Working on the Real Bodies Campaign

By a practitioner from the UK
 

Over the last few months I have been one of the main coordinators for the campaign against the Real Bodies exhibition. It’s been an extraordinary process for my cultivation and very different from other projects I’d previously been involved in. I’d like to share some of this experience with you.

I never intended to be so involved with this project. When I heard it was in Birmingham I felt in my heart I wanted to do something, but couldn’t foresee how I might be involved.

I went to Washington DC for the Fahui, and because I couldn’t afford a direct flight, I flew to New York, then took an overnight bus to DC. I arrived the first day of the activities and I was a little later than intended. With two other UK practitioners I turned up at the Rally and press conference on the first day just in time as it was soon to start. There were thousands of practitioners and we were trying to figure out where to go. Along the way we met the human rights lawyer, David Matas, the other two practitioners knew him really well having worked with him for years. He was also trying to find out where to go, so the other practitioners said, “let’s find out together”. He had a lot of luggage with him so I offered to take David’s bags as we walked to the front of the Rally.

Before I knew it, we were with all the other VIP speakers. I tried to just leave David’s bags there and go back to where other practitioners were, but I wasn’t allowed to move as the Press Conference was starting, so I accidentally ended up being sat with all the congress people, human rights experts and other VIP speakers. I found myself wondering what I was doing there. There were about 5000 practitioners facing us and I was sat in my yellow Dafa tshirt with these American VIPs. I felt quite awkward to say the least.

The speakers were fantastic. Their knowledge about Falun Gong and the persecution was so deep and they spoke so well. I thought, wow, Americans are such good public speakers, this is so much better than our rallies in the UK. We have to do a lot to catch up.

To my surprise once the speeches were over, David Matas asked if I was joining them for lunch, I kindly declined as I was joining the march instead. All of this experience made me wonder what the arrangement was from Master.

The house I was staying in DC was with other UK practitioners and one of the practitioners was helping to coordinate efforts concerning the Real Bodies and had been speaking to David Matas and others. I didn’t think too much about it at the time, but was interested to know the progress.

As soon as I arrived back in the UK I had to go straight to a job. I’d been travelling for about 18 hours and then had to entertain a group of over-excited 6 year old children. After the party ended I was speaking with the face painter. She was an artist and had heard of Falun Gong. When I asked her how she heard of it, to my surprise she had been a staff member at an exhibition centre in London that held one of the body exhibitions years ago. We went and got a coffee together and chatted for about an hour. I knew I had to make sure the truth was clarified to her thoroughly to eliminate any evil elements that may have affected her from being involved. She was very moved and expressed how significant it felt to have met me. I realised afterwards this was also Master helping to guide me to get more involved in the project.

During the first sonant meeting I joined, the project coordinator couldn’t be there. In the meeting, the open letter was discussed. This was being written by another practitioner, to then get MP’s, academics and VIP’s to sign. That practitioner wasn’t at the meeting either.

I was asked to help coordinate a team of callers to contact academics. However, the difficult thing was, we still didn’t have the open letter. To be honest, I didn’t even fully understand what the open letter was at this point. I kept trying to get hold of the practitioner writing it, as I needed to understand better so that I could guide the team properly. But although I tried my best, I was unable to get hold of them. The other complication was that we wanted the letter to be from ETAC, the International Coalition to End Transplant Abuse in China. The Director for ETAC is in Australia and everything needed to be approved when it comes from them, including this letter. I noticed other practitioners getting annoyed with the practitioner who was taking time writing the letter and xinxing friction was building. But for me, I just felt a bit lost with what to do and was hoping to be helped by this more experienced practitioner, so it was more a feeling of disappointment. I realised there must have been an attachment for me that this was removing. I understood maybe it was because I was friends with this practitioner, there was some sentimentality that needed to be removed.

Eventually the practitioner emailed the draft to our small group. The letter didn’t mention Falun Gong though, so needed adjusting. Another practitioner felt the letter could be written better and wrote another draft. Then the practitioner from Australia sent a copy of the open letter they wrote in Australia for reference. Ethan Gutmann, a non-practitioner but co-founder of ETAC then suggested instead of trying to write new drafts every time, we should use the Australian version as a guide and just modify it to be in line with the UK situation. This felt like a really important reminder from Master. Working with practitioners from other countries on projects helps us become more solid as one body and we should use this to our advantage.

