Before Jiang came to Texas, practitioners in North America had launched the "Rescue Our Family Members" campaign and initiated a series of activities in the US.
Summary of the Campaign Activities
The Campaign was kicked off with consecutive press conferences in several major cities in Texas just a few days before Jiang arrived. After the press conferences practitioners began road trips with the theme of "Rescuing Our Family Members, Drive to Texas!" They started from four cities in the US and Canada: Seattle, Toronto, Washington D.C. and Atlanta. These practitioners visited major cities in many states where they held press conferences and visited local government offices. All the practitioners from the four routes concluded their journeys to Houston the day before Jiang arrived.
One of the purposes of the road trips was to clarify the truth to the US government and media, and to reveal the crimes committed by Jiang against Falun Gong practitioners in China. We would like them to know that as a result of the persecution, many thousands of families have been destroyed, and numerous practitioners have been imprisoned in jails and mental hospitals. We wanted to tell the US government and media that our family members are among these practitioners. Since the individual responsible for the persecution was coming to the US, we wanted to take the opportunity to appeal to the government and people of America to support our cause and condemn Jiang's regime. These road trips were also part of the global "Rescue Our Family Members" Campaign.
The Best Way to Clarify the Truth to the US Government and Media
The road trips left me with a deep impression. Here are some of my experiences.
When we told the officials of different levels of government about how our family members are being persecuted because of their belief in Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance and appealed for their support, all of a sudden, what happened to Falun Gong practitioners in China no longer seemed remote and vague to them. Practitioners told them their personal stories:
"My wife has been imprisoned in a forced labour camp. Due to the long-term torture, she has lost most of her eyesight."
"My father is a well recognised decent person who raised me as a single parent for eight years. He was sentenced to 16 years in prison when I just turned 18."
"My husband was tortured to death because he refused to denounce his faith in Falun Gong. Our daughter is now only two years old."
Through these real stories, we clearly established to the government officials and media the facts of atrocities that no one could deny. We also showed them how remarkable it was that throughout the persecution, practitioners have been standing on the side of truth and persist in upholding their belief.
During the road trips, other than visiting the governmental offices, we also called or emailed the members of the House and Senate to appeal for their support and to invite them to attend our press conferences. We did the same with the state officials and politicians, and mayors of major cities. We received many responses. Some asked for details of the press conferences for reporting to the supervisors, and some called even though they were unable to attend. We felt that they took our campaign quite seriously.
The Campaign also attracted media attention. Press conferences were a key component of the road trips as practitioners arrived in different states and cities. In whichever major city we stayed, media interviewed and reported about us. This time, even major media, that we had had difficulties in connecting with in the past, came and wrote positive reports about us.
In clarifying the truth to the governments, media and people in the US, we also asked them to write to President Bush about our situation. Our purpose was to help the government administration and decision-makers understand that the persecution of Falun Gong is unacceptable to the Americans. We appealed to the US government to ask for the release of our family members in China.
In appealing to the US government and media, we also mentioned about the successful cases of Lin Shenlin and other practitioners who have been rescued through the efforts of the Canadian government. We intended to convey the message that the voice of the American government and its people would have an important impact on the successful release of our family members in China.
A few days ago, we learnt that the Canadian Parliament unanimously passed a motion to support the release of 13 family members of Canadian practitioners. The Parliament moved that Jean Chretien, the Prime Minister of Canada, should bring up the issue with Jiang in APEC to be held in Mexico. I could not help thinking that if more governments, non-governmental organisations, peoples of the world and overseas Chinese communities participate in our campaign, the day our family members will be released will not be far off. Moreover, from doing this, more people will come to know the truth about Falun Gong.
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