PureInsight | August 22, 2005
[PureInsight.org] Today, I will share the Experiences of Houston practitioners visiting the city government
In June 2004, several important events occurred in Houston. First, a delegation from Harris County, which is where Houston is located, paid a visit to China. An assistant to the mayor of Houston brought ten proclamations with her. Two of the proclamations were issued to Bo Xilai, the former governor of Liaoning Province, and Xia Deren, the mayor of Dalian City. Bo Xilai is the defendant in several lawsuits filed outside of China for his leadership responsibility in the persecution Falun Gong practitioners. Xia Deren was found responsible by a U.S. court for the persecution of Falun Gong in Dalian City. The second occurrence centered on the completion of the expansion of the Chinese Consulate in Houston. They planted bushes and flowers and installed sprinklers in the area between the sidewalk and street in front and on the sides of the consulate where we usually do the exercises. That left us with no place to sit or do the exercises. The third event was that a NTDTV reporter was asked to leave a party for the Asian community to meet with the new mayor by an assistant to the mayor. The excuse used was "no prior application."
We saw that these three events were not accidental. Apparently we have much more work to do in clarifying the truth to the city government. Due to interference from the Chinese consulate, Houston city officials have caused some difficulties for us, such as issuing proclamations and attending some activities where Chinese officers attended. Through discussion, we realized that if we could form a solid entity these events would have been good opportunities to clarify the truth to the Mayor's office.
Make Speeches at City Council Meetings
There is a city council meeting every Tuesday afternoon at city hall. The Mayor and all council members attend this meeting, and it is broadcast to the whole city on cable TV. Several practitioners applied to give a speech at the next council meeting. During the meeting, practitioners pointed out that the city government had issued proclamations to Chinese officers who had been found responsible by a U.S. court for persecuting Falun Gong practitioners. The NTDTV reporter also talked about how he was not allowed to attend a public event. Reporters from local TV and newspapers immediately interviewed city council members concerning the above issues. A TV reporter later told the NTDTV reporter that an answer from a council member had caught her attention. When the reporter asked the council member if such blocking of a reporter could be prevented in the future, he said that it was a concern, because the situation was complicated. The council member could not promise freedom of the press, which is not normal.
At the same time, several practitioners asked for a meeting with the mayor's office to talk about the proclamation issue. The NTDTV reporter visited several major English media outlets. The reporter mentioned above showed interest in the interview with the mayor's office. Initially, the major's office agreed to meet with practitioners the following month. However, after the office received interview requests from another TV station, they scheduled a meeting with practitioners the next afternoon.
One western practitioner and a Chinese practitioner went to the meeting at the major's office. The attendees from mayor's office were the Director of Communications, Executive Assistant of Asian Affairs and another assistant. The following is a brief of the talk.
Q: We know the decision to persecute Falun Gong was made by one person at the top. Provincial officers are just executing orders. Why should you seek to place responsibility on them?
A: Even in China, there are laws. When local officers executed their orders, they knew they were breaking Chinese laws. No mention of International Human Rights Treaties signed by the Chinese government. Falun Gong has no interests in politics. We don't intend to change the system. So only those who persecute Falun Gong practitioners should take responsibility. It's just like the Nazi war criminals.
Q: A proclamation is not a big issue. Why is this so serious?
A: A proclamation is probably not a big issue, but the Chinese government turned it into a big issue. Houston was the first city in United States to issue proclamations to Falun Gong. We really appreciate that. But two years ago when we held Falun Dafa Experience Sharing Conference, our application for a proclamation was turned down by the mayor's office. They told us that they were getting a lot of pressure from the Chinese consulate, which asked them not to issue proclamations to Falun Gong. (The director of the Communications instantly denied that has ever been said.) The second issue is, the Chinese government used the proclamation as a propaganda tool to mislead Chinese people to reduce the effects of the overseas lawsuit. In fact, this even could have intensified the persecution of Falun Gong practitioners in China.
Q: Our relationship with Dalian City and Liaoning Province traces back to 1993, 1994, not just now.
A: No matter how long the relationship goes back, after July 1999, the situation changed. Liaoning province and Dalian City are among the places that persecute Falun Gong practitioners most cruelly. Among the over 1000 practitioners who have died during the persecution, 130 were in Liaoning, and 27 in Dalian city (data at the time of the meeting). Local officers should be responsible for these deaths. Hitler did not kill 6 million Jews by himself. Jiang Zemin could not persecute practitioners without the help from local officers and the "610 Office". When these officers have blood in their hands, U.S. government officials' relationship with them can never be the same. (At this moment, we hand out the prepared persecution cases from Dalian City and Liaoning province.)
Q: We just want to do business with them. Human rights are issues for the federal government. If you sue them, what are we going to do if they stop doing business with us?
A: Business should be a mutually beneficial exchange. China needs U.S. capital, equipment, and technology. It's not a personal relationship. The true interests of the U.S.A. are in her democratic system and concept of freedom. That's what makes this country great. We are not against doing business with China. But as a government, there are lines that should not be crossed. Issuing proclamation to officers who violated human rights crosses such a line.
