PureInsight | March 8, 2004
Chapter 9: Good and Evil in Tiananmen Square
[PureInsight.org] The last time I checked the time it was exactly five minutes to two and without any hesitation I began walking towards the exit. There was no anxiety nor was there any excitement, just the sober understanding that I came to further validate and clarify Falun Dafa for the Chinese citizens. The moment I passed through the front gates of Zhong Shan Park my mind stopped cleansing myself and I began Sending Forth Righteous Thoughts to eliminate the evil that attacks the Law and the harmonizing of the universe. As I walked out of the front gates of the park I felt this strong wind charge at me. This wind didn't blow my hair neither did it cool my skin. It felt like a huge invisible force of resistance dissolving into nothing as it collided into me.
I walked through the underground tunnel that connects to Tiananmen Square. I ascended up the staircase that would lead me on to the Square. Once I got there it just seemed like a normal day. There weren't that many police in the Square. Randomly scattered groups of pedestrians wandered around the Square. I didn't even see the usual police van parked in the Square. I walked to the area that had been described in the email, but I didn't see anyone. Joel and I caught site of each other but I didn't see anyone else recognizable. Then from across the Square I caught site of my German friend. He was walking with a number of other people who I assumed to be other practitioners from Germany. After catching up with them I told them to head to the other side of the Square and that I would meet them there. There may have been some others wandering the Square so I decided to look around a little more to see if anyone else caught my eye.
When I looked back to the area southwest of the flagpole there was a small group starting to form so I made a beeline straight for them. My friend Chris from Melbourne, Australia peaked out from around some other people and called, "Hey Zenon!" Pleasantries were not the first thing on my mind so he got a rather quick, "Hi Chris," with very little enthusiasm. I didn't want to talk. I was focused on remaining in the moment, calm and impenetrable, within the principle of Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance. My heart was not light as though I was having fun. It bore the weight of my entire trip, as the culmination of months of decision making and planning was now here. Over the past few days in China, the seriousness of what was taking place became very real for me. All of this, pressing down on me, trying to break my will and shatter my calm. It almost worked as I began to hurry the group to begin, I thought, "We've all made it here to Tiananmen Square. What are we doing? What are we waiting for? Why are we just standing around? Let's get started already. People are gathering around." I could see Joel looking at me with the same thought in his mind, "What are you waiting for?" I stopped. I took a step back, closed my mouth and chose to remain calm and keep a righteous mind and continue to Send Forth Righteous Thoughts. It was a good thing I did because that calm was going to pay off in the very near future. I signaled to Joel to be patient as we waited for a couple more people to join us and gathered for some group photos, trying to look like a group of tourists. But regardless of what we did, 35 westerners gathering in Tiananmen Square is going to get peoples' attention. People already started gathering to take a look. Joel kept using subtle gestures to encourage us to start our appeal.
Before the on-lookers knew it they were staring at an eight-foot long shiny golden banner that read Truthfulness-Compassion-Tolerance in Chinese and English. In front of this banner sat 35 foreigners from 13 countries doing meditation. Mind you, I couldn't see any of what I just described to you because at the time I was helping to hold the banner. I was positioned behind the Chinese character for truth. I couldn't see anything for about fifteen to twenty seconds but it truly felt like the "gate of heavenly peace", the English translation of Tiananmen, had been opened. That peaceful scene was quickly shattered by the sound of horns and screeching tires from the police vans. My eyes were closed but I could feel the banner being pulled to the left and right. I tightened my grip and grounded my stance so that I wouldn't fall over. Before I knew it the banner was tangled up so much that it resembled a fat rope. Later, I found out that my friend Chris and another girl from Australia did not give in and held firmly to the banner for a very long time, until they were dragged or beaten off of it. I, however, decided to sit down in meditation and continue to Send Forth Righteous Thoughts.
I was tranquil, not afraid. Not of the event, nor by the reaction of the police. So much of my mind had been focused on eliminating my unhealthy, narrow or limiting notions and desires. I had been gradually purging myself or shall I say, I was being purged. Now I felt it, a peaceful and merciful power permeating every fiber of my being. My heart smiled from ear to ear with happiness and I whispered to myself as if not to disturb my peace and tranquility. "Wow, this Fa is so powerful." "Fa" is the Chinese word for "Law", it is the same "Fa" from "Fa"Lun Da "Fa", the "Law" refers to the principal of Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance. It was rather odd to me that despite all the chaos the police had yet to lay one finger on me. I even opened my eyes to look and there were police right beside me but they were just looking at me. Why was nobody bothering me? It didn't occupy my mind very long as I was enjoying this field of tranquil benevolent energy that had enraptured me. I felt so comfortable and safe. Then I heard a voice in my head. The voice spoke clearly.
