Mother and Son Are Reunited After Years of Persecution

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February 1, 2005 is a date that Falun Gong practitioner Zhiwei (Tommy) Xu and his mother Ms. Cui Zhang will never forget. Due to the Jiang regime and the Chinese Communist Party's persecution of Falun Gong, mother and son have been separated for 8 years, until their tearful reunion today. In the past 8 years, the family has experienced many tribulations: The mother was arrested twice for practising Falun Gong and her passport was confiscated; their home was ransacked; last July, the father passed away while the only son couldn't attend his funeral because of the persecution. Zhiwei has been actively fighting for his mother's freedom for five years. With help from overseas practitioners and support from U.S. Senators and Representatives, mother and son finally reunited after 8 years of separation. At O'Hare International Airport, when they embraced each other and cried, many bystanders were moved to tears. The New Tang Dynasty TV and Chicago Daily Herald interviewed them at the airport and witnessed the family's special moment.

Mother and son reunited after 8 years of separation

In 1997, Zhiwei Xu came to the U.S. as an international student. As he is the only child, his goal was to settle down in this free land and then bring his parents over for a visit. Of course, what the parents wished for the most was to be united with their son as soon as possible. However, such a simple wish became nearly impossible as soon as the Jiang regime and the Chinese Communist Party started to persecute Falun Gong in July 1999.

The mother's story

Mr. Xu said: "I was a very naughty boy and made trouble almost every day. I exhausted my parents and my mother's temper became worse and worse. As my parents were both low-pay workers, they had to work very hard every day. When my mother had just reached her 50s, she became very sick and it seemed that all her organs had problems. Her heart and stomach had very severe problems, and the hospital once even sent us a death alert to us. I gradually grew up through all of this and was the first one in my region to enter college. I could not help my mother at all. In 1995, my mother started to practise the slow, smooth exercises of Falun Gong. I personally witnessed how Falun Gong changed my mother. From a weak person with a bad temper, mom became a healthy easy-going, gentle lady. I sensed that my mother had started a new life, with vital energy arising from the elevation of her heart and mind. Mom said this elevation came from following the principles of "Truthfulness, Compassion and Forbearance" as taught by Master Li, and she said that her heart-felt wish was that everyone could experience the benefits that she gained.

However, countless happy families like mine were broken up after the overwhelming persecution started on July 20, 1999. Mom was heartbroken, and couldn't understand why the government would do such bad things to good people. She went to appeal to the local government and didn't get any response. She went to the local public security bureau to appeal, and she was then put under surveillance. After exhausting all the possible measures in her region, she went to the central appeal office in Beijing in January 2000. At the appeals office, she said that her only wish was to tell the government that Falun Dafa is good! She was then arrested, and sent back to her home district for further detention, with no family members allowed to visit her. Having gone through all these hardships and witnessed the escalation of persecution, mom started a hunger strike to safeguard her freedom of belief."

Zhiwei's mother said: "On the tenth day of my hunger strike, my health condition was still ok, which greatly impressed people in the detention centre and doctors who called my 'deity.' I am only an ordinary practitioner, and my second life was given by Falun Dafa. In China, people like me are countless, how could I denounce Falun Gong against my conscience?"

In April 2001, Ms. Zhang was arrested for the second time. This time, the reason was that she gave some of Master's Li's articles to fellow practitioners, and she was then reported by someone to the public security bureau. Her home in Wuhan was also ransacked by policemen who took almost everything, including Falun Gong materials, Zhiwei's letters and U.S. dollars he mailed back, as well as Ms. Zhang's passport. Because of the confiscation of her passport, it became nearly hopeless for the mother and son to be reunited. At that time, the son started a campaign to rescue his mother and exposed the illegal arrest of his mother to overseas media. The Wuhan Public Security Bureau then told the parents: "We hope your son will stop his campaign. Please excuse our mistreatment of you."

Due to the high pressure and fear gathered over the years, Zhiwei's father was completely exhausted and he passed away in 2003. The mother survived her husband, however, and had to continue to suffer persecution as well as loneliness.

