The Chinese government's attempt to eradicate the peaceful Falun Gong meditation practice has entered its third year with no signs of letting up. On the contrary, it continues to become more pervasive and more violent. With each passing day the contrast between good and evil grows more distinct and more clearly recognizable by the citizenry, both inside and outside of China. Taking advantage of the West's preoccupation with the terrorist attacks on the United States, Jiang Zemin has reportedly ordered law enforcement agencies to conduct a comprehensive, nationwide round-up of everyone who is or who has been associated with Falun Gong. Those arrested are being immediately thrown into jail whether they are actively practising Falun Gong or not. These new victims join the ranks of over 100,000 other innocent people who have been illegally arrested and detained since the persecution began in July of 1999. If these practitioners do not sign documents renouncing their spiritual beliefs, they face the grim reality of beatings and other forms of torture in China's jails, detention centres, and labour camps.
As a group, Falun Gong practitioners have borne up extremely well under the most severe tests their tormentors could put them through. Without a doubt, they have set the standard for courage and forbearance in our time and for many years to come. But for some practitioners, the continuous beatings, sexual abuse, sleep deprivation, and other forms of unrelenting torture have been simply too much to bear. In such cases, a number of practitioners chose to take a temporary way out of their suffering by signing so called "guarantee letters" and "renouncing letters," in which they promised to give up their practice of Falun Gong. The point must be emphasized here that the decision to sign these documents was not by any stretch of the imagination a free choice, but rather, one made under extreme duress.
Once free--and we use this word loosely, for no freedom as we understand it in the West currently exists in communist China--and recovered from the injuries and malnutrition they incurred in the jails and labour camps, a large percentage of practitioners who signed such letters under duress change their minds, repent their decision, and feel inspired to publicly re-establish their relationship with the teachings of Falun Gong. Upon sober self-reflection, and in full knowledge that in doing so they are once again inviting the wrath of the government upon themselves, many practitioners have been submitting "Solemn Declarations" to the Falun Dafa websites, Minghui.org (Chinese) and Clearwisdom.net (English.) Given the harsh consequences of publicly announcing one's desire to practise Falun Gong, the number of practitioners writing Solemn Declarations recently has been surprisingly large, with over three and a half thousand appearing on Clearwisdom during the last month alone.
What does this signify? Number one, it shows that, in the words of Teacher Li, "coercion cannot change people's hearts." This is true. Out of millions, only a small handful of practitioners have been truly converted to the government's point of view by the bestial behavior of Jiang Zemin and his accomplices. Even many of those practitioners who thoroughly succumbed to brainwashing and actively tried to brainwash other practitioners have returned to the fold and published Solemn Declarations recently, and their doing so has delivered a major blow to the evil forces.
Number two, the large number of Solemn Declarations is an indication that, despite its ferocity and some outward appearances of success, this persecution is not going at all well for the Chinese government. We have seen the limitations of brute force. It seemed to work pretty well to stop the pro-democracy movement in Tiananmen Square in 1989, but it has been a dismal failure in stopping middle-aged ladies from protesting in Tiananmen Square since 1999. When a government abandons law and justice, and instead resorts to raw violence to force its citizens to comply with its wishes, what then, can it do when violence fails? They have indeed reached their limits, and the only thing left for them to do is to constantly increase the violence until even the thugs hired to do the dirty work are repulsed by it.
Finally and most importantly, the large number of Solemn Declarations appearing on Dafa websites signifies the great power of the universal principle of "Truthfulness, Compassion, and Forbearance." There is no earthly power--including the combined forces of all the institutions of society controlled by a ruthless dictator--that can come close to matching it. As we can see, people would rather risk being thrown back into a labour camp to once again endure torture and other forms of great suffering than remain separated and cut off from this heavenly principle.
Although they had some human weaknesses and suffered from a temporary lapse in judgment due to being tortured, these practitioners who have written Solemn Declarations have indeed bravely stepped forward once again at great risk to their earthly lives. Through their great suffering, they have learned to distinguish between what is important in life and what is not, between what is temporary and what is lasting. They have seen that the purpose of life is not to be comfortable, not to become rich, famous, or politically powerful, but rather to elevate their moral characters to accord with the principle of "Truthfulness, Compassion, and Forbearance," and thereby gain something that is genuine and true and that exists forever.
When asked, everyone will say, "Yes, life is fleeting. We are here one day and gone the next." But how many people really live like they believe this is true? Only those who truly know what is important--those who know the value of "Truthfulness, Compassion, and Forbearance."
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