Boarding the “Yellow Express”: A Musician's Journey for Truth and Justice
(Minghui.org) It was at a concert titled “Light and Peace” in July 2003 that Anders Eriksson sang his song “Walk On” in front of Capitol Hill. With Anders, dozens of musicians, dancers, and actors from all over the world gathered in Washington D.C. to try and raise awareness about the persecution of Falun Gong in China.
Through his song “Walk On,” Anders tells a tragic, yet inspiring story about the Falun Gong practitioners who walked to Tiananmen Square in Beijing from all around the country. Some even wore out many pairs of shoes just so they could peacefully appeal to the government in Beijing to stop the persecution.
“They put my wife into prison.They beat her up until she went insane.It reminds me of the time way back then,Of all the sorrows, and so much pain.I can see Yellow River is turning red.So many tortured and thousands are dead.
Chorus:Some worn out shoes.That's all I own.And I've been walking all night long.China, what's gone wrong?Yeah I wonder what's gone wrong.
The road is long to Tiananmen Square,But I don't mind.I will make it there.And tell the whole wide world our leader's wrong in persecuting Falun Gong.Well the Tai Shan Mountain, is shedding its tears.Seen so much violence for thousands of years.
Chorus:Walk on, walk on!People, wake up from the illusion!Walk on, Walk on, Walk on!Stop the persecution!”
Anders is from Varberg, Sweden. He started learning piano at 9, and also plays guitar and organ. Music has always been a big part of his life. Although he composes a lot, he never believed that he would one day perform on stage due to his shy personality.
“I knew I had a good voice, but I never sang publicly until I became a Falun Gong cultivator. I was the member of a band in high school and played keyboard and organ. When I was 18, I wrote my first song, 'You Make Life Worth Living.' I found it easy to write. But I was too shy to sing.”
Cultivating Falun Gong
“Got a window seat in the second row(the) driver’s on a golden throne.We made reservations long ago,Final destination “Home.”
A one way ticket back to the truth.All aboard on the train tonightHurry up now, we’re travelin’ with the Yellow Line.A one way ticket back to the truth.All aboard on the train tonight.”The song, “One Way Ticket Back to the Truth,” depicts how Anders started cultivating Falun Gong.
Besides music, young Anders also loves to read and study spirituality.
“I started to look for the meaning of life when I was a teenager. I tried different things for a harmonious life, and read a lot spiritual books. Eventually, I found Taichi and qigong.”
Anders used to go to Gothenburg for qigong workshops, where one day, he met an Asian lady who introduced Falun Gong to him.
“It has components of Buddhism and Taoism. I had a feeling that this was what I had been looking for.”
Anders found the local exercise site, and attended the second Falun Gong workshop in Gothenburg in 1995.
“I realized that the things that I used to practice were not important. Reading Zhuan Falun and other teachings of Falun Gong, I came to the understanding that Master Li Hongzhi and Falun Gong are at a very high level. Attending the cultivation experience-sharing conference in Beijing in the fall of 1996 deepened my understanding of cultivation even further.”
Just like he sang in the song, Anders got aboard and traveled towards the truth. In October 1996, he and many Western Falun Gong practitioners went to China for the First International Falun Dafa Cultivation Experience Sharing Conference in Beijing, where he saw the founder of Falun Gong, Master Li Hongzhi, for the first time.
“After the conference, we went to Ditan (Temple of Earth) Park for dinner. All of a sudden, I heard applause, and everybody stood up. Master Li showed up among us.”
“Master Li started talking. A few Chinese practitioners tried to translate for the Western practitioners, but soon they stopped, because they were not professional translators, and could not follow Master Li.”
“It was regretful that we could not listen to Master Li's speech that time. You can imagine how happy I was when the speech was finally translated into other languages 11 years later.”
Also at that conference, Anders talked in public about his experiences and understanding of cultivation for the first time. One of his fellow practitioners recalled the scene fondly.
“Anders, ah, the shy young man. He never talked in public. But that day, he shared his understanding of cultivation with more than 100 people.”
On the same trip, Anders also sang for his fellow practitioners. Even today, some attendees still remember him—a handsome Western young man with a beautiful voice.
Not only has cultivating Falun Gong has uplifted Anders' spiritual world, but the practice has also improved his physical health.
