On the 26th of October,a Chinese and a Western practitioner visited Stewarton Academy in Stewarton, near Glasgow, Scotland. They were invited by Modern Studies teachers to give presentations about Falun Gong to two 5th year classes during their Peace and Justice week.
|Chinese practitioner tells the class about his experience of persecution in China|
The western practitioner first introduced Falun Gong to the pupils, who had never heard of it, giving a brief history of when the practice was first brought out to the public in China in 1992, gaining rapid popularity and awards from the Chinese Communist Party due to its life-changing effects on practitioners, who strive to live according to principles of Truthfulness – Compassion - Tolerance.
She then spoke of how the then leader of China, Jiang Zemin, feared the popularity of Falun Gong was a threat to his own power. When seventy to a hundred million practitioners numbered more than the Communist Party membership he developed a deep hatred towards the practice. He banned Falun Gong, persuading the Communist Party (CCP) to align with his vendetta. Since the CCP has a history of brutally targeting people who are seen as anti CCP in various campaigns and it propagates lies, incites hatred and promotes struggle, the core principles of Falun Gong and its peaceful activities were irrationally seen as a danger to the stability of China.
She outlined some of the brutal treatments meted out to practitioners particularly highlighting the unjust treatment of children who practise or whose parents practise, such as being denied a proper education and being forced to write defamatory statements about Falun Gong before taking exams. Children are made homeless and orphaned when their parents are forcibly arrested and tortured to death by the CCP.
The practitioner asked the pupils their views on the information given throughout the presentation and they were shocked.
Next both practitioners showed some of the gentle Falun Gong exercises.
They then showed a DVD about rescuing the orphaned children of Falun Gong practitioners. Not only were the two practitioners visibly moved to tears, but many of the pupils, boys and girls, wiped away tears.
Following on, the Chinese practitioner spoke of his personal ordeal in a forced labour camp in China, how he had been tortured to the point of wishing his life would end and how he missed his young daughter, whom he had only spent one year with because he was detained. He spoke of his sadness of the fact that his daughter didn’t know him, because she was too young to remember him and although he was lucky to leave China and come to the UK, his family was still in China. He also asked for the pupils’ support through signing petitions.
The pupils were moved by his talk and asked him questions about his family and his experience. One girl was really worried about when he would see his daughter again.
A petition to help rescue the orphans and another one to ask the Prime Minister to strongly appeal to Hu Jintao, the current leader of China, when he comes on a State visit to the UK in November to stop the persecution were eagerly signed by the pupils and teachers. They also asked to keep some petitions to pass round the school. Many pupils took VCD’s and leaflets about the persecution.
The teachers asked if they could keep the informative banners the practitioners had hung up in the classroom, so that they could put them up at the entrance of the school for all to see. They also said they would write letters through the local Amnesty group to their MP’s. They warmly thanked the practitioners for coming. The teachers also offered to pay the practitioners’ expenses, but since all activities are free in Falun Gong, the teachers then decided to give a donation to the fund to rescue the orphans out of China.
A photographer from the Irvine Times, a local paper, came and took photographs to go with an article the paper is publishing about the Chinese practitioner’s experience in the forced labour camp.
After the workshop finished and the pupils went to their next lesson, they only wanted to talk about Falun Gong and the persecution rather than do their next lesson.
The next day they were again talking about the persecution and one teacher said they had been really moved by hearing about it.
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