[Celebrating World Falun Dafa Day] My Colleagues at Voice of America Witnessed ‘Dafa Is Good’
(Minghui.org) From the time I was young, I was already searching for the purpose of life. I asked, “Why does a person come to this world?” I discussed the question with my parents and teachers, but no one could give me a satisfactory answer.
After I came to the United States in August 1997, I discovered that more than 20 young people I knew were practicing Falun Dafa, also called Falun Gong. I'd heard of Falun Gong as early as 1992 when I was a college student in China. At that time, there was a large group of people doing the Falun Gong exercises every morning across from my dorm. I thought they were mostly elderly people seeking good health. I was surprised to find out that so many practitioners are young and were highly educated.
Out of curiosity, I attended a nine-day workshop. After watching Master Li Hongzhi's lecture video, I found the answer to the question that had bothered me all these years. I understood the truth of life! I wanted to cultivate! I wanted to return to my true self!
Less than two years after I began to practice Falun Gong, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) launched the persecution of this cultivation practice in China. When all the media around the globe quoted the CCP's defamatory propaganda about Falun Gong, Dafa practitioners established our own media, the Epoch Times, and I joined in.
Facing Obstacles at Voice of America
In early 2004, a friend forwarded me a job advertisement from Voice of America and suggested that I give it a try. I passed their written test with no problem, but I did not get invited for an interview in person until several months later. An editor told me, “Your written test score is excellent, but you may not be hired because you said you are a reporter for the Epoch Times. They know you practice Falun Gong.”
My interview only lasted for 10 minutes, but I must have made a good impression on the two managers who interviewed me, because they told me to start to work the next day.
In the fall of 2004, I started to work for Voice of America. It was painful at first. Many times, a dozen of my coworkers spoke against me, quoting what the CCP said about Falun Gong. They did not let me explain. Sometimes they even ignored me when I greeted them.
I was rotated to a different group every week. One morning, the fellow at the next desk chatted with me. He was very happy when he learned that I was from Changchun City, as he was from there, too. He asked me if I visited our hometown often. I told him I was not able to go back after the CCP started the persecution of Falun Gong in 1999. As soon as he heard the word “Falun Gong,” he went into a rage. Seeing him totally out of control, I kept quiet. A few minutes later, another co-worker stood up and called the first fellow out.
The second colleague returned and said, “Don't take him too seriously. I just told him that he can’t talk like that in the office.” He said he used to work for an airline and many times saw Falun Gong practitioners' families fly to D.C. for activities. “Is it true these people pay out of their own pockets to attend those activities?” I said it was and told him I paid my own way to fly from Florida to D.C. for a rally to call for an end to the persecution.
A short time later, the first colleague returned to the office. He said softly, “I'm sorry. That was not about you personally.” Then he advised me to give up Falun Gong. He would not let me explain. Several days later, I heard that the program he was hosting got canceled and he left the company. I was sorry that I wasn’t able to help him understand the truth. I hope he will be given another chance to learn the facts.
During those days, I felt tremendous pressure as soon as I entered the office. I thought of quitting.
One day when I went to pick up my printout, I saw that the coworker who sat next to the printer had put up a photo of Master Li accepting interviews from Western media. Looking at Master's photo, I was ashamed that I only paid attention to how I felt and did not consider the people who were poisoned by the CCP's lies. I said to Master in my heart: “Master, I will not leave this place now. Through me, they will witness that Dafa practitioners are good people.”
Environment Changes When My Mind Changes
One day, seeing no one else was around, an editor asked me, “One thing has been troubling me. A cousin of mine is a student at a famous university in China. He practices Falun Gong, and he goes to Beijing often to appeal for Falun Gong. His parents are very worried about him. He is so young. Why doesn't he seem to care about his future?”
I was very touched. Holding back my tears, I said, “Your cousin is amazing. When a person really knows what is right, he will not bend for money or personal gain.”
Thoughtfully, the editor nodded. Not long after that, he was sent to the VOA station in Beijing. I was glad to see the articles he wrote were very fair and honest.
“‘Since studying Falun Dafa, these workers have been coming to work early and going home late. They work very diligently and will do any assignment the boss gives. They also no longer compete for personal gain.’” (Lecture Four, Zhuan Falun)
I reminded myself that I should always follow Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance and said so to the radio morning newsgroup.
Every day, I headed to the office at 1 a.m. We began broadcasting to Mainland China at 2 a.m. and continued until 10 a.m. After that, I went to do reporting for the Epoch Times, sometimes until late into the night.
Gradually, my coworkers at VOA started to know and like me. A senior anchorman shared his work experience with me and gave me a list of common mistakes he had collected over the years.
A senior anchorwoman, who’d worked at VOA for 37 years, said to me before she retired, “I can see you are a good person. This work environment is complicated. Please be careful and pay attention to your safety.” She told me that, even though all of us use pseudonyms when we broadcast, CCP spies were everywhere and every one of us was being closely monitored.
After a year at VOA, many of my coworkers had changed their attitude about me. Some of them asked me about Falun Gong. Some talked to me about family issues because I could enlighten them with what I’d learned from Falun Gong. Some of them asked me to introduce girlfriends to their sons. They said they trusted me because I practiced Falun Gong. An editor, whose husband is a lawyer, asked me to recommend a Falun Gong practitioner to work in her husband's office.
One morning, I was hosting the morning news with a female colleague. She suddenly had a severe stomachache. Seeing her face wracked with pain, I suggested that she do the Falun Gong exercises with me. She agreed. During the few-minute break, she did the first one with me. Her stomachache was gone as soon as we finished.
