Darkness and Light: A Family Ordeal – Chapter Five

A Practitioner from Florida

PureInsight | September 27, 2004

Chapter 5: Light at the End of the Tunnel

August 12, 2004. 9:30 am. Beijing, China

"Nihao, Zhang. Nihao, miss." Zhang's neighbor smiled at him and Li as they walked past his house. Zhang smiled back.

The neighbor continued, "Young Zhang, it's been a long time since we last saw you. How are you feeling now? I heard that you were in a forced labor camp for a long time and were brutally tortured! Your parents told us – they were so worried about you! That wicked man Jiang! His stupid persecution of Falun Gong has torn apart so many lives and sent so many good people to prison to be victimized!"

Zhang sighed. "Yes, it happened. But we bear no grudges. We just wish that people would try to understand what Falun Gong is and the truth about the persecution. And see past Jiang's lies. We only ask for the good name of Falun Gong to be restored and for the illegal and irrational persecution of Falun Gong and its practitioners to be stopped."

The neighbor smiled and said, "Well, it can't continue for too long, thanks to all the good work you're doing. You know, I've seen that the banners that Falun Gong practitioners hang on trees on the roadsides are staying longer and longer. The truth-clarifying flyers that they distribute are reaching more and more people and touching their hearts. The police are tired of this, and they have stopped taking them down. They are also no longer arresting practitioners or treating them violently like they did before."

Zhang smiled back. "Yes, things are getting better, even though the persecution has not completely ended. Jiang's irrational persecution is getting harder and harder to maintain. We don't oppose the Communist Party, but I think Jiang's silly policies and especially his irrational and violent persecution of Falun Gong will meet with justice very soon."

The neighbor smiled. Looking around to make sure he wasn't overheard, he said in a lower tone, "You know, I have started helping Falun Gong practitioners too. I have put the truth-clarifying material about Falun Gong in my shop, and I hand them out to people. You know, my mother started practicing Falun Gong after a practitioner clarified the truth to her 3 months back. Now, she is very healthy and I don't need to spend so much of my money on her medical expenses! I know that Falun Gong is good and I support it."

Zhang and Li looked at each other, delighted. "Yes, that's very good." Zhang replied. "By supporting Falun Dafa, you are supporting Truth-Compassion-Tolerance, and that is certainly good."

"Well, Zhang, it's good to see you again. I won't keep you, because your parents are eager to see you after such a long time. Zaijian, Zhang. Zaijian, xiaojie." The neighbor waved them goodbye.

Li, delighted, clutched Zhang's arm. "Did you hear that? More and more people are starting to understand the truth about this persecution. It won't be long before Falun Gong's good name and dignity are restored."

Zhang replied, "Yes. That's why I can come back here without any problems, right? The new police chief of this area is supposed to understand the truth about Falun Gong and be supportive of us."

Li walked with her husband, hand-in-hand, to her in-laws' home.

They were at the front door now. Zhang knocked at the door. Li smoothed her hair, tense and excited at the same time. It had three years since she had last seen her parents-in-law.

The muffled voice of her little daughter from inside the house only made her happier.

Zhang's father opened the door. Upon seeing the two of them, his face burst out into a smile.

"Laoban! " he shouted, calling his spouse using a Chinese term that an old couple would use to fondly call each other. "Our son is back!"

Zhang and his father hugged each other. Zhang's mother rushed out in a hurry, tears in her eyes, to hug him.

"Baba! Mama! " Little Anguo's happy voice came from inside the house. She came running straight to her mother's arms.

Li happily scooped her up in her arms, kissing her on both cheeks.

Little Anguo placed both her hands on her mother's face. Looking at Li's eyes with tears in her eyes, she asked naively, "Mama, where have you and daddy been all this while? I missed you both so much!"

Anguo wiped the tears from her eyes and continued, "Uncle told me that you had to hide because you were being chased by bad people for practicing Falun Gong. Mama, I don't understand. Falun Gong teaches people to be good and kind people. My little friends all say that I am a good girl, and that my father and mother have brought me up well."

"Mama, why is the government saying that Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance is bad?"

Li sighed, looking at her husband and in-laws. She kissed Anguo on the cheek and said, "It's a long story, my little child. Maybe one day, I can explain it to you in detail."

