Some Thoughts after My Trip to Taiwan: Please Don't Neglect to Clarify the Facts to Tour Guides
(Minghui.org) I have mixed feelings after joining a tour group to visit Taiwan this year. On the one hand, I am happy to see Taiwanese live in a free society, and practitioners in Taiwan station themselves at every tourist attraction to clarify the facts to visitors from mainland China.
On the other hand, I am saddened to notice that some tour guides in Taiwan still advise their clients against learning about Falun Gong. I was able to change our tour guide's perception of Falun Gong, but how about all the other tour guides in Taiwan?
I urge practitioners everywhere, both in Taiwan and in mainland China, to pay more attention to clarifying the facts to tour guides, tour bus drivers, and tour companies. When they know the truth, they will naturally send their tourists our way.
Shocked by Our Tour Guide's Advice against Falun Gong
Our tour group had two tour guides, one from mainland China and the other from Taiwan. As soon as our plane landed at Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport, our mainland tour guide handed us over to the Taiwanese tour guide, who then took care of everything on our eight-day visit.
When we got on the tour bus after breakfast the next morning, the Taiwanese tour guide briefed us on our trip agenda and then suddenly changed the topic to Falun Gong. I was shocked to hear him say, “You may see Falun Gong practitioners at various attractions. I ask you to not listen to them or read and take any literature from them. You don't want to get yourself into trouble when you return to China and go through customs.”
I was extremely sad that our tour guide advised us against learning about Falun Gong. For mainlanders, visiting Taiwan should be a perfect opportunity to learn the facts about Falun Gong, yet their chance could well be ruined by their tour guides.
I suspected the tour guide had gotten some kind of instruction from his company to make such a suggestions to his clientele. He indicated there are about 50,000 tour guides in Taiwan and he himself had led more than a hundred tour groups from mainland China. These groups ranged from a dozen to several dozen visitors.
I couldn't fall asleep thinking about how many mainland tourists may have lost the opportunity to learn the truth while visiting Taiwan.
Clarifying the Facts to My Tour Guides, Bus Driver, and Fellow Tourists
On the third day of the tour, I found a chance to talk to our guide in private. I said, “It sounds like you don't really know about Falun Gong.” He immediately asked if I was a Falun Gong practitioner.
I replied, “Yes, I am a Falun Gong practitioner. Falun Gong is a belief system in the Buddhist tradition. In just a little over 10 years, this practice has spread to more than 100 countries worldwide. In Taiwan alone, hundreds of thousands of people practice Falun Gong.
"Jiang Zemin and the Chinese Communist Party launched the persecution in 1999, and thousands of practitioners have been tortured to death since then. Right now, several hundred thousand practitioners are still being detained in prisons, labor camps, and brainwashing centers. The Chinese regime is even responsible for an almost unimaginable crime: they harvest practitioners' organs while they are still alive.
"You're lucky to live in Taiwan, a free society. When mainlanders visit Taiwan, it is a perfect opportunity for them to learn the truth about Falun Gong and the persecution. It's a chance for them to save themselves. I hope you don't deprive them of this rare opportunity. Please, don't ever advise your clients not to talk to Falun Gong practitioners. It would be better if you said, 'Taiwan is a free society, so make sure you listen to and talk to Falun Gong practitioners.'”
When everyone got back on the bus, the guide said to everyone, “If you see Falun Gong practitioners again, take your time to listen to them. Taiwan is a free society, unlike the mainland where there is no freedom of speech. Don't be afraid. Everything will be fine.”
The way he spoke was very natural and straightforward. Tears ran down my face, and I felt so happy for him and my fellow tourists.
I found more opportunities to talk more to our guide the next few days. At the National Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall, I accepted a copy of Nine Commentaries on the Communist Party from a Taiwanese practitioner and gave it to him. To my surprise, he told me his Falun Gong friend had already shared the book with him and he had read it all.
I hope that our guide's Falun Gong friend has a chance to spend more time talking to him to make sure he really understands the truth and is truly saved. He is a kind person who's had a hard life. He was in six car accidents and divorced once. He also did all kinds of odd jobs to pay for his college education.
I also didn't forget about our mainland tour guide, tour bus driver, or my fellow tourists.
I asked the driver to recite “Falun Dafa is good” while driving as it would ensure his safety. I also gave him a copy of the Nine Commentaries and other Falun Gong literature. He asked a lot of questions and I answered them all.
Our mainland guide was a young woman in her 20s. She had been working on Taiwan tours for more than six months and had visited Taiwan more than 20 times. When I asked her if she knew why practitioners in Taiwan clarify the facts at tourist attractions, she said she didn't.
I explained to her that it was expressly for the sake of tourists from mainland China. "There is no persecution in Taiwan, so there is no need to clarify the facts to Taiwanese. There is persecution in the mainland, which the Chinese regime conceals, and that is why Taiwan practitioners work so hard to let mainland tourists know about what's really going on in China."
I asked her to tell her Taiwan colleagues in the future to not prevent their clients from talking to Falun Gong practitioners. She said she now understood.
When I asked the other tourists in my group what they thought of Falun Gong, they said to just ignore them. It was apparent that our tour guide's initial advice had been very effective. I was not deterred and told them what I had said to our two tour guides.
Some Suggestions for Fellow Practitioners
Judging from my trip to Taiwan, I sense that many tour guides, tour bus drivers, and tour companies are in grave danger.
When I returned home, I checked with my cousin who visited Taiwan and Hong Kong the past two years. She said her tour guides also advised them to not talk to Falun Gong practitioners.
I then think about Japan and South Korea, two hot spots for mainland Chinese tourists. It's possible tour guides there behave the same as our tour guide initially did.
So I urge practitioners everywhere, both inside and outside of China, to spend some time working with tour guides. Otherwise, they will play a negative role in our truth-clarification efforts.
As I see it, those tour guides are not bad people to begin with. It's just that they don't know the truth yet. So please spend time talking with them. Once they know what Falun Gong is, they will naturally send their clients our way.
Also I'd like to remind mainland practitioners who have the chance to visit other countries to not neglect your fellow tourists. Don't think they already know the truth and there is no need for you to talk to them. As a matter of fact, they usually have a very tight schedule and don't have that much time to linger at a tourist attraction to listen to local practitioners talk. So please make good use of whatever chances come your way to clarify the facts to your tour group.
These are just my thoughts to share with everyone. Please point out anything inappropriate.