern in his address, he condemned the CCP’s interference of EU’s press freedom and criticized the EU for not upholding its regulations. He said that the EU should not have been influenced by the CCP and should not have cancelled its press conference even if China wasn't going to participate. The EU spokesperson couldn’t speak at the moment and it appeared that he didn’t want to say certain things. He could only repeat the EU’s official statements and disclaimers and refused to go into detail.
Seeing so many mainstream media reporter colleagues speaking up for us, exposing the CCP’s disgraceful behavior from different perspectives, and trying to protect our rights as media, I felt as a witness to this incident. The media showed its support of us. Towards the end, I raised my hand and asked my question. Comparing with the sharp questions asked by other reporters, I just calmly and compassionately stated the facts, no arguments, no interrogations, only asking a very practical and fundamental question based on what happened. My question was, “What is the fundamental relationship between the EU and China.” When I asked that question I maintained my compassion toward this spokesperson in my heart.
At that moment, maybe that spokesperson was touched. He first asked the technical staff on site to stop broadcasting the briefing. Then, he told everyone there that what he was about to say was off record and could not be reported. Everyone was stunned by his decision and behavior. Then, in front of the many international media, he told the truth. He said, what according to the EU official statement he was NOT supposed to say. He admitted that on the day of the summit, it was indeed because the CCP didn’t want our reporters to ask questions that they had to block us from entering the press conference. After the EU Council insisted to allow us get in to the conference site, the Chinese cancelled the press conference. Lastly, the spokesperson stated that the European Union would always hold alive the principles of freedom of press. We would always be welcome at the press conferences or the press briefings at the EU council.
What happened that day became the focus of many media reports. Many reporters came up to me and just wanted to give me their regards while others wanted to interview me. Then, some other reporters contacted and interviewed me at a later date. There were over ten different countries media using different languages that reported on this incident. Within the few days after that, at almost all the different media centers, I’d bump into reporters from different mainstream media and they would say to me “You did great! I am so proud of you! We’ll always support you."
The one realization that overshadows all was that we’re one body and no matter who was at what position; we’re all working toward the same direction. Especially those reporters who work at the forefront of the battlefield should have constant and timely communications and sharing with headquarters to form a strong energy field and to help the team power become stronger.
This incident pushed our media to the international stage. Mainstream media colleagues all knew about the CCP’s ugly and disgusting behavior and they all got to know us as an independent Chinese media. Now thinking back, all that happened were just like what Master said:
“The gods set forth something in the early period of my Fa-rectification, namely, that whatever the wicked Party does, regardless of its aim, will end up assisting me and Dafa disciples. So, whenever the wicked CCP wants to do some bad thing, it will turn into a failure and scandal as soon as it's begun. ("Fa Teaching at the 2008 New York Conference")
I realized that the key is how to maintain righteous thoughts and take advantage of the opportunities Master has created for us.
Diligent Cultivation Is the Foundation of Doing Media Work Well
When reporting news in the mainstream society, I often have to face many influential politicians and VIPs. I am the kind of person that isn't comfortable during social events and doesn’t like to be the center of attention. Generally, if I don’t have anything in common with the other person, I don’t know how to communicate with that person. Now, because I have to face different people from different fields and industries, and most of the time I meet them for the first time, and if I use my human side to look at it, I lack the words to communicate. I just stand on the side when I go to events or functions. However, if I maintain a practitioner’s state, let go of my human side, then everything happens naturally. It is as if everything was arranged for me and communicating becomes so much easier.
“But consider what I have said: if whatever it is that you’re doing is not grounded in the Fa, if it does not have the power of the Fa, and if you haven’t cultivated well, you will not do those things well. Although you might have done whatever it is, it has not achieved any effect and simply cannot save people, for you are ineffective in dissolving evil factors.”
“After doing a whole slew of things, you might find, if you look back upon them, that all of it was done with a human mindset. When it is a human being doing human things, and things are not being done with righteous thoughts, there won’t be any Dafa-disciple mighty virtue in those things.” ("Dafa Disciples Must Study the Fa - Fa Teaching Given at the 2011 Washington DC Metro Area Fa Conference")
For example, during the week of June 13, many large-scale meetings happened in Brussels. On Wednesday June 15, there was a gala for the European Luxury Cruise Line Association and it was the first time I attended this meeting. At the beginning, I stood on the side watching other people in the industry talking to each other. Very quickly, I realized that my mentality was not right. I came to save sentient beings, not as an ordinary media reporter coming to attend the event, report on it and that’s it. I quickly adjusted my mentality and reminded myself that I had the responsibility of saving sentient beings. I realized that if I used my human thinking to judge these events, I wouldn’t know what to do.
