By Daniel Cameron\n\n\n\nIt\u2019s hard to imagine this sweet lady was tortured, almost killed, at the hands of the very people that are meant to serve and protect. She even had her blood forcibly drawn in detention, in a country where forced organ harvesting is state sanctioned \u2026 she\u2019s lucky to be alive today.\n\n\n\nMeet Angel. A Falun Gong practitioner and former prisoner of conscience.\n\n\n\nToday, she\u2019s on a mission to expose the Chinese Communist Party\u2019s (CCP) bloody, behind-the-scenes persecution of Falun Gong practitioners.\n\n\n\n\nhttps:\/\/vimeo.com\/388730021\n\n\n\n\nWhat is Falun Gong?\n\n\n\nFalun Gong, also referred to as Falun Dafa, is a mind-body practice that became incredibly popular in China during the 1990s. Together with five sets of gentle meditative exercises, the practice also has teachings of the Buddha School, mostly based around morality, the human body, and the universe.\n\n\n\n"Falun Gong\u2019s incredible healing efficacy enabled many people to have stronger, healthier bodies,\u201d Angel told me. "So, people naturally wanted to tell others about it. In just a few years hundreds of millions of people were practicing.\u201d\n\n\n\nIt was in 1998 when Angel first found Falun Gong. She, like many others, started practicing in hopes of getting healthier.\n\n\n\n\u201cBefore I found this practice, I did not know how to deal with the difficulties and frustrations in life. This led to depression. I couldn't control my emotions, and felt lost in life.\u201d\n\n\n\n\u201cBeing so distressed all the time caused my heart rate to became irregular. Sometimes when climbing two flights of stairs, my heart would palpitate like crazy, my body would feel weak, and I would be sweating.\u201d\n\n\n\n\u201cI couldn't control my temper, and would lose my cool over little things. Moreover, my liver developed a problem, it became very painful.\u201d\n\n\n\n\u201cBut, the psychological pain far outweighed my physical pains. At the time I was 28, and I thought I wouldn't live past 40 years old!\u201d\n\n\n\nToday, Angel is 49. Not only did her health improve dramatically, but her ailments literally disappeared. Also, \u201cafter practicing Falun Gong, I became a cheerful, optimistic, happy person,\u201d she adds.\n\n\n\nPrecisely because the practice grew in such rapid popularity, former Party Chief Jiang Zemin deemed Falun Gong\u2019s enormous growth a threat to the totalitarian regime, and began a brutal persecution in 1999, with the sole intent to eliminate Falun Gong.\n\n\n\nIt was a difficult reality to face for the approximately 70 to 100 million Falun Gong practitioners, not to mention all their families, when they suddenly learned that the CCP\u2014the same regime that mass-murdered 10,000 innocents in the Tiananmen Square Massacre\u2014had turned against them.\n\n\n\nFirst the regime utilized its entire State media apparatus\u2014from TV news, radio, newspapers, and internet\u2014to inundate the entire nation with slanderous propaganda around the clock, demonizing the peaceful practice in order to turn public opinion against Falun Gong.\n\n\n\nThen came the arrests. Torture. Killing. Genocide.\n\n\n\nAnyone caught practicing would be arrested. People were encouraged to report on Falun Gong practitioners in neighborhoods and workplaces across China, and in some cases, were enticed with monetary rewards. Police would be given bonuses if they caught a practitioner.\n\n\n\nFrom being able to freely practice such gentle, harmless exercises in parks, to all of a sudden being treated as State enemies for being meditators \u2026 there must have been a misunderstanding, you may think. Surely clarifying the situation to the Appeals Center in Zhongnanhai would help?\n\n\n\nMaybe Angel did not realize, but anyone attempting to appeal for Falun Gong\u2019s sake, however peaceful one may be in doing so, would be arrested too.\n\n\n\nIn 2000, Angel boarded a Beijing-bound train with four other practitioners. Their destination: Tiananmen Square.\n\n\n\n"We went to appeal for our right to practice freely, in peace,\u201d she says. "We\u2019d only been sitting for 10 seconds or so when we were illegally abducted.\u201d\n\n\n\n\u201cPolice and plainclothes officers were everywhere on Tiananmen Square.\u201d\n\n\n\nAngel was taken to a police station, where she was interrogated. The police officer conducting the interrogation began burning her hands with a lighter to force her to divulge her identity. But she just endured the pain, and didn't tell him anything.\n\n\n\nOne of the practitioners who accompanied Angel couldn\u2019t endure the physical torture, and unwillingly divulged everyone\u2019s details.