On the 31st of December 2004, BBC Radio Leeds invited a UK Falun Gong practitioner called Alex to take part in an interview about Falun Gong and the ongoing persecution against the practice.
The interview was a follow up to a separate interview that was conducted earlier that month. The first interview contained a statement by a Chinese Falun Gong practitioner in Leeds who left China to avoid the inhumane persecution that is taking place there against people who practise Falun Gong. She recounted what she had been subjected to in China, including the loss of her job as a primary school teacher and the harshness of the persecution which eventually caused her to flee the country and come to live in England. Her tearful recollection brought the reality of the severity of the persecution to many listeners. Alex was then interviewed live by the radio presenter who asked about Falun Gong and why Alex went to China to appeal for an end to the persecution in 2002. The interview allowed many people who were driving to work or school in the morning to find out more about the practice and the persecution practitioners have suffered over the last five years.
For the second part of the interview at the end of December, Alex was asked to go to the BBC Radio building in Leeds to take part in a longer interview, lasting approximately eight minutes. This time listeners were able to gain a clearer understanding of Falun Gong and the persecution. The interview started with, “You may remember listening to BBC Radio Leeds a few weeks ago when we featured the moving case of a Chinese woman who now lives here in West Yorkshire, in fact in the city of Leeds. She fled China because she says she was being persecuted there. She claimed that it was because she practised Falun Gong, a kind of self-improvement technique which its followers say is based on the three principles of Truthfulness, Compassion, Tolerance. Well we’re told that it has literally millions of practitioners in China and all over the world, but the Chinese Government doesn’t like it. They’ve banned it.”
The interview then went on to include information about Falun Gong, why Falun Gong isn’t a religion but rather a practice for mind and body with a very loose structure and where the exercises are taught for free. Listeners were also able to find out that Jiang Zemin, the former President of China, initiated the persecution out of fear and jealousy. Alex was also asked about what happened in China when he went to appeal and was able to talk about his arrest and maltreatment at the hands of the Chinese Government.
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