She put Anguo on the ground, and with her in-laws and husband, went into the house.

Zhang's mother took her child inside to her toys, promising her that her parents wouldn't leave her again. Then she came back and arranged lunch for the four of them.

For a family that was seeing each other after a lapse of 3 years and after much pain, the lunch was pleasant. All of them talked about happier times - their lives before the persecution had started in 1999.

It was after they finished lunch that they got serious. Zhang finally asked, "So, baba, mama, what do you now feel about Falun Gong?"

His father said, "You know, young Zhang, we were never against your practice of Falun Gong. We know that it has made you healthier and a better and more morally sound person. It was wicked Jiang, the cruel ringleader of the band of thugs who unfortunately now rule our country, that we were afraid of."

His mother started to cry, "And your sister is gone now, Zhang. She will never come back."

There was an uneasy silence. Zhang was crying too. He said silently, "Mom, I'm sure she's in a better place now, wherever she is. Someone as pure and kind-hearted as her … I'm sure she's now in a much better place, free from suffering."

Li sighed. She folded her legs and said, "All this need never have happened."

Zhang's father, wiping away the tears from his eyes, looked at his daughter-in-law. "Young Li, you remember you told me about how good is met with good, and evil with evil? You were telling me about that when Zhang was imprisoned, to give us moral courage to differentiate right and wrong."

"Yes, uncle." Li replied, curious as to why he had brought up this issue. While Zhang had been imprisoned, Li had, like most other Falun Gong practitioners trying to reduce the persecution of their family members, been actively involved in handing out literature and clarifying the truth about Falun Gong to friends, family and just about everyone she met.

Zhang's father continued, "Well, you know the cruel head policeman of the labor camp where your sister was imprisoned? The one who …"

He paused, closing his eyes tightly for a second. Li realized that the memories were too painful for him. Zhang held his father's hands to lend him support.

After a minute, Zhang's father opened his eyes. His eyes were moist and red. "Anyway … you know, the person who was responsible for … your sister's horrible suffering and death … he died a few months ago."

Li and Zhang looked at each other. They had learned of this a while back.

Zhang replied. "Yes, father, we know. He is supposed to have died of a sudden heart attack. It was his karmic retribution for persecuting good people. The Heavens punished him for his crimes."

His father put a fist on the table. "No, that's not all! That's what you've heard. The leaders covered up the truth about his death to prevent other police officers from fearing heavenly punishment for their involvement in the persecution."

He looked at both of them and went on, "Actually, I know this from the coroner who did the autopsy on his body. The coroner is very reliable. Apparently, the wicked man, who had a wife and two children, died in the house of one of his mistresses."

He continued, "He never had a history of heart attack. He and his mistress were found dead in the morning, killed by what the coroner thinks was carbon-monoxide poisoning."

Zhang's father glanced at both of them. "The house he died in was one of the safest houses built. There were only the thinnest chance of carbon-monoxide poisoning. And, apparently, he had tried to unlock the doors and get out when he found that something was wrong. Instead, the doors had been sealed shut and stuck from the inside. The police are not able to figure out how it was stuck."

"The coroner said that he must have died a very painful death. A very, very painful death. He said the expression on the dead man's face had been horrifying."

Zhang's father looked at the two of them with what seemed like happiness and misery written on his face at the same time. "You know, the Communist Party has been trying to convince us for years that Gods and Buddhas don't exist. But I believe now, even if I didn't believe before – Gods and Buddhas do exist! Heavenly justice does exist!"

Zhang had tears in his eyes. "Dad, this never need have happened. There was no reason for my sister and the thousands like her to be mentally and physically persecuted to death for practicing Falun Gong. There was no reason why so many people need to have been forced or tempted to act against their consciences and commit sins just to make a little money or gain a little rank – sins that they will have to suffer for in the future."

The family sat solemnly and quietly at the dining table.

August 14, 2004. 7:15 pm. Beijing, China

"Mama, why do the weeds have to be removed? Aren't they plants as well?" Little Anguo watched her mother as she tended the garden.

"No, little Anguo", her mother replied, smiling at her daughter. "The weeds choke the lives of the plants that are truly good and useful, and so they must be removed. That is the only way we can have a good and wonderful garden."

