Lisa Zhang from the Central Coast of NSW says her mother Fengying Zhang, 62, went to the local grocery market in Beijing on the morning of Nov 25, but never returned home. The next day, her bike was found in the yard of the local police station.
“Mum went to the grocery market to do some shopping … While she was telling people how much she benefited from practicing Falun Dafa, someone reported her to the police and she was illegally arrested and detained,” Ms Zhang explained.
Police transferred Fengying to Changping Detention Centre in Beijing for a “pre-trial” on Nov 27. There has been no word on Fengying’s status since then and her family has not been allowed to see her.
Falun Dafa (also called Falun Gong) is a traditional meditation and spiritual practise that follows Buddhist and Daoist principles of truthfulness, compassion and tolerance. By 1999, there were 100 million people practising Falun Dafa in China, according to state reports. Investigative research by the communist authorities in late 1998 found that nearly 98 per cent of practitioners claimed Falun Dafa had improved their health.
Fengying’s advocacy for the spiritual practise is based on personal experience–she credits the practice with curing her chronic neck pain, osteoarthritis and prolonged gastroenteritis, since she took up the practise 16 years ago.
Current estimates state that between 450,000 and 1 million Falun Gong practitioners are imprisoned in Chinese labour camps. According to United Nations Rapporteur on Torture Dr Manfred Novak, Falun Gong practitioners comprise 66 per cent of all reported torture cases in China.
Not the First Time
Ms Zhang says her mother Fengying has been detained in China several times and has experienced firsthand the torture methods used by police to “reform” Falun Dafa practitioners.
Not long after the persecution of the Falun Dafa began in 1999, Fengying went to Beijing to appeal to authorities.
“Mum went to petition for Falun Gong at the State Council Appeals office in Beijing, and to Tiananmen Square to tell people about Falun Dafa,” Ms Zhang explained, “but each time she was arrested and detained by police.”
While held in detention, Fengying was violently beaten and force-fed with a tube. As a result, she suffered nose and gastric bleeding. In winter she was stripped naked and thrown outside into the freezing cold, where she lost consciousness.
In 2000 Fengying’s husband lost his job because of her belief and the family was forced to eke out a living from their savings.
Ms Zhang says that despite the persecution her mother has faced, she has never regretted or given up her beliefs. “There is nothing wrong with telling people about her own experience. I can see the change in her and I am really proud of her,” she said.
According to the New York-based website, Falun Dafa Information Centre, “despite rhetorical references to the ‘rule of law,’ obtaining justice through the Chinese legal system remains an impossibility for Falun Gong practitioners”.
Ms Zhang is urging the Australian Government to take a stand to help rescue her illegally detained mother. “I earnestly urge the Australian Government to help rescue mum … I hope from mum’s experience people can realise the evil nature of the [ruling] Chinese Communist Party.”
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