Interview with Falun Gong Practitioner Dai Zhizhen in Front of the Liberty Bell in Philadelphia (Part 1)

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On the 29th of July, 2004, Ms. Dai Zhizhen held media interviews in front of the Liberty Bell in Philadelphia. She described how her husband was persecuted to death in China for practising Falun Gong. The following report is the interview of Dai Zhizhen with a reporter for a Falun Gong related website Pure Insight by reporter Li Qingyun.

Li: Could you talk about your feelings after visiting the Liberty Bell in Philadelphia?

Dai: The Liberty Bell represents democracy and freedom. All my family members practise Falun Gong, and we believe in the principles of Truthfulness, Compassion and Forbearance. Because of that belief, my husband was persecuted to death. Nowadays, thousands of Falun Gong practitioners in China are suffering from the same persecution and hardship that my family has experienced. The reason why my daughter and I are able to survive is because we hold Australian passports. I deeply treasure the opportunities to speak out on behalf of other practitioners.

Li: From a news report, I read about your husband being persecuted to death in China. Could you talk about your circumstances and experience upon your hearing about the news?

Dai: Three years ago, on the 26th of July, 2001, my roommate read the news about my husband’s death on the Internet. She was afraid that I could not bear it. At around seven o’clock on the next morning, before she went to work, she finally decided to tell me. She asked me to come with her and take a look at an article on the Internet. At that time, my daughter Fa Du was still sleeping. I went over and looked at the article. I went into shock and began to tremble uncontrollably as soon as I read the news. It said that the decomposed remains of my husband had been found. The authorities called my husband’s sister to identify the body. When she got there, she was arrested and sent to a forced brainwashing class. I turned to look at my daughter, who looks a lot like her father. I could see my husband in her. My heart was broken. I locked myself in the room and did not want to see anyone. My hair turned white over night. The pain was beyond description. I am really grateful that Falun Gong teaches me to consider others first. After I immigrated to Australia, I had gone back to China and lived there for eight years. Many of my good friends there are in jail because they practise Falun Gong, and their children suffer from the pain of losing their parents. I decided that, as a mother, I must speak up for those children. If I didn’t do it, who would do it? So in 2002, I took my daughter to attend the International Human Rights Conference in Geneva, calling for all mothers around the world to help stop the torture of Falun Gong practitioners. From Geneva, I began to travel around the world urging people everywhere to help end the persecution against Falun Gong.

Li: Do you remember how many countries and cities you have visited?

Dai: We have been to 38 countries. I have lost count of how many cities we have been to. The Chinese government has been spreading hatred and lies against Falun Gong. I must tell more people about the truth in order to stop the persecution as soon as possible.

Li: In those countries that you’ve visited, what is the reaction from their people and media?

Dai: Every country has published media reports about us, including many newspapers, radio and TV stations. Wherever we go, we speak to the country’s foreign affairs departments, human rights organisations and other non-government organisations. Many are surprised to learn that such a gruesome persecution is taking place in the 21st century, especially one that is so organised.

Li: You are one of the plaintiffs who has filed a lawsuit against the Chinese dictator and former President Jiang Zemin. Some people think that it is a useless thing to do. Do you think filing the lawsuit is a worthwhile thing to do?

Dai: Of course it is very worthwhile. Many famous lawyers throughout the world have taken part in it. Why are they (the Chinese officials) afraid of it? Last month, my good friend David Liang was shot in the foot in South Africa and he was seriously injured. He helped me a lot when I was going through an extremely difficult period of time. At that time, I wanted to go back to China to collect my husband’s ashes. But the Chinese Consulate General rejected my visa application to visit China. Liang drove six hours and took me from Sydney to Canberra, the capital city of Australia, so that I could meet with Australian government officials and talk about my plight. After eight months, the Australian government finally brought my husband’s ashes back to me. When I heard about David’s being shot, I brought my daughter with me to South Africa to confront the terror. The Chinese regime has spread its terrorist activities overseas. If we do not stop it, what other things will happen in future? I really do not want to see other children and mothers experience the heartbreak of losing a family member that I’ve experienced. Isn’t my suffering enough? Why did the Chinese regime shoot Liang? It is because they are afraid of the lawsuit that we were planning to file there. We have filed the lawsuit in the U.S., Belgium, Germany, Spain, Finland and many other countries. The head of the 610 office (an organisation set up to solely persecute those who practise Falun Gong) Zeng Qinghong went to visit South Africa and Falun Gong practitioners went there to take legal action against him. So he hired goons to kill Falun Gong practitioners. He did it because he is afraid of the lawsuit that we were about to file. That is why I think filing the lawsuit is very important.

Li: Some people think that it is getting involved in politics. What do you think?

Dai: When people get involved in politics, they demand things. But we don’t have any demand. All we want is to be able to practise Falun Gong in public parks and read the teachings of Falun Gong at our homes. These are the most basic human rights, and this is not getting involved in politics. But in China, if you do these things, you will be put into brainwashing classes, labour camps or psychiatric hospitals. Practitioners are tortured in a variety of despicable, inhuman methods in attempts to force them to give up their beliefs in Falun Gong. The Chinese authorities also try to brainwash them. You are left with only two choices: to either let your physical body die or your spirit die. When I reflect on my husband’s death, I ask myself why he didn’t give up his belief in Falun Gong even at the very end. It is because the principles of Truthfulness, Compassion and Forbearance are rooted in our hearts and no external force can take it away from us. Although my husband has passed away, my daughter and I want to trek around the world and tell all people that the principle of Truthfulness, Compassion and Forbearance cannot be wiped away. When we take a look at history, we can see that Christianity was persecuted for 300 years. But it remains to this day. History can show people that people’s beliefs can’t be taken away.

Li: Are there many families in China who have suffered the same experience as yours?

Dai: Some families have suffered even worse than my family. I often tell my daughter that she is very lucky already, because she has a mother in Australia. But in China, many little children have lost both their fathers and mothers. Nobody looks after them. They are forgotten by the rest of the world.

Li: What is your greatest wish now?

Dai: To stop the persecution in China. To stop the terrorism of the Chinese regime from spreading overseas.

[To be continued…]

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