California Newspaper Reports on Persecution of Falun Gong in China
(Minghui.org) The San Jose Mercury News , a daily California newspaper, published an article on May 31, 2013 detailing how family members of Livermore resident, Ms. Xiao Wang, a Falun Gong practitioner, are being severely persecuted in China.
The article, written by Jeremy Thomas, explained that Ms. Wang, who moved to the United States from China in 2005, took part in The Art of Zhen, Shan, Ren International Exhibition held in the city's central library. Each work of art in the exhibition was created by a Falun Gong practitioner and both showcases the beauty of the practice and exposes the brutal persecution of Falun Gong in China by the Chinese Communist Party.
Ms. Wang passed out informational materials about Falun Gong in the library lobby and talked to visitors about the ordeals that she, her family, and tens of thousands of others in China have endured for practicing Falun Gong.
Ms. Wang said that many people had never heard about Falun Gong and didn't know the practice has been persecuted for the past 14 years in China. “They're shocked [when they hear about it],” Ms. Wang said. “Lots of people give me a big hug to encourage me.”
According to the article, after her parents began practicing Falun Gong in 1998, their physical and mental health greatly improved. Ms. Wang said that Falun Gong was very popular at the time and freely practiced in most parks in China.
However, in July 1999, the Chinese regime started to persecute the practice. In 2010, her father, Zhaosuo Wang, mother, Jiling Song, and younger brother, Xia Wang, were arrested for practicing Falun Gong.
The article cited Dr. Sherry Zhang, a spokesperson for Falun Gong in San Francisco, as saying that Mr. Li Hongzhi first introduced the practice to the public in 1992, and over the ensuing seven years, Falun Gong had spread all over China. The Chinese regime had estimated that about 70 million people were practicing Falun Gong back then.
Zhang said that the CCP felt extremely uneasy about the popularity of Falun Gong and overnight changed from encouraging people to take up the practice, to brutally persecuting anyone who practices it.
It was at that time that the Party started arresting and detaining Falun Gong practitioners all over China. Many of Zhang's friends were sent to forced labor camps and had their families torn apart.
“This kind of thing happens all the time,” Dr. Zhang said. “You don't know how they find you.”
Amnesty International estimates that ten of thousands of practitioners have been detained since 1999, for believing in Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance.
The article cited Amnesty's China expert, James Zimmerman, who said, “In jail, [practitioners] may be tortured or put under psychological pressure. Any association with Falun Gong is likely to get you in trouble with the police.”
When Ms. Wang spoke of her family's ordeal, she was in tears, the article stated. “They seized all [of my parents'] possessions and ransacked their home,” Ms. Wang said. “My father was a judge and attorney. He lost his human rights, too.”
Ms. Wang's mother was beaten and tortured in a detention center, which caused her to develop high blood pressure. She was released after spending two weeks in hospital.
Ms. Wang's father was sentenced to four years in prison after he pleaded “guilty” to trumped up charges in order to save his son from further imprisonment and torture.
Although Mr. Wang, 64, is due for release in 2014, Ms. Wang fears that her father won't make it. In 2011, it was discovered that he had developed a tumor on his liver and in a recent photo he looked emaciated.
Mr. Zimmerman said that he had heard about Wang's story and suggests that local Amnesty groups assist with the case. “We don't have the resources to campaign on all these thousands of cases,” he pointed out.
The human rights group has helped rescue several Falun Gong practitioners, including Bu Dongwei of San Francisco, who was released in 2008. Zimmerman said that if the public voices their concerns, those who are detained may receive better treatment.
The article cited Dr. Zhang as saying, “Letters from U.S. government officials have helped get some jail sentences shortened. After their release, practitioners can seek asylum through the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service.”
Wang has started a letter-writing campaign and an online petition, urging U.S. officials to help rescue her family. When her letters to Chinese officials and protests at the Chinese consulate in Los Angeles went ignored, she contacted several U.S. elected officials, but has received little feedback. One of the more pressing issues for her right now, is to secure the release of her ill father.
“Wang said her own Falun Gong practice, learned from her parents, has been the source of strength during her ordeal,” the article stated.