Journeys to the East: A Swede's Connection to China (Part 2)
(Minghui.org) Continued from Part 1
3. Clarifying the Truth in Beijing
The world was shocked when the persecution of Falun Gong began in China. Falun Gong had just started to spread overseas, and most people had no idea what it was. The sudden and unexpected turn of events took the world by surprise, and the international media didn't know how to respond. So they just reproduced what was reported by China's official media, and suddenly negative reports about Falun Gong were everywhere.
The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) regime in China utilized the entire state apparatus to defame Falun Gong and brainwash the general public, from the central government to the grassroots level, from government departments to schools, from the cities to the countryside.
Yvonne thought, “How could this be? This is totally wrong! The CCP is lying to deceive the world, and is exporting its lies around the world!” Falun Gong practitioners in China were under enormous pressure, and having catastrophic difficulties.
Bad news kept coming out of China as practitioners were illegally arrested and detained. Yvonne was extremely saddened by what was happening in China. It had only been a year, and she could still remember the magnificent scenes of people practicing Falun Dafa in China. How could this have happened so suddenly?
“I remember the New Year's celebration in Dalian. There was a female practitioner who used to perform with an opera group in Beijing. I heard she had been arrested and had died as a result of torture in a forced labor camp. I was deeply shocked by her death,” said Yvonne.
It was under such circumstances that practitioners outside of China stepped forward, and Yvonne also joined in to validate the Fa. They wanted to clarify the facts about Falun Gong to the world's people, to expose the lies told by the CCP, and to safeguard the dignity of Dafa.
Because the regime cut off all channels for foreign correspondents to interview Falun Gong practitioners in China, practitioners outside of the country started to take action. Many Swedish practitioners went to the U.S. to speak out for Falun Gong to the international community. Yvonne and a few other Western practitioners took a big risk and went to Beijing.
It was a completely different situation when they got there in late 2000. They could no longer see the magnificent scenes of practitioners doing the exercises together. Practice sites in the parks were empty, and fear and tension filled the air. Yvonne's heart was heavy.
“We thought about what we could do. We went to Tiananmen Square many times. The police didn't recognize us, because we wore different clothes each time.
"We also went to the Great Wall, taking with us many small paper slips, on which were written messages in Chinese, such as 'Falun Dafa is good' and 'Stop the persecution.' We placed the paper slips in cracks in the wall, thinking that if tourists saw them, they could learn the facts. When we traveled by taxi, we placed paper slips in the taxis. We had many of them and put them everywhere we went.
“China is a strictly-controlled system. Practitioners from outside of China tried to use whatever channels they could find to clarify the facts about Falun Gong and expose the persecution. We had benefited so much from the practice and the least we could do to was to step forward and help our fellow practitioners in China, and give them hope,” Yvonne said.
In November 2001, several Swedish practitioners thought about going to Beijing. When they asked Yvonne, she said without hesitation, “I'll go!”
It was a very risky thing to do. They kept their plan secret from everyone except the participants. They made their own travel plans, and the only information they had was the meeting time and location.
“We found our own travel agencies, went to Beijing with our own tour groups, and did the usual sightseeing in Beijing. One day, our tour group didn't have any organized activities, and that was the day we planned gather at Tiananmen Square. It was an amazing coincidence! My roommate and I felt a bit anxious, because we were going to participate in something very important, and also very risky. We didn't know what would happen to us.”
At Tiananmen Square, the Western practitioners who said they would come gathered together. They gathered at the square as a group at 2:00 p.m., and unfolded a large banner with the eye-catching characters “Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance.” People were shocked by what they saw. Within 20 seconds, police and police vans rushed over with sirens wailing. The square was in chaos.
“Falun Dafa is good! The whole world knows it! America knows! Europe knows! Falun Dafa is good!... ...” A Western practitioner broke away from the police and shouted from the bottom of his heart. His voice resonated over the square.
“We had planned to unfold the banner as a group, and then take the subway to do some shopping and have something to eat. We never expected what happened to us next,” Yvonne said.
“Many police cars rushed over to us, as did a large white bus. Police officers charged at us from all directions and hit some of us. I was holding the banner from behind. So the few of us were the first to be pushed into the bus, where we were locked in.
"One practitioner reminded us that we shouldn't be there. I put one foot out the window and jumped out. I was wondering how I could get to the Swedish Embassy for help, but I only took a few steps before a police officer pushed me from behind. I fell down a few meters away. Several officers pounced on me. They twisted my arms behind my back, causing excruciating pain,” recalled Yvonne.
“They pushed me into the large bus again. I was the only practitioner and felt scared. I remembered us talking about how evil and cruel the Chinese police could be, before we came. There was no bottom line, and they were capable of all evils. A sense of fear began to creep over me. Just then, two male practitioners were pushed in. One was from Germany, and the other from Sweden. We decided that we would stay together no matter what, and not allow them to separate us.”
Yvonne still remembers the large bus, “We were locked in there and next to each window sat a police officer. They refused to let us near the windows, so we could not see what was happening outside, and people outside couldn't see us, either. We tried to talk to the police, but they silenced us. I remember one particular police officer, whose eyes looked so ruthlessly cruel and dark. I don't know what was controlling him, but he looked extremely savage.
“We were taken to a police station and pushed into a small room. One female practitioner started calling embassies and the media. The rest of us stood around to conceal her. The police questioned us individually and wanted to take away our passports, but we refused to give them. We demanded to see someone from our own embassies, but the police ignored the request.”
