Why I Am Suing Jiang Zemin: The Persecution of Falun Gong Through the Eyes of a Child
(Minghui.org) I was a lucky girl. I was born into a happy family. My parents are both educated, and my family had a rich spiritual life. I was active, cheerful and obedient. I always had good grades in school. People admired my honest smile and my unselfish heart.
But something painful has haunted me for the past 16 years like a recurring nightmare: the persecution of Falun Gong that former Chinese leader Jiang Zemin launched in 1999.
My mother started practicing Falun Gong when I was three. The practice gave her good health and a spiritual path. She let me sit by her side while she read Falun Gong books. In a short time, I could recite many paragraphs from the books, and I learned a lot from the teachings.
I benefited from the practice, too. I have always had excellent health. I have never needed medicine. Practicing Falun Gong also helped me excel in other areas of my life. In kindergarten, I won first prize in Tianjin City for my dancing. In first grade, I was appointed class president.
My Sunny World Goes Dark
I thought my life would be happy and carefree forever. But everything changed on the night of July 19, 1999, when my mother was abducted by the police and taken to a black jail in a hotel. No one would tell me why she had been abducted or when she could come home. I was seven years old.
Two days later, television stations began broadcasting a lot of programs attacking Falun Gong. My mother later told me that those programs were entirely fabricated. Her firm stance angered many people in the local government. People from her work unit tried very hard to persuade her to abandon her belief in Falun Gong.
One day, my uncle, my mother's younger brother, took me to visit mom in the black jail. He told me I had to beg my mother to give up her belief, because if she didn't, the police would take her away, and she would never come home.
I was very scared and didn't understand any of the reasoning behind my uncle's words. But even though the hotel was chaotic and noisy, my mother was very calm. She told me not to be scared, because there was nothing wrong with being a good person and following the principles of Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance. She said we should not give up, because we need to let the government know the facts and clear up the misunderstandings.
Though I was very young, my mother's calmness and confidence convinced me. But I still couldn't understand why Falun Gong had suddenly gone from being a popular and good practice to an illegal one overnight–especially since Falun Gong teaches people to be good. I was determined to believe in Falun Gong and support my mother unconditionally.
My mother chose a correct but very difficult path. She lost her job, a job that she loved, and our family was repeatedly harassed by the police. Our home was ransacked by strangers working under the the local police. My mother decided to appeal to the central government, so she traveled to Beijing. Our family no longer had any peace in our lives. My mother was detained many times. Fear shadowed me all the time, and my fear only increased as I grew older.
I didn't know where my mother was detained or when she would be able to return home. Each day after school, only our empty home awaited me. My father would come home after his work and cook me a very simple meal. After I went to bed, he would go back to the office to continue his work.
I was woken up by nightmares constantly, but no one was at home to comfort me. I dialed my father's pager again and again, but he didn't show up. I often cried until I was so exhausted that I could fall asleep again.
I gradually learned how to comb my own hair, and became used to staying home alone.
My father became thin and stricken with worry. My grandparents seemed to age ten years in a short time, but I told myself to be strong. I was determined to hold our family together, as if my mother was still there.
I didn't dare tell any of my friends about my mother. I studied hard because I believed my mother would return home after she appealed to the government to stop the persecution. I had to show her that I was a good girl and that she didn't need to worry about me.
A Short-Lived Peace
The day before the Chinese New Year in 2000, my mother returned home, but she had missed my eighth birthday. Of course, we had no birthday party under such circumstances.
I heard that she had been in a cold detention center. I didn't want to accept that my beloved mother had been jailed. Her body was so weak, but her faith was still so strong. I chose to keep silent. However, I prayed in my heart that my mother would not leave me again.
I was eight years old, but I had long outgrown a child's naïve sense of security.
I heard that my mother had been beaten because she tried to protect others. I heard that many uncles and aunties who we used to be close to were also jailed and then sentenced to forced labor. Some of them were shocked with electric batons, or beaten with batons. Some of them were sent to hospitals after they were badly beaten. Some of them died.
Hearing the terrible news, my mother was still calm and said that being a good person was not wrong, and that we must explain the goodness of Falun Dafa to the government to let the leaders know about the brutality of the persecution.
My mother left home a few months later on June 26, 2000, when my grandma was not watching her, and boarded a train to Beijing.
Losing My Mother Again
Our barely-maintained “peaceful” life exploded. I hid in a corner and listened to every word the adults said.
I heard she was stopped outside of the Appeals Office in Beijing and brought back by policemen from our city. “Prison, forced labor or giving up [her belief)],” one of the adults said. Those words turned my life upside down. My mother was sentenced to one and a half years of forced labor.
My summer vacation started a short time later. My father sent me to my grandmother and my uncle's family because he was too busy with work. I worked hard on being even better behaved, and I learned to make sure that my words and actions would not make trouble for others.
A new semester started. I carefully kept the secret about my mother from my classmates. I pretended nothing had happened.
My father didn't want to let me see my mother at the monthly visit time. He was worried that my little heart couldn't bear it. I was also afraid to demand a visit with my mother. I could only cry when no one was around to hear me.
I later secretly found the address of the forced labor camp where she was held, and I began to write to her. I told her I was being taken care of well, so she didn't need to worry about me. I wrote letters and drew pictures for her.
Finally, my grandmother insisted and they took me to see my mother. The policewoman monitoring our meeting said she already knew about me. She said I was an obedient, pretty, and excellent girl. She said the letters and drawings I sent my mother had moved her to tears.
My mother held me tightly in her arms, and my tears streamed uncontrollably.