While Zhiwei was fighting for his mother's freedom, he didn't expect that he himself and his wife would become direct victims of the persecution as well.

Local practitioners welcome Mr. Xu's mother Media interview

The story of a Falun Gong family living outside of China

Influenced by his mother, Zhiwei and his wife started to practise Falun Gong in 1997 and they started to promote Falun Gong in his university and local community. According to Zhiwei, "Most international students are under high pressure from their school load and meeting their living expenses, and Falun Gong made us more easy-going and energetic. My wife and I thus have gone through all kinds of hardships together without any conflicts. At the university, we had many friends as I was a good student, a popular basketball player, and people were always willing to help us. When we shared the teachings of Falun Dafa with our friends, it was very easy for them to understand. However, after the persecution started in 1999, the chairperson of the Chinese student association told me that our names had been reported to the Chinese consulate."

In May 2001, Mr. Xu obtained his PhD in Computer Science. He then moved his family to Chicago and started to work as a senior research scientist at Motorola Technical Centre. In Chicago, like many other practitioners, the couple continues to peacefully appeal for an end to the persecution.

Mr. Xu said: "Chicago has a Chinese consulate, which became a place we visited quite often, because I felt that it was the only place for us to voice our heart-felt wishes. We only want the consulate to pass on our appeal: Stop the persecution of Falun Gong. At the same time, I also accepted many media interviews to speak out for my mom and other practitioners in China. I also gave speeches at many press conferences to call for an end to the persecution."

At the end of 2001, Harry, the son of Mr. Xu, was born. Mr. Xu said: "From then on, I came to a better understanding of the love of parents. I really hoped my parents could hug their only grandson. My mother, unfortunately, not only lost her passport, but also the rights of a citizen and a grandmother."

In April 2002, when their son was 5-months old, Zhiwei went to the Chinese consulate to renew his passport, as it was about to expire. However, officials at the consulate refused to renew it. Consequently, Xu doesn't have a valid passport. He said: "I knew that the consulate had collected our names; however, I thought there shouldn't be a problem with my passport renewal because it is my basic right as a Chinese citizen. I never realised that Falun Gong practitioners don't have any rights according to the Chinese Communist Party's rules."

Reportedly, the reason for not renewing Xu's passport was that Xu had "harmed national security!" However, such a huge charge has no basis or legal foundation. The consulate staff only repeats orders from higher up again and again, claiming that it was beyond their control. Without a valid passport, Xu could not go back China to visit his parents and the family reunion became even less likely.

Overseas Rescue and Voice of Justice

Since the persecution started, Mr. Xu never stopped his campaign to rescue his mother. He accepted media interviews, visited senators and congressmen, and took part in public activities to tell his mother's story. Consequently, more and more people learned the family's story and showed their support: His co-workers helped him to contact media, and the offices of senators and congress members contacted the Chinese embassy on his behalf. After his mother regained a passport, everything from obtaining a visa to entering the U.S. was very smooth. With help from everywhere and voices of justice, mother and son finally reunited.

In the airport, many people were moved to tears upon seeing the touching moment. Accepting a media interview, Mr. Xu said: "It should be a very simple thing for a mother to come to the U.S. to visit her son; however, it took us 5 years to bring it to reality. Because of the persecution of Falun Gong by the Chinese Communist Party, my family has been separated for 5 years. The party itself is so inhumane that it can't tolerate the principles of "Truthfulness, Compassion and Forbearance." It is Jiang Zemin and the Party who launched this unprecedented persecution which has resulted in tens of thousands of broken families. My family is just one of them. So, why can my mother and I get reunited? It is because of the support and help from more and more kind-hearted people and all my fellow practitioners. Our success has reassured me that the persecution won't last long, and it is predetermined that the persecution will collapse. I am sure that the Chinese people will one day enjoy freedom of belief and all fundamental human rights, and humanity will prosper."

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