These Western practitioners who lived in free, democratic countries had never experienced anything like this before. It was dark and gloomy – the narrow passageway to the basement, the small cells separated by black bars, and dried bloodstains on the walls. On the other side of the bars, someone was videotaping them. Yvonne was overcome with fear.
“I knew about the persecution Chinese practitioners had endured, and my heart wrenched when I saw those bloodstains, as if I could see one hand hung up, a bloodstained hand hung up on the wall.
“I thought we would be detained there. We didn't know when we would be able to get out. I starting missing my family, thinking I might never see them again. I started to cry. Just then I realized I shouldn't cry, and that I had to pull myself together. As soon as I thought that way, all my fears and sadness disappeared. I felt happy that I had overcome the fear.”
Yvonne then started to think of ways to get out. The police were very rude and kept swearing at the practitioners. They knew that a number of the Western practitioners could speak Chinese, so they slandered Falun Gong to provoke them. Yvonne tried to resist such provocation. She noticed that each police officer had a number on their chest, so she thought, "I will remember their numbers, and one day I will take them to court."
She looked at their numbers, turned around, and wrote them down on a small piece of paper: 013068, 013074, 013029, 013205...
Later, the practitioners were transferred. Each practitioner was escorted by two police officers, and taken to a hotel, where they were questioned individually. Yvonne tried to get away, but it was impossible.
“I needed to use the restroom. A female officer followed me and wouldn't let me close the door. She was standing there watching me. I told her to turn around and get out, but she refused. I then said firmly, 'You must turn around!' She did. There was no window in the restroom. Even if you had the door closed, you couldn't get out from anywhere. I must say that they were trying to humiliate us as much as they could. In fact, they were also humiliating themselves by what they did.”
Yvonne wrote down more police numbers: 013054, 013032, 013074, 013133, 013056, 013230, 013086...
She hid the four small pieces of paper in her clothes. She intended to take them out of China and take these police officers to court in the future.
That evening, officers from the Swedish Embassy arrived. Yvonne was relieved. They were taken to the airport and then to a plane.
On the plane, Yvonne started to interview each practitioner from Sweden with a cassette recorder.
“My name is Pirjo and I'm a nurse. I'm on the plane home right now and I feel relaxed. My mind is empty. A lot of things have happened in the last 24 hours. We saw and personally experienced the evil persecution. The police treated us viciously. One could easily imagine how cruelly and brutally they would treat Chinese practitioners. Through our personal experience we clearly understand the suffering of our Chinese fellow practitioners. We'll arrive in Copenhagen in a few hours. I feel very good that I'll be home soon.”
“I'm Anne, and this was the second time I was arrested in China. The first time was really bad--I was brutally treated. I know that our Chinese fellow practitioners are suffering a hundred times worse. We all felt that our trip was worthwhile, and the Chinese people will know the truth in the future.”
“I'm Maria Salin. Look, the embassy officer, Rigmor, is waiting for us at the entrance. She is very pleased that we were not injured. They pay a great deal of attention to human rights and freedom of expression. She told us they had been looking for us for the last few days, but they never expected that they would find us this way.”
Yvonne also recorded her own interview, “Hi, this is my recorder. We are now on the plane, and China is right beneath us. All the practitioners from Sweden are on the plane. For most of us, this has been an eventful trip, and has offered us an opportunity to let go of many attachments. It's been very beneficial. In my view, the best outcome would be that the world can wake up... Although we have been treated brutally, it's nothing in comparison with what the Chinese practitioners are going through. If I have an opportunity again, I will still validate Dafa. Now I'm going to keep interviewing others and see what's on their minds.”
In fact, before they left the Stockholm airport, Yvonne did a similar interview because she wanted to know how everyone felt about the trip to Beijing. She had very a positive response.
“At the time, I didn't know why I was doing that. It was just that the day before I set out, I recorded my thoughts and feelings. When I listen to the recording I made then, I understand. We were going to do something very risky.”
4. My Life Is Connected with Dafa
Yvonne's life became connected with Dafa the moment she started practicing Falun Gong. She has changed from a self-centered person into someone who always considers others first and has become broad and clear-minded. In order to help more people benefit from practicing Falun Dafa, she joined a local radio station and became a volunteer presenter. She called her program “Falun Gong Time.” She interviewed Falun Gong practitioners from different areas and kept talking with the local people. She has since taken a second job, as a radio presenter. This has become an important part of her life.
Yvonne says she always holds Master in the highest regard in her heart. The first time she saw Master was in a dream. She also saw Master in person at the Washington D.C. International Fa Conference.
“Although I have never seen Master close up and have never spoken to Master in person, I know the power and the mighty virtues of our Master. There is nothing He cannot do. Non-practitioners can never understand this. What I want to say is that even though Master cannot be with us all the time, His teachings show us the way. Following Master's teachings in what we do is the most important! We are only trying to let Dafa take root in our hearts. All the wonders and brilliance are already there.”
Yvonne feels truly happy that she's part of Dafa. Her last trip to Tiananmen Square left a deep impression on her. Even though she can no longer go to China under the rule of the CCP, she never stops thinking about that beautiful land and her fellow practitioners.
“I really want to go back to China again, the sooner the better. I want to see my fellow practitioners, not to go there to be jailed. I miss the New Year celebration we had in Dalian. I miss my friends there. I know that many of them are no longer around as a result of the persecution. As for those who are still alive, how wonderful it would be if we could see each other again! I long for that day to come!”