Experiences in Establishing Swedish Radio Program “Falun Gong Time” (Berlin Fa-conference 2003)

Greetings to everyone!

About two years ago I drove a Chinese practitioner to a meeting in one of the suburbs of Gothenburg. I offered her help with the Swedish language, which she at that point did not know very well and also to fill in the bureaucratic application forms needed for a permit to broadcast radio programs in Sweden. She wanted me to join her to broadcast the radio program “Falun Gong Time” in Swedish. I was absolutely sure I did not want to. Deep inside I was probably too afraid of all the technology and to speak in public, since many people would listen to the radio and evaluate our work. I defended myself by telling her that broadcasting in English would be much better because then more people would be able to understand, and besides, someone else would have to do it because my English was a bit limited. During this time I felt like I was slowly but steadily pulled into the radio project, and I felt like I had no choice. I took part in each broadcast of the Chinese programs as a technician, and then from not wanting to speak on the radio I said after a while; “OK, let’s give it a try.” So, from the beginning I was very reluctant, but three months after the Chinese broadcast had begun, I was sitting there in the studio and was about to broadcast our first radio program in Swedish. That was on the 5th of April 2002. As of today we have broadcasted for about a year and a half, and about one month ago we made our first program almost completely in English.

None of us had any knowledge about radio before we started the broadcasting; there were no ready-made materials available in Swedish. I had to learn to do interviews, reports and various other things that must be included in a radio program, and I have ever since produced and together with some other practitioners broadcasted a one-hour radio program in Swedish every week. It has been interesting but oftentimes tough, since the work is very time-consuming.

Last spring I started to wonder if producing and broadcasting radio programs really was the right thing for me to do during this period. Before I started working with the radio, I had a lot of contact with high ranking politicians and was often out speaking to people about Falun Gong, I felt that this work was very important, and in this way I reached out to many “important” people. I was not sure I could achieve the same result with radio. Since we started to do the radio broadcast, I have hardly had time to do other things. I wondered if the heavy workload really was worth the outcome, or if I should stop the radio broadcasting and go back to contacting politicians.

About one month later the Chinese consulate, the consul general himself, tried to stop our radio program. By spreading his misleading propaganda about us, he personally tried to get the head of the radio station to stop our program and when that did not succeed, to get the City Executive Board to withdraw their subsidies to the radio station if our program was not stopped. This incident came to our knowledge in august when we found a little blue book titled “The Truth” [A book slandering Falun Gong], which the consul general had left behind at the radio station.

This incident directly answered all of my question I was thinking about. I now understood that if the Chinese consulate wanted to stop our radio program, then it is of outmost importance that Radio Falun Gong Time continues, to explain facts about Falun Gong and the persecution. Clearly, they are very scared when we expose all what they want to conceal to the surrounding world, and they are afraid of the truth we broadcast which can reach thousands of people and change their hearts, especially now when it is possible to listen to the program live, on the Internet, around the entire world. It even seems that the Chinese Consulate listens to our program, so at the end of each program when we thank all our listeners, we now also particularly thank the Consulate for listening.

We all agreed that this incident should be exposed and be used for our purposes to reveal what is happening in China and explain the facts as much as possible. We reported this to the police since we considered this a crime against the Fundamental Law of Freedom of Expression. We wrote letters to all of the local politicians and also met some of them, who in turn contacted the government and the minister of foreign affairs. We held a press conference and newspapers, radio and TV reported a lot about this, and the Chinese consulate along with the consul general received a lot of criticism, especially since a new "agreement of collaboration" regarding cultural and business exchange between Gothenburg and the sister city Shanghai in China was to be negotiated during the coming days.

My understanding is that the problems we encounter along our path, no matter whether they are caused by our attachments or not, are chances given to us which always can be turned into something that helps us practitioners in clarifying the facts to more people. These incidents give us obvious reasons to contact people we otherwise wouldn't otherwise get in touch with in a natural way. It also helps more people to understand that their wicked actions always come back up them. It also let more people know: no matter what they [Those who persecute Falun Gong] do, it is like picking up a rock only to drop it on their own feet.

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