Li was still at her in-law's place with her husband. With the relative easing of the environment and the pressure on Falun Gong practitioners, they could move around a little more freely, but they still had to be careful. Li knew that she and her husband would need to move out of the house within a week to another place.

Li looked at her 4-year old daughter happily. At least this time, they could take their daughter with them.

It was late evening, and the sun was setting on the outskirts of Beijing where Li's parents-in-law lived. Li pulled out the last of the weeds, washed her hands and hoisted her daughter on her shoulders.

She walked towards the small, unused, rusty iron gate that stood at the corner of the garden. Li and her daughter stood there for a few minutes, taking in the beautiful sunset.

"Mama, I love watching the sunset on your shoulders. Can we do it everyday?" Anguo asked her mother. Their eyes locked.

Li laughed and rubbed her nose against her daughter's playfully.

From behind them, Zhang's warm laugh greeted them. "What is this?" He asked. "Have mother and daughter left me out of the sunset-watching event?" He hugged his wife and daughter.

Zhang then lifted his daughter from his wife's arms and told her, "Anguo, go in. Dinner is ready. Granny has made delicious dumplings for you!"

"Dumplings! Yay!" Anguo shouted happily at the name of her favorite dish. She ran towards the house and then suddenly stopped, suspicion written on her face. "Aren't you and mama coming?"

Zhang smiled at his daughter. "Yes, in a minute." Looking at his wife with a grin, he said, "You and your mama spent some quality sunset-watching time. Now, it's time for me and your mama to watch the sunset together."

"OK", Anguo replied happily. Suspicions cleared, she ran into the house to taste her grandma's delicious dumplings.

Li looked at her husband fondly, smiling as he placed his strong arms around her shoulder. She rested her head slightly against his strong shoulder.

They watched twilight fall on them. The stars and moon were becoming more visible in the rapidly darkening sky, but there was a faint glow at the horizon as the sun settled into its hiding place for the night.

It was a magical moment.

"Wish it could always be like this, huh?" Zhang asked quietly.

Li nodded.

"Well, do you know we're leaving next week?" Zhang asked his wife.

Li nodded again. "I kind-of figured. Where are we going?"

Zhang shrugged. "I don't know. The situation is still bad in a lot of areas in Beijing. The persecution is still rampant. Being from a different area, it might be easier for us to move from place to place, hand out truth-clarifying materials, distribute VCDs and hang up banners clarifying the truth about Falun Gong. All these peaceful means that we have used over the last 5 years have been instrumental in reducing the persecution to this stage … to the point where Jiang cannot hold on to his wicked persecution of Falun Gong much longer."

"We have to keep doing it to the end." He paused, and continued, "So that the injustice that happened to my sister and others who practice Falun Gong may never be repeated again."

Li nodded. She looked at what was now the night sky. "Yes, we must."

She looked at her husband and asked him quietly, "How long do you think this will last?"

Zhang was silent for a while. He glanced up at the sky. Finally, he replied, "Not too long. Not too long. Remember how it was in 1999 and 2000? The persecution is no longer as evil and vicious as it was then – the situation has really turned around. From here on, it can only get better and better."

"The persecution of Falun Gong will end very soon. And I think that when the truth about this persecution is known to the people of the world, they are going to really be shocked at the magnitude of what has been going on right under their noses."

Li nodded. She looked at the night sky, at the stars that twinkled overhead, and at the bright full moon that cast light over the silent night.

One star in particular caught her eye as it twinkled at her.

Li remembered ancient mythologies that told of noble men and women ascending to the Heavens and the Colossal Cosmic Firmament upon death. She smiled to herself, wondering if the pretty star represented memories of someone she knew.

Li turned away from the night sky to hug Zhang. She was happy to have him back in her life. She was glad that things were finally getting better again. She was glad that people were finally coming to learn the truth about Falun Gong, understand it and accept it. She felt warmth in the hope that one day, she and her husband would be able to live without fear of being persecuted for their spiritual faith.

In the warm comfort of the summer night, Li suddenly felt certain that it would not be too long before Falun Gong's good name was reinstated and when they, and the millions of other Falun Gong practitioners in China, would be truly free again.

As Zhang hugged her back, the little star that had caught Li's eye twinkled in the sky again, seeming to smile on the young and noble couple.

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