It is a basic human right to be able to speak out about what one believes to be true. In China, however, because of politics, people's freedom of speech is restricted. For example, Falun Gong practitioners have the right under the Chinese constitution to appeal and clarify the truth in the face of injustice. Yet some people have insisted on distorting the facts and have claimed that Falun Gong practitioners are "making trouble." They say, "If you feel it's good, just practice at home. Don't go out to make trouble." Some of these people are decent and kind-hearted, yet others have ulterior motives for making these comments. How can a society be so incapable of distinguishing right from wrong? No wonder there is a saying that goes: "Once people are used to being enslaved, they take slavery as routine." In passively accepting their circumstances human beings end up forfeiting their own basic rights. This is the saddest state of all.

Those who limit other people's right to express themselves want a monopoly on what is said. It's miserable and dangerous for a society to have only one voice. The reason the Chinese nation has not developed as quickly as it could have is in part due to the government's suppression of cultural wisdom over the past few thousands years. People have been slowly losing their voice. In general Chinese people are used to silencing their independent opinions against their own conscience. The Chinese saying, "The mouth is the primary source of calamities," sums up the philosophy of those people that are only interested in their personal vested interests and immediate comfort, and dare not speak up for fear of losing those interests and comfort. It is precisely because no one dares to speak up that the political power in charge can become dictatorial and violent. There is nothing civilized about remaining silent. It only makes the voice of a dictatorship more pronounced.

Freedom of speech has been won at the expense of many lives -- remarkable people with virtue and determination from different countries, dynasties and generations. Freedom of speech is a legal right of citizens clearly documented in the Constitution and international human rights treaties. It's dangerous to relinquish one's right to freedom of speech for trivial, vested interests and immediate comforts.

Why is "speaking up" not permitted? The political power in charge must have something ugly that they are afraid of being exposed. White is mistaken for black, right is mistaken for wrong -- how can a person of conscience not step forward with the truth? To accuse a good person of being a bad person -- how can people remain silent and not expose the lie? Why should someone be afraid of arguments if his thoughts are based on rational principles? The sky won't collapse if people are allowed to speak up. If right and wrong are determined with benevolence, there will not be any such thing as "trouble-making." Not to mention that Falun Gong practitioners speak peacefully and rationally.

Some have said: "Just practice, don't get involved with politics." What are politics? I understand the essence of politics to be actions taken by representatives from different parties and at various levels within society aimed at protecting personal interests. Politics are usually linked with pursuit of power. The case being otherwise, the general public does not consider it to be political. So if it is political for people to appeal and cry out to defend their innocence in the face of unfair and illegal treatment by their government then, it should also be considered political for unemployed Chinese workers to ask the government for food vouchers. The attempt to discredit someone by using the label "political" is a tactic frequently used by those with ulterior motives to intimidate the average person and prevent him from speaking the truth. When Falun Gong practitioners speak the truth peacefully and calmly they are showing their trust in the government; they are upholding the Constitution. They are displaying an act of true patriotism. They are not against society or the government. How can one say they are involved with politics?

Still others have said: "Don't you Falun Gong practitioners talk about 'forbearance?' Why don't you endure and why do you insist on speaking up?" The meaning of 'forbearance' is enormous. In personal cultivation, 'forbearance' means not fighting back when one is being punched or insulted. However, this is not 'great forbearance.' 'Great forbearance' is calmly giving up everything for the sake of truth. Today Dafa practitioners are putting this into actual practice.

It is disturbing to think that people think the 'forbearance' of a Falun Gong practitioner should include not "speaking up" when Falun Gong practitioners are treated unfairly and are even persecuted. It's ludicrous to assume that when Dafa practitioners speak up they are "making trouble." In the face of obvious truths and obvious lies people should speak up for the truth. If we don't speak up, we are tacitly recognizing the evil and thereby succumbing to the evil. If we don't speak up, we are being irresponsible to the truth, to society, and to the nation of China. We should all bravely speak up for the sake of truth and justice.