Western Practitioner: Journey to Tiananmen Square

I was shocked when the persecution of Falun Gong started in China 1999. How could a government start torturing and killing good innocent people who practise a method, that is based on the universal characteristics; Truthfulness, Compassion, Forbearance?

I had been to China a couple of times before the crackdown started. I met many wonderful, kind and unselfish practitioners and we practised together in the parks of Beijing and in Dalian. I like China very much. My trips to China have enriched my life a lot, and I learned much about cultivation from practitioners in China. During the last 2 years, practitioners in China have put their lives at stake to go to Tiananmen in order to appeal to the government and make their voice heard, since all other channels to the government are blocked. I felt encouraged by the brave practitioners in China, who have firmly protected their right to believe in Truthfulness-Compassion- Forbearance.

When I recently heard some western practitioners were planning to go to Tiananmen, I knew the time had come for us to make an appeal at Tiananmen. I could not sit and watch when innocent, good people are tortured to death. What is happening in China does not only affect Chinese people but also concerns all the people in the world.

I travelled with a friend, we did some sightseeing the days before the event. One evening we went to Tiananmen Square for a walk and to send forth righteous thoughts [maintaining upright and true thoughts]. We walked around Tiananmen seven times and sent righteous thoughts all the time. Nobody bothered us. We had planned to walk around for nine times, but it became so late that the place closed.

On Tuesday 20th of November, we all from 12 countries, gathered on Tiananmen Square, at 2pm. We took some group pictures. We were smiling and happy. Then we sat down quickly, and started to send forth righteous thoughts, while some people were holding the banner with the wording; Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance, both in Chinese and English.

Very soon several police cars turned up and encircled us. We were forced into the police vans. Many people were brutally beaten. I was forced into the police van with my arms behind my back. In the van, after the policeman had gone out, I opened the window and shouted “Falun Dafa Hao!”(Falun Dafa is good! in Chinese) trying to reach out to the Chinese people who were watching. The policeman rushed inside and closed the window, but as soon as he went out, I opened the window again and shouted again “Falun Dafa Hao!” as loud as I could. The policeman rushed in again and closed the window once more. He had taken another practitioner to the van. We opened the window, and shouted out very loudly together; “Falun Dafa Hao!” Now the policeman became very angry and grabbed my hair, pulling my head backwards so I could not move. However I did not feel much pain. I saw a male practitioner coming into the van with his nose bleeding. I heard another practitioner shout to the police not to beat a woman. I think she was in the front and was beaten up. The policeman pulled my head forcibly in a sharp angle downwards, it felt very uncomfortable, and I could not move at all during the drive to the police station. Many of us, who had come from Sweden, as well as those from other countries, were beaten up in different ways. Now I really started to understand how difficult it had been for our fellow Chinese practitioners during the last 2 years. The Chinese practitioners have been treated much, much worse than us.

After we had been put into police vans, we were taken to a police station near Tiananmen. We sent out righteous thoughts together aloud in Chinese for about 10 minutes. At that time, I felt very warm and the whole room was vibrating with energy. The police tried to take away us one by one for interrogation, which many of us refused firmly. Later on we were all forced down to a cell in the basement. We were a group of practitioners who resisted for some time, we held each others arms tightly as one body. We were determined not to go downstairs and the police could not move us for a while. We told them we were not criminals and the basement was not a good place for us. But then the policeman got hold of me and another practitioner and forcibly dragged us down, pulling our arms, pushed us downstairs, one by one, to the cell. I heard somebody scream, it was a female practitioner who was brutally thrown downstairs. One policeman wanted to take a video film of the whole group through the bars, but we shielded ourselves with our jackets and coats.

Then we were suddenly transferred to a hotel that seemed to be quite empty. There we had to sit in a kind of waiting room, the whole night. The police harassed us by insisting on taking pictures all the time, and giving sarcastic comments. We slept on and off on the sofas and on the floor. Many policemen watched us for the whole time. We had asked to meet our Swedish ambassador many times, but were refused each time.

