The beautiful and mysterious sound of the erhu floated through the theatre as the musician's fingers glided gently over the strings. The tempo of the music accelerated more and more, like flowers blossoming wildly in spring, until reaching its peak--and the music suddenly stopped. The audience was utterly silent for several moments before long and thunderous applause filled the hall.
On the night of Feb. 13th, the elegant Chinese lady playing the two-stringed Chinese instrument on the stage of the Bezemes Family Theatre in St. Louis was Mei Xuan, erhu soloist of the New York-based Shen Yun Performing Arts. Shen Yun is a world-class show that is a revival of traditional Chinese culture.
So elegant and refined is she and her music--how could anyone guess that she endured 4 years of hard labour in a dark Chinese prison and even suffered unimaginable tortures.
In fact, she is not the only one in her family who has suffered so severely. She told her story while on tour with Shen Yun during an interview with The Epoch Times.
A Family Suffers for 10 Years
"In order to interfere with Shen Yun's world tour, the Chinese communist regime not only kidnapped my husband, Jiang Feng, on Feb. 18th, they have also threatened my whole family. My mother was kidnapped one month before Shen Yun started its world tour, and that caused my father to become bedridden," Mei Xuan said.
Mei Xuan said that ever since she joined Shen Yun's world tour in 2008, the Chinese regime's National Security police have never stopped harassing her family. "The police visited my sister's business and my brother's office many times, asking them to pressure me to leave Shen Yun."
But Mei Xuan's family all support what she is doing, so "their interference has not worked," she said.
Mei Xuan was preparing to travel with Shen Yun in November 2009 when she learned that her mother was again arrested and detained in a brainwashing centre in Anhui Province. The police threatened her and enticed her to pressure Mei Xuan to return to China. They told her: "If Mei Xuan returns to China, all the losses you've suffered in the past will be compensated. Mei Xuan's title as 'National First Class Performer' can be restored, and she can resume the job she once had with the government."
Her mother replied that she knew nothing about what her daughter had been doing in the US, and that she definitely would not advise her daughter to return to China.
One time Mei Xuan's father suffered a heart attack when he witnessed police taking her into custody. She said 20 police officers rushed through her door one day, arresting her, and ransacking her home. They took a computer, a printer, books, bank deposit slips, and some cash.
When her father saw the chaos, he sat on the floor, obviously suffering a heart attack. "Despite my father's critical condition, the police took me away by force simply because I'm a steadfast Falun Gong practitioner."
Her father was hit hard several times and eventually developed dropsy. Though he was told he had only two years to live, he has survived for eight years. She said he was the one who always delivered money and clothes to her when she was in detention. When his wife was abducted and taken to a brainwashing centre this past November, however, it was too much for him, and he became extremely ill. Mei Xuan could not stop her tears as she thought about her father's condition and his longing for her to return home.
Jiang Feng, Mei Xuan's husband, became destitute because of the persecution of Falun Gong. "The police hid in our yard many times trying to arrest him," she said. One time 20 police officers waited to ambush him, but he managed to avoid them.
Mei Xuan and Jiang Feng's first arrests occurred on July 20th, 1999 when the Chinese communist regime launched the brutal campaign to persecute Falun Gong adherents.
Because of her position as principal erhu player at a theatre, her employer bailed her out. Jiang, however, was sentenced to three years in prison.
She was able to visit him in prison one time but only with seven or eight police officers watching over them. During the following three years, she was never allowed to see him again.
Jiang was released on Nov. 30th, 2002, after completing his prison term. Just a few days before his release, Mei Xuan was arrested on the street and later sentenced to four years in prison.
A Chinese prison is simply a living hell'
When asked about her life in the prison, Mei Xuan replied with just one simple sentence, "It was like the reports on the Minghui [Clearwisdom] website [by Falun Gong practitioners]."
After being pressed with the same question a few times, Mei Xuan spoke about her brother's first visit to her in the prison. Her family, including her brother who is a prosecutor, had thought that her life in the prison would not be so bad. But her brother was stunned when he visited and witnessed her doing hard labor. When the two siblings met, they held each other and cried loudly.
The prison served stale rice and rotten vegetables cooked with water. Prisoners made clothing for export. They had to get up at 4 a.m. every morning and work 13 to 14, often even 17, hours a day. Sometimes they worked through the entire night. Police watched them 24 hours a day, as their bonus pay was based on the work of the prisoners.
There were about 200 prisoners, she said, and every day some of them died--some from exhaustion, some from illnesses that were not treated, some from work-related accidents, some from beatings by police, some simply went crazy, and some committed suicide.
Many people's fingers were amputated or damaged by sewing machine needles because they suffered severe sleep deprivation. "A Chinese prison is simply a living hell," Mei Xuan said.
Over a period of 75 days, Mei Xuan was subjected to brutal tortures. At the time she had been kidnapped by police who were looking for information about an attorney who defended Falun Gong practitioners.
"In order to get my statement, they kept beating me. I had injuries all over my body. They also cuffed my hands and feet to an iron chair. I was not allowed to sleep for 75 days. Even the chair changed and became deformed. For two and half months, they just kept me cuffed like that ..." Mei Xuan stopped.
There was a long silence. Eventually, she shook her head and said, "I don't want to talk about it anymore, that's it." She ended the conversation.
The Search for Answers Regarding Her Husband's Abduction
Mei Xuan still has no news of her husband's whereabouts since he disappeared in the Shanghai Pudong Airport before boarding a flight to the US on Feb. 18th.
The Epoch Times reporter called the Department of Consular Affairs at China's Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Feb. 22nd and told an official about Jiang's arrest by the Shanghai 610 Office [an agency specifically created to persecute Falun Gong]. After talking to a supervisor, the official said the situation must have been approved by the central government and had nothing to do with Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The reporter was advised to contact the General Office of the Communist Party of China's (CPC) Central Committee.
The call was made, but the person who answered the phone hung up immediately.
The reporter also called the National Security Bureau in Shanghai on Feb. 22nd; a person who answered the phone refused to reveal anything.
A call to the Shanghai 610 Office was answered by someone with the last name of Gong. When asked how the 610 Office is going to handle the incident, he said, "Need to understand what has happened."
Two officers in the Shanghai Pudong Police Station told the Epoch Times reporter that they were not aware of Jiang's disappearance, but most likely Jiang has been abducted by police from the 610 Office and the National Security Bureau. They advised the family to demand the release of Jiang Feng.
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