Frankfurter Rundschau: “Beijing Prisoners for 23 Hours”

Upon their Return, Falun Gong Followers Relate their Experiences

November 22, 2001

Frankfurt, Germany- Eight members of Falun Gong, which is banned in China, who had been arrested last Tuesday after a demonstration at Tiananmen Square in Beijing, returned to Frankfurt on Wednesday. Four of the 35 demonstrators are from the Frankfurt area. At the airport they told of their experiences.

"We had closed our eyes [for meditation]. As soon as we had closed them, we heard the squeal of car tires," told Peter Recknagel from Steinbach. [A town close to Frankfurt] The demonstrators had assembled at Tiananmen Square "to point out the Chinese regime's mode of operations against Falun Gong." According to their information, over 300 followers have been tortured to death while in custody. The group [of demonstrators] carried a banner with the lettering "Truthfulness, Compassion and Tolerance," the principles of Falun Gong. The police removed them from the Square, "some being beaten, some being kicked," related Peter Recknagel. At first they were incarcerated in a jail cell in the basement of the police headquarters in Beijing, but were later transferred to a hotel near the airport. There were no other guests, so said Peter Recknagel. Around 60 police officers subjected the demonstrators to individual interrogation and questioned them for the names of organizers. Most of the officers had been amiable, Recknagel recalls. The group was under detention for a total of 23 hours.

"I wanted to visit the land where the teachings originated," related Monika Weiss from Frankfurt/Sachsenhausen. Through contact with other practitioners, the group quickly swelled to 30. "We had a vision, to create awareness of the plight of the practitioners in China," so said the former "cutter" at Hessische Rundfunk [a radio station]. She had no fear, although she anticipated being arrested. "I had the feeling that I would not suffer any misfortune."

Nobody did anything to her. With a shaky voice she related her cell stay in the cellar of Beijing's police headquarters'. "It looked like an animal cage." There it became clear to her that "those who are being tortured don't even have a slim chance at all." One woman [from the group] had been brutally groped in the genital area. At the moment [Monika Weiss] has no plan to return to Beijing, she said. But she will continue to bring awareness of the persecution of the Falun Gong movement in China as she had done before.

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