Traveling to Beijing to Appeal for Falun Dafa: 58 Days, 1600 Miles on Foot (Part 1)
(Minghui.org) Mr. Feng is a senior Falun Dafa practitioner with a legendary story, and everyone respectfully calls him Uncle Feng. He was born in 1941 in Dalian City and moved to our province during China’s “Third Front” movement in 1964. He worked as a driver in a steel plant and began to practice Falun Dafa (aka Falun Gong) in March 1996.
Appealing for Justice for Falun Dafa: The First Time
The Chinese Communist regime launched the persecution of Falun Dafa in July 1999. Mr. Feng was shocked and did not know what to do for a while. He finally learned in early October that many Dafa practitioners had been going to Beijing to appeal for justice for Falun Dafa. He asked himself, “Why didn’t I go?” He then took the train to Beijing on October 5, 1999.
He was recognized as a practitioner by local Beijing fellow practitioners as soon as he arrived. They helped arrange his stay in the suburbs. Beijing's practitioners took a lot of risks to look for practitioners coming to Beijing from other regions. They tried their best to provide as much help as they could. It was most important to find fellow practitioners, study the Fa together, and share with each other. The main topic of the sharing was “why are we coming to Beijing?” This over one-week-long deep Fa-study and sharing was something that he would never forget.
“I had benefited so much from these meetings,” he said. “I was clear that we had three goals for the appeal: First was to ask the government to restore Master Li’s (the founder) reputation. Secondly, it was to release all the arrested fellow practitioners. Thirdly, was to give Falun Dafa practitioners a normal environment for their cultivation.”
He then went to the Office of Appeals to state his requests. But, as soon as he arrived on Fuyou Street, outside of the gate of the Office of Appeals, he was stopped and arrested by the many police standing on both sides of the street. They arrested everyone going there and detained them.
He was detained in Beijing for 14 days and then taken back to the province where he lived, along with 22 other practitioners. He was taken to the local police station. On November 5, he was given “The Penalty Decision For Violating Public Security Management” which warned him of the “endangering the social management order” and he was detained for a week.
Appealing for Justice for Falun Dafa: The Second Time
Mr. Feng went to Beijing to appeal again a month later.
He figured that since the Office of Appeals would not take any of the appeals, he would instead just turn to the people. The next morning, he directly went to Tiananmen Square and sat down in an open area to do the Falun Dafa meditation exercise.
It quickly drew people’s attention, and soon many people formed a circle around him. Then the police came, arrested him, and took him to the local police station in the province of his residency. He was sentenced and detained for 15 days. He was released on Chinese New Year's Eve.
The two times of going to Beijing for an appeal made him a target of strict monitoring by the local police. It was also during the Chinese New Year period which was considered to be a sensitive time. Officers from police stations, officials from the residential committee, and his workplace came to his home every day to warn him not to go to Beijing again. He was also not allowed to leave his home or have contact with other practitioners. They also threatened his family members.
Appealing for Justice for Falun Dafa: Mr. Feng's Reason for Going to Beijing
Mr. Feng had already determined to appeal for the right to practice Falun Dafa in Beijing for the third time. Others asked him why he was so determined. He said there was not much reasoning other than that he felt that he must “stand up and speak the truth”.
He said that Dafa practitioners had benefited greatly by practicing Falun Dafa, but if he was too afraid to stand up to speak the truth when the practice was being maligned, then how could he face his own conscience? Moreover, if Dafa practitioners didn’t come out to speak the truth, then who else would, and how would people find out?
Mr. Feng believed that Dafa practitioners must “stand up and speak the truth” in order for the world to know the truth, and to know that Falun Dafa was still strong in China. He realized that he no longer had the option of taking the train or plane to Beijing, so he decided to walk. He was determined to go to Beijing.
Walking to Beijing Without Money
He had to keep it to himself, as he wanted to assure that the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) staff did not know. He did not even tell his wife or children. From where he lived to Beijing it was over 1,600 miles, and he would pass through five provinces. It would take about two months. He knew that he needed some money, but he only had about eight dollars. In fact, later on during his travel, he used all these eight dollars to buy batteries for the flashlight, since that was absolutely needed when he walked at night. He knew that if he tried to figure out a way to get more money, his plan might get exposed as he was constantly monitored. Thus, he decided to walk to Beijing without any money.
All he brought with him was the book Zhuan Falun, a set of underclothes for change, a thin cotton blanket, and a couple of buns. He did not even take an umbrella. He left home at 4 a.m., nine days after the Chinese New Year.
Unimaginable Hardships and Tribulations on the Long Journey
Getting Food Issue
One must eat to live, so how did he resolve the food issue without any money? He said that his main method was to pick the leftover food from the side of railroads at the train stations. He would eat whatever he could find, but of course, he would try to find the clean ones in the bags.
He had encountered others who were looking also for food – most of whom were farmers. He remembered, “One day I was near a city train station, and I was looking for some food along with a group of farmers. A railroad worker came to tell us to go away. Then he saw that I was wearing a uniform, and he asked me, ‘Why are you doing things like this? You don’t think it’s dirty? I even feel ashamed for you!’ My face felt so hot. For my safety I couldn’t explain it to him. Even if I did, would he understand it?”