However I sensed that by this point everyone had become a bit deflated and re-writing the Australian letter was going to take some time. But this was now incredibly urgent. Quite a number of weeks had already passed and precious opportunities already lost. So I decided I better hurry up and get the letter done and stop relying on others so much. I worked closely with Ethan as well as the ETAC director from Australia, quickly adjusting according to their suggestions, and after quite a number of drafts, finally it was done and they were both happy to sign it. I realised I doubt my own capabilities too much and should just trust Master that I can do things. I believe we are all far more capable than we realise. I also realised through this that I often hold myself back, not wanting to tread on other people’s toes, but actually holding back doesn’t help anyone. It is an attachment of sentimentality. Although we must be considerate of others and act rationally, we need to put our whole hearts into projects and not hold back, but really do our best.

This also taps into something quite deeply rooted within me where my whole life I’ve felt that people don’t like it if I do well. I was one of the best at everything when I was at school. Friends at school would always be pleased if they did something better than me. This didn’t bother me as I would only be happy if they did well. Gradually I became more comfortable with people making fun of me and putting me down and more uncomfortable with people thinking I’d done well.

I was the youngest of 4 children and one of my sisters would sometimes be a bit jealous. Then later with work, when I was promoted very quickly in a job, I had to manage people who were twice or three times my age. I knew some of them really didn’t like it and it made me feel awful. My ex-husband would make fun of me a lot, most of my close friends would too. I welcomed others to be disrespectful towards me, and I think this was a lack of inner dignity.

So over the years it’s subtly squashed me. But looking inside, I found that this was my attachment to sentimentality, not wanting to upset anyone. Looking back, I always knew as I child I could do anything I wanted if I put my mind to it. I should have accepted the gifts that Gods have given me and done things well. I realise it’s not about me, there should be no sense of self, no sense of ego, its about what Master has given us and following Master’s path well. When you truly follow Master, all this attachment to self can gradually dissolve.

I enjoyed coordinating the calling team for the Real Bodies open letter campaign. I know many of them found the task difficult at times, but working with a team of practitioners and helping to support them I found so fulfilling. It made me really feel like practitioners are amazing – they find something so tough but still they keep going. I find it very inspiring. Even those who couldn’t do much in the end, I still could feel their hearts were there and it all contributed. Many academics had the truth clarified to them through these efforts.

One of the project coordinators contacted a number of VIP’s to sign the letter, and through this effort, one Lord raised two questions in parliament and even quoted our letter. Master was encouraging us all the way.

Next I needed to draft a cover letter for MP’s. I tried to pass this to another practitioner who basically passed it straight back to me. I had no time, but thought it’s ok, just trust Master, I’ll find the time. I got this done and wrote instructions for practitioners on how to contact their MP. Some Chinese practitioners very kindly translated this in Chinese too. It felt very positive.

A practitioner then contacted me to say that urging practitioners to contact their MPs now was too late, that there wasn’t enough time and that the MP’s would now be on holiday. I agreed. I said it was too late, but we still had to try. There is an English saying “better late than never”. I knew this should have been done weeks ago, but at that point there was no open letter, so we could only try our best in the little time we had. It is like in cultivation, I sometimes feel, why did I progress so slowly for so many years, even falling backwards sometimes, and now I feel like I have so much to make up in such little time? But that’s just the way it has turned out for me, it was all part of the lessons I needed to learn on the way. All I can do is the best I can from now.

To my surprise, more and more emails came from practitioners confirming either their MP was signing, or their MP was writing directly to the prime minister or other senior figures. It was all very encouraging. Some Chinese practitioners hardly spoke any English, but still they contacted their MP and got some very encouraging responses.

One Chinese practitioner spent a long time putting her heart into writing a letter for Lords. It was hard for her to get it translated into English, but with other practitioners’ help she managed it and a group of them worked hard contacting Lords. Some worried the email was too long and that the Lords would also be on summer break like the MP’s. But to our surprise some of the Lords responded and signed the letter. It was a great effort.

During the campaign I helped set up two press conferences. I had no idea what I was doing to start with. But I worked closely with the other coordinator and we prepared ourselves as best we could. The conference was positive overall, some ordinary media came which I found out afterwards was a first for us. The Times wrote an article and mentioned Falun Gong. Then the Guardian wrote an even stronger article, with several mentions of Falun Gong. South China Morning Post then used this article for their publication too. BBC West Midlands interviewed Ethan on breakfast radio that morning and he mentioned Falun Gong then too.

Despite this positive outcome, it was clear there was still much to improve. The venue was noisy, one of the speakers arrived hot and bothered as he’d rushed from the wrong station. The talk went on too long and some of it was hard to hear. In my ordinary work I’m an actor and presenter, so I like to see things presented well and my expectations are very high with this. I didn’t want to judge it too harshly but I could see many ways to improve for next time. It gave me confidence that I was slowly becoming an expert with this project through all the constant research it involved.

