[Editor’s note: Peter started to practise Falun Gong two years ago. In order to read original Falun Gong books, he started to learn Chinese by himself. Now he can read the main text Zhuan Falun and some other Falun Dafa books in Mandarin. Out of his appreciation for Chinese culture, he went to China. His intention was to travel, visit old friends and improve his spoken Chinese. In the meantime, he also wanted to tell people the truth about the persecution of Falun Gong because so many people have been deceived by China’s state-run media. Peter was aware of the systematic and widespread suppression of Falun Gong in China and he was quite careful when he talked about Falun Gong with Chinese people. Peter, his family and his friends were all surprised that he was arrested, because he only once distributed Falun Gong materials in a public place. They could not imagine how the police found that he practised Falun Gong. From Peter’s experience, we can see how widely and severely the Chinese Communist Party persecutes Falun Gong. The following article is transcribed from Peter’s speech.]
Let me first explain why I made this trip. In 2003, I started to practise Falun Gong. Through Falun Gong, I appreciated Chinese culture much more. One year ago, I started learning to speak and read Chinese by myself. Now I can read Falun Gong books in Chinese. I was hoping that during my travels, I could upgrade my spoken Chinese. Furthermore, I have been to China several times before. During that time, I met several people who I wanted to visit. I was hoping that on my travels I could see them too.
After two weeks of travel in the southern part of China, I arrived in a place called Dali in Yunnan Province. I stayed there in a hotel for a couple of days. On the morning of the 24th of May, somebody asked me if I had ever heard of Falun Gong. This person told me that it was difficult nowadays to get a book and he asked whether I knew anything more about it. I immediately knew that this person worked for the Chinese Government and they were looking for me. On that day, I thought about leaving immediately. I hoped I could just take a bus to go anywhere. But I decided to stay.
On that night, there was a knock on my door, saying that there was a telephone call for me. I immediately knew that this was not good but I felt I had no other choice than to open the door. Outside there were about 15 policemen. One policeman asked me in English if I could go with them for an investigation. We left the hotel. In the car, they wanted to blindfold me. I refused it because I felt very intimidated. They made me sit with my head between my legs, and they covered me with a dark cloth.
We arrived at what could have been either a police station or a branch of the “6-10 Office”, an agency specifically created to persecute Falun Gong with absolute power over each level of administration in the Communist Party and all other political and judiciary systems. They took out all the Falun Gong material from my bag. They confiscated it and gave me a list with my fingerprint on it. Then they made me sit in the middle of the room. There were 10 people in the room. Some were asking questions, some were running around with cameras and others were taking notes.
They asked me many questions. I did not mind telling them my good experiences of practising Falun Gong. I told them all about it. But when they asked me specific things like the names of people, certain events or things I felt that could harm other people, I was not willing to tell them. They were not satisfied with my answers and they told me that I was not cooperating well.
They told me that I have violated the Chinese law and would be punished. I told them that in normal circumstances, I would not violate the law and my intention was not to harm people. I told them that the persecution against Falun Gong is against Chinese law, because the Chinese law guarantees her citizens freedom of religion and freedom of belief. Of course, they said they did not agree with me on this point. Furthermore, they asked who sent me to do this. When I told them that this was entirely my own idea and no one had ever told me to do it, they were kind of disappointed and did not really believe me. But that is the truth. At six in the morning, they allowed me to go to sleep. The next day there was still some questioning going on. But they realized that it was not really going anywhere.
In these two and a half days, they only allowed me to go out once for 10 or 15 minutes. They did not allow me to make a phone call, which I requested several times. I felt that I should inform the Dutch Embassy and my family about the situation. They did not allow me to do that. They did not allow me to practise the Falun Gong exercises or to read the books. Basically I sit there all day and sometimes they came to ask questions. They made me feel that I could be released if I cooperated a little. Sometimes they made me feel that I would have to stay there for a long time and anything could happen.
On the second night, they told me that the next morning they would put me on a plane to a Southeast Asian country. The next morning, we left with three police cars. We drove to Kunming Police Station. There they took photo of me; they asked me to put my signature on a document stating that I agreed to pay for the plane ticket. They took my fingerprint and handprint.
They told me that since I had violated Chinese law, I would be expelled from China for 5 years. Then they took me to Kunming Airport and put me on a plane for Bangkok.
At the moment, I am in Thailand. I am happy that I have regained my freedom. However, I am still very concerned about the situation in China. I am sure that the treatment I received is not the same as Chinese people get. A Chinese person in my situation would be imprisoned for several years and even tortured. We all know from the many reports that have emerged that this is terrible situation is now happening in China.
I hope my experience will help the international community become more aware of the evilness that is happening in China and the extent to which the Chinese Government is willing to go in their persecution against Falun Gong.
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