The other way was begging for food from local residents. This was even harder for him. He was a man of dignity, a masterful technical worker, and a senior gentleman. That was the first time he had to beg for food, something he never had dreamed of. But, in order to survive, and to go to Beijing to appeal for justice for his faith, he had no other choice.
Even in such difficult situations, he strictly followed Master’s “Principles for Disciples Who Are Monks and Nuns” (Essentials For Further Advancement). When he was hungry he only asked for food, and would never accept money and other things. The only exception was one time someone didn’t have leftovers and insisted to give him two yuan. He bought a pack of crackers and gave it to a farmer’s child.
It was still very early in the year and very cold. He was mostly eating the cold food that he picked up, some of which had passed the expiration date, and drinking raw water. He previously had intestine issues and had 10 years of hepatitis. It was the 3rd day when he began to feel discomfort in his stomach. At first he felt nausea and flatulence and later on it was a strong pain. Several days later he began to have diarrhea and it worsened. He had stool every hour or less, and it was all liquid. He once looked at it and saw that it was bloody. From then on he was too afraid to see it. He just told himself in his mind, “This is a test for me. I won’t worry about it! I have to move forward, and stick to it until I get to Beijing!” The diarrhea lasted for over a month and finally stopped. This was the first tribulation that Mr. Feng had experienced.
Facing and Suffering Tribulations
In fact, the “food” problem was not the hardest that he faced. One hardship was constantly on his mind – how could he continue to walk and not stop. He followed the railroad, as this was the quickest way, and he would not get lost. The majority of the time he was walking on the concrete sleepers between the two rails. These concrete sleepers were very hard, and the distance between two sleepers was not the distance one would normally take when walking. Thus, it was even more tiring than walking on flat surfaces. Moreover, he had to cross countless tunnels and railway viaducts.
A month of continuous diarrhea and blood in his stool had made him very weak. He got very skinny and often felt dizzy when standing up. A strong headwind would make him almost spin in circles.
The most disturbing thing for him was the pain and swelling on his calves and feet. He recalled, “The pain was constant and very hard to bear. Because I was walking every day from early morning to late night, and not taking any rest days, thus my body had no time to recover. I could not get a good night's sleep, either.” Every morning when he started to walk, his feet felt as if they were filled with lead. He had to use all his strength to take each step. He also described the pain when stepping on the concrete sleeper, “It felt as if I wasn’t wearing shoes and had no flesh under the bones of my feet. Each step felt as if the bones were directly hitting a hard iron block and it was so painful. Another time I accidentally kicked the edge of a railway sleeper, and my big toenail fell off.”
All the major railroads were double tracks and there were many trains constantly coming and going in each direction. So he had to pay great attention to his safety. Normally the trains moved forward on the left track so he would walk on the right track. This way, the trains coming behind would be on the other track and the trains coming from the front would be on the same track but they were easier to spot. However, anything could happen under special circumstances, and he encountered two very dangerous situations.
Master Protects: Encountering Dangerous Situations
The first time was when he was in Hunan Province. It was near the end of a very cloudy day. He was in a mountainous region, and he had gone through several tunnels. He was very tired and his feet felt extremely heavy. Then he was tripped over by a horizontal bar and fell very hard. He was down in between the rails and could not get up.
Just then he heard a loud train whistle and as he raised his head, he saw the bright headlights of a train quickly coming toward him. It was about several hundred yards away. It caught him completely off guard. As he was so anxious, he had even less strength and couldn’t stand up, crawl, or even roll away. The weight of his backpack also made it very hard to move. Just as the train was about to hit him, he yelled from the bottom of his heart, “Master Li please help me!” Suddenly, he felt a force lifting him up in the air, and his body floated over the left track, and he was gently put down on the left side. It was just like a dream.
It took a while for him to get back to reality, and realize what had happened. Thinking back of the scary moment, he was so grateful to Master for saving his life. He forever remembers the feeling of his body floating in the air.
The second time happened just a week later and he was already inside Hubei Province. It was also the evening of a cloudy day. He wanted to go across the left track to get to the left side outside of the railroads. He described the situation, “I carefully looked over behind me and there was no train coming. Then, I immediately walked over the several rails on the left track. Just as I walked over the last rail and landed my feet on the side, an express train passed through right behind me. The force of the hot wind almost swept me away. It was really just a fraction of a second! It was so dangerous. That train was also whistling and had bright headlights. How did I not notice it before?”
There were about one hundred tunnels that he had to go through. There were two extremely long ones – more than three miles. They did not allow pedestrians and there were police watching at the entrances. He had to find another way. Each time it took him a day-and-a-half to bypass the tunnel. The mountain roads were very hard to walk on, and sometimes there was not even a road or people for dozens of miles.
During this time he also had to watch out for police forces who were trying to stop people from going to Beijing to appeal for justice. The closer to Beijing the more there were. In order to go around them, he also had to take many detours.
Once he reached Xuchang City in Henan, he got on the highway and there were opportunities to get a ride that could have saved him a lot of walking. He said that he had encountered several kind truck drivers who offered him free rides, but he decided not to accept the offer. He figured that his karma could only be eliminated through bearing hardships. He traveled all the way by foot.
(To be continued)