(Minghui.org) Ms. Li Aiping (also known as Li Xiaohong),of Jingshan City, Hubei Province, applied for a passport in mid-May 2023, but her local police department refused to process her application. She was later told that she was on the blacklist of Falun Gong practitioners barred from traveling abroad. She was thus unable to seek better medical treatment overseas for her 25-year-old son, who became disabled from bone tuberculosis (a condition in which the tuberculosis spread beyond the lungs and affects the joints).
Ms. Li, 51, and her husband, Mr. Zhou Qing, around 53, have been repeatedly persecuted for practicing Falun Gong during the 24-year-long persecution. Their son Minghui was only one year old when the Chinese Communist Party launched the persecution of Falun Gong in July 1999. During his first eight years, his father Mr. Zhou, was seldom home. Instead he was either detained in various facilities for practicing Falun Gong or he was in hiding to avoid arrest. Because Minghui hadn't seen his father for years he worried that he may no longer recognize him. At one point both of his parents were incarcerated. When he saw other children with their parents, he wept and told his grandmother, “I want a daddy and a mommy. Can you buy one for me?”
Mr. Zhou, a well-regarded high school physics teacher, lost his job after he was sentenced to four years in prison in 2004. Ms. Li and Minghui had to walk 16 hours on mountain roads to the prison, but when they got there, they were not allowed to see him. Minghui often carried his favorite toy and said, “I will play with it with Daddy.” Sometimes he wouldn’t leave and waited outside of the prison for two or three hours, whether it was on a hot summer day or snowing in the winter, hoping that the guards would change their minds. When he called out in desperation, “Daddy, daddy…,” the guards came out and drove his mother and him away.
Ms. Li was hit by a big truck on her way back home from the prison one day. She suffered a comminuted fracture and the hamstrings in her legs were torn. Although she avoided having her legs amputated, she was unable to work anymore. With no income, she had to rely on her relatives’ help to get by.
Ms. Li and Minghui reunited with Mr. Zhou after he was released from prison in 2008, but the family was forced to move from place to place as the police kept harassing them and pressuring their landlords to evict them. The family then moved to Guiyang City, Guizhou Province (about 600 miles from Jingshan), and managed to live a relatively peaceful life for a few years. Mr. Zhou started a tutoring center and was doing well financially.
However, the Jingshan City police tracked him down in 2013 and traveled to Guiyang. They coordinated with the Guiyang City police to shut down his tutoring center. He landed a job at a private school but was harassed by the Guiyang City police. His family was once again forced to move, but they stayed in Guizhou Province.
Minghui was diagnosed with bone tuberculosis around 2019 when he was about 21. The condition became so severe that he had difficulty breathing and walking. He couldn’t get proper treatment, because his family kept having to move.
His parents eventually decided to move back to Jingshan City, Hubei Province, in mid-2020. The family didn’t stay together though, as Mr. Zhou and Ms. Li didn’t want their son to live on the run with his severe medical condition. Ms. Li’s parents offered to take in Minghui. The young man became paralyzed not long after he returned to Jingshan and he had a major operation on his spine. He nearly died during the surgery.
The Guiyang police couldn’t find Mr. Zhou or Ms. Li so they traveled to Hubei Province in June 2021 to harass Minghui while he was still bedridden and recovering from surgery. After the police left at 10 p.m., his grandfather was unable to sleep that night. He fell the next day and ended up in a wheelchair. Yet the Guiyang police continued to call and harass him and his grandson.
Due to the relentless harassment and pressure from the police, Minghui was never able to fully recover from the surgery. His back hurts when he tries to straighten it. He cannot stand for more than 20 minutes at a time. His mother wanted to take him abroad for better treatment, but she could not get a passport.
The details of the family’s suffering are included in the two related reports.
Taking Up Falun Gong
Ms. Li was born during the Cultural Revolution (1966-1976). Her father was labeled a “rightist” and her mother was under a lot of stress while she was pregnant with her. Ms. Li was severely underweight at birth and the doctor doubted if she’d survive. She did survive but suffered from anemia, chronic colds, and a host of other illnesses. She was so frail that she struggled to walk. She almost died after she had a serious illness episode. She later had to quit school.
Soon after she began practicing Falun Gong, Ms. Li regained her health. She was in awe of Falun Gong’s profound principles of Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance and felt that she had finally discovered something truly profound.
Ms. Li became kinder and more considerate both at work and at home. There was a public bathroom across from the Jingshan City Department Store, where she worked. There was no custodian assigned to clean the bathroom, but it attracted high traffic as it was in the downtown area with many visitors. Ms. Li noticed the situation and purchased cleaning products and cleaned the bathroom.
Many of Ms. Li’s coworkers ate breakfast after they opened the department store in the morning. They dumped the leftover food in a sink in the store’s storage room. The sink soon became clogged and stank. Ms. Li cleaned the sink on her own initiative.
Ms. Li and Mr. Zhou also never hesitated to offer financial help to his parents and his three brothers. One year, two of the brothers didn’t have money to pay their children’s school tuition, and Ms. Li covered the entire cost (equivalent to one month of her and Mr. Zhou’s combined salaries) when she learned of their struggles. For several months Mr. Zhou’s brothers and their wives and children all ate every day at Ms. Li’s home. It cost a lot of money to feed so many people, but Ms. Li did not complain. Instead, she used the money her parents gave her as a wedding gift to cover the additional expenses.
In China, it is customary for sons to provide financial support to their aging parents. Mr. Zhou’s brothers refused to give their parents any money even when their financial situation improved. Mr. Zhou and Ms. Li kept supporting his parents even after they lost their jobs due to the persecution. When the couple lived in Guiyang City, they invited Mr. Zhou’s mother, sister, and one of his brothers to vacation in Guiyang. The couple covered all their airfare, room and board, as well as tickets to tourist attractions. After the trip, the brother who went on the vacation started offering his parents financial support.
Ms. Li’s mother-in-law once told her that their relatives all envied Mr. Zhou and said he was so lucky to have a wife who practiced Falun Gong, because she was caring and generous.
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