Assistant Professor of Economics

Department of Social Science

Pace University

New York, NY 10038

April 25, 2000

Mr. Andy Rosenthal

Foreign Editor

New York Times

Dear Mr. Rosenthal:

It brought deep sorrow to me when I read the article China Sect Shows Its Colors, and 50 Followers Are Arrested by Craig Smith in the April 14's issue of New York Times.

This article appeared just days after the death of Chen Zixiu, who, a 58-year-old village woman, refused -- resolutely -- to give up her belief in Falun Dafa, even at the time when she almost lost her consciousness after beaten relentlessly by police. "Practice Falun Dafa is a right." Chen Zixiu said, till the last day of her life. Chen Zixiu was not alone. Millions of Falun Dafa practitioners choose to practice their belief, to be truthful, benevolent and forbearing people, as taught by Falun Dafa, even at a cost of losing their jobs, education, comfort and lives. However, at a time when tens of thousands of Chinese Falun Dafa practitioners shedding blood to protect their noble belief, to protect their basic human right, New York Times mocked these brave people as "sect" members. At a time when innocent people losing their lives for their belief in Falun Dafa, one of the most influential newspapers in this country of freedom belittled their belief as "hypnotic, yogalike exercises." I was sorrowful when I read this. How could I not be?

Everyday, similar scenes repeat in China. Hundreds of Falun Dafa practitioners of all ranks and classes demonstrate the elegant exercises in China, peacefully, silently. Police dash out to kick them, to beat them, to arrest them. These people never fight back. They smile, brilliantly, even at the time when they are pushed into police cars. Who are they? Are they fools? They are indeed living saints. They are telling the world, most resonantly, what truthfulness, compassion and forbearance mean. They are showing to the world, most proudly, what noble and dignified people mean. But the article responded with "Mention of Falun Gong now elicits a laugh among many people, while committed followers continue to practice the discipline quietly in their homes." I do not know how credible this claim is. Most of people I have met, many of them are Chinese, are amazed by the courage of the practitioners; they are eager to know what makes the practitioners so determined. The article doesn't provide an answer. Indeed, the reporter doesn't even bother to take a careful look of the beautiful emblem of Falun, which should not be described as "yellow swastika".

I do not know whether righteousness is a requirement for a reporter. But I do know righteousness is a requirement for a decent person. And I do know that, for many, an America without Roosevelt seemed almost inconceivable. President Roosevelt proved that our liberty is linked to the destiny of the world, that human rights must be America's cause. He defined the Four Freedoms -- freedom of speech, freedom of worship, freedom from want, freedom from fear -- as "essential human freedoms." He said that the Four Freedoms must be realized everywhere in the world. When his coffin passed, Americans by the hundreds of thousands stood vigil. Decades later, we live to see the causes--for which Roosevelt stood--come to dominate life in America, but they have not prevailed in China, nor in some other parts of the world.

We all know that the triumph of freedom doesn't come without fight. In last century's gravest struggle for freedom, Roosevelt used his moral authority to inspire, to strengthen the people and bind them together in a just cause. In this new century, the courageous Chinese Falun Dafa practitioners are peacefully fighting for their freedom of belief, for their basic human rights - to simply be good people. But, where is the moral support from us, people who enjoy abundant freedom as legacy from Roosevelt in US?

We all know that Chinese government is committing brutal crimes of genocide. We know that this crime is affecting lives of tens of millions of lives. We know that the crackdown towards Falun Dafa practitioners is a stigma for the Chinese government. But do we all know that it is a stigma of the world, a stigma of the history, a stigma of the mankind, if we do not help to stop the crime? The village woman Chen Zixiu knew that, she sacrificed her precious life. Nevertheless, the reporter doesn't seem to know that. He has shown his color, his pale indifference.

I hope, sincerely, New York Times, as a prominent voice of America, can pay solute and respect to those courageous Chinese people fighting for their essential human freedoms. By all means, we live in this country, whose cause is human rights.

I look forward to hearing from you soon.


Li Li