For more than two decades, adherents of Falun Gong, a spiritual practice in China, have endured severe persecution for simply holding onto their faith. The Chinese regime’s brutal campaign against Falun Gong practitioners has caused immense suffering and torn families apart.
Doria Liu, a 34-year-old woman living in San Francisco, had a heart-wrenching encounter with her mother, Meng Zhaohong, over a video call. As her mother tearfully recounted the torture she had endured at the hands of Chinese authorities for her faith, Liu showed her a photo of herself, her husband, and their 8-month-old son. The photo captured the couple in bright yellow outfits, celebrating Falun Gong Day, an event that marks the public introduction of their spiritual practice. Wearing such an outfit in China can lead to arrest, as the Chinese communist regime considers Falun Gong a threat.
Liu urged her mother to escape China at the first opportunity. Her mother agreed, but their conversation was cut short. Liu’s calls went unanswered for over a month, and she later learned that her mother had been arrested for spreading information about Falun Gong at a farmers’ market. During her interrogation, police physically assaulted her, and she was subsequently imprisoned in a dark underground cell due to health issues.
This was not the first time Meng Zhaohong had been arrested for practicing her faith. In the past 24 years, she has been arrested seven times. July 20th, 1999, marked the beginning of the Chinese regime’s vicious eradication campaign against Falun Gong, which was previously supported by the Communist Party. However, fearing the growing popularity of the practice, the regime deemed it a threat to its control over society.
Since then, tens of millions of Falun Gong adherents have become targets of a relentless persecution. They have faced arbitrary arrests, detention, surveillance, forced labor, violence, and even forced organ harvesting. The Chinese regime has employed every means possible to wipe out the faith.
In order to turn public opinion against Falun Gong, the communist regime has spread disinformation through media, textbooks, and the internet. This has created a hostile environment for practitioners, who have witnessed the sudden transformation of public sentiment from support to hatred.
For many adherents, the persecution has been an unimaginable nightmare. Feng Liping, a pharmacy owner in Shenzhen, experienced police harassment and surveillance after she and fellow practitioners were surrounded by police while practicing Falun Gong exercises in a park. Ultimately, she was arrested and sent to a detention center, where she was subjected to forced labor and insults from guards. She even suffered a miscarriage while in custody.
Despite facing continued pressure and arrest, Feng Liping refused to give up her beliefs. Her health deteriorated, and she developed heart problems that had previously vanished through practicing Falun Gong. With the help of overseas adherents, she managed to escape to Thailand to reunite with her husband. However, the shadow of the persecution still lingers. She has not seen her eldest son for the past 11 years, and her second son, who was born in the United States, has never met his older brother.
The persecution has also taken a toll on families. Xia Deyun, an engineer in eastern China, was put in a labor camp when her son was in high school. The traumatic experience caused her son to sink into depression and stop attending school for a whole year. After Xia was released, her son held her tight without saying a word, releasing the pent-up emotions he had held inside.
The stories of Doria Liu, Meng Zhaohong, Feng Liping, and Xia Deyun represent just a fraction of the suffering endured by Falun Gong practitioners in China. Their unwavering commitment to their faith in the face of relentless persecution is a testament to the strength and resilience of the human spirit. As the international community becomes more aware of their plight, it is crucial to condemn the Chinese regime’s egregious human rights abuses and support those who have been unjustly persecuted.