A Letter to President Bush from a US Resident
Dear Mr. President,
I am writing in response to the amicus curiae recently sent by the US Department of Justice to the District Court in northern Illinois exonerating Jiang Zemin, the former president of China, from his crimes. This court is dealing with a class lawsuit, in which the persecuted Falun Gong practitioners as a group sued Mr. Jiang for genocide, torture and other crimes, based on the U.S.'s Alien Torture Claim Act, Torture Victim Protection Act, and Acts concerning the crimes of genocide.
I feel compelled to tell you so many things, but most importantly, I urge you not to compromise in any way your responsibility in upholding the righteous principles adored by the American people for protecting human rights and freedom. No circumstance, benefit, or other reason should be able to shake this foundation of the United States of America.
My name is ______. I was born in the northeast region of China, and grew up in Guangzhou in southern China. I came to the US to study in Florida in 1992. Now I work in a Satellite Telecommunications company as a software engineer. My grandfather, who earned a Master's degree in engineering in the US after he received a scholarship from the Chinese government in the 1930s, told us, "America is heaven on earth". He hoped everyone in our family would have an opportunity to visit America one day.
I was born during the "cultural revolution". Because my father liked photography as a hobby, he was accused of being a "spy". My mother told me a story of when I was in kindergarten. One day, while I was playing, a man who knew my father approached me and asked, "Is your father a good person or a bad one?" "Good" I answered without any hesitation. He became very angry and looked very stern, yelling at me, "How dare you say he is good!" Being so frightened, I began to cry and had to comply, "He is a bad person." I was only three years old then. My mother watched this incident at a distance, but she dared not do anything under the reign of terror.
Maybe because I was so young, or simply because humans are naturally inclined to good things, I don't remember this experience. Instead, I have a profound memory of listening to the "Voice of America," broadcast on short wave radio with my mother on quiet nights. I listened again and again to the pleasant and rhythmic prelude and the announcement "This is the Voice of America broadcasting in Chinese...." given by a rich and medium male voice accompanied by the buzzing and crackling of interference on the electric circuit. This was the most impressive voice I have ever heard.
In early 1988, my mother was a visiting scholar at the UCLA Medical Center. When she returned six months later, the expressions "When I was in America...", "The Americans do...." became her pet phrases, and I learned that:
"In America, motor vehicles give way to pedestrians"
"In America, even strangers will greet you"
"In America, many people volunteer to work for the community"
"In America, many couples adopt children from China"
I began to yearn for a visit to America, as did most youngsters in China. At our graduation gathering, a fellow graduate toasted all of us, saying: "May we all go to America!" I left my homeland in the spring of 1992 and stepped on this great land alone. As a research student at the Florida Institute of Technology, I began my sojourn with difficulty as my companion. Besides the challenging curriculum and schedule, I had to overcome the language barriers and cultural obstacles to adapt to the new social environment and values. What I learned most was the unique charm of Americans:
During the lectures, the professor would tell us: "You may ask me questions at any time, no matter how silly you may consider the questions to be. At least then I will know you don't understand what I said."
My neighbor had lawn ornaments of a mother duck with three ducklings. They wore different clothes every day, and on one rainy day, they even had raincoats on!
As I dragged my luggage to the public transportation, someone would come to assist me.
On the highway, vehicles would queue up just to allow a few wild ducks to cross the road....
All these are very common and ordinary amongst the American people, but they allowed me, a person from a society full of strife and struggle, to witness a nation full of sincerity and compassion. There is genuine care and respect for freedom and life, which touched me profoundly.
In October, 1998, a friend introduced me to Falun Gong. The concepts of "Zhen, Shan, and Ren" (Truthfulness, Compassion and Tolerance") of Mr. Li Hongzhi fascinated me immensely. I began to practice it earnestly. At the same time, I was delighted to know that in China, almost one hundred million people were also practicing it. The ancient and long standing magnificent culture had always been our national pride, wisdom and wealth. But during the decades of dictatorship, Chinese people's kind wishes and search for higher realms were dashed time and again. The pursuit of money, personal benefit, and physical enjoyment has become the goal of life for many people in recent years. Some people risk anything to achieve those goals. When so many people began to follow the teachings of Mr. Li , caring less about fame and gain, looking inward for the cause of conflict, considering others first under all circumstances, and being responsible for one's own life and society, the Chinese standards of morality and virtue elevated quickly.
Nine months later, in July, 1999, the Central Government of China announced the suppression of Falun Gong. At that time, Jiang Zemin had sole control over the Party, Government and Military. Ignoring the fact that Falun Gong had brought better health to almost 100 million people in China, he launched a crackdown on Falun Gong, using the nation's resources, lies, and violence to persecute Falun Gong practitioners, creating another terror of hell on earth in China.
