Holiday Cheer: California Resident Successfully Reunites with Her Parents After 9 Years
The following story was purposefully delayed from publication to ensure the security of the family.
Yolanda Yao, a California resident featured in the Falun Dafa Information Center’s family rescue campaign since 2017, has reunited with her father, Mr. Yao Guofu, and mother, Mrs. Liang Xin, after nine years. From 2015 through 2020, her parents were sentenced to prison and tortured for their faith in Falun Gong.
This Christmas will be the first that the Yao Family has spent together in a decade.
From Henan to California
After her parents were release from prison in June 2020, authorities in Henan Province continued to harass and threaten Mr. Yao and Mrs. Liang, particularly during festivals or sensitive political events like the Beijing Winter Olympics or 20th Party Congress. During the weeks leading up to an event, police would barricade the front door or threaten Yolanda’s parents to stay inside their homes. The officers warned the couple to stop raising awareness about the persecution, or risk detention again.
After facing intense harassment and house arrest during the 20th Party Congress, Mr. Yao and Mrs. Liang decided to leave their hometown for the United States.
For the next six months, they braved everything and left behind all they had, traveling thousands of miles to the Bay Area. And on February 2, 2023, Mr. Yao and Mrs. Liang safely reunited with their daughter Yolanda in San Francisco, California.
Finding Healing in America
“America is really free and its people are very civilized,” said Yolanda’s parents in a translated interview with the Falun Dafa Information Center. “Our hearts are finally freed and we feel like we are able to breathe again. Our entire bodies feel relaxed, for the first time in such a long time.”
Despite their newfound civil liberties, Mr. Yao and Ms. Liang continue to grapple with post-traumatic stress disorder stemming from the horrors they survived. Mr. Yao physically recoils when he hears knocks at his door or police car sirens. Ms. Liang feels claustrophobic in small spaces, because she was detained in solitary confinement for nine months.
But the Yao family is taking things one step at a time, now that they have all the time in the world. Today, Mr. Yao Guofu is an author and contributor to Dajiyuan, the Mandarin-edition of The Epoch Times. He has published articles focused on free speech, Chinese Communist Party censorship, and human rights in China. Yolanda’s mother, Ms. Liang, is actively attending community events and parades to appeal for human rights in China.