Refusal to Extend My Passport by the Houston Chinese Consulate

Practitioner Wei Jinxia from H

PureInsight | April 19, 2004

Ms. Wei Jinxia and her husband are still being denied renewal of their passports by the Houston Chinese Consulate because they practice Falun Gong.

[] My name is Wei Jinxia. On Nov. 5, 2001, I went to the Houston Chinese Consulate to apply for my passport extension since my passport was due to expire on Nov. 20, 2001. Things like filling out the form went very smoothly. I was expecting to get my renewed passport on Nov.8.

On the morning of Nov. 6, I got a phone call from a man in the Consulate. First, he checked whether I had applied to renew my passport, then he asked for my husband's name. I knew they had investigated very closely and I have an F-2 visa with my husband's name on it, so I asked him to say my husband's name. Then he raised the issue of my husband's passport, which had been withheld for more than 8 months by that time. He said: "You are young and have little knowledge and experience. You know pretty well about the standpoint of the Chinese government. We give you another chance, and hope you can change your attitude toward Falun Gong." At this, I understood they would postpone processing both of our passports.

I told him that we did not do anything wrong. It is wrong that the Chinese government labeled Falun Gong as [slanderous words omitted]. The goal of our daily practice in front of the Consulate is merely to tell the government that its decision is a mistake, and hope they can hear people's appeals and correct the mistake. We come to the consulate, not to be against the government, but rather because we believe in the government, that they can understand its citizens' will, and correct mistakes. If we were against the government, then we wouldn't be doing that.

Next, he talked about some government-fabricated stories that defame Falun Gong. I told him the truth and said: "Is what you are doing to force me to 'confess to false charges under torture'? The withholding of the passport is much more serious than beating a Chinese person who lives outside the motherland. Beating a person is simply letting him suffer from the pain of the skin and flesh, he will recover after a period of time. But as a person living in a foreign country, he can not even survive without a passport. My husband can not even change his visa status to H-1 visa without a valid passport.

At last, he said: "Since you don't admit your mistake, then there is nothing to change. You will be responsible for the consequences yourself. Whenever you change your mind, give us a call or write us a letter. I asked him: "Whom should I talk to if I make a phone call?" "Wu...then write us a letter." Obviously, he did not want to tell me his name.

I said: "Since I am here, certainly I want to talk to you face to face."
He answered: "We don't have time."
I said: "If you don't have time, then please just put the seal on our passports. It does not take any of your time"

Thus ended the first phone conversation.

On Nov. 9, I went to the Consulate to ask for the passports with my husband. The staff in the front desk let us wait for some time, then a man came out to receive us. From his voice I knew he was the man I talked to over the phone. This time, I took the time to ask for his last name. He had to tell us that his last name is Yang Later we found out that his name is Yang Zuofan. What he said this time was the same as the last time over the phone. He accused us of being against the government, casting a shadow on the government, practicing politics by practicing Falun Gong exercises in front of the consulate, and the like. We told him it would be very easy for us to stop practicing in front of the consulate as soon as the government stopped its persecution of Falun Gong practitioners, released all the detained Falun Gong practitioners, and gave the practitioners in China a peaceful practicing environment. He still said: "The consulate will not renew passports for those who are against the government. We will return you passports now. You can come again when you change your mind."

At last, my husband got back his expired passport after it had been withheld for more than 8 months. I also got back my passport that would expire very soon. The only reason is because we practice Falun Gong, follow the principle of "Truthfulness–Compassion–Forbearance" to become a people with high moral standards, and have a different viewpoint on Falun Gong compared with the Chinese government.

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