Whenever I phoned my mother, she was in extreme fear. She told me that the daily television programs were slandering Falun Gong. She cried and begged me to give up Falun Gong or at least not to be involved in any activity opposing the suppression so that they would not live in a state of anxiety and fear. She was afraid that I might never be able to return to China. I asked my mother, "When my father was slandered as a spy, what did you do then?" She no longer discourages my practice.
At the end of 1999, a number of Falun Gong practitioners and I joined the celebration at the University of Maryland for the return of Macao to the sovereignty of China. The Ambassador of China, Li Zhaoxing, incessantly attacked Falun Gong in his speech, which had no relevance at the gathering. I wondered, "Is that how much he hates Falun Gong?" After the ceremony, I personally expressed my understanding of Falun Gong to him, and was shocked by his reply, "If you feel it is good, by all means practice it." I realized there must be many people like him, who, in their heart knew that Falun Gong would not harm anyone or be of any danger to any nation, but under the strict orders of a dictator, for the sake of self-preservation, they chose to say what was contrary to their belief . That reminded me of my experience when I was a youngster, and I understood the profound evil of this suppression: Everyone connected with the dictator by benefits became both a victim of and an assistant to the evil suppression. This is the biggest devastation of humanity and human life!
With great dismay, I have seen this devastation continue to expand throughout the entire world:
In April, 2002, when Jiang Zemin visited Germany, the police of Germany freely used violence against peaceful Falun Gong practitioners who were merely trying to present a petition.
In June, 2002, when Jiang Zemin visited Iceland, the Government of Iceland utilized the blacklist supplied by the Chinese government to prohibit Falun Gong practitioners from entering Iceland.
In August, 2002, under the pressure of the Chinese officials from the Chinese Embassy at Phnom Phen in Cambodia, Mr. and Mrs. Li Guojun, two Falun Gong practitioners who were United Nations designated refugees, were forcibly repatriated.
In 2003, Jiang Zemin openly violated the undertaking of one-nation-two-systems and forcibly enacted the article 23 into the Basic Law of the Special Administrative Region of Hong Kong in spite of strong criticism from all quarters. Under this law, Falun Gong is the first group to be persecuted.
In April, 2003, the police of Thailand arrested Swedish Falun Gong practitioner Ms. Pirjo, because they were afraid she would stage a protest during the visit of the Chinese Prime Minister Wen Jiabao.
The persecution has even reached America. On January 23rd, American citizen Li Xiangchun (Charles Li) was arrested at the Guangzhou airport. He was accused of attempting to insert and broadcast programs documenting the truth about Falun Gong. In fact, if Mr. Li were going to perform this task, it would be a magnificent undertaking, as everyone thirsts for the truth in an environment full of lies. It is like my family members and me thirty years ago, yearning to listen to the Voice of America.
Two weeks ago, a woman from Guangdong, China, and I attended the Town Hall Meeting organized by Mr. Chris Van Hollen, a Member of Congress from our electorate. This woman's younger sister, Zhao Meiyu, was preparing to write her experience of being persecuted as a Falun Gong practitioner to help support the lawsuit against Jiang Zemin. She was suddenly arrested and has not been heard from since. We hoped Mr. Chris Van Hollen would assist in rescuing Zhao Meiyu. From seven o'clock until about midnight, he stood on the stage, answering questions and requests from the voters. The requests varied from children's education to public service, from trivial family matters to intricate aspects of foreign policy. Even when someone interrogated him about some policies and resolutions, he smiled and answered them. Seeing this, I was very touched. I think this is the essence of the great United States of America. It is concerned and dedicated to world peace and freedom.
I'll always remember these words from a speech given by President Reagan at the general meeting of the Republican Party. It gave me a deep respect for this nation: "I believe, it was God who placed this piece of land in between two great oceans to allow special people from all parts of the world to discover, even to the extent of those oppressed and forced to leave their homeland to converge on this distant land, to form the beam of dazzling light of freedom to light up the entire world."
I do not know politics. Neither do I know diplomatic tactics. But I feel that if on this piece of land, freedom cannot be guaranteed, and justice and righteousness cannot be promoted, what hope is there left for the human race?
Thank you for your time and consideration.
Secretary of State, Mr. Colin L. Powell
Deputy Secretary of State, Mr. Richard Armitage
Under Secretary of Global Affairs, Ms Paula J. Dobriansky
Assistant Secretary for the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor, Mr. Lorne Cramer
Member of Congress for Maryland, Mr. Chris Van Hollen