Concerning suing officers who persecute Falun Gong. Falun Gong practitioners were deprived of all their basic human rights in Mainland China. However, the practitioners there don't use irrational violence and retaliation. Instead, they seek justice through legal methods. This is the first time this has happened in Chinese history. It is the healthiest development for the future of Chinese society. We all should support it. It's no way to prevent practitioners from using such legal methods. From this moral and just point of view, when a person suffers such cruel persecution for his/her belief, who has the right to stop his/her legal action? Since there are persecuted practitioners all around the world, it's also impossible to know when and where a practitioner may sue a visiting Chinese official who is a persecutor. It's not a comfortable situation if a guest of our city is sued, so if we find that a person who has been involved in the persecution is among the visitors, we should ask them to replace him with somebody else. This is for their own good. But the best thing to do is to tell your business partners, that if you still want to do business with us and if you still want to come to the United States, you should not be involved in the persecution of Falun Gong. That's truly good for them.
The persecution of Falun Gong is the worst human rights disaster in the world. Falun Gong practitioners' non-violent, peaceful resistance is the greatest human movement. No matter who we are, like it or not, we will face this issue directly sooner or later, so it might be better if we take the initiative earlier. One should stand on the side of righteousness. This is where the U.S. spirit stands. U.S. resolutions 188 and 304 have shown the attitude of U.S. Congress. (Copies were sent to them)
At that moment, officials from the mayor's office said that they did not know who the persecutors were. We told them that there were two websites just for this purpose: one is http://www.fawanghuihui.org, the other is www.zhuichaguoji.org (World Organization to Investigate the Persecution of Falun Gong). The former has recorded over 30,000 persecutors and events. The list has been submitted to the UN Human Rights Commission. The other website lists the Party and government officials from central to provincial and city level who are active persecutors. We sent them two copies of the report from the "World Organization to Investigate the Persecution of Falun Gong". The Office director said one copy would be sent to the mayor. They also asked for a list in Chinese so they could check. (Later we got a Chinese electronic copy from the editor of Fawanghuihui website and sent to the mayor's office.)
At the end of the meeting, they told us that the TV reporters were outside, and asked if we would agree to be interviewed. The meeting was videotaped and broadcasted. On that evening's news, the reporter mentioned that maybe many hard to tackle issues could be solved through meetings and discussions like this one. Later, many American friends told us that they saw the news.
We also discussed the exercise site outside the Chinese consulate. The NTDTV reporter later had a separate meeting with mayor's office.
Some experience to share:
Every disturbance is a chance to clarify the truth. Seemingly random events have internal relationships. We need to work together as one body to get a good result. In the above events, the speech at the city council meeting told all the people in the city about the issue, and drew media attention; the NTDTV reporter helped involve English mainstream media. The lawsuits outside China and reports from corresponding websites showed power.
Doing without pursuing
We did not set a goal for the meeting beforehand. We just wanted to clarify the truth. Since we didn't not ask for things, the other side felt relaxed and could listen to us. Documents were well prepared. The major points were brought up through talking rather than documents. Officials may not even read the documents, but if we can draw their attention, they may read them later. If we have clarified the issue enough, it should be fine even if they don't read the documents later.
Each year, China sends many delegates to visit foreign countries. They mostly go to corresponding foreign states, cities, or provinces. Each Chinese delegation is a good opportunity to clarify the truth to the local people and the government. If we use the persecution cases happened in the areas where the delegates come from to clarify the facts in cities where the delegates go, it usually has good effects.
In April 2005, the mayor of Shanghai led a delegation to visit the U.S. and Canada. Before their visit, we made an appointment with the mayor's office and brought them "Nine Commentaries on the Communist Party". This time, we clearly indicated that we hoped they would raise the issues to the Shanghai delegation of the cases of lawyer Guo Guoting who is being persecuted for accepting Falun Gong practitioners' cases, of Qu Yanlai who is being persecuted, of Lu Xinguo who was tortured to death, and of Huang Xiong who disappeared after being abducted by State Security Bureau in Shanghai. The mayor's office said they could not make such requests. Then we asked them to arrange a meeting with the Shanghai delegation so we could raise these issues ourselves. They said that the Shanghai delegation dared not meet with us, but they said they could call Shanghai that evening before their departure to express our concerns. This is another form of truth clarification. It lets the Chinese officials know that their human rights violation of Falun Gong practitioners is being closely watched and tracked.
Master said at the Chicago Experience Sharing Conference, "I told you a long time ago that a Dafa disciple, or a cultivator, has no enemies. The only thing you have a role in is saving people, and you have nothing to do with using human means and human principles to punish or pronounce judgment on people. This is a fundamental issue!"
At some point in time, we encountered an obstacle in applying for proclamations and other activities. Some of us had some negative thoughts toward the assistant of the mayor's office who is in charge of such issues. However, during this meeting, we saw that she put Zhuan Falun on top of her files. She said that she got this book in 1996 when Master visited Houston. She also told us that she handled the proclamation at that time. Afterwards, during the discussion among practitioners, we all felt that we could not carry human thoughts to do truth clarification work. We should not judge people with our own humanly thoughts.
Now let's listen to Master's lecture in Chicago Fahui. "So many years have passed over the course of history, the Three Realms have existed for so long, and so many sentient beings have come here over time, but all hopes are being placed in this one moment out of all the ages. This instant is precious beyond measure. Completing the last leg of this journey well is what's most magnificent."