Mr. Chan's Magnificent Journey

Robert Counts

PureInsight | February 24, 2003

[] Here is a painting I just finished. I want to give you a little background as to what this painting is about, why I painted it, and what I hope to do with it.

About a year and a half ago a man named Wing Yuen Chan, a Hong Kong resident, went to Burma (Myanmar), a south Asian country, to translate a book. Mr. Chan practices Falun Gong. While he was in Burma he heard that the president of China would be visiting Burma for some political business. Knowing about the incredible hardships that the people who practice Falun Gong in China were going through, 70-year-old Wing Yuen Chan walked to the street leading to the airport. He nobly held a banner that said "Truthfulness Compassion Forbearance" in the hope of helping to put an end to this awful persecution.

As the motorcade approached, the officers at the head of the procession drove ahead towards Mr. Chan, snatched away his banner and illegally arrested him. Unfortunately, Burma is not as advanced a place as America, where a man would be honored for holding up such a banner in the face of wickedness. Mr. Chan was put in a Myanmar prison. On top of this, the sentence given to this 70-year-old man was seven years, and he wasn't allowed his right to have a lawyer. The Chinese regime then contacted his family and threatened them that if they leaked any news of this to the public there would be consequences to pay. It disturbs me to imagine what it would be like for a family to be in such a situation. Because of this pressure, it took a whole year before news about Wing Yuen was finally released, and releasing this information was most likely a very difficult decision for his family to make, but I think they made the right decision. It's very hard for me to believe that people in a government would have so much depravity that they would persecute a 70-year-old man and his family for trying to do something right in this world. I painted this because it is my sincere hope that this painting will bring light and raise the awareness of different governments and people and hopefully put more pressure where it needs to be put to release this good man.

Unfortunately, I am not sure what the Hong Kong government has done about this because even though the people are, in theory, free in Hong Kong, they are greatly pressured by the Chinese government.

The other day I was talking to a friend a who is knowledgeable about out the Great Cultural Revolution in China, and he was telling me that during those years, the number of people who died was nearly triple that of the Holocaust. That's 20 million people or more. When I heard this I was shocked. It made me also think about the people who practice Falun Gong in China and people who do other spiritual practices such as Catholicism and Buddhism. There are 100 million people who practice Falun Gong there and the government has called for all-out genocide of the people who practice. That means that the number of good, innocent people that are in concentration camps and who have already died there may be much greater than that during the Holocaust. After hearing about the unique situation in Hong Kong and that there will be some events there to help people know the truth about this persecution, I will travel there with this painting to help try to raise awareness and support Hong Kong for what it will hopefully remain -- a free and independent city in China.

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