The intricately patterned Oxford Town Hall is the latest UK venue for the The Art of Zhen Shan Ren, a continuous international tour of prize-winning paintings, which opened on March 14.
The title of the exhibition includes the Chinese words for Truth, Compassion, and Forbearance, which are the foundation of Falun Gong, a worldwide form of meditation still banned in China.
Since it was first shown in 2004, the exhibition has reached most capitals of the world, though not Beijing, the capital of the country where Falun Gong, also know as Falun Dafa, began in 1992. The Chinese regime continues to torture and brainwash adherents of the practice and has spent billions of yuan to keep knowledge of the persecution repressed.
Lord Mayor of Oxford City, Councilor Mohammed Abbasi, said, “I didn’t know anything about it before … the way they have expressed their stories is remarkable.”
He felt that art was a good way to show the practice of Falun Gong and its persecution in China. “Instead of making a demonstration in a communist country – I know that it is very difficult … you get bloodshed like in Tianamen Square or things like that – but this way you can convey the message to the western world about what’s going on inside China,” he said.
This was echoed by Oxford Councillor Mark Lygo who felt privileged to have seen the paintings at the Private View.
“It shows the true horrific human rights in China,” he said, “and it’s been hidden as well. The best thing about the exhibition is that it needs to go worldwide, people need to open their eyes to this because it’s absolutely criminal.”
When a painting showing organ harvesting was mentioned, Cllr Lygo tried to express the effect it had on him: “– I was walking around – every painting is meaningful and says a thousand words. And then suddenly it’s shock horror, it’s reality, and that brings the message home. This is why we’ve got to share this message. It’s very brutal.”
‘Organ harvesting’ is the name given to the systematized extraction of live organs from live prisoners of conscience. In China this has been done on a large scale, sometimes using military hospitals, and often offering organs for sale through databases over the internet.
Work by human rights lawyer David Matas and former Canadian Secretary of State (Asia-Pacific), David Kilgour show that the majority of people suffering this fate are Falun Gong practitioners.
The original painting Illegal Organ Harvesting by Xiqiang Dong is an almost photographic painting in oils on canvas showing a man held down on an operating table, having a blood-saturated organ taken from his body.
Such extractions are known to be done without anesthetic while the person is alive as this keeps the organ fresh.
To the right, in the painting, an elderly man in a surgeon’s robe is taking off his glasses and looking at a Falun Gong emblem that has fallen from the victim’s clothing. Some commentators say this is a doctor who is becoming aware of the victim’s humanity.
Most of the paintings in The Art of Zhen Shan Ren Exhibition are in the realistic style of the European Renaissance. They depict all aspects of Falun Gong from the descending of heavenly beings to help humans, through the splendor of Falun Gong practice, including making banners and parades, to the persecution and nonviolent resistance, and into scenes of the salvation of humankind and the ultimate retribution for the perpetrators of evil.[related-left]
Cllr Lygo said the whole exhibition was “wonderful, very spiritual and … quite emotional.”
For more information on The Art of Zhen Shan Ren go to FalunArt.org