On Jan. 22, Zhang Ruiji was driving his truck near Chicago’s Chinatown displaying large billboards advertising Shen Yun Performing Arts, and the truck suddenly wouldn’t stop. He didn’t suspect much at the time, although the near accident gave him a fright.
Zhang would learn the close call on a quiet street in south side Chicago was no coincidence. He now suspects the incident is part of an international effort by the Chinese regime to try to suppress the success of the Shen Yun show he was promoting.
The truck had careened out of control through one block without stopping, and only after Zhang instinctively turned off the ignition did the truck stop in front of a railway.
“If there were other cars or other people as I crossed without being able to stop, there would surely be some kind of tragedy,” said Zhang.
“If I couldn’t stop the truck, I would be killed and the truck would be destroyed because there was a railroad subgrade in front,” said Zhang.
Zhang thought his truck had some aging plastic or a failing metal part.
At the repair shop, Zhang was surprised to learn the cause of the incident: the throttle cable had been damaged. It had been replaced, but when the new cable was inspected on Feb. 19, it was damaged in the same way as the original cable that had caused the incident.
Now, foul play was suspected.
Only later did Zhang realize what had happened. The rubber cover for the throttle line had been cut, and an unidentified corrosive liquid had been applied to the inside of the metal tube that held the throttle cable.
The truck has a powerful, eight cylinder diesel engine.
“When I released the accelerating pedal that day, the truck just kept on accelerating,” Zhang said. “Then I tried to hit the brakes with full force, but the brakes could not overcome the engine. The truck kept on moving forward.”
“A corrosive liquid was applied to the metal, making it rust, the rust stayed inside the tube, and the cable got jammed.”
Zhang’s supervisor, Yang Qing, said only an experienced truck driver like Zhang could have prevented the disaster, and it was fortunate that the incident occurred while Zhang was on his way home, rather than in downtown Chicago.
“If it happened in downtown Chicago, multiple crashes would happen, causing deaths and injuries,” said Yang.
“Whoever did this is an expert. The person did not use strong acid or one that has a very strong odor, like sulfuric acid or hydrochloric acid,” said Yang. “It was an odorless corrosive, which did not make any one of us suspect foul play even though we were driving the truck every day.”
“Because the rubber cover was flipped up to apply the corrosive, its effect would not be known until after a long time,” according to Zhang.
“The same place that was cut twice was not in contact with any other part of the vehicle, and so this was without a doubt a man-made problem.” said Yang. “It is possible that the tampering was done sometime after midnight, because the car was parked in a public place outside a building.”
Zhang and Yang believe the tampering is the work of the Chinese Consulate. When asked why the consulate would target a truck, Zhang said, “The CCP fears the revival of the Chinese culture. They are afraid.”
“The Chinese Consulate fears public exposure, and thought that we couldn’t find out what happened, said Yang. “Our finding out was a devastating blow to the Chinese Consulate.”
Sen Yang, the head of the Mid-USA Falun Dafa Association, which is bringing Shen Yun to Chicago, said, “If they burned down or destroyed the truck, it would have been better. It was like a time bomb. The truck was driveable but no one knows when it would malfunction. This was a terrorist act.”
Among Shen Yun’s performances of classical Chinese dance and ethnic dance, there are typically one or two dances that portray the persecution inside China of the Falun Gong spiritual practice, an example of the traditional culture that Shen Yun seeks to revive.
The World Organization to Investigate the Persecution of Falun Gong in a 2010 report documented dozens of instances of interference with Shen Yun performances in Europe, the United States, Canada, Oceania, and Asia.
“The dictatorial regime’s embassies and consulates have … used various tactics to try to prevent people from watching Shen Yun shows,” the report said. “These methods include harassment of the shows’ sponsors, massive phone calls to disrupt ticket-selling hotlines, threatening overseas Chinese communities, [and] writing defamatory letters to VIPs.”
The methods used are also believed to have included tampering with vehicles. For instance, in January 2010, the tires on a bus in Ottawa, Canada, carrying Shen Yun performers were found to have been slashed. If undiscovered, police believed the slashes would have caused the tire to blow out at highway speeds, causing a catastrophic accident. They launched a criminal investigation for a hate crime.
On Feb. 21 Shen Yun performed at the Peabody Opera House in St. Louis, but only, as Epoch Times previously reported, after overcoming at attempt by the Chinese Consulate to prevent the theater from honoring its contract with Shen Yun.
Keith Oakes, a US Navy veteran who served in Vietnam, was asked at the show about the attempt to prevent it from appearing in St. Louis. “I would come even if there were an army out there, because the (performance) is so beautiful. And I really would. There would be nothing to keep me from seeing (Shen Yun).”
“You can only slow down something good, you can only slow the good, but eventually the good is going over the bad,” added Oakes.
Larry Dawes, a government official from the Granite City in Illinois, was back after having seen it last year, and said he will be back again next year.
“The communist government doesn’t like the truth, because you know, the truth will set you free,” said Dawes. “You know the truth, it will set you free. And (it) doesn’t want people to know. But after nine years of (Shen Yun), it is going to continue, and the truth is getting out.”
Shen Yun Performing Arts is scheduled for four performances from March 6 to March 8 at the Cadillac Palace Theatre in Chicago, Ill.