PureInsight | June 15, 2017
Falun Gong practitioners in front of the Chinese Embassy in Toronto
Early one morning, in front of a retirement home in Toronto’s East District, a thin small old lady stands under a bus stop. Her name is Du Lingmei, she is 80 years old. Her routine every day is to take the bus to the Chinese Embassy in the city’s town centre.
The Chinese Embassy is located on St George Ave, a quiet street but is near to the busier location Bloor Ave. According to estimates, over 10,000 vehicles and passengers pass by the Embassy every year. Since the summer of 2000, it became a place where Du Lingmei visited every day. She and her fellow practitioners have put up posters and distributed flyers here together for the last 17 years.
Healthy Body and Spirit through Practicing Falun Gong
Before her retirement, in the early 90s, Du Lingmei was an employee in a shoe factory. She’d suffered multiple diseases: Lumbar hyperosteogeny, hay fever, sensitivity to cold, etc. Every time when the Spring or Autumn came, her ligaments would swell and her skin became extremely itchy and irritable. She found walking and sleeping very difficult due to back pain. She tried to get a correct diagnosis from both Chinese and Western doctors, tried various medicines, but neither Western nor Chinese medicine seemed to help. She had also tried various Qi Gong practises, which helped a little to reduce her hay fever symptoms, but her backache was still very serious.
Du Lingmei in front of the Chinese Embassy
In 1995, a Falun Gong practitioner, Jiang Xuemei, came to visit her family in Toronto. She held a nine day class at home and brought Falun Gong to Toronto. In 1996, Du Lingmei met a lady in a clinic who introduced her to Falun Gong.
At that time, she had to witness her dear Mum suffer from sickness, helpless as she lay on her bed, constantly in pain. Lingmei wished she would not suffer the same fate and have to be taken care of when she becomes old in the future. To gain a heathy body, she started with a “trial” to learn Falun Gong. Without noticing which exact day it happened, she felt that her back pain had stopped, and her headaches had also disappeared, all the pain in her body just vanished overnight.
Falun Gong requires not only practising 5 sets of exercises, but also requires one to live according to the principles of Truthfulness, Compassion and Forbearance. At the beginning, Du Lingmei was worried that she could not truly follow the principles, but she has tried really hard to change herself. She stopped being anxious and angry when facing troubles; she put down her desire for profit and destroyed all the bills signed by her friends in acknowledgement of debt and all the letters relating to refunds. She has also offered to take care of her sick mum. Slowly, her relatives found her more accommodating and easy to live with. When her financial advisor saw her changes, the advisor also started to practise Falun Gong.
Peaceful Protest in Front of the Chinese Embassy
On July 20th 1999, the ex-leader of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), Jiang Zemin, started a systematic persecution of Falun Gong in China. Many practitioners have been arrested and sent to prison and brainwashing centres. The propaganda of the Chinese media spread to other countries abroad. At that time, there were about 150 Falun Gong practitioners in Toronto. Many practitioners, same as Lingmei, had not totally understood the deeper meaning of cultivation and felt like they’d been hit with a very big stick. They were shocked: “Why is such a good practise method forbidden in China?”
On July 24th 1999, practitioners in Toronto hand in their first petition letter to the Chinese Embassy
Practitioners spontaneously started handing in petition forms to the Chinese Embassy and hand written letters to the leaders of the Chinese government. Du Lingmei joined the protest group in front of the Chinese Embassy. They naively thought that the Chinese government would listen to their voices. But the persecution continued and became ever worse with more reports of practitioners being seriously persecuted.
January 21 2000, Falun Gong practitioner Chen Zixu in Weifang, Shandong province was beaten to death. The news of this shocked all the practitioners in Toronto. A few Western practitioners started a hunger strike in protest outside the Chinese Embassy. More Chinese practitioners soon joined them.
At that time, Du Lingmei had just retired. She was one of the first people to participate in the peaceful protest in front of the Chinese Embassy and volunteered to coordinate the schedule. They scheduled 4 hours to each session during the daytime. The full time working practitioners replaced them for the night sessions; some students finished their study and homework during the day and then came for a few hours in the evening.
This group, consisted of both young and old practitioners, who started a 24 hour relay of peaceful protest.
Stand Firm in the Wind, Frost, Rain and Snow
The Chinese Embassy is the window of the Chinese Communist Party abroad. The arrival of Falun Gong practitioners has undoubtedly given them cause for concern. They (CCP) have tried everything in their power to remove the practitioners by putting up fences and posters to block them, deliberately spraying them with watering cans used to water flowers. Du Lingmei and other practitioners then dressed accordingly in rain coats and continued with their meditation.
The winter in Toronto is extremely cold, sometimes minus 20 to minus 30 degrees. It is uncomfortable even if you stay outside for just 15 minutes. But Du Lingmei and her fellow practitioners stayed there for hours at a time. They even put up a small wooden shed where only one person could sit inside and meditate, but other practitioners had to stay outside. Later, the shed was removed due to the intervention of the Chinese Embassy. The practitioners in the night sessions had to take turns to go inside the car to keep warm.
The Winter of 2002, Falun Gong practitioners protested peacefully in front of the Chinese Embassy in Toronto
Practitioners brought warming products to put into their gloves; some people steamed potato’s and brought them to the night sessions, keeping practitioners warm during the sever moments of cold.
On one occasion a storm came causing a large tree nearby to fall down, the practitioners remained firm continuing meditating quietly. When more and more snow fell, the thick snow almost covered them. Adversely the pile of snow protected them from the wind, and they didn’t feel the cold so much.
One midnight, the temperature dropped to minus 30 degrees, a few practitioners felt too cold to stay. They decided to take down the posters and go home. Just as they were about to leave, a practitioner called Xiang and his wife came with duvets. They stayed there without giving up and took over the night shift together.
Witness to the Coldness and Warmth in the Human World
Just like this, no matter how cold it was, there was always Falun Gong practitioners protecting that place. They became a unique view to passers-by during the winter months. All the local residents have been shocked and started paying more attention to the practitioners’ message. Some people came to get information during the midnight hours; some Westerners showed sincere warmth and smiles. Acknowledging them with words of, “Hello!” “Bless you!” Some people came to shake their hands, “I understand you.”
Someone came and held his hand in front of his chest in respect saying: “I stand with you.” Someone showed his thumb and said: “Amazing, you must keep going!” …
A cleaner insisted on buying coffee for them every evening; some Chinese people brought them coffee in the night. When a passing driver saw the practitioners sitting in the heavy rain in the dark night, he turned around and brought hot coffee; and a government officer from the Chinese Embassy put out his hand underneath his coat when he passed by a practitioner and showed his thumb…
The Falun Gong practitioners protested peacefully in front of the Chinese Embassy
“It is the hardest in the night. There is no toilet. Some people could not recover from the coldness even after three days. And we had to tolerant the discrimination and abuse of some Chinese people who did not know the truth”, said Du Lingmei, “It was really hard to endure. Some practitioners have broken down crying.”
“But I have never cried, not even once!” Du Lingmei had a firm look on her face. “Compared to the practitioners who are being persecuted in the harsh environment of China, this is nothing what we are suffering.”
Du Lingmei has often felt the miracles: “In very cold weather, my feet got warm when I meditated.” “That was why I could stay to the end. Otherwise it was very difficult to stay for a few hours.”
As long as the Persecution Continues, so shall our Protest also Continues
The time flew by and in no time it was 2017. Du Lingmei and her fellow practitioners have stood fast in front of the Chinese Embassy for 17 years. Their 24 hours relay had continued to 2009, and then changed to daytime sessions. Three years ago, Du Lingmei was no longer a coordinator, but she still goes to the Chinese Embassy at least 6 days a week.
In the last 18 years the world has experienced great change. The persecution against Falun Gong by the Chinese Communist Party has gained more of the world’s attention. The practitioners in Toronto, who were few in the beginning, have developed into a force unto themselves, consisting of thousands of people. Many people have understood the truth through them. After many years, when the practitioners went to small remote villages, some people still asked: Are you among the people who protest in front of the Chinese embassy?
The image of Du Lingmei’s “stand” in front of the Chinese Embassy, is only a microcosm of the peaceful anti-persecution activities of the Falun Gong practitioners worldwide. In the last 18 years, the practitioners in Toronto have grown in pace with all the Falun Gong practitioners around the World, and created great many feats that deeply moved the Heaven and the Earth.
“As long as the persecution is continuing, we won’t stop anti-persecution activities.” Du Lingmei will keep going, “I will keep going on the way I know to be right.” She believes: The evil will definitively be defeated, and justice will certainly prevail!!
Translated from: http://www.zhengjian.org/node/237002