Voice: "Get up. Go."
Zenon: "I should remain calm. I came to participate in this event, not create one of my own."
Voice: "You have your own banner right?"
The voice was empty of emotion but full of presence.
Voice: "Well then, why not go? Are you afraid?"
Voice: "Well, then go. Will you get another chance?"
Voice: "Go, just get up and go."
Zenon: "OK. I'm going."
Without another thought I went. I rose from my seated position, turned, and ran past one police officer. He tried to grab my left wrist and screamed "Nnnooooo!" We were encircled by six vans, maybe more, so I found the nearest gap and headed straight for it. I grabbed the corner of my mother's had-been pillowcase, that stuck out of the waist of my pants and pulled the banner out of my pant leg just like I had practiced in my hotel room. I rounded the front corner of one of the police vans and shouted as loud as I could, "Falun Dafa Hao", or Falun Dafa is good. I nearly ran straight into a policeman who reached out to grab me. After faking left, I went right and sprinted out into the middle of hundreds of onlooking Chinese people, who had by this time, neatly lined up in a huge circle, surrounding the event. There I was, out running the police, shouting out my heart, and attempting to unfurl my banner. The problem was I didn't have enough room in my hotel room to practice opening up the banner while I was running. Although it was only seconds in reality time just seemed to stop. When looking back it happened so fast. When I was there everything seemed to be in slow motion. My banner was flapping too much because I was running too fast, so I slowed down. I tried to give a couple good shakes but it was useless - the banner still wouldn't untangle.
They still hadn't caught up to me. Should I just take off into a full-on sprint and escape? There was no way they could catch me. But then there were the Chinese people. Do I just forget the kids playing in the square that night, or the people in the Forbidden City I saw that day? Should I just forget every Chinese person I wanted to talk to but didn't? Should I just forget it all and run? In fact, those thoughts didn't come to mind. When the banner wouldn't open I just stopped, knowing that if they weren't on my heels yet they were soon to be. Raising the banner over my head, I shouted loud enough for all those in the Square and the heavens to hear me, "Falun Dafa is Good", in Chinese, of course. Part of me was in disbelief that it was all actually happening. Before I knew it my banner was gone and luckily my left hand broke my fall, stopping my face just inches from the stained and washed, stained and washed, Tiananmen Square.
There were three of them. When they lifted me up I could hear their grunts of frustration and it was as if I could see the angry face of an evil dragon. He was infuriated by my selfless action - an action that his burning vicious heart could never understand but only hate. One of them had my left and the other held my right arm. The third was pushing my torso from behind while I tried to walk against the force of them as they tried to push me back to the circle of the vans. Really all I could do was slow them down. Although they had my arms and almost all control of my body, I had control of my mouth. All the onlookers and that pathetic and angry dragon were about to hear the heart of this young Canadian man again. After taking a deep breath I began "filling the square with my voice" just as I had promised Joel, shouting "Falun Dafa is Good, Europe knows, Canada knows and America knows. The whole world knows that Falun Dafa is Good." My apologies to the many countries that I left out. Those were the only terms I knew in Chinese.
Although my tone was very serious and my voice very loud, I found a boundless joy resonating inside of me. To try to say it in words - it was as though I felt the joy of millions of hearts gleaming with elation, celebrating inside of me. My friends were being dragged around the Square and beaten, our banner that read Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance was taken away, my body was thrown to the ground and I was virtually immobilized but my heart and mind remained free. Right then and there I was free to stand out against the lies, making known the true situation of Falun Dafa for the millions of Chinese people, who weren't allowed to see, the simple truth of something simply wonderful.
When the persecution against Falun Gong began in China, practitioners were not getting tortured or killed in the first month. The people who actively stood up to appeal for Falun Gong and their freedom to practice, were being taken from appeal offices and being detained. On one occasion, in a cell, there were so many practitioners being detained that everyone had to stand, as there was no room to sit down. It was the middle of summer and for over three days they were not allowed to use the washroom, let alone bathe. Yet, despite these conditions, all of the practitioners continued to talk and share stories in a very lighthearted manner, laughing and joking together. On the third day a policeman asked one of the old ladies through the bars of the cell how they could all remain so peaceful and happy? She kindly replied that although they were locked in a cage because they didn't give up their practice their minds and hearts were soaring freely through the universe. Although he could come and go as he pleased, because he was forced to arrest good people it was his mind that was truly caged. He didn't say a word.
