The Trip to Tiananmen Square by a Western Practitioner

I always thought very highly of China. Thinking about China, I associated it with words like wisdom, moral, yin and yang, dynasties and an ancient and rich culture, a culture that has given us so much wisdom, and these thoughts I have always carried with me.

In 1995 I had the opportunity to visit China. I came into contact, not only with practitioners, but also with China as a country. The trip and the contact with the nice people there were very fascinating. In 1996 I visited China on my own and stayed there for half a year. I got even closer to the Chinese people and the practitioners. I remember how every day I wished it would be seven o’clock so that I could go out and practise together with the other practitioners. One day I got the offer to come and live with a family of practitioners. They were so keen on having me learn Chinese. This family became just like my own and even to this day I keep in touch with them. The sad thing is that we cannot meet under normal circumstances and have normal contact as we are Falun Gong practitioners.

When Falun Gong was suddenly banned and when I heard that all these fine people that I had met, lost their jobs, their education and that their families were split apart – some of the practitioners got prison terms of up to 18 years– that the police were using torture in order to try to make practitioners give up practising, then I could not believe my ears. We practitioners have all the time followed Truth – Compassion – Tolerance, and are trying to raise our morals and show great benevolence. We always try to think of others first. Why are those good characteristics persecuted in China? Why are Falun Gong practitioners persecuted? Why is Mr. Li Hongzhi’s [Teacher of Falun Dafa] name being slandered? I have always believed that the Chinese people cared for what is good. It was like being given a punch in the belly. At the same time I received a scholarship to study Chinese in China. I was in China when the crackdown started and the practitioners were chased, tortured and persecuted. I could not just watch silently without finding out what was going on in this country that had also become a part of me. I met with practitioners in Canton and learned more about the horrible situation. Even though they were persecuted they tried all the time to uphold Truth- Compassion -Tolerance. I was arrested together with 14 other practitioners in a flat and taken to the police station. My first thought was, whatever happens here I will be a Falun Gong practitioner with great virtue. The next moment I thought that this is not the place for me to be, none of us should be here. We’re all good people. The world needs us. I was permitted to leave the police station after 14 hours.

In the autumn of 2001 I got to know about the trip to Tiananmen Square. As I had been in China before and been arrested, I didn’t give it a second thought. But one night I dreamt that someone asked me, “will you come along to Bordeaux?” I was both surprised and angry, and was asking myself why I would go to Bordeaux. But the voice said, “don’t think about it, it is enough that you do one thing well. I realised how important it is for me to take every step well, firmly and with determination. At the last moment I decided to go and take part in this demonstration. It felt very important to no longer just passively watch. I understood that this chance was meant for me. What we were going to do was the most beautiful thing that I have ever participated in. I applied for a visa. Everything went smoothly and I received a visa as well as purchasing the ticket in the same week.

We arrived in Beijing on Saturday morning (Nov. 17, 2001). I felt instantly that the atmosphere was strange in Beijing. I realised later on when I had met some friends that what I had been thinking was true. Jiang Zemin and his followers had succeeded in suppressing the people. Jiang Zemin had succeeded in converting almost a whole nation and let them believe that what they were doing was the right thing. According to him it is right to torture and kill good people and to eliminate Truth Compassion Tolerance. The saddest thing was that these people didn’t know the truth, didn’t know that they took part in the things that were happening, since they were passively following suit. They didn’t even know what Falun Gong is. What they did was to forbid humanity to be good people. This is not only the concern of China but the concern of all of us, all over the world. It is important that we care for each other. It was very frightening when I realised this. I wept in my heart, wept for all the human beings who would lose their chance if I didn’t step forward and stand up for Truth Compassion Tolerance. I realised that this was an emergency situation. My friends who had earlier been practising well had now become passive and fearful after two years of brainwashing. I left my friends with a sad heart. During the three days before the demonstration I had to let go of a lot. I had to let go of the illusion about the old China and that virtue still existed there. China’s only hope was all those people who practised Falun Gong, those who once again had realised how important it is to have high morals. But these people are now persecuted. How long do they manage to resist? I had genuinely looked up to China and hoped for them to be a role model for the West. When I enlightened to this, a great heart of enormous compassion emerged. It was like a force that was embracing the whole world, that saw the suffering of all human beings, and it wanted to help the people to feel the presence of Truth Compassion Tolerance.

When Tuesday came and we were heading for Tiananmen Square, I had a few butterflies in my belly. I felt a little worry, but the closer we got, the more determined I felt in my heart. I had the feeling that times would soon change. Today all eyes would be facing East. Today we would together with practitioners from all over the world take part in this peaceful manifestation at Tiananmen Square. A smile spread all over my face when I saw the other practitioners waiting for us at the Square.

When we sat down and started to send forth righteous thoughts I did not notice that the police were coming. But then I heard voices from far away and I looked up. The practitioners around me had disappeared. A passing feeling of abandonment came over me, but then I continued to send forth righteous thoughts [maintaining upright and true thoughts and reciting a Falun Gong verse]. I and another practitioner sat arm in arm. When they started to drag him away they also took me. We were continuously sending forth righteous thoughts. The odd thing was that for a long while they were unable to get us into the van. But a short doubtful thought had me being shoved into the car. When the van drove across the square I opened the window and shouted, “Falun Gong is good”, in Chinese. I wanted all people to have the chance to know how good Falun Gong is. I wished that I had been given longer time at the Square to show what Falun Gong has given me. How I had changed from a selfish person to a person who thinks about others, that there are many Falun Gong practitioners in the West. But the time for that had passed, I was sitting in a police van.

At the police station I once again experienced the meaning of the word compassion. I wanted to tell you not to close the door to goodness. It is right in front of you, dare to take it and feel the joy that it will spread around you. Don’t lose the opportunity, the door is open for you. My heart was so big that it reached outside the police station and reached the people outside.

After my return I was interviewed by Swedish Morning TV and they asked if I thought it was worthwhile going to China. I answered the reporter, “I made a choice, either to passively watch and accept when good people are being murdered, or to take action myself and put forward that I do not allow this to happen. It is not only me who doesn’t accept this, there are many people around the world also don’t accept it. We all want to live in compassion”.

I want to thank all good-hearted people in the whole world for all your support during the past two years. I especially want to thank the Swedish Embassy, Foreign Minister Anna Lindh and the Ministry for foreign affairs for all that you have done for us and for the Chinese people.

I wish to quote what a politician said when he was about to give a speech in support of Falun Gong. He said, “I came walking along the Avenue [famous street in Gothenburg, translator’s comment] when I saw people dressed in white and yellow. A moment ago this Avenue was a battlefield [on June 15, 2001, there was a riot in connection with the European Parliament summit, translator’s comment], but now harmony prevails here. I came to hear what a policeman had said to a practitioner. He had said, “Why didn’t you come earlier”. These words “Why didn’t you come earlier?” got stuck in my mind”.

In conclusion I wish to say to you all:

It is never too late to be a good person. It is never too late to stand up for what is good.

China, don’t let your rich history, where virtue is treasured most of all, be forgotten. Don’t forget why your ancestors said, “Good is rewarded with good, and evil is met with evil”.

Anne Hakosalo
Swedish Falun Dafa practitioner

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