(Minghui.org) Many practitioners in my area were arrested for practicing Falun Gong (also known as Falun Dafa). Therefore, I contacted several lawyers to help secure their release. One of the lawyers – “Michael” – and I discussed a number of topics including law, defense, and the suppression of Falun Gong. Our sharing left a deep impression on me and underscored how practitioners are truly representatives of Falun Gong.
Michael is a very knowledgeable intellectual who articulates his points clearly and with a sense of humor. His defense of practitioners in court was very powerful, which helped many people realize the illegitimacy of the persecution.
When I asked if he felt any pressure from the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) when defending practitioners, he said, “If something I do does not carry any risk, it probably is not worth doing.”
For him, the law comes first, and it is a lawyer's responsibility to ensure that the law is the basis of his defense.
“Since you decided to hire me,” he said, “I have already thought about what it means to me.”
Then he asked, “When practitioners distribute truth-clarification materials, have they thought about what could happen to them?”
I explained that practitioners have benefited from Falun Gong, and know that it is a righteous practice. It is their mission to tell the world, and especially the Chinese people who have been misled by the CCP, the facts about Falun Gong and the persecution.
Michael, who does not practice Falun Gong, said, “I was deeply moved by you practitioners, and my soul was touched. Do you know the highest law principles?”
He paused and then continued, “It is morality, conscience, and compassion. They are not doctrines or rules of law, but they govern everything. My words and actions are driven by them in an effort to help restore the distorted relationship between right and wrong.”
Then, he told me that even though he may defend just one practitioner at a time, his defense applies to thousands or millions of practitioners since they all follow Falun Gong's principles of Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance, and are involved in similar activities.
“Although this is merely an individual case, my taking it on is to challenge the persecution launched by Jiang Zemin (the former head of the Chinese communist regime) against all Falun Gong practitioners. This persecution targets belief and it involves the entire state apparatus.
“It is just like one of my colleagues has said – the suppression of Falun Gong, when viewed based on existing law, is illegal. Tens of millions of innocent people are wronged in the name of law. This is the moment for us to safeguard justice and the law. Our efforts will help protect the universal principles of Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance, as well as righteousness in this world,” he added.
Michael recounted that he is no longer the same person as he once was. When he used to accept cases, he handled them simply as a job. But, he said that one case he worked on early last year changed his approach completely, causing him to fully devote his thoughts and energy into his cases and address them to the utmost of his ability.
A Falun Gong practitioner – “Nathan” – had asked him to defend another practitioner.
“In consideration of Nathan's safety,” Michael said, “I invited him to come stay with me the day before the court appearance. After he took a shower, I accidentally saw a long scar all the way from his chest to his stomach. Because of my medical background, I knew that no surgery requires such a long incision.”
Out of curiosity, Michael asked Nathan about it and was told that the scar came from a wound sustained in a gang fight many years ago. Nathan's intestines had fallen out and four ribs were broken.
“Actually,” Nathan told Michael, “I'm almost embarrassed to tell you that I was a former gang member. It is Falun Gong that taught me right from wrong and led me to return to a normal life.”
Nathan came across Falun Gong in prison. He had stolen from people, fought with others, and was on drugs. In prison, he saw that Falun Gong practitioners were mistreated, beaten, and tortured by the guards in an effort to force them to renounce their belief.
Even he was disturbed, and said, “They were treated so badly that even a gang member such as I thought it was too much. But they didn't swear or fight back. And it wasn't just one or two practitioners who were like that, almost all of them behaved that way. I was very impressed by the courage I witnessed.”
Practitioners talked to Nathan about their faith and about the persecution. In addition, they demonstrated respect and care for him, without any prejudice.
“Before then,” he said, “I was heartless and no one liked me. From the behavior of these practitioners, I understood that Falun Gong was something out of the ordinary because these practitioners were so kind. That is why I wanted to practice Falun Gong.”
Practicing Falun Gong was forbidden in the prison and officials tried everything in their power to “transform” practitioners. Nonetheless, when Nathan told an officer that he wanted to practice Falun Gong, to his surprise, the officer did not stop him.
“People like you want to practice Falun Gong? Fine with me! You could even be released earlier because of that,” replied the officer.
Since then, Nathan turned his life around and became a good person and was actually released earlier.
After he returned home, his mother was nervous, worried that her son, a former troublemaker, would bring problems to the family again. Soon, she was pleased to see that her son had changed and let go of his bad habits. His wife and child, who had left him earlier, returned and also began practicing Falun Gong.
About four years ago, Nathan was imprisoned for talking to people about Falun Gong and the persecution. The officials and inmates at the prison were surprised to see him again. Nathan talked with them about how being a practitioner improved his physical health and behavior. He also found the officer who allowed him to practice Falun Gong in prison. “Do you still remember me?” he asked. “Of course!” the officer smiled and said, “I will see if I can help you get out earlier.”
After talking to Nathan, Michael said he could not sleep that night. His head reeled. He said, “Jiang Zemin is really a vicious individual, and Chinese communism has no hope. Just think about it: no one knew how to deal with a gang member like Nathan. And yet, he turned into a good person in a short time because of Falun Gong. Such a gangster was a headache for society and a big problem for his family. But Falun Gong changed all that.”
Meeting and talking with Nathan gave Michael a new understanding of Falun Gong and moved his career in a different direction.
“When defending practitioners,” Michael said, “I feel like I'm purifying my own soul, for our country and for mankind.” As a lawyer, he must defend his clients based on facts. After checking the legal documents and the persecution policy over the past 18 years, he found that the persecution has no legal grounds.
He remarked, “It is Jiang who abused his power and violated the Constitution. I have to say, both Jiang and the Party have no future.”
Michael said he is deeply moved by Falun Gong and its principles of Truthfulness, Compassion, and Forbearance. He said that he would also practice Falun Gong once the persecution has stopped.