(Minghui.org) (Continued from Part 2)
After three days in Xi’an, we took the train back to Beijing. We decided to stay at the hotel whose owner suggested that we go to Xi’an to thank him for his help. As our trip was coming to an end, we prepared to give the letter to the Ministry of Cultural Exchange. But we weren’t quite sure about doing so.
One brother contacted an acquaintance he had met in Hong Kong, who invited us to lunch. He was not a practitioner, but he had started reading Zhuan Falun and was sympathetic to practitioners’ situation in China. He suggested giving the letter to the central news agency Xinhua and to foreign media correspondents in Beijing. It so happened that he had access to all of them.
In a matter of minutes, we had a good plan. We faxed the letter to news agencies, informing them that at 10 a.m. we would be going to Xinhua to hand in the letter.
Since that was our last night in Beijing, the hotel owner insisted that we stay at his hotel and have dinner with him. He was looking forward to spending time with us. I thought we could finally relax because we had a good plan and that we could enjoy eating something other than steamed buns and supermarket chips. The owner told us that he was actually a vegetarian, a Buddhist, and an animal liberationist who rescued dogs from being killed. I thought that he might even be a Dafa practitioner and waited to see whether we could confide in him. Then, he asked how we had met and what we were doing in China.
We looked at each other and decided to tell him. The moment we did, his attitude changed. He became agitated and rude, telling us that we did not know the situation in China. He spoke badly about Dafa and told us off for meddling in his country’s politics. Earlier he had told us how he didn’t like China’s political system and disagreed with the government’s polices but did his best to profit from the situation. We told him how practitioners were being tortured for trying to protect the principles of Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance, but he did not listen.
He asked us not to give the letter to the government, hinting that he might lose his million-dollar business because of us. We told him that delivering the letter was the whole purpose of our trip. After he read the letter, we talked some more about Dafa and what it meant to us. His tone softened slightly.
He then said he had no choice but to report us to the police. I thought maybe we had to let go of giving the letter to Xinhua because we had become complacent about having a good plan. We all agreed that whatever happened would be alright and prepared ourselves for the unexpected yet again. The owner told us to go back to our room and pack our bags so we would be ready to leave with the police first thing in the morning. We exchanged addresses and went to pack. He said that maybe one day he would also become a Dafa practitioner.
Just as we were about to go to bed, he came to our rooms and asked us to leave immediately. It was midnight, and we had no place else to go. He said that he called his friend at the police station and this was what he was told to do. He found humor in that we came into his life to cause him so much turmoil but conceded that it was not anyone’s fault because he was insistent that we stay with him. I told him it was because of a predestined connection.
He wrote a note to the taxi driver to take us to a cheap hotel. That night was our biggest test, but at least we still had a chance to give the letter to Xinhua and perhaps meet the reporters in the morning.
When we went to Xinhua the next morning, we saw correspondents from ABC in Australia and the Associated Press. The ABC correspondent asked briefly what we were going to do, took down our names, and said that he would wait outside to make sure we were safe. He also wanted us to tell him what happened afterward.
We approached the Xinhua reception room at the gate. No one spoke English, and the person on duty looked at us with annoyance, likely thinking we were lost tourists. We wanted to give the letter to someone in charge rather than the gatekeeper, but he tried to send us away. We had no choice but to give him the letter, which had already been translated into Chinese. As soon as we said the words Falun Gong and handed him the letter, his hand fell on the telephone like lead. Soon the reception room was filled with all sorts of people questioning us. One team would leave and another would come in.
Finally, a team of uniformed police officers came in. The person in charge of questioning us spoke English very well. He took our passports and tickets and asked us to tell him who we had met in China, whether we knew where they lived, what we did with them, and where else we went. We told him everything except the names of people we met.
After a couple of hours of questioning, he said that we were going to their office to answer more questions. En route, he turned around and told us that since we didn’t have much time before our departure, they would take us to their office at the airport. There, we were asked the same questions all over again.
They wrote statements that they wanted us to sign. It was in Chinese, and an officer assured us that what he wrote was the truth and the answers we gave. I pointed out that legally we couldn’t sign anything we couldn’t understand. The seven or eight of them grew irritated but couldn’t do anything about it.
We explained that we came to China because Chinese consulates and embassies around the world did not accept practitioner’s letters. We also wanted to show them that Dafa did not threaten anyone or their health. I said we were in China as examples of Western practitioners so that they could see how healthy and happy we were. We also explained that people in over 30 countries practiced Dafa and that no other government found practitioners to be a threat.
In the end, the young officer only said that his job was to uphold the law and that we were breaking the law. Again, we explained that we didn’t do anything illegal but only wished to communicate to the government in the hope of clearing up misunderstandings. The officers stayed with us until we boarded the plane and handed us our passports while our feet were on the plane. They did not allow us to make any telephone calls to tell people back home that we were okay.
Back in Melbourne, there was a media frenzy. When the two brothers’ father picked us up at the airport, he had a newspaper in his hand, and on the front page was a photograph of the three of us going into Xinhua. The title said that we went missing, and the news had been reported in all the media. I remembered that the ABC correspondent had wanted to see us after giving the letter to Xinhua. Since we didn’t come back out, he must have assumed that we went missing.
When one brother saw the newspaper and found out how worried his father was, he said that maybe we didn’t do everything right. Before leaving Melbourne, we had discussed that if our actions were in accordance with Dafa, our trip would have good results. But despite his father’s reaction, I realized that it was a rare chance for us to talk to the media and let more people know about the situation in China. We finally had a chance to clear up the media’s misconceptions about what Falun Dafa actually is.
My mother, who is also a practitioner, passed a great test of sentimentality (qing). Several journalists asked if she was worried about me. She reacted as a true practitioner and reassured them that we were probably safe. My father was working in the forest and was miraculously cut off from all media, so he didn’t get the news and was spared any kind of worry.
The brothers’ father also changed his attitude. Although he did not agree with our going to China, he told the media that he didn’t realize how serious we were about the letter until he saw the photograph in the newspaper. Both brothers talked at length with friends and people in the community about Dafa and our reason for going to China.
I spent the two days after our arrival talking to the media from morning till night. Since there were many live radio interviews, nothing I expressed could be distorted. I was again reminded of how perfect Master’s arrangements are.
A Melbourne practitioner who returned from China later told us that even in the south where she went to visit her parents, practitioners knew that three foreigners had gone to China to give a letter in support of Dafa. We also met in Canberra the practitioner who we had met at the tea house in Xi’an. She told us that after our trip to Xi’an, many practitioners regretted not meeting with us there, and they started to cultivate more diligently and meeting with each other again. Her husband, who was waning in his practice, also started to cultivate and read the Dafa books more.
We thank Master Li for giving us the opportunity to uphold and protect Dafa and for guiding us so perfectly in our journey of refinement. As with everything else, we still need to enlighten to a lot of things that happened to us in China. We hope that this experience is of value to other practitioners and wish everyone success in clarifying the facts and letting go of their last attachments. Please point out anything that is amiss in my understanding.