\n\n\n\nAngel was sent back to her city, where she was detained at her workplace for four days. She couldn't go home. Guards were assigned to monitor her around the clock. Fortunately, she was finally released, though not free from further persecution.\n\n\n\nAngel, a Falun Gong practitioner meditating at Tiananmen Square, China. (2001) \n\n\n\nBrainwashing center\n\n\n\nBut that wasn't the last of her troubles. Police illegally abducted Angel from her workplace in 2001.\n\n\n\n"I was sent to a 're-education' class,\u201d she says, referring to what\u2019s more commonly known as a brainwashing center. "They attempted to force me to renounce my faith. But I\u2019m not a piece of wood. I have my own thoughts.\u201d\n\n\n\nAngel stayed firm, and insisted on not relinquishing her faith, despite the tremendous psychological pressure she was under.\n\n\n\nIn these centers, guards force practitioners to watch Party propaganda all day, every day. The programs vilify Falun Gong, and glorify the Communist Party. The volume is turned up very high. Guards force practitioners to write down their thoughts periodically, to inspect their \u201cprogress.\u201d They are punished if their thoughts don't comply with the propaganda.\n\n\n\nAngel didn't cooperate, and went on a hunger strike to protest the persecution, but was subject to more abuse.\n\n\n\n"Several people pressed me down,\u201d she recalls, before touching on a deeply tormenting experience of being force fed with a rubber tube.\n\n\n\n"When they pulled out the tube, it was covered in blood. I really don\u2019t want to recall this\u2026\u201d\n\n\n\nTube feeding would normally be considered a life-saving medical treatment, but it has been used by the CCP to persecute Falun Gong practitioners who go on hunger strikes in detention centers, forced labor camps, and prisons. Moreover, there are often drugs in the liquids that cause the victim to become unconscious. Force-feeding has resulted in the deaths of countless Falun Gong practitioners.\n\n\n\nAngel\u2019s health deteriorated in the brainwashing center, and her blood pressure became dangerously low.\n\n\n\n"My family received a letter stating I was to be unconditionally released,\u201d she says, adding that she was later picked up and taken back home.\n\n\n\nAngel interviewed by Australian media.\n\n\n\n\u201cGuards drew my blood\u201d\n\n\n\nThrough practicing Falun Gong, Angel regained her health. But, so long as she was in China, she was not altogether free.\n\n\n\nAngel was once again arrested and detained in 2004. Her crime? Distributing information about the persecution that Falun Gong practitioners are subject to in China.\n\n\n\nWhilst the CCP madly persecutes adherents of the spiritual practice, the regime goes all out to keep the details a secret from China\u2019s 1.3 billion.\n\n\n\nIt should be considered a noble act for someone of their own initiative to raise awareness of human rights abuses, but in China, speaking out against the regime can land one in prison, and has cost too many their lives.\n\n\n\nFor Angel, she was subject to even more, horrendous torture.\n\n\n\n\u201cSeveral people pinned me down to force feed me,\u201d Angel recalls of her third time being detained.\n\n\n\n"In order to get released earlier, prisoners collaborated with the police to torture us wildly.\u201d\n\n\n\n"They jumped on my chest with as much force as possible with their whole body weight pressing down.\n\n\n\n"Some prisoners forcefully grabbed my head. Others pulled my hair as they force fed me.\u201d\n\n\n\n"They force fed me extremely salty things. I felt terribly thirsty. My tongue felt dry like sand. My stomach felt like it was burning. I don\u2019t know what they poured in.\u201d\n\n\n\nThere was one strange incident, however, which Angel experienced in detention.\n\n\n\n"When I was incarcerated guards drew my blood.\u201d\n\n\n\n"I was confused at the time. Of the 20 people detained in that large room, why was only my blood drawn? Why didn\u2019t they take blood from anyone else?\u201d\n\n\n\nAngel was the only Falun Gong practitioner in that room.\n\n\n\nIt certainly was not because the guards were concerned about her health, as Angel was being tortured and abused daily.\n\n\n\n"It was finally in 2006 when the truth was revealed. The Chinese Communist Party is killing Falun Gong practitioners for their organs to sell. That\u2019s when I finally realized that the CCP is engaged in such evil. Killing innocents on demand."