US Falun Gong Practitioner Calls for Rescue of Detained Father in China
The Epoch Times
The night was so sweltering that the police had to open the doors of the interrogation rooms to let some air in.
Zhang Hongyu was finally able to catch a glimpse of her mother, Xiu Jinqiu, in the room opposite hers. Police had relentlessly interrogated Zhang and Xiu for hours.
Zhang could see that her mother was cuffed to an iron chair with shackles and handcuffs, her feet and legs swollen.
Later, a young officer stomped on Xiu’s toes. Her toenails turned black and blue.
Not knowing how many times she had repeated the same words, Xiu, stubbornly staring into the officer’s eyes, said in a feeble yet calm, unwavering voice:
“Falun Dafa is good.”
Zhang and Xiu were detained because they practiced Falun Gong, also known as Falun Dafa, a traditional Chinese spiritual discipline consisting of moral teachings, meditation, and qigong-like exercises.
The practice grew in popularity through the mid-to-late 1990s, reaching 70 million to 100 million adherents by 1999, according to official estimates.
But despite being peaceful and free of political aspirations, Falun Gong and its moral philosophy were increasingly viewed by some of China’s communist leaders as ideological competition to the Party.
In July 1999, then-Communist Party leader Jiang Zemin launched a nationwide campaign to “eradicate” Falun Gong.
Hundreds of thousands of Falun Gong practitioners have since been arrested, detained, and routinely tortured in prisons, forced labor camps, and detention centers, according to the Falun Dafa Information Center, the group’s press office.
Zhang’s family began practicing Falun Gong in 1998 after they witnessed the tremendous health benefits it had brought to Zhang’s grandfather, who regained his health after suffering from late-stage lymphoma, within three months of taking up the practice.
The family’s time of peace and happiness did not last long. In 2000, Zhang’s father was arrested and detained for protesting the persecution at Tiananmen Square in Beijing.
In 2007, Xiu spent one year at the notorious Masanjia forced labor camp, where she was tortured and developed diabetes, ketoacidosis, and hepatic hemangiomas.
Xiu’s last arrest, when she and her daughter were both taken away by police, occurred in September 2013. The family was released due to Xiu’s critical health condition.
Less than three months later, on Nov. 28, 2013, Xiu passed away. She was 51.
“She used to be jumping around all the time, just like a little bird. … It is hard for me to imagine that such a lively, energetic person could just pass away all of a sudden like that,” said Zhang, now 31.
“Yet this is the very reality of the persecution [of Falun Gong].”
The police kept harassing Zhang and her father, Zhang Ming, following her mother’s death.
Despite the ordeal, Zhang and her father persevered in telling the truth about the persecution of Falun Gong to Chinese citizens.
In 2014, Zhang escaped China and made her way to the United States, hoping to expose to the international community the persecution her family has faced. She raises awareness so that one day, the torment can end for millions of families like hers.
But recently, Zhang received a dreaded phone call, telling her that her elderly father was in danger in China.
On the night of June 29, 2018, in Dandong City, Liaoning Province, several police officers stopped Zhang Ming’s car in the name of checking for drunk drivers. They arrested him along with another Falun Gong practitioner, Li Quanchen, upon finding in the car some literature about the Falun Gong persecution.
It is suspected, however, that the police had been tailing Zhang Ming and stopped him with the intention of arresting him.
They detained Zhang Ming at Kuandian Detention Center—a place so remote and covert that nothing comes up when searching for this location on the internet.
Zhang Ming’s lawyer revealed that he is currently in critical condition, with his blood pressure over 200 and his heart beating at abnormally high rates.
With the memory of her mother succumbing to torture five years ago still fresh in her mind, Zhang Hongyu has become extremely worried about her father’s safety.
“He is constantly facing the dangers of torture and even organ harvesting, and so are other Falun Gong practitioners in detention,” said Zhang, referring to revelations by independent researchers that large numbers of Falun Gong adherents are believed to have been killed by having their organs removed for use in China’s billion-dollar transplantation industry.
“At any moment, their lives are at stake.”
Now she is doing everything she can to rescue her father.
Zhang is urgently calling on members of the U.S. Congress to pressure the Chinese authorities to release her father as well as other imprisoned Falun Gong practitioners in China.
“As long as the Chinese Communist Party has not released my father and ceased its persecution of Falun Gong, I will not stop exposing its crimes [to] the international community,” Zhang said at a peaceful protest held on July 16 in front of the Chinese Consulate in New York City.
She is facing great difficulties in getting information about her father’s current state.
But Zhang recalls with hope these words from her father, spoken before he was arrested: “Even though things seem difficult, we will be reunited one day,” he said.