Belgian Media Interviews Shen Yun Musician Who Suffered Persecution

On March 10, 2010, De Standaard, the newspaper with the largest circulation in Belgium, published an article titled "Abused in China's Prisons" on the second day that Shen Yun performed in Belgium. It was an exclusive interview with Mei Xuan, Erhu virtuoso with Shen Yun Performing Arts.

U.S.-based Shen Yun Performing Arts touring company gave three performances in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, March 5-7 and then continued their tour to the ancient city of Bruges, the Belgian tourist attraction, for two more. The success of the performances caused a great sensation. The erhu, a Chinese musical instrument, is played in the show by Mei Xuan. Her performance is exquisite, the music plaintive and melodious. At the same time, her personal experience of suffering gross abuse at the hands of Chinese Communist regime agents also attracted media attention in the two countries.

In order to get the story behind her plight, the main Dutch newspaper, Het Parool, and the Belgian newspaper, De Standaard, had exclusive interviews with Mei Xuan when Shen Yun performed in the Netherlands and Belgium. Following is the article published on March 10 in De Standaard titled "Abused in Chinese Prisons" ("Mishandeld in Chinese gevangenis"):

Between them, Erhu virtuoso of Shen Yun Performing Arts Mei Xuan and her husband, Jiang Feng, have spent several years behind bars for practicing Falun Gong, and they haven't seen each other for more than a dozen of years.

Mei Xuan said, "The first time we were detained, Falun Gong was not officially banned yet. That happened a few days later. My husband and I were separated. First, I was put in a prison, a prison cell, hidden in a hotel or a shop. I was forced to see videos that slandered Falun Gong, and I was ordered to renounce my faith. "I was soon free because my employer, an opera in China, urged to release me. (Editor's note: Mei Xuan was the principal Erhu virtuoso in an opera in China.) My husband was sentenced to three years of imprisonment. Every day I tried to visit him, but every time I was turned away, as political prisoners are not allowed to have visitors. In those three years I saw him only twice. I hardly recognized him: he looked terrible. He was severely emaciated and his head was shaved. He had been beaten. "

When Mei Xua's husband was released after three years, she, herself, was arrested. Mei Xuan: "I had everything prepared for his homecoming celebration, when the police came for me. I was in jail on a metal chair. I could only leave for the toilet. I was put in handcuffs and shackles. For 75 days, I was interrogated and pressured to sign a 'confession.' The handcuffs cut into my flesh, and my hands and my fingers swelled horribly, and my feet were numb. They said I could go home anytime if I gave up my faith." Reporter: "Have you ever considered renouncing your religion?" Mei Xuan: "Not then, but later, when I was in a cell with eleven other women. They put me in with prostitutes and drug addicts. One days a female guard threatened to beat the women with an electric baton if I did not give in." The guard said, "You are compassionate, but you're not willing to help your fellow prisoners." Then I nearly succumbed. I hated that they had to be implicated for my sake." Reporter: "Were you physically abused?" Mei Xuan: "I was regularly beaten by my cell mates. I once caught a guard peering through the keyhole to see how I was abused by my cell mates. Male prisoners were often brought to my cell to beat me. I was often beaten until I was unconscious. "I know several women Falun Gong practitioners have died in prison after the guards force-fed them through a feeding tube into their noses because they were on hunger strike." Reporter: "Did you leave China after your release?"

Mei Xuan: "Yes. I became an Erhu performer with Shen Yun Performing Arts in New York. I heard that my family was often harassed because the government wanted me to come back to China. Last year I became a U.S. permanent resident and my husband could enter the country. On February 18, 2010, he checked into the Shanghai Airport to join me in the U.S. I waited for him at the airport in Newark but in vain. He never arrived. I fear he was taken by the secret police." Mei Xuan told the reporter, "I want to tell people about his disappearance. I hope that the Chinese government will be pressured to release him."

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