Two Brave Men

By Ren Baiming
Ren Baiming
Ren Baiming
September 2, 2008 Updated: October 5, 2008

China's foremost tenor, Guan Guimin. (The  Epoch Times)
China's foremost tenor, Guan Guimin. (The Epoch Times)

Guan Guimin, a well-known Chinese tenor, was arguably the most famous singer in China during the 1980s. He has practiced Falun Gong for over a decade.

In 2001, his compatriot, Gao Zhisheng was listed by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) as one of the top ten lawyers in China and has recently been commonly referred to as "the conscience of Chinese lawyers" for speaking frankly and openly about Falun Gong—Gao is himself a Christian. Recently, both of these individuals have been targets of persecution by the CCP.

After the persecution of Falun Gong began in 1999, Guan, in a stalwart act of protest, publicly set fire to a photograph that showed him together with former Chinese leader Jiang Zemin, who initiated the persecution. This act infuriated Jiang.

Soon, Guan received a phone call from the Chinese National Security Bureau at his home in the United States, telling him that he had been listed as a key target for “ideological transformation” by the Chinese communist regime. It wasn’t an empty threat.

Guan taught music to earn a living and soon his students were quitting one after the other. Many of his friends also started avoiding him.  

One day, an 80-year-old woman came asking Guan for music lessons. He knew full well she was a CCP spy, but unafraid, he decided to accept her as a student.

Before long, Guan received a letter, which fully detailed his daily routines and contained a complete transcript of a conversation he had recently had over the telephone. It was a typical Gestapo like intimidation tactic employed by the CCP—intending to show persons being monitored that every move of theirs is under watch, and they could be harmed at any time.

Additionally, Guan often found punctures in his tires, and sometimes saw shadows outside his doors and windows. Most people are easily worn down under such pressure, having to worry about their safety at every moment, and eventually they give in to demands.

Seeing the goal of this harassment, Guan decided to not resist, he left his door unlocked, sending a message that they were free to do as they would and he wouldn’t be afraid. He also wrote a letter to Hu Jintao, stating, ‘If you want to take my life, feel free. If you want me to stop practicing Falun Gong, you’ll never succeed.’"

After seeing he was undaunted by threats to his personal safety, the National Security Bureau, gave Guan another call at his house. This time they told Guan, "You must think about your family in China. If you don’t give in, they’ll pay for your actions."

Guan laughed, "Listen! I've left my house unlocked for you to kill me at your convenience, how helpful could I be for my family in China? Feel free to do whatever you want. You don't need to bother asking me."

The agent on the phone was stunned and soon changed his tone. He told Guan that he was welcome to come back to China and even said. “We'll guarantee your safety."

Guan replied, "I'm afraid you cannot even guarantee your own safety, how can you guarantee mine? Isn't that a joke?!"

With this, the CCP had exhausted all of its tactics on Guan Guimin. With indignity, the National Security Bureau packed up their surveillance of Guan and left his life.

Edward McMillan-Scott (L) Vice President, European Parliament poses for pictures with Democracy Legislator Albert Ho next to a portrait of mainland jailed human rights lawyer Gao Zhisheng in Hong Kong, in 2006.  (Mike Clarke/AFP/Getty Images)
Edward McMillan-Scott (L) Vice President, European Parliament poses for pictures with Democracy Legislator Albert Ho next to a portrait of mainland jailed human rights lawyer Gao Zhisheng in Hong Kong, in 2006. (Mike Clarke/AFP/Getty Images)

Gao Zhisheng suffered through many of the same tactics as Mr. Guan. However, unlike Guan, Gao lived in mainland China. After writing an open letter to CCP leaders Hu Jintao and Wen Jiabao that called for an end to the persecution of Falun Gong, Gao’s professional life started unraveling.

He was placed under 24-hour surveillance, sometimes with as many as a dozen plainclothes “secret” agents openly tailing him and his family members. He had his license to practice law revoked, experienced several attempts on his life and was ultimately placed under house arrest.  

Like Guan, Mr. Gao also let go of the thought of life and death while confronting such persecution under the CCP. Over a period of several months, he would send regular reports overseas detailing the lowly behavior of the secret agents who followed him. He spoke contemptuously many times to overseas media of the villainous actions the Chinese regime used on him. Again they were trying to defeat their victim psychologically and bankrupt him financially.

These two tactics of the regime, to threaten a person’s personal safety and his or her financial stability, were overcome by both Guan and Gao, who were fearless in the face of this pressure.

However, for Mr. Gao, the threats against his family proved too much. We learnt from Gao that when the CCP discovered he cared for his family more than he cared for himself they exploited this human virtue to extract “confessions” from Gao. Gao was imprisoned and news of his plight has recently come out of China; Gao has suffered tremendous torture and humiliation at the hands of the regime.

Read the original Chinese article


Ren Baiming
Ren Baiming