Back to “Normal”
My mother was released after 11 months of forced labor. Even after she returned home, she was not happy at all. She no longer had the job and position that many people envied. And the media was still filled with propaganda against us. My mother was frustrated and disappointed at the government's persecution of Falun Gong.
Watching the propaganda, I developed some doubts about Falun Gong, too. My mother explained to me thoroughly how the self-immolation on Tiananmen Square was staged to frame Falun Gong. She reminded me about the decade of torment Chinese suffered under the Cultural Revolution, the Tiananmen Square Massacre of students who demanded democracy and freedom on June 4, 1989, and the many other political campaigns against various groups of Chinese people. She told me that the persecution of Falun Gong was the Communist Party's same old tactics resurfacing.
Every time we talked, she always told me to maintain my genuine compassion and kindness and make my own judgments of right and wrong.
With her work experience and skill set, my mother quickly found a new job. Our family life returned to normal, at least on the surface.
I always worried that my mother would not return home around 6pm, that she would be abducted by those bad men on her way home from work. Each night as the sun descended to the west, an anxiety built up inside me. I could no longer concentrate on my homework. I would peek over the balcony toward the corner of the street until that familiar figure appeared. Then I returned to my homework.
Police Harassment Strikes Terror in Me
Our peaceful life was superficial. In reality, the harassment from authorities never stopped. During “sensitive days,” when the government expected that some petitioners might take action, local authorities would come to check on us.
The night of June 14, 2008 was just days before the Beijing Olympics. Someone knocked on our door claiming to check our water meter. My parents were making dinner.
My father opened the door and saw several policemen from the local station in plainclothes accompanied by a man from our community office. They wanted to take my mother away without offering any reason. They also didn't have a warrant.
The fear and anxiety that had been hidden deep in my heart erupted like a volcano. I curled up in a corner and trembled. But I couldn't cry or make a sound. I told myself to be strong and not to show any weakness that might distract my parents.
It may have been only a few minutes, but time froze. I was immersed in fear. All the previous gripping sad events of our life ran through my mind like a movie.
My father stopped them at the door, while my mother patiently explained to them from behind him. They insisted and insisted. In the end, my father lost patience and locked them out.
It was the first time I had heard my father yell. In my memory, he was a very polite person and had never raised his voice to anyone before.
Claiming My Own Courage
Eventually, I was able to view my experiences growing up with a sense of reason. I had realized the importance of a righteous belief. My mother was a good example for me. A decade into the persecution, she didn't yield to the pressure. Instead, she continued her cultivation practice. She appeared younger and happier. She has become ever more considerate of others.
I entered a prestigious university in Beijing in 2010. Four years later, I began graduate studies at the same university.
Away from my mother and our home, I relied more and more on the Falun Gong principles of Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance that are deeply rooted in my heart to guide me. My mother often called me on the phone. She encouraged me to be strong and to safeguard the holiness within me.
The regime's evil nature never changed. One day last summer, my mother planned to visit my father, who was working on a project in another province. The authorities appeared to know about her trip and arrested her the day before.
Police ransacked our house and took away her Falun Gong books, her computer, and her identity card. They offered a phony reason for the search and claimed that an unspecified person had visited our home at an unspecified time.
My father called me about the incident. My aunt sent me a text with more details. I decided to go home and face it.
The night was very dark when I arrived. Alone, I looked over our messy ransacked home. This time, I was not afraid. A much stronger power, faith, filled me. I experienced an unprecedented calmness and serenity. I was ready to face all the challenges, whether it was to be separated from my mother again or to be misunderstood by others. I would support my mother with courage.
My mother was released 30 days later. I was upset to see her so thin, but my fear had lost its teeth.
Resolving to Seek Justice
My life's drama entered a new episode this year.
My return flight from Vancouver to Beijing coincided with a large-scale military parade. As we planned, my mother was to receive me at Beijing International Airport.
As she presented her identity card to buy a train ticket, a warning was triggered in the system, and the police stopped her. They told her Falun Gong practitioners were not allowed to go to Beijing during the military parade.
When my plane landed, I turned on my cellphone and saw a message from my father saying that my mother was not able to come. As I contemplated how I would handle all my luggage, my mother called me. “Two policemen are driving me to the airport to pick you up. They will take us home, too. Please be polite to them,” she said.
We were the only passengers on that airport bus, and the two policemen helped me carry and load my luggage.
That trip back to Tianjin was the first face-to-face contact I had with this group of people who had suppressed us for so many years.
While they chatted, my mother told them that a policeman who beat practitioners in the detention center had died very young because of advanced stage cancer. She told them it was karmic retribution. She asked the two young policemen not to participate in the persecution of Falun Gong for their own good.
I noticed that their attitudes had changed. Instead of cursing and threatening, they became rational and explained again and again that it was just their job, and that we needed to understand each other.
This incident let me think more about the persecution:
Why are the heavens allowing this persecution to continue?Why are so many practitioners still risking incarceration or torture to tell people about Falun Gong?Why are there so many children who can't unite with their parents?Why are people in the police and judicial system still persecuting Falun Gong?Why can't the numerous cases of karmic retribution awaken some perpetrators?
I think all the answers point to Jiang Zemin, who started the persecution, but has yet to be punished. China will have freedom of belief only after Jiang is brought to justice and people who have learned the truth will not be forced to participate in the persecution. China's children will also be able to grow up happily in a moral society.
I came to a decision: I would also sue Jiang Zemin. My purpose is to let more innocent people learn the truth about Falun Dafa and let China enter an era without lies and violence.