The Falun Gong Story: Marking 20 Years of Persecution by the CCP
This year marked the 30th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square Massacre in China. But there’s another anniversary coming up that is lesser known, yet it has touched every aspect of Chinese society: that is the persecution of Falun Gong, also known as Falun Dafa. It’s been 20 years since the Chinese Communist Party launched its persecution against the spiritual practice, and it is still going on to this day.
Falun Dafa is a mind and body practice based on the principles of truth, compassion, and tolerance. In addition to the moral principles is a set of four standing exercises and one sitting meditation. Mr. Li Hongzhi introduced Falun Dafa to the public in 1992, and it spread quickly by word of mouth. Within just seven years, an estimated 70 to 100 million people were practicing Falun Dafa in China.
- Laura Liu shares her family’s story of being persecuted in China for practicing Falun Dafa.
- Mr. Erping Zhang is the volunteer spokesperson for the Falun Dafa Information Center.
A Family’s Story of Faith in the Face of Persecution
Laura Liu’s mother started practicing Falun Dafa in 1995 to improve her health. She was the first to organize a practice site in their local community. Every morning she would wake up around 4:30 a.m. and go to the local park to organize the exercises. At first only 10 people showed up, but then it rose to 50 and even up to 70 people.
The practice site went smoothly for several years, but in the spring of 1999, Chinese state-run television started broadcasting propaganda about Falun Gong. Laura was 11 years old at the time.
I still remember the local practitioners, they discussed, “Oh, this is not right. They are trying to distort the facts about Falun Gong.” — Laura Liu
As a local coordinator, Laura’s mother would become a police target.
Laura Liu: In spring of 1999 a police officer went to my house. And that person was asking my mom, oh, so who is the organizer of this, the morning exercise or the evening exercise? And how many study groups do we have in our town? They were asking for name lists. At that time I was only like 11 years old … I still remember on that day I asked my mom to put my name on the list too.
At that time we didn’t know why they asked for this name list, but later we found out, oh they just started to arrest people according to this list. They were starting to collect the information of Falun Gong practitioners. — Laura Liu
A Mother’s Courage
Laura Liu: My mom went with her sister and I think a few other practitioners, they just knew, oh we need to go to Tiananmen Square. Probably Tiananmen Square has a rally or something like that. But when they went there, there was nobody organizing it … the atmosphere there was very tense. They [the police] asked everybody, “Are you a practitioner? Are you a practitioner?”
Based on my mom’s account, she was very tired. I think she was not arrested on the first day, I think that it was on her third day. She was very tired, and she was sitting down in Tiananmen Square, just taking a break. — Laura Liu
Laura’s mother was arrested just for sitting down to take a break. It would be the first of many times she was illegally arrested by police.
Clarifying the Truth, Underground
After Laura’s mother was released from the detention center, she decided to secretly make and distribute flyers with facts about Falun Dafa to counteract the CCP’s propaganda.
Laura Liu: After the persecution started all the information from the newspapers or from the TV station, all kinds of media, they all say bad things. They all say Falun Gong is an evil cult, Falun Gong people will commit suicide, and Falun Gong people do evil things. At that time people saw Falun Gong [practitioners] like demons or like monsters. So that’s why practitioners started to make those flyers and materials.
The Persecution Continues 20 Years Later
Every year at sensitive periods, like the anniversary of the Tiananmen Square massacre, police check on Laura’s mother to make sure she doesn’t go to Beijing. This year, police went to arrest her mom on the night of June 3rd, but her mother was not at home.
Laura Liu: Around 15 policemen drove three police cars and broke into my house again, and they wanted to arrest my mom… Every year during the sensitive period, they will check on my mom. They are very afraid of my mom going to Beijing, so that’s why every year they will monitor my mom… They don’t want people to go to Tiananmen Square because, if my mom goes to Tiananmen Square, they will get punished by their boss.
Laura’s mother went missing on June 3rd, and she hasn’t been heard from since. Laura currently lives and works in Minnesota, and she is working with state congressmen to put pressure on the CCP to stop persecuting her mother.
Laura Liu: We went to the Minnesota Senate and Minnesota House of Representatives… We asked for each senator’s and staff’s help. So our Minnesota senators and my representative, they were very supportive. I think right now we’ve already sent out ten letters to the Chinese government.
Actually, letters from us can make a huge difference because the Chinese government, they are just liars. They always want to show the good image of them… That’s why they don’t want people to know their evil side. So that’s why practitioners here are trying to ask for our government, the American government, to send letters to let them know we are watching. We are aware of what’s happening. — Laura Liu
Press play to listen to the rest of Laura’s story and to hear how the Chinese Communist Party’s persecution of Falun Dafa has negatively affected Chinese society.