In my opinion this is one of the reasons the persecution started in the first place. The Chairman's jealousy. You see the purpose of his Communist leadership was to "liberate the people." When over 70 million of his citizens, from every level and facet of society, are finding that liberation elsewhere and they all find it in the same teachings, he feels threatened. Falun Dafa teaches that liberation comes from within, from being a good person and an even better person. Through taking up what Falun Dafa calls "cultivation practice" you can work towards completely assimilating to the universe's characteristic of Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance, thus returning to one's original true self and achieving enlightenment. How could a leader, so bent on power and control, understand anything about freedom or liberation of any kind, social or internal? In fact, this lack of understanding and acceptance that the Chairman had for his people, was something that I would be experiencing very shortly.
The police finally got me back into the circle of vans. I began looking them in the eye and very seriously saying, "you know Falun Dafa is good." They have had to arrest hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of practitioners over the past two years, surely they know that practitioners are good people because they never fight back or swear back even when they are beaten to the ground. However, they weren't in the mood to talk with me.
While the first three policemen held me, one large gentleman walked over and punched me in the face. His fist hit was square between the eyes, right at the bridge of my nose. This stunned me. The next thing I knew I was falling into the doorway of one of the police vans and I was getting punched in the head and body to force me into the van. The plain-clothes police officer that beat me seemed angry and vicious. After the first hit he didn't seem to care where his fists landed as he swung frantically. I walked over to a young man who was lying unconscious on the floor of the van. Later he told me he was sitting near the door while I was being beaten into the van and during the rampage the policeman turned and hit him between the eyes and he fell back and passed out.
The only person I knew in my van was Helene, a young lady from Paris, France. When the van pulled a "U" turn to head for the station we ended up facing all the Chinese people on the Square. We waved to them smiling, than I conjoined my hands together, resembling a prayer position and my eyes welled with tears, my heart said softly, "I came here for you." I hoped they could see that. The next thing I knew, my eyes locked with Joel, who was still standing on Tiananmen Square. We had no time to exchange any expression or gesture as the van sped off. But that brief moment of eye contact was enough to affirm to each other that we had succeeded. We appealed and Joel was free and could now take the video recording he captured to show Chinese people that non-Chinese Falun Gong practitioners came to their homeland in the face of a systematic nation wide persecution. We 36 individuals from over 10 countries came to tell them that Falun Gong is good and we used our lives to remind them and the world that Falun Gong is not just a Chinese issue but an international issue.
Helene opened her window and stuck her head out, shouting in Chinese, "Falun Dafa is good." The Police didn't like that and began to pull at her and closed her window. They pulled the blinds down and she then jumped to the other side of the van and opened that window. I then shouted her name, to try and get her attention, to try and calm her down. She ignored me and struggled to shout to just one more person, who ended up being a police officer as we were already at the station. You should have seen his eyes - it was priceless. After all the "intimidating" policemen I saw, this was like a breath of fresh air. His mouth hung open and his eyes grew wide. He looked worried and confused. This young man was faced with this blond, blue eyed, beautiful, young French lady telling him, in his mother tongue, that the focus of his entire government, and police force was unfounded, because quite simply - she said again "Falun Dafa is Good, do you understand?" He just stood there speechless as he watched her head get yanked back into the van.
One uniformed policeman and I wanted to call him a police "boy" because he looked so young, forced his fingers around to the front of her neck, grabbed her throat and bent her backwards over her chair. Dead silence. With his jaw locked the police boy's face was scrunched in anger, as he breathed heavily through his clenched teeth. I thought to myself - oh no you don't. I stood up and screamed, "HEY! That's a lady!" pointing at him to stop. Her face was so calm and her eyes were closed, resembling a painting of Michelangelo's. I knew that we did not have to tolerate this kind of treatment so I reached over and pulled his hand away. At this point, the angry beast, the big man who beat me, rose from his driver seat screaming something I could not understand. I shouted back, "she is a woman!" being well aware, that in China especially, it is unacceptable for a man to lay their hands on a woman - let alone choke her!
He wasn't in the mood for discussion and he only got angrier. I was sure he would charge me and give me an even worse beating but then a policewoman stopped him. Maybe she was touched that I stood up for a lady, I don't know. While my eyes remain locked with his, we both slowly sat down. This time, there wasn't any of the fear that I felt the first time, he beat me. I just looked into his eyes with an open heart and for a half a second, it seemed he could feel the goodness in my heart but then he had to look away. We were told to get out of the vans and the policemen filed us into the police station.