After we had fetched our luggage together with the police, I was taken to a hotel room together with Maria and Martin [two other Swedish practitioners]. In the room they told us we were going to be questioned. They cheated Maria and me into another room, so Martin was left alone with the police. They promised to Maria and me to question us together. However when we were in the next room, the police tried to separate us again. This time we were very determined, we just refused to be separated. So they could do nothing. We answered most of the questions, but did not reveal how we had managed to carry out this kind of large demonstration. Then the policeman wanted us to sign a paper. Because it was in Chinese, I said it would be ridiculous to sign something we could not read. So we did not sign it.

Once we heard some noises from the room next to ours, it sounded like someone was being beaten up. I asked the policewoman who was guarding us, but she denied it could be something like this. However, afterwards I heard from Martin that 5 policemen had beaten him in the hotel room. We really regretted very much for leaving him alone with the police.

There were always 1 or 2 policemen who escorted us to the bathroom. Once a young policewoman got a pain in one of her eyes. It had come suddenly the same evening. Earlier in the police van she had said some bad things about Falun Dafa. I told her it is dangerous to say bad things about Falun Dafa. She did not want to listen to me at first, then I asked her if I could tell her a story. “OK” she said. I told her in broken Chinese and English, a story about a policeman who once had berated Falun Gong and a practitioner, then the next day he had no voice left. I asked if she could understand, “Yes” she said. I hope she will not say more bad things against Dafa. Once they tried to take my Dafa materials away from me, but I refused to let them do it.

What I noticed from the policemen whom I spoke with was, that no one seemed to know what Falun Gong really is. I tried, like other practitioners, the best way I could, with help of the little Chinese I can speak, to tell about Dafa and cultivation. To some policemen I recited a few sentences from Zhuan Falun, from Lunyu. To a young female policeman I showed a bookmark, were a western young woman is meditating in front of a large banner. I told this picture was from a Falun Dafa conference in Sweden. She looked at it puzzled and surprised. Her colleague asked me if the Chinese people in Sweden are allowed to practise Falun Gong. Of course, I said, and explained that Falun Gong could be practised freely in the whole world except in China.

After about 20 hours we were taken to the airport, were we had to wait until the authorities found seats for us on an aeroplane. Then we were quickly transferred onto the areoplane. By the areoplane entrance an official from the Swedish Embassy was waiting. She said she had tried for many hours to get permission to meet us, and had waited at the police station. However the police had refused to let her meet us, for the whole time.

We have received very good support from our Foreign Affairs Department, media as well as our friends and relatives. The Swedish Foreign Minister, Anna Lind has criticized the persecution of Falun Gong in China. She said in a radio interview on 20th of November; “…Yet unfortunately it is so common when it comes to China that, despite the fact that they signed the UN's conventions and said that they would follow human rights, we see that the persecution of Falun Gong, amongst others, is getting worse. This is serious whether it is Swedes or people of other nationalities who are arrested.…” She also said; “We think that China has to fulfill democratic and human rights requirements and they have to accept a movement such as Falun Gong.”

Dafa has changed my life to become healthy, harmonious and meaningful. I often used to be on sick leave from work. Now I have been working for 5 years without any sick leave. I have an inner peace and happiness that I never had before cultivating in Dafa. I have learned from Dafa that it is very important for human beings to be unselfish and uphold high morals. I have nothing against the Chinese government, but they should not persecute and torture people who practise a method that helps people to become good. Instead they should respect our honourable Teacher, who has given us the precious Dafa. They should cherish Truthfulness, Compassion and Tolerance.

Being a practitioner of Falun Dafa and a human being, I have done just what I should for the good characteristics of Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance, in front of which there are no boundaries of the countries in the world. We do it for you, for us and for the bright future of humankind. Hope we all can even better clarify the truth to more people in the whole world.

Pirjo Svensson
Registered Nurse and Dafa practitioner

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