Some colleagues asked to borrow the book Zhuan Falun. One said her insomnia was gone after she played the Falun Gong exercise music in her car on the way to work every day, and she brought her daughter to the local exercise site to learn the exercises. She told me that, when she attended local Chinese gatherings, she often defended Falun Gong based on her own experiences.
The most difficult position in the TV newsgroup is production director. It takes the most time and is the most stressful. Everyone in the group was required to do it, in turn, one day per week. Many times, younger colleagues burst into tears when they made mistakes. I then volunteered to be the production director and gave up being a news anchor. There is so much to do that I often never had a break. Sometimes I had to work all seven days of a week. As a practitioner, I kept calm and made sure everything ran smoothly: cooperation between groups, on-scene directing, hosts, guests, audience hotlines, scene cutover, pictures, captions, and so on. During the next few years, I never made a mistake in my work. My colleagues were grateful. One editor said that, whenever she saw me in the office in the morning, she was instantly relieved.
My Colleagues Start to Know the Truth about Falun Gong
VOA developed its TV branch in 2006. I was assigned to be a host for both radio and TV live news. That showed they did not worry about me being a Falun Gong practitioner.
Right before I started the new position, at the White House during Chinese President Hu Jintao's visit, a Falun Gong practitioner journalist yelled out about stopping organ harvesting on living practitioners. When this was shown on the TV in the office, everyone was disturbed. “We cannot allow Falun Gong to get into our place,” a TV editor claimed and then looked at me: “I didn't mean you.”
Because I thought this practitioner did not handle things professionally and her behavior caused problems for me, I felt a lot of pressure. When I calmed down, I thought differently: What this practitioner did might have created stress for her family and herself. She did not do that for herself. Having been a doctor, she could not allow the crime of live organ harvesting to continue.
I no longer found fault with her, and I shared my thoughts with my colleagues. Soon, they started to pay more attention to the harvesting of organs from living Falun Gong practitioners in China instead of to the practitioner calling out at the White House.
I started to work at the TV group as originally scheduled. Although news reporting was not my major, nor did I have professional voice training, audience feedback indicated that my calm and steady style was well-liked. A graduate student at Zhejiang University sent me a video snapshot of me and said all six roommates were fans of mine. They posted my photo on their dorm wall. The managers were very satisfied with my work. Things at work got better and better.
As more of my coworkers understood the truth about Falun Gong, they began to admire and support me. Many times, as soon as I finished my broadcast, the editor told me I could leave because he knew I was very busy. A TV host told me that his father, a professor in China, really liked the Epoch Times. Sometimes, a reporter returned from a foreign station and told me that he intentionally broadcast several news items about Falun Gong.
An Incident Before My Resignation
After working at VOA for eight years, I decided to resign because the Epoch Times needed full-time reporters. Before I submitted my resignation, an incident occurred.
On a Saturday after we’d finished broadcasting, I was chatting with a TV host when another coworker came over and started to yell at me. The host tried to stop her, but she was out of control and kept yelling at and insulting me. I was quite shocked. Her voice attracted everyone in the office. They tried to calm her down but to no avail. She continued to yell for more than 10 minutes. She shouted that I had cultivation insanity.
I kept quiet. I was thinking, “What did I do wrong? When did I hurt her?”
What happened was that I’d once asked for time-off. The manager assigned her to substitute for me. She was late and made a lot of mistakes that day, so the manager criticized her. She’d graduated from the Communication University of China, and she used to be a host at a TV station in China. She thought she was not treated well at VOA, and she was jealous of me. In fact, as soon as I heard she would be my substitute, I wrote her a detailed procedure and even gave her a live demo on-site. At the time, the production director said to me that the substitute should know what she was doing and it was not my responsibility to teach her.
Back home, I was sad. I thought I should have resigned sooner so this would not have happened. In the evening, I sent a resignation email to the manager.
By the next day, most of my colleagues had heard about the incident. Many of them called and consoled me. Some editors discussed how to handle it. They said they should not let a bad person triumph over a good one.
Since everyone knew about the incident, I thought I should explain. I sent an email to all 130+ colleagues in my branch. First, I sincerely apologized to that angry colleague. I’d made trouble for her because I’d asked for time off in the first place, although asking for time-off was normal. I also said that I practiced Falun Gong and, during my eight years at VOA, I always tried to follow Truthfulness, Compassion, and Forbearance and be a good person. Outside of work, I spent my time on efforts to stop the persecution of Falun Gong in China. I did not expect that a colleague would attack me about my belief at work, in the U.S.
The managers could not believe that I did not fight back when I was insulted, but they verified it by talking to many witnesses, who, in turn, wanted the angry colleague fired. Three days later, a company security guard led her out of the building. She lost her job at VOA. A manager phoned me to tell me the “good news.” But it made me sad. I said it was not what I wanted. The manager did not understand: “You feel sorry for her even though she treated you so terribly?”
News of the incident soon spread among newsagents around the D.C. area. For a while, reporters from other media would come over and hug me at different activities.
Although I kept explaining that I’d decided to resign before the incident, many of my coworkers urged me to stay. I remained at VOA for another month and resigned formally after the incident had quieted down. More than 40 colleagues held a farewell party for me. “You are really a good person,” many of them said. “I was lucky to have you as a colleague,” some of them told me.
On the day I left the VOA building, my heart was full of gratitude for Master. I said in my heart, “Master, I fulfilled my promise. During the past eight years, they witnessed that Falun Dafa practitioners are good people.”
I have been practicing Falun Dafa for 23 years. These have been very precious 23 years. Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance lead me to walk on a righteous path and overcome one obstacle after another. Dafa gives me wisdom and strength. My heart became bigger. I have compassion for everyone I meet. On Falun Dafa Day, I would like to say, “Thank you, Master! Falun Dafa is good!”