The second conference was different. The local BBC TV were there to do interviews before the conference started. It was held in a proper conference room within a hospital and the facilities were very good. We tried to keep the speakers to set timings to allow time for questions without it dragging on too long. All the speakers did a really great job. It felt a lot more professional.

We only knew when the second conference was happening five days before it happened. We had teamed up with Doctor Nicholl, who had been really proactive in booking the room and getting other doctors to join, as well as having a medical publication agree to write a piece on it. I realised the other practitioner who was coordinating had gone a bit quiet but didn’t have time to do anything. It was now Friday and the conference was the following Tuesday. We’d not sorted a press release or anything. I tried to get hold of this other practitioner to start organising things but couldn’t reach him.

So I realised again, I need to not rely on others so much and just take responsibility to get the job done. I spoke to Ethan and to Dr Nicholl and gradually became clearer on how things could be organised. A practitioner who usually writes press releases was away camping for the whole weekend with no computer and I wasn’t sure who else would write it. So I thought I’d better try and do it myself then. I’d never written a press release before in my life. So I used the one from before as a template and did my best with it. To my surprise Dr Nicholl thought it was good and seemed very happy. We just made a few small tweaks and changes, and I got another practitioner to proofread for me. By Saturday evening, it was good to go.
I then started worrying about contacting the press. Last time, this was all done by the other coordinator who I couldn’t get hold of. Luckily despite being tied up elsewhere he did eventually manage to email me all the press contacts, so I was now able to do it myself.

Contacting the press was a mammoth task. I emailed over a hundred journalists in the end, all individually. I timed it to send them all first thing that Monday morning to give maximum effect. Where there was a number, I followed up with a phone call. My son had had chicken pox, as well as being off school for summer holidays, so I was worried how I was going to manage this task of contacting press. But in the end, I just trusted Master and it seemed to work out.

Despite many difficulties, I gathered three powerful statements to clarify the truth. I also had to sort out the press packs. I was up so late the night before the conference trying to finish off this task with another practitioner who was helping. I didn’t get to bed until gone 3 in the morning and had a lot to do the next day, which included the long drive to Birmingham, sorting out my son, getting the press packs printed, buying folders for them, etc. I woke up later than I hoped and the whole day was then cultivation. Everything was difficult. My printer was being slow, my brother got upset with me, Birmingham university called me worried as the BBC had contacted them asking questions, my car had been vandalised and I was leaving much later than I planned.

I had realised though, all of this was an opportunity. I had decided not to be moved that I couldn’t get hold of the other practitioner. Though I would not have chosen it to be this way, actually this was an opportunity given from Master for me to do more. I should cherish it.

On my way up to Birmingham, driving in my little old car that had been fixed with tape, I recited the Fa, sent FZN and spoke to Master to ask for help. I told Master how in my heart I just wanted to do well with the task, that I didn’t want any of myself to get in the way of Master’s arrangements. I shed some tears and I felt Master knew my heart and wanted me to believe in myself more.

I heard most of Ethan’s interview with the BBC and he was talking a lot about Falun Gong. They didn’t use this for the final TV edit, but they did mention organ harvesting. It was still a big break through to have the BBC cover one of our events. I see this as a process. We can only save the person in front of us. Although the BBC reporter didn’t have time to interview me, I think he had intended to. I at least managed to go through the press pack with him. I showed him the statements and the open letter. I explained that I practised Falun Gong so I knew the lady who had been put in the labour camp. I could feel that he was a good man and was looking through the press pack with great interest. Then I remembered a practitioner had given me another pack about organ harvesting, which also had the DVD documentary. I gave him this too and he was very happy. I could see him reading the DVD box intently.

After this second press conference, Dr Nicholl was stunned by what he heard from Ethan and from the statements I read. It was the first time he had ever been involved in something with practitioners, so I think the day was really important for him. He said he was speechless. I was so pleased for him, he is a great man and I understand these ordinary people who help support so much, have made their own vows with Master. It is up to us to help support and guide them and give them opportunities to fulfil those vows, they are waiting for us.

I realised with this task, although we hope the UK law may change regarding these exhibitions, most important is saving sentient beings. It is an opportunity for us. We can’t get upset if laws don’t change- that’s up to the Gods. We can be upset if we don’t use this opportunity to save as many sentient beings as we can. That’s what our responsibility is.

I sincerely thank our Master for these opportunities and I hope to do better with fulfilling the vows I have made and to continue to relinquish my attachments.

Thank you Master, thank you all.

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