(Minghui.org) Tangshan, the second largest city in Hebei Province, recently drew international attention after the brutal attack of four women at a restaurant in early June. These women were badly beaten and threatened with death if they dared to seek justice afterwards. As a result, no victims or their family members spoke out about the incident.
This situation worried many people including those parents whose children are college bound.
“Studying at a college in Tangshan means you need to carry a shield with you,” one netizen wrote, “Otherwise, you could be hurt soon after arriving there.”
“I would not allow my children to go to any college in Tangshan,” another one wrote, “Life is more important than college or career!”
From what I learned, the major colleges in Tangshan had low enrollment this year.
It is unfortunate that Tangshan gets a bad rap. Reading through the online posts, I remembered what my neighbor Jian told me about his experience in Tangshan while he was attending college there.
He said, “One day I was walking on the street when an elderly man greeted me. He looked very kind and smiled at me. He asked me which college I was attending and shared some tips on staying healthy and safe. In particular, he talked about Falun Gong and its principles of Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance, as well as how the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) makes up lies to frame Falun Gong and stir up the public’s hatred toward the practice.”
“Did you believe in what he said? Your parents are both police officers!” I asked. “Sure!” he replied, “Everything he said made sense and I could tell he was a nice person who really wanted me to be good.”
Jian said the elderly man advised him to keep in mind the principles of Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance, which he agreed. He also decided to withdraw from the CCP at the man’s urging.
I thought to myself upon hearing Jian’s story, “In modern China, those who accost people on the street are mostly sales people who just want to sell their products and make money. But there is a different group of folks who approach people simply to tell them about the goodness of Falun Gong and the CCP’s persecution of it. They only want to bring blessings to people. If I were a parent, I’d want my child to encounter someone like the elderly man Jian ran into on the street.”
As a matter of fact, I am a Falun Gong practitioner myself. I know from personal experience that practitioners were often targeted for upholding their faith and raising awareness of the persecution. In Tangshan, over 150 Falun Gong practitioners were detained following five mass arrests between 2019 and 2021. Police often spent weeks or up to six months following practitioners, eavesdropping on cell phones, and monitoring through videos or audio recording collected in advance. In each arrest, several or even dozens of practitioners were detained. Sometimes even their family members were detained.
One of the arrests took place at 3 a.m. on July 6, 2019 with more than 300 police officers dispatched in Zunhua City (under the administration of Tangshan) alone. Had the police officers been mobilized to target criminals instead of innocent Falun Gong practitioners, the safety in Tangshan would have been much better.
Arrests and detention were not the only terror that practitioners faced. Among the 150 plus Tangshan practitioners arrested in those five incidents, 41 were sentenced to prison with terms ranging from 6 months to 9 years. The average age of the sentenced practitioners was 66. In addition, two of them died due to torture while in police custody.
To make things worse, officials did not learn the lessons. After the restaurant attack mentioned in the beginning of the article, police launched a 100-day campaign to target practitioners. Officials harassed practitioners at their homes, videotaped them, asked if they still practiced Falun Gong, and tried to force them to sign paperwork renouncing their belief. Many police stations were involved and over ten practitioners were harassed and had their Falun Gong books confiscated. Among them six were arrested, including a senior engineer and a college professor.
Like the elderly man that Jian met, these practitioners merely shared their experience of practicing Falun Gong with others, hoping they could benefit from the practice. But these practitioners were instead arrested and detained. In fact, due to its proximity to Beijing, Tangshan officials have been following persecution policies closely since the persecution started in July 1999. By targeting Falun Gong practitioners along with the principles of Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance, these officials in turn further turned Tangshan into a land of corruption, crime, and chaos.
How to restore the trust, law, and order in society? Rejecting the CCP and returning to traditional values might be the only solution to these problems.