UK Practitioner: My personal experience of being arrested in Beijing

On Wednesday 13th February I had been out with some British and Swedish Falun Gong practitioners to the Summer Palace and returned to our Beijing Hostel, which was swarming with police. Robert Gibson, one of the British practitioners came up to our room and said the police were coming. A few minutes later about 10 uniformed police burst into the room I was sharing with 3 other British practitioners. One police officer was shouting in Chinese and demanded to see our passports, which we showed. We told him that we had been to the Summer Palace and asked what was going on. He asked if we practised Falun Gong. The police immediately started to search our room and found a banner with “Falun Dafa is good” written on it. A man was filming the whole scene.

There was more shouting. The police said Falun Dafa was illegal in China and they searched our bags confiscating flight tickets, Falun Dafa books and my mobile phone. I said “Falun Dafa Hao” (Falun Dafa is good) and a policeman angrily shouted at me in Chinese jabbing his finger at me. We asked to contact the British Embassy. However this was refused as we were told we were not under arrest. A policeman then started to pull me out of the room and I sat on the bed saying that I was not going anywhere and I had done nothing wrong. Then two policemen dragged me out of the room and pushed me down the stairs of the hostel. In the foyer there were at least 10-15 police. I sat down on the floor, determined I was not going anywhere without my British friends. The other practitioners came down and two policemen picked me off the floor, one on each side of my arm and carried me outside to an awaiting police bus. Again outside there were at least 20-30 police. I started shouting “Falun Dafa Hao” (Falun Dafa is good) to them. They just stood there watching.

I felt a surge of confidence, thinking I don’t care what they do to me, I have come to validate the Fa [law/principles of Falun Dafa] and so I will let everyone know that it is good. I continued to call this out loud to passers-by as I was being carried to the bus. At the bus Earl and Robert who were now ahead of me were roughly pushed into the bus and then as I was peacefully resisting getting into the bus my hair was roughly pulled and I was dragged into the bus by my hair. I felt so charged by the power of Dafa
[Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance] that I did not feel any pain.

The bus was filled with police and the 4 British and 1 American practitioner. I sang the Falun Dafa song and was not stopped. From now onwards I used this opportunity to clarify the truth about Falun Dafa to the police. So I spoke to a female police officer sitting next to me. She told me to be quiet, but there was no conviction in her voice so I continued. We were then taken to a detention centre near the airport. Our bags were searched, we went through an x ray machine and they confiscated some Falun Dafa articles, my walkman and Falun Gong tapes. I was then made to sit with a group of police away from my British friends. These men and women were in their early twenties. I again spoke to these police about Falun Dafa. They really have been duped by the lies and propaganda fed to them constantly by their media. When I asked them if Truthfulness – Compassion – Forbearance was bad, they all thought it was good, but that Falun Gong harmed people.

I was taken to a hotel room by myself with 4 police officers for questioning for about 2.5 to 3 hours. I refused to answer all the questions and the interpreter told me that if I didn’t co-operate I would be fined and be in trouble. I asked to see a representative from the British Embassy, and said that they would have to let the Embassy come and see me if they kept me longer than 24 hours. My request was refused and I was told that I wasn’t under arrest, that they were just checking me and they could keep me 48 hours before the Embassy would be advised, I told them I wasn’t afraid of them. After that the threats stopped. I continued to clarify the truth about the persecution and I explained how the “self-immolation” incident in Tiananmen Square was a set-up by the government. I gave my interpreter a truth-clarifying VCD and she said she would look at it later. I asked her to pass it on to the other police officers and her friends. She told me she knew Falun Gong was good for health and she had known someone who had practised it before it was made illegal. I was then taken to a room to join 3 British, 1 American and two Finnish practitioners. We all stayed there the whole night and were offered food and drink, which I refused. We were given no beds to sleep on, not given washing facilities and were accompanied to the toilets. I removed my “confiscated” articles of Teacher Li from a black plastic bag and read them during the night. We also did the Falun Gong exercises and were watched by the sleepy police. One of the British practitioners managed to send a text message to UK practitioners surreptitiously when the police fell asleep. At every opportunity I clarified the truth about the persecution to the police. They did not want to believe that Falun Gong practitioners were beaten and tortured to death by their fellow police officers. The police did not return my walkman, tapes, Teacher Li’s articles or my bus ticket from London to Leicester [my hometown]. After 22 hours in detention, myself and the other practitioner I had travelled with were deported back to the UK. We were met by many welcoming practitioners and a press conference. I was busy all Thursday evening and Friday all day, constantly giving interviews for newspapers, radio and TV. Through the magnificent efforts of the UK practitioners we broke through the “indifference” of the British media to the persecution of Falun Gong in China!

By Rosemary Katzen

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