The “Truthfulness, Compassion, Forbearance International Art Exhibition” held its opening ceremony in Cambridge on 14th August. The Mayor of Cambridge, Miss Jenny Bailey, gave an opening speech, commending the virtues of Truthfulness, Compassion and Forbearance and wishing the exhibition complete success.
Many members of the public, including Cambridge MP David Howarth, came to show support and take part in the opening ceremony. The 24-piece exhibition will run for two weeks at Wesley House, a college with ties to the University of Cambridge.
James Stirmey, Wesley House Bursar said “We are pleased to welcome the Truthfulness, Compassion, Forbearance Art Exhibition here at Wesley House. The Exhibition shows what’s really going on in China and this is an experience which should be shared. It is my sincere hope that this exhibit can open people’s eyes in the city of Cambridge.”
The paintings were all created by artists around the world who practise Falun Gong. Many of the paintings in the exhibition display the horror and brutal persecution which Falun Gong practitioners in China face in forced labour camps.
|Speeches by Cambridge Mayor Jenny Bailey and Falun Gong practitioner Annie Yang|
One victim of the persecution, Annie Yang, gave a speech describing what she had endured in the forced labour camp in China recently. She said, “I was arrested in China without any legal procedure for practising Falun Gong. In detention, I was not given enough food and wasn’t allowed to wash. I was forced to watch brain-washing videos slandering Falun Gong and I had to sit on a small, rough chair for over 20 hours each day, not allowed to move or even close my eyes without permission. I was in the labour camp for 1 ½ years. When I was released I was so swollen and in pain that I could not walk and I still have trouble walking today.
“While in detention I gave in to the torture and renounced my belief in Falun Gong. A few times the Chinese officials visited me, trying to persuade me to become a spy and spy on the Falun Gong group in London, but I would not.
“Now I miss very much my friends in China who are Falun Gong practitioners. I know the pressure of the persecution that they are enduring and I hope that all kind-hearted people in the world can help bring this persecution to an end.”
Another speech was given by a young Falun Gong practitioner, Yue Huang, who described her experience in China. She said “In July 2000, my Mum and grandma were arrested by the police for doing 20 minutes of meditation in a park. The police broke into my house without any warrant or our permission and started to search our house. Only my granddad, my cousin and I were in the house. Me and my cousin were 10 years old. I was shocked by their act. But my cousin was very brave and said both my Mum and grandma were good people and it was the police who were bad. One policeman was angered by this comment and waved his fist around, threatening to beat my cousin. My Mum was held for 15 days and my grandma wasn’t released until 3 months later.
“In December of the same year, my Mum, uncle and aunt decided to go to peacefully appeal in Beijing. They wanted to tell officials that Falun Gong practitioners are kind people who have done nothing wrong. And again, all three of them were arrested by the police. My aunt had been bailed out by her brother, but she wasn’t allowed to see us. My grandma had to take care of me and my 7-year-old cousin all by herself while also worrying about the fate of her own children. During December it was chilling cold. But when Mum left the house to go to Beijing to appeal, she wasn’t wearing warm clothing. My granddad tried to deliver food and warm clothes in accordance with the prison rules many, many times. But the prison just wouldn’t let anything be passed to my Mum. Other prisoners were allowed to receive goods from their relatives, but the Falun Gong practitioners were not allowed to receive any of the goods their relatives brought. When Mum was released much later, she told me that all her money and outerwear were taken by the police.
“Though we knew where my aunt and Mum were, there was still no news about my uncle. We couldn’t be sure if he was alive or not. My grandparents had to contact friends and relatives for help to locate him. On New Years day, families and friends gather together and chat happily at the dinner table. But at our house there was nothing but emptiness. Me and my cousin grabbed our grandma’s hands. I cried for my Mummy and she wanted her Daddy. My grandma was ripped into pieces but she tried very hard not to let tears fall. When my uncle was finally bailed out by his boss who used a very large sum of money, his black hair had turned white and he was covered in bruises.
“In November 2002, just before the Communist Party opened their 16th People’s Congress meeting, just because the CCP was scared that my Mum would go and appeal in Beijing, they kidnapped her while she was on her way to work and she was detained in prison for over a month. At the time I was 12 years old and I was studying at boarding school. When I heard about the news, I was absolutely devastated. I was worried about my Mum because I knew that many Falun Gong practitioners were tortured to death in prison, including one of my Mum’s friends who was a senior engineer. And I also had to keep all these worries to myself because I was afraid that once I told others that my Mum was put in prison because of Falun Gong, they would treat me differently. So I had to act normal during the day time, but I cried myself to sleep every night while at the boarding school. I had to hide under the duvet to cry so my friends wouldn’t hear. Finally, I couldn’t take it any more and told one of my close friends. She hugged me and said ‘Don’t worry, I know all Falun Gong practitioners are good people’.
“The reason I shared this is not because I feel sorry for myself, or my Mum, but because I feel that we need to let more people know what had happened and what is happening right now in China and if we don’t act now, it will only continue to happen. Please let more people know about the persecution of Falun Gong in China.”
One Cambridge resident and poet, Tom Sharon, said “We expect intellectuals to alert society when things such as the Holocaust happen, so that such a horror can never happen again. The amazing thing is that it is happening now and there is so little awareness about it. This exhibition is quite extraordinary. I’ve never seen anything quite like it. I wish you all the best of luck and I’m sure in the end, truth will out.”
|Cambridge residents view the exhibtion|
Another Cambridge resident, Paul Hoppitt, said “I’m horrified to find the atrocities I’ve heard coming from China. One feels powerless against such a superpower as China. What can you do? We can all do our little bit, by making people aware, contacting politicians and perhaps tell our politicians ‘No, we don’t wish to do business with governments who perpetrate atrocities against their own citizens.’ What would they also do to other people if this is how they treat their own citizens. We have to make China accountable for their actions.”
One of the organisers of the exhibition, Arezoo Miraftabi, closed the ceremony with the following words: “Everyone can practise Falun Gong. You don’t have to be young or rich and it is free of charge. Falun Gong practitioners are required to be good people, to think of others first and to follow the universal principals of Truthfulness, Compassion and Forbearance.
“On July 20, 1999, Jiang Zemin not only banned Falun Gong but started the brutal persecution of Falun Gong which continues today. You may have heard of the report by David Kilgour and David Matas exposing evidence that thousands of Falun Gong practitioners in Chinese labour camps are being killed for their organs. The organs are said to be used for transplants and mostly sold to foreigners.
“Edward McMillan Scott, Vice President of European Parliament, said this is genocide. We must take every opportunity to raise awareness about the situation for Falun Gong practitioners in China. The youngest known to die in detention was only 10 months old and the oldest 82 years. Women account for 51% who are tortured in detention. The terror in China is not limited to specific Falun Gong practitioners, but includes all of them, which is over 70 million citizens.
“Falun Gong practitioners in China have not violated any law or betrayed their country, their only crime is that they believe in Truthfulness, Compassion and Forbearance. This is about a serious abuse of human rights in a persecution that has lasted over 8 years now. It is an assault on our human dignity as a race of civilised people.
“This exhibition is displayed with the hope that viewers can see the courage of the practitioners of Falun Gong and their unwavering spirit. It is a hope of returning justice and peace to China.”
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