From a Good Friend: Falun Gong, They Are For Real

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(Excerpt from Epoch Times, May 21st) As early as 1997, I had read Falun Gong books. After finishing them, I tossed them back to my Falun Gong friend with an uncomplimentary comment, "How come they still talk about these things when we have progressed to such an advanced era." Due to a busy schedule, I gradually lost contact with that friend. But for no apparent reason, I have been closely following news about Falun Gong, especially after July 1999. Watching the continuous defamation and physical abuse against Falun Gong, I started to realize that it represents a very big issue: How can a world power treat its own innocent citizens practicing cultivation as targets of such a "class struggle?" Isn't this a cruel joke on a grand scale?

With these doubts in my mind, I printed out some overseas reports on Falun Gong on the Internet and read them for clues to those questions. At the end of 1999, when I went back to China to have a reunion with my family, I once brought up Falun Gong as a topic in our conversation, and found that my mother was so scared that her face turned ashen immediately. She said with much trepidation, "Just on account of this, you could be detained, and then our whole family would never be left in peace." Not only my aging mother, but wherever I went, every relative and friend I met in China had much the same reaction upon my mentioning Falun Gong. This was the first time I have ever experienced the so-called "red terror." Actually, it was not Falun Gong itself that made people nervous; rather, it was people's fear of being persecuted that had been so firmly implanted into their minds.

This trip back home provided me with an opportunity to think deeply about Falun Gong as well as the motive of some people in the government to persecute it. Let's begin with that fear. Every person living in China is scared to death by political campaigns of every kind. They are afraid of what the editorials of the Xinhua News Agency, the government's mouthpiece, might say and what might be the next target of the government's persecution. The Party's history has been filled with destroying political rivals and bitter in fighting. This has deeply instilled a great deal of fear into people's minds. Taking a look at the Party's history of intrigue and infighting, those who gave honest opinions were truly hard to find, because they did so at the cost of their lives. This is also why their names have stood out and been included in history -- all the others have buried their dignity and conscience under fear and betrayal. Today, the Party has amassed more and crueller methods to torture people. Only Falun Gong is still continuing with their peaceful resistance. And this resistance is purely based on one approach, which is, not giving up "Truthfulness-Benevolence-Forbearance." Their calm fearlessness has truly shaken me. I am convinced that they are really serious about practicing "Truthfulness-Benevolence-Forbearance." I honestly gauged myself and found that I could not say that I would not tell any lies when my job, normal life and personal security were in danger, nor can I say that I would keep silent when my personal interests were being compromised. If a picture of Falun Gong's founder were placed at the steps of a bus, I guess I would have no choice but to tread on it lest I be taken away. However, Falun Gong disciples can sacrifice everything, including their lives, only for the sake of one single word--"Truthfulness." Their "foolishness" truly shamed and moved me. I could not help admiring Falun Gong for its followers, these most ordinary citizens who, one after another, have overcome their fear amidst this reign of terror. I was forced to rethink why Falun Gong is able to reshape these lives.

Is this because they believe in gods? It is true those people who believe in gods would believe that a human being never truly dies. But I myself believe in gods too, so why can't I be like them in choosing death rather than giving in? To be honest, it is really beyond my capacity to not fear death, or to not tell lies when it is clear that the consequence is imprisonment and torture. Put simply, the principle of "Truthfulness-Benevolence-Forbearance" has completely renewed these most ordinary people, since they truly try to live by that principle. Many people have concluded that it is hopeless to try to reason with Falun Gong practitioners, as they are both stupid and stubborn. As far back as before the persecution against Falun Gong in China began, a friend told me, "Those Falun Gong practitioners really see money as dirt. Whether it is promotions or bonuses, those guys just don't care at all." Now, faced with brutal torture and the terror of persecution, they would still not say one word against their conscience even at the cost of their lives. Some might think they cannot be reasoned with--and I might have agreed with this before--but now, I have started to re-evaluate Falun Gong. In truth, I respect them. I respect their dignity, their courage to safeguard their belief, their tenacity, and their ability to take lightly even life and death. Truly, this isn't a realm that an ordinary person can be expected to attain.

Some also argue that those practitioners chose to do so because they had become addicted and obsessed. Put differently, they had started to suffer from some form of mental illness. For instance, although they fully understand the consequences of unfurling a banner in Tiananmen Square, which are heavy prison sentences or being sent to labour camps, they still go there in spite of the government's policy against it. Isn't this asking for trouble? Surely it's a sign of some mental illness. Actually, not only is my friend who practices Falun Gong not insane, every Falun Gong practitioner I have met with is mentally healthy. You may have seen what it is like in a mental hospital. All the patients there are very docile thanks to the fear of electric batons and drugs -- never have we ever heard of one case where electric batons have failed to subdue a psychotic. If you believe Falun Gong practitioners are insane, how come they carry on despite all the high-voltage shocks? Now that it has become clear that those people are not psychotic, then there is only one possibility left, that they are truly remarkable! Their lifestyle is not like others, as they pursue neither money nor fame. What makes me respect them the most is their transcendence of the deeply ingrained Chinese notion of self-preservation at all costs.

When Jiang selected Falun Gong as the avenue for strengthening his own political power, I believe he chose very poorly. He knows better than anyone else that Falun Gong does not want his power and what kind of people they are. Maybe Jiang is thinking to himself right now, no matter what, I should not have gone after Falun Gong. He never imagined that Falun Gong practitioners had so much determination and courage. He knows Falun Gong practitioners cannot be deceived; now he is just going after people like you and me. As long as we continue to docilely accept everything he feeds us, we will forever remain in his palm.

I sent my friend an e-mail: I completely support you, but no matter how fearless you are of death, when necessary, please still do be careful!


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