Over 1,000 Falun Gong Practitioners Gather in Front of Texas A&M University to Conduct a Peaceful Protest Against Jiang
(Clearwisdom.net) Cleawisdom.net October 24, 2002 afternoon report from Houston: Around 8:00 a.m. this morning, over 1,000 Falun Gong practitioners arrived at the George Bush Library on the campus of Texas A&M University, about seventy miles northwest of Houston. The practitioners gathered to hold another group protest against Jiang.
Around 9:00 a.m. it was raining slightly. When Jiang' motorcade arrived, hammering rain immediately followed. Dressed in yellow shirts and holding up hundreds of yellow banners, the practitioners stood firmly in the rain and sent forth determined righteous thoughts in order to purify themselves and harmonize their surrounding environment. At the same time, police officers and patrols also wore yellow raincoats, which complemented the practitioners' shirts. Amidst the gray sky and earth, a great sea of golden color could be seen. Several young mothers stood among the protesting practitioners. They held their children tightly and covered them with raincoats. Their faces were firm and calm as they stood there in support of the countless illegally detained mothers in China.
Around 2:05 p.m., Jiang's motorcade left the library with a motorcycle escort. According to witnesses, right after the motorcade got on highway 2818, 12 Falun Gong practitioners unfurled six large banners. Because the motorcade drove very fast, the witness could not see everything on the banners, but the red characters "Falun Dafa is good" on golden backgrounds were very prominent. After getting on highway 6 from highway 2818, another dozen practitioners could be seen unfurling six or seven large banners as they shouted, "Falun Dafa is good" toward the motorcycles, black limousine and ambulance. Afterwards, these practitioners told reporters that they had already unfurled the banners when Jiang's motorcade arrived. They had asked the police officer(s) whether they could shout when the motorcade passed, and the police said, "Go ahead."
The road in front of the library had been blocked for a long time. People who arrived to participate in activities had to take detours. Two security officers checked and verified people's identification before they would allow them to enter the library. According to reporters present, over ten news reporters, including those from the Dallas Morning News, Voice of America and Radio Free Asia were stopped and their permits to report were cancelled on the spot. Eventually these reporters were accommodated in a conference room, where they watched a live broadcast. A reporter said that 1/3 of the participating media were Chinese.
Looking old and gray, Jiang was followed by an ambulance constantly. At the Bush Library, he took out a prepared text written in English and read it as his speech. The speech's reference to the "Three Representations" made the Texans totally lost. The audience and reporters were told that no questions would be allowed. After he read his speech, he answered four questions that were prepared in both Chinese and English beforehand. The second question concerned recent cultural exchange plans between America and China. The third question was "How will China protect the Giant Panda?" Jiang replied with a Chinese proverb, "If you know then you know. If you don't know then you don't know." Then he said he was an engineer and didn't know how to protect Giant Pandas. The fourth questioner asked if China could find another good basketball player for Texas.
According to the media, Jiang returned to the Inter-Continental Hotel after leaving Texas A&M University. Regarding Jiang's itinerary, Taipei Times commented in its October 22, 2002 report, "Beijing took such secretive actions out of fear that Falun Gong will learn about his trip and hold protests. In fact, Jiang's hesitation makes his public appearance very unusual."
Falun Gong,also called Falun Dafa, is a cultivation system with teachings based on the principle of "Truthfulness, Compassion, Tolerance." It teaches people to be good and compassionate and improves their health both mentally and physically. It has been enthusiastically embraced by millions of people all over the world, but in 1999, it was banned and suppressed in China.
Jiang directly instigated and escalated the persecution of Falun Gong in China. From July 20, 1999 China has followed his policy to "Totally defame the practitioners' reputations, deprive them of economic resources, and physically eliminate them." Millions of Falun Gong practitioners have been illegally detained, sentenced to forced labor, imprisoned and tortured. Some female practitioners have been raped and several thousand healthy practitioners have been detained in mental hospitals. According to Chinese government internal records, over 1600 practitioners had been killed by the end of October 2001. By October 23 2002, 505 death cases had been verified and reported outside of China.
Mr. Wang, a Falun Gong practitioner from Toronto, said to a reporter, "Falun Gong practitioners around the world are holding a series of peaceful protests during Jiang's visit. Their protests as well as their peaceful resistance during the past three years are not targeted at the Chinese people, the Chinese government or the Party. They are happening because of Jiang's abuse of power in persecuting innocent Falun Gong practitioners."
Mr. Wang also added, "During China's war of resistance against Japan, Chinese people abroad donated planes. Right now, so many Falun Gong practitioners are being brutally tortured in China just because of their faith in Truth, Compassion, Tolerance. Some of my good friends were sent to jail for practicing Falun Gong. There is only one voice in China and the Falun Gong practitioners' voices are nowhere to be heard. I spend my own money speaking out for them, and I'm also speaking out for myself, and for justice."
As Jiang's motorcade returned, the weather changed from being cloudy to sprinkling rain at the location of the hotel, then turned to continuous, hammering rain. A Western practitioner, Diana from Houston, noted that the weather in Texas is relatively dry and this time of year is usually the rainy season. Usually, it turns sunny soon after a rain, but she could not recall seeing such persistent rain.