After I realigned my thinking, I bumped into a reporter whom I had met before. He introduced me to the PR person and media director of the event. When they found out that I am from an independent Chinese media, they immediately introduced me to the CEOs of the different luxury cruise operating companies, marketing or PR people, from companies that operate in the Mediterranean to the Caribbean, from European companies to American companies. They were especially interested in the Chinese market. I was suddenly busy talking to all these company executives that this reporter introduced me to. I established relationships with some of them and I interviewed others.
The meeting organizer was a couple from England. They’ve been doing cruise consultation work for years. The wife introduced to me the cruise industry in Europe and provided me with cruise industry information from around the world. She also helped me understand the cruise industry and introduced me to the different powerful magazines of the industry. It was as if everything was arranged--one meeting, different people, and I was being introduced to the entire industry and many of them came to know about NTD and The Epoch Times.
On June 14, there was an International meeting arranged by the EU, discussing Internet Security issues. I hoped to interview a country’s Secretary of National Defense who was speaking at the time. The organizer couldn’t even interview him. I was able to get in touch with the media director for that country’s consulate in Belgium at the meeting location. Through her help, we got in touch with the assistant to the Secretary of State. As they were getting ready to leave the meeting, on their way to the airport to return to their country, I was able to interview him. During the interview, I was able to tell him and his assistant about the unprecedented persecution in China.
That week, I also attended quite a few other large-scale events and had a similar experience. I realized, as long as our heart is on the Fa, on saving sentient beings, every step in the process, including everyone that showed up or who you would meet, was all arranged. It was not like ordinary people doing ordinary work that they have to waste a lot of time and work really hard to achieve it. My heart was pure and light.
The more I report news in the mainstream, the more I come in contact with the mainstream, the more I come to realize that the structure and the layout of the mainstream society is there already. It has all been arranged perfectly. They are all waiting for us to fully use their resources, to help save sentient beings. Often times it’s because I didn’t study the Fa well and steadfastly, I didn’t have the strength to keep myself in the purest and most compassionate state of mind to save sentient beings, thus, losing many precious opportunities.
As we go about things in ordinary society, many ordinary people organizations come to cooperate with us. For example, many different organizations within the EU often provide us many conveniences. The number of NTD reporters we have in Brussels is very limited and none of us is full time. Sometimes we don’t have a cameraman, but we have very important interviews to do. The European Parliament will provide a cameraman and voice over engineers, all free of charge. Then, they will finish the tape to our requirements and give it to us. They appear very happy to help us. The European Parliament media staff once said, we’re the TV station that reports their events the most.
Not only that, they also welcome us to use their fully-equipped broadcasting studio. They have a team of over ten people that can provide us with free services from make up to video taping, to captions, to backdrops. Everything was as if it was all arranged for us.
One realization comes to mind after being in touch and interviewing so many leaders, politicians from different countries and many elites from the different mainstream societies, is that TV really does have its unique characteristics and advantages. Its influence can be very big and it’s very eye catching on the site. Especially when we pair NTD’s logo, the symbol of pure and righteous, with a camera, it’s very easy to catch people’s attention. Many of the mainstream reporters colleagues often times use our media as the focal point in their news report. I am sure many NTD reporters will agree with me.
Another important aspect is that because of being media, we constantly come in contact with important politicians and VIPs, so we can use these precious opportunities to clarify the truth about the persecution of Falun Gong with the topics that we need to cover, and supplement whatever is going on in our Fa Rectification. For example, ordinary society media generally don’t report on quitting the CCP activities. Our own media must take the lead and in the leading position in reporting these events. Through our reporting, we are also able to tell the truth to those important politicians in the way that they can accept, to help them better position themselves. The European Parliament President, the Czech Minister, the former Prime Minister of Russia, and others expressed support through our media for the Chinese people's movement to quit the CCP.
Compared with mainstream TV media, we still have a lot to improve upon in terms of professionalism. Sometimes the distance seems like thousands of miles, but maybe it’s only just one step away. It all depends on where our cultivation realm is. It all depends on our Fa study, cultivation state and our whole body cooperation. If we can be in the realm of a god, then miracles will appear.
Thank you Master, thank you everyone.