“I had pains in my spine ever since I was a teenager, and I could not do intense exercise. When I first started practicing Falun Gong, I couldn't sit up for an hour. But one year later, I found that the pain was gone. It has been more than 10 years, and it hasn't returned since.”
Telling world about the persecution
As a professional graphic editor, music was just a hobby to Anders until July 1999, when the Chinese government launched the persecution of Falun Gong.
“After the persecution started, I started to tell the public what Falun Gong really is and how brutal the persecution is. At the beginning, I wrote articles, edited materials, and helped to design flyers. Soon, I realized that music is also a powerful way to raise awareness of the persecution. I wrote a song titled 'Walk On.'”
It was the first song that Anders wrote about Falun Gong, which he sang at the “Light and Peace” concert in July 2003 in Washington D.C..
“I wrote the song. A local practitioner encouraged me to perform it at a Falun Gong event in Copenhagen. I never sang in public. I wanted to say no to him, but I told myself that I am a Falun Gong cultivator, and I should accept the challenge, and break through my fear. So, I sang the song in September 2002. It was welcomed by the audience.”
After that, he and a few musicians, who also cultivate Falun Gong, founded a band named “Yellow Express.”
A series of songs were composed. The band toured in Europe, telling the public about Falun Gong and the persecution.
Why is the band called “Yellow Express?” Yellow is the color of Falun Gong practitioners' exercise costumes, and also the T-shirt that practitioners often wear at public events.
When Jiang Zemin, the former head of the Chinese Communist Party and the major murderer of the persecution, visited Europe years ago, he encountered Falun Gong practitioners' protests at every stop on his trip. Everywhere he went, he saw practitioners in yellow T-shirts holding yellow banners that read “Falun Dafa is good.”
“Jiang is afraid of the color yellow. Yellow is also a color of warning, which is often used to draw attention,” Anders explained.
At their debut gig in Geneva in 2003, their righteous manner and graceful voice won them a long round of tumultuous applause.
Anders published an album titled “Music For Freedom.” Many songs of his have been played at TV and radio stations.
In a letter to the audience, Anders said:
“During my three trips to China (1996 to 1999) I met many Chinese Falun Gong practitioners. Their pure minds and unselfish behavior left a very strong impression on me. After the persecution of Falun Gong started I often wondered what happened to the friends that I’d met. Have they suffered from torture? Are they still alive? Why are such good people being persecuted? I just could not understand. A man I met on every trip to China was Lin Chengtao, a successful scientist in Beijing. He has now been mentally disabled as a result of intense torture in Tuanhe Labour Camp, Beijing. This case is only one of many.”
“Why this persecution? It’s all because of one man’s jealousy. Jiang Zemin (sued for genocide in the USA) couldn’t stand the popularity of Falun Gong, so he initiated this campaign in 1999. Many Chinese people were fooled by his Nazi-style propaganda about Falun Gong.”
Later, Anders joined the European Falun Dafa Chorus, and became a lead singer. During their performing trip in the U.S.A., Anders and the chorus members saw Master Li Hongzhi.
“I put my hands together, and bowed to Master Li. He greeted back. At that moment, I felt that Master Li cherishes me. It is an amazing feeling. The cultivation way founded by Master Li has renewed the millions of lives, and Master Li has done all this unconditionally. He does not ask for anything from the disciples. He makes us realize the significance of our tasks as cultivators.”
Master Li said:
“Isn’t human society, a practice site provided to Dafa disciples? It provides you with a setting and factors that can stir up all sorts of attachments in you, and provides you with all sorts of opportunities to improve. With this affair being so immense, the entire human society has become a monastery [for your cultivation].” (Fa Teaching on World Falun Dafa Day)
Anders explained his understanding of what it means to follow Master Li's teachings.
“Falun Dafa is different than other religions. We cultivate. Cultivation includes improving one's body and mind, and putting down attachments and desires. One can improve himself and reach consummation, if he follows the principle of 'Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance' in daily life,” he said.
“We do not pray, or go to temple. We do not have religious rituals or customs...”
Anders has been cultivating for almost 20 years. He is married and has a family. As the lead singer of “Yellow Express” and the European Falun Dafa Chorus, Anders sings to tell the world about Falun Gong.
“If the singer can put down his self and reputation, and melt into the music, his music can touch people. I thank Master Li for arranging opportunities for me, so that I can do what a Falun Gong cultivator should do during such a special period in history,” Anders said calmly.