\n\n\n\nAfter more than a month of being force fed and abused in the detention center, Angel was in bad shape. She couldn\u2019t walk, nor could she take care of herself. She had to be carried everywhere. Despite her condition, she was sent to a forced labor camp to make products for export.\n\n\n\nBut Angel had been so badly tortured, she needed to be taken to the forced labor camp\u2019s infirmary.\n\n\n\n\u201cMedical staff there checked my physical condition. A doctor said that as my endocrine was a mess, I could die at any moment, so it was useless to treat me. They refused to accept me."\n\n\n\nThe police officers who had driven her to the forced labor camp couldn\u2019t just leave her there, nor could they take her back to the detention center.\n\n\n\nOnce again, Angel\u2019s family was notified to pick her up.\n\n\n\nIt was too much for Angel\u2019s elderly mother when she laid eyes on her daughter in the patrol car, lying there motionless.\n\n\n\n"I was persecuted to the point of being unrecognizable. My elderly mother cried, shouting my name. The policemen told my mother: \u2018We\u2019re handing her over to you. She\u2019s still alive.\u2019\u201d\n\n\n\n\u201cWitnessing people\u2019s kindness is the most beautiful thing\u201d\n\n\n\nAlthough Angel was eventually able to heal herself through her practice, it was not safe for her back home.\n\n\n\n"Living under the Communist Red Terror in China, there\u2019s no guarantee that I\u2019ll be safe. Given the danger, and in desperation, I fled China and flew to Australia, this beautiful and free country."\n\n\n\nFortunately for Angel, her passport was not cancelled nor confiscated by the CCP, and thus she was able to travel abroad in 2015.\n\n\n\nThough everything is different for her now, being oceans apart from her family, and all the things she is familiar with, Angel has learned to adapt to life in Melbourne, Australia.\n\n\n\nShe makes ends meet by working as a cleaner. In her spare time, she can be seen silently holding a large white banner which reads \u201cStop Persecuting Falun Gong,\u201d directly opposite the main entrance of the Chinese Consulate in Toorak. Falun Gong practitioners have become a common sight here. Occasionally, motorists toot their horns in support as they drive past.\n\n\n\nOn other days, Angel collects signatures for a petition to be sent to the Australian government, calling for an immediate end to the persecution of Falun Gong. Insofar, she has collected some 40,000 signatures by herself. Quite an effort, especially for someone who speaks but a few words of English. Sometimes she has a bilingual practitioner with her, also working on the petition, who can help her translate.\n\n\n\n"When I\u2019m outside collecting signatures,\u201d says Angel, \u201csome people ask, 'Do you think my signing this will really help?'\n\n\n\n"I tell them it certainly helps. Just like how the sea is comprised of countless drops of water. By signing this, you\u2019re supporting justice. And have chosen to stand on the side of goodness.\u201d\n\n\n\n\u201cThe more people that know about this persecution. The more likely this persecution cannot be carried out. You are saving lives.\u201d\n\n\n\nFor years now, Angel has persisted in her efforts in raising awareness about the persecution, irrespective of the weather.\n\n\n\n"As long as I do my part well, by allowing people to realize the terrible truth of the situation in China, people will willingly take my signature board to sign. For me \u2026 that\u2019s hope.\u201d\n\n\n\n\u201cWitnessing people\u2019s kindness is the most beautiful thing. When I see people reading our materials and learning about the persecution, that feeling of hope arises.\u201d\n\n\n\nWhen she is at home, she makes colorful origami lotus flowers, a kind of lucky charm, which she is all too willing to give to a kind stranger who stops by to sign her petition. She has an abundance of these dainty, handmade flowers in her small windowless room. They are seen hanging from lamps, doorknobs, handles, and hooks. The three words written underneath read each flower read\u2014\u201cTruthfulness, Compassion, Forbearance\u201d\u2014the main tenets of Falun Gong.\n\n\n\nSpeaking with Angel, one gets a sense she has a wonderful optimism about her, she has great determination in what she does, and overall, is a wonderful person always thinking of others. She owes her good health and positivity to her spiritual practice.\n\n\n\n"Falun Gong fills my heart and soul with a beautiful sensation like no other. I face everything peacefully.\u201d\n\n\n\nAfter all that she\u2019s been through, to be able to maintain such a peaceful disposition, a reflection of her inner world no doubt, it\u2019s obvious she\u2019s got something in her that we can all learn from.