Clearwisdom's Interview with German Practitioner Peter Recknagel
(November 24, 2001)
Clearwisdom reporter: Welcome back, Peter. Thank you for taking the time to accept our interview.
Peter: Thank you for giving me the opportunity to share my story with the Clearwisdom audiences.
Clearwisdom reporter: Meditation and cultivation come from very ancient oriental culture. How did you become interested in that?
Peter: I first got to know about martial arts and saw Shaolin monks practicing Qigong on TV. Then I saw Qigong practiced in Frankfurt. In August 1997, I started to practice Falun Gong. Although I did martial arts before, the body purification process, the powerful cultivation energy from practicing Falun Gong is something I had never experienced before. I immediately knew Falun Gong is very good and very special.
Clearwisdom reporter: Was this appeal in Beijing your first trip to China?
Peter: No. This is my fourth trip to China. My first trip was in summer 1998. I went to China with one friend. We travelled from Beijing to Xi'an, Qingdao, Shanghai, Nanjing, etc. Everywhere we went, we saw Falun Gong practitioners. In Spring 1999, my mom and I went to China together with a few friends. We always ran into people practicing Falun Gong. Last year I went back to China again. On that trip, I didn't see any practitioners on the street. Things have completely changed after the persecution. Our embassy advised us to be careful.
Clearwisdom reporter: I heard the Germans were the first who decided to go to Beijing to appeal.
Peter: Yes. A German lady had scheduled a 2-week trip to China. At that time, she didn't have any plans to go to appeal. As we were studying the Fa, she brought up her trip to China. Immediately, eight of us thought it would be a good opportunity to tell the truth of Falun Gong to the Chinese people, as most of them have been deceived and brainwashed by the government's propaganda.
Clearwisdom reporter: Why Tiananmen?
Peter: Why not? (He laughed.) In my eyes, it is the only place that one can do the appeal. It is the place where the evils are concentrated the most. It is the most sensitive, most important, most powerful place, and the world media is watching.
Clearwisdom reporter: When you sat down in lotus position doing righteous thoughts. What was on your mind?
Peter: Nothing. I had no other thoughts. I had no fear or happiness. I put a German flag on my lap and started to send forth righteous thoughts. Very quickly, I heard wheels of cars moving next to me. I still had my eyes closed and legs in lotus position. Then I heard a British practitioner next to me was struggling with the police. I opened my eyes and tried to take her back from the police. At that time, I was still sitting in lotus position. I can't even remember how I did it. Then, the police came to work on me. They tried to uncross my legs. They tried so hard that my shoe laces were broken. I think part of the shoe laces were probably still left at Tiananmen. I told myself that I was as heavy as a rock and nobody could move me. The policeman really wasn't able to move me. At last, I saw all my friends were taken into the police vans. I thought I needed to be with my friends, so I got into one of the police vans.
Clearwisdom reporter: Did you see any abuses committed by the Chinese police? Were you abused?
Peter: Yes. When an American practitioner refused to sign on the Chinese document as he couldn't understand it, I saw the police who interrogated him hit him in the head and kicked the chair that he was sitting on. I spoke to the police officer in Chinese that if he did that again, we would all see it and expose his act to the international media. The policeman was furious. He grabbed me from my chair and pushed me 6 to 7 meters until I hit the wall. He threatened me, but I couldn't understand his Chinese. The only thing I understood was the word "die." He ordered me to stand by the wall. I refused. He had to let me sit down again.
At Tiananmen Square, I saw a Swedish practitioner's body was half in the van, and half hanging out of the van. His eyes were closed, and I suspect he lost conscious. When we were at the Tiananmen Police Station, I was one of the first to be pushed into a cage in the basement. I heard screaming. Later, I learned that the Swedish female practitioners were pushed down the stairs to the first floor. A German female practitioner was dragged by her hair, and her hair was pulled out.
Clearwisdom reporter: I am so sorry to hear that. You know the Chinese Foreign Affairs spokesperson claimed that they had treated you with "humanity and fairness."
Peter: "Humanity and fairness?" The fact that they didn't let us to access the German Embassy is not fair or legal. They took our passport and plane tickets ... that is also illegal. They told us that the German Embassy didn't want to see us because we committed a crime. But in reality, the German Embassy told us the opposite story.
Clearwisdom reporter: Jiang Zemin's regime has been inciting hatred toward Falun Gong among the deceived Chinese citizens. A typical accusation is that Falun Gong allies with foreign anti-China forces. What are your comments?
Peter: Among the 36 western practitioners who appealed at Tiananmen, quite a few of us have studied Chinese. We have a high respect for the Chinese culture and for the Chinese people. How can we be against the Chinese people? In fact, many of my close friends are Chinese.
We went to Tiananmen to hold a silent and peaceful appeal for Falun Gong practitioners in China and for the Chinese people. Chinese people don't have freedom of speech. Their voices cannot be heard. We had to speak up for them. We went to appeal to the Chinese leaders to stop persecuting Falun Gong practitioners and to release all practitioners unconditionally.
We went to Tiananmen also to expose the lies the Chinese government had made. They portrayed Falun Gong as being superstition, and it is only popular among the elderly and uneducated people. Our presence showed that we, from the free world, with freedom of thought, are people who are young, educated, and intelligent, and that Falun Gong is embraced by people around the world.
Clearwisdom reporter: I think your presence was a very powerful way in clarifying the truth with those police as well.
Peter: Totally. When they transported us from the Tiananmen Police Station to Public Security Bureau's hotel, they sat each of us with a female officer, with the female officer by the window. We think that they were afraid of letting people see us. I told the policewoman about the holes in the so-called "self-immolation" story, she didn't argue with me. She kept silent. We discussed about whether Falun Gong is really good. I asked her to guess my age. She said I looked like 19. I told her I am 31, as Falun Gong cultivates both mind and body. She had to believe it.
Clearwisdom reporter: your colleagues must think you are a hero.
Peter: My colleagues are very supportive. They said "GREAT!" The leader at our Workers' Council, which applies for all the rights for employees, said they will have my story in the upcoming monthly newsletter to all company employees.
Clearwisdom reporter: This is fantastic! More people will know about the truth of Falun Gong. Great job, Peter. Thank you.
Category: Bi-monthly newsletter