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'Witnessing History: One Woman's Fight for Freedom and Falun Gong'

'Witnessing History: One Woman's Fight for Freedom and Falun Gong'

   A SEARING PERSONAL ACCOUNT: In her book "Witnessing History," recently translated into English, Jennifer Zeng tells a moving story of her harassment, arrest and detention by the Chinese Communist Party and her ultimate move to Australia due to her practice of Falun Gong. (Photo courtesy of sohopress.com)
   Author Jennifer Zeng opens the coffin of Communist rule, releasing the stench of a totalitarian regime's rotting remains

   By Ceci Neville
   Epoch Times New York Staff
   Witnessing History comes to U.S. and European bookstores this summer. It tells not only a personal journey, but gives an intriguing glimpse at the putrefying underbelly of the last major communist country in the world.
   Because the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) holds tight control over all media, it can gloss over the cruelty and evil within China's borders. One might think the CCP's whitened sepulcher does not smell, but perhaps we are too far away to catch the scent, for people in Western democratic countries are generally unaware of the subterfuge that the CCP uses to cover up its crimes. Jennifer Zeng, a Chinese scientist who fled to Australia on her release from a horrifying experience of torture for practicing Falun Gong, brings the reader close enough to the torture and cover-up be repulsed by the stench. She explains the inexplicable and speaks for the hundreds of thousands who cannot speak for themselves.
   Although more and more in the West are learning about and deploring the persecution of Falun Gong, they can't understand why it happens. The author uses her personal experience to reflect on the progress of the crackdown on Falun Gong, from the first arrests and detentions in stadiums to the long-term detentions in slave labor camps where practitioners were forced to knit sweaters and assemble toys for export. The author provides a reason: "You must remember that China is a one-party autocracy in which every aspect of society is tightly controlled by the Communist Party. How, then, could such a large group of people escape the attention of those in power?" Since the CCP's main goal is to remain in power, this cultivation practice was seen as a threat to their grip on power.
   Furthermore, every level of the society accepts the Party's control over their lives. CCP-styled authority is a fact of life. Everyone knows that. To a person born in the West, this is incomprehensible. But to the mainland Chinese, this is reality.
   The author manages to put a face on the persecution. She does not delve into the regime's motivations, but rather gives firsthand accounts of how the police monitor and arrest people in their neighborhood. A policeman may be on a first name basis with a law-abiding citizen, but may use that person's trust to arrest and detain that person when so ordered.
   Zeng recounts her contact with a policeman who understands Falun Gong, but chose career over conscience. Local police officer Wu took special pains to protect and warn Zheng and her husband of what was in store for those who continued to demand an end to the CCP's persecution against Falun Gong. On one occasion he gave her a hint: "'For the next day or two things would be a little chaotic outside,' he said, 'so it would be best if we didn't go out.' I asked him what could be chaotic. 'It's Christmas Day today,' he said evasively. 'It's chaotic outside.' 'What could be chaotic about Christmas Day?' I asked quite puzzled. He couldn't give any reason, but continued to insist that we were not to go out for a couple of days." The policeman possessed basic goodness, but chose to follow the Party's orders.
   He treated Zeng and her husband as friends. "He told us how he had written out an application to join the Party nine years before but had not handed it in; instead he had carried it around in his pocket all that time. Why? Because he realized that he was better than many Party members, he said, and that Party members did many bad things. Not long ago, however, he had finally handed his application in. He didn't see what else he could do, he explained, because you couldn't expect to stand out from the crowd in his line of work if you weren't a Party member.… These days, everything was connected with money and you earned much less when you weren't promoted regularly.… How could you get by without money?"
   Another policeman spoke frankly with Zeng even as he was arresting her. "'Do you know why the government is so afraid of you?' he asked. 'No. Why?' 'Because your Falun Gong is too genuine; you are too cohesive a force.'" Amazingly, he admits that he would have practiced Falun Gong had he encountered it earlier, but it was now too late for he had much to lose in his career and his life. "'If I had read it [the book "Zhuan Falun"] earlier,' he said with a note of regret in his voice, 'I may well have got right into it. But now I'm looking at it through colored spectacles, seeking from the book ways of dealing with you, so I'm not into it.'" Many know it to be good, that Falun Gong practitioners are good people and that the practice is good for society, but an individual must concede to the power of the CCP in every aspect of life.
   "Witnessing History" may help the average American citizen understand why the Chinese regime is so terrified of Falun Gong practitioners sitting in meditation across the street from their embassies and consulates. It might also help Americans to understand why Falun Gong practitioners demonstrate Falun Gong exercises and pass out flyers that explain torture exhibits at street corners in most major cities around the world. It may even lead those reading this book to sign a petition or speak to their Senators and members of Congress about this issue, or ask what our government is doing to break through China's Internet blockade.
   It might touch the reader's conscience. It touched mine.
   Witnessing History: One Woman's Fight for Freedom and Falun Gong
   by Zheng Zeng (Jennifer Zeng)
   Published in the U.S. by Soho Press Inc.
   Translated from Chinese by Sue Wiles
   First published by Allen & Unwin, Crows Nest, Australia
   [email protected]
   ISBN 1-56947-421-4

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