By Stephen Gregory, The Epoch Times
June 6, 2012
For the second time in two months a group of Chinese citizens in Hebei Province has stood up to be counted in defense of a local Falun Gong practitioner detained by officials. This time, the practitioner is believed to be in grave danger due to abuse.
In April, the representatives of 300 households in Zhouguantun Village, who have come to be called the “brave 300,” signed a petition calling for the release of Falun Gong practitioner Wang Xiaodong.
On May 29, in a courtroom in Tangshan City, which is about 113 miles from Zhouguantun Village, a lawyer for Falun Gong practitioner Zheng Xiangxing presented a petition with 562 signatures calling for Zheng’s release.
Like the petition from Zhouguantun Village, the one in Tangshan City was signed by petitioners using their real names and with their thumbprints affixed with red sealing wax.
By using their real names and their thumb prints, the citizens defied the Chinese regime’s persecution of Falun Gong, facing possible harassment or worse in order to support a local Falun Gong practitioner.
‘A good man’
In the petition in Tangshan City, the petitioners wrote, “We know Zheng Xiangxing to be a good man and have benefited a lot from knowing him, so we are writing to express our feelings.”
When Zheng first began practicing Falun Gong in 2002 or 2003, he had a bad temper, according to a report on the Falun Gong website Minghui. The petitioners praised Zheng’s generosity and kindness.
Zheng owned a small shop that sold electronics and had the unusual business practice of repairing people’s electronic appliances for free, no matter where they had purchased them.
The petitioners explain: “Regardless of who owns the appliance, if there is a problem, Zheng Xiangxing will immediately stop what he is doing and repair it. If the repair will take some time, he will let people use his own machine … he begins the repair as soon as possible and charges no fee.”
Zheng is often asked why he repairs appliances for free, and the petitioners wrote that he answers, “We buy electrical appliances to make life easier, how can you use if it is not fixed quickly?”
“He says this and then does what he says,” the petitioners wrote, “because he enthusiastically serves others …
“He has business integrity, deals fairly, is always enthusiastic and kind to others, and makes a good impression on his customers.”
According to Minghui, Zheng was arrested on Feb. 25 when two female police officers came to his shop saying they needed to have an electric bike repaired. When Zheng opened the door, officers waiting outside rushed in. They arrested him and ransacked the shop, removing two truