Good Fortune and China Miss Each Other in the Case of SARS

Wang Yifeng

PureInsight | May 12, 2003

[] Many turning points in history that have gripped readers for countless generations would have turned out totally differently if a key character hadn't made one decision that, with hindsight, turned out to be wrong. In the West, the defeat of Napoleon in the Battle of Waterloo is one such example. In ancient China, there was the famous story of the Hongmen Banquet, when Xiang Yu and Liu Bang met. These two great rebels toppled the Qin Dynasty. Xiang Yu's army was much stronger at the time, and he could have easily killed Liu Bang. Even though his close advisors urged him to kill Liu Bang, Xiang Yu decided to let him go. Years later, Xiang Yu committed suicide after his army was defeated by Liu Bang's army. Liu Bang became the first emperor of the Han Dynasty.

History is like a play that grips the audience with one scene after another. It is also mankind's teacher. An ancient Chinese saying is, "Forget not history for it is the teacher of later generations." The history of the past half century has served as an austere teacher. It has hit the Chinese people repeatedly with its brutal and heavy whip, as if to make us learn an important lesson. However, forgetfulness seems to be part of man's nature. Chinese people tend to return to their old attitudes or beliefs within a decade of the occurrence of major events.

As the sharp sword of SARS begins to threaten every Chinese person, it becomes clear that the old attitude of silence toward the government's deceit is now costing lives. There is yet no telling how much the Chinese people will have to pay for their silence.
However, the price is guaranteed to be severe, given the current reports of the number of deaths.

In the past the Chinese paid dearly for their silence. About which events have the Chinese people chosen to seal their lips of justice and righteousness? The 1950's left-wing political movement claimed the lives of 500,000 intellectuals. In the early 1960's, three years of consecutive so-called "natural disasters" caused a nationwide famine that claimed the lives of 40 million Chinese people. The following ten years of the Great Cultural Revolution destroyed China's 5,000-year history of cilvilization. When people look back, they feel that their greatest sorrow was to be forcefed repeated lies. The greatest crime is to create state-run deceit. The greatest injustice is being lied to. A continuous supply of heinous lies during the past 50 years has numbed the conscience of the Chinese people. Despite the scale of the Chinese government's deceit, the Chinese people are too busy protecting their own lives to stand up for those who were wronged by these horrendous lies.

Even though the Chinese people knew that the government lied about the June 4th, 1989 massacre at Tiananmen Square, they succumbed to the brutality of the government's decrees and chose to remain silent to protect themselves. An exception occurred when the SARS virus started to plague China. There was no positive action taken by the government, which lied about the outbreak. A retired medical doctor revealed the truth about SARS to the world at a crucial moment. His courage has helped reduce the loss of life. It was only then that we achingly felt the preciousness of truth and its value in saving lives.

While everyone is at risk for the SARS infection, perhaps, by contrast, we can take this opportunity to imagine what would have happened if the Chinese Communist Party had not lied about the SARS outbreak. One thing is for sure: SARS would not have spread so widely in China or infected the rest of the world.

Let's imagine which past historic event might have prompted the Chinese Communist Party to adopt a policy of telling the truth to the Chinese people? It would probably be the peaceful appeal of over 10,000 Falun Gong practitioners who waited in line outside the National Appeals Bureau in Beijing to clarify the truth about Falun Gong and to ask for the release of innocent Falun Gong practitioners detained in Tianjing. Mr. Zhu Rongji, the then Chinese Premier, met Falun Gong practitioners and made a wise decision that was mutually beneficial to both the country and the Chinese people. If the Chinese Communist Party had been true to its promises made back then to release Falun Gong practitioners in Tianjin and had stopped harrassing them, that would have been a decisive historical transition for the Party to an era of truthfulness, which would have led the country to democracy and prosperity. SARS would not have spread out of control inside China. We can only say that, unfortunately, luck eluded China by a hair.

History betrayed our wish, because the Chinese Communist Party missed the opportunity to improve itself on April 25, 1999. The Chinese people chose deadly silence over righteousness and justice, so Jiang Zemin dared to ignore their wishes and willfully ordered a brutal suppression of an unarmed group, Falun Gong practitioners, who had no political ambition and conducted themselves with Truthfulness, Compassion and Forbearance.

Today, hundreds of thousands of Chinese people are facing unemployment, expulsion from their schools, having to flee from their homes, and being imprisoned for speaking the truth, "Falun Dafa (Falun Gong) is good." If you do not agree with Falun Gong, or even think that Falun Gong has nothing to do with you, think again. While the SARS virus is virtually invading every inch of the air that we breathe, think what Falun Gong practitioners have been fighting for in the past four years. Falun Gong practitioners have shown the Chinese people the value of truth with their own lives. What if the Chinese Communist Party had not persecuted Falun Gong, which they did? Even though the majority of the Central Political Poliboro initially supported Falun Gong, they later reversed themselves. Hence, the SARS virus went out of control in China.

To all the bystanders of the persecution of the Falun Gong movement during the past four years, the silence, indifference and nonchalance that you have chosen to live with is now exacting its deadly price.

SARS prevails over China because something more deadly than the SARS virus has already prepared China for its extermination. It is the dictatorship the Chinese Communist Party maintains with its deceit. The following statistics are iron-clad proof for this argument:

Taiwan's Population: 22.5 Million. SARS Infection: 55; Deaths: 1
Hong Kong's Population: 6.8 Million. SARS Infection: 1,527; Deaths: 121
(As of April 26, 2003). Source: World Health Organization

What could have caused the fact that Hong Kong, with only a third of population of Taiwan, had 300 times the number of SARS infections and 120 times the deaths?

There is at least one known fact: The Hong Kong SAR (Special Administration Region) is gradually conforming to the Chinese Communist Party's corrupted, inhumane dictatorial political system. Similarly, the Hong Kong SAR government deceived the Hong Kong people and had complete disregard for the lives of its citizens at the beginning of the SARS outbreak. At the beginning of the outbreak, high-level officials in the Chinese Communist Party publicly commented, "SARS is nothing. It is nothing to fear. If the SARS claims the lives of 500,000 people, then we have something to worry about." The Hong Kong SAR government displays a hard, retrogressive attitude toward democracy, SARS and human rights. The Hong Kong SAR government began to persecute Falun Gong practitioners like their Chinese Communist Party counterparts on the Mainland, which is equivalent to helping a tyrant perpetrate wicked deeds. In contrast, Taiwan continues to improve its political system by moving towards democracy. The Taiwanese government respects public opinion on democracy, human rights and spiritual belief issues. In particular, the Taiwanese government honors and respects Falun Gong. What is the real life-threatening factor in China and HK?

History is like a play with many illusions. However, a righteous thought often changes the outcome of the entire plot. History is like a mirror, reflecting real life. Sometimes, a righteous thought will decide one's life or death.

A farm woman who is also a Falun Gong practitioner daily risks arrest to distribute handwritten flyers that clarify the facts about Falun Gong. On each flyer she writes, "Please believe me. Falun Dafa is Good! I do not need to take such a risk to tell you a lie." Her courage and honorable spirit moved me to tears. In this chaotic, secular world, let's be kind to those who sacrifice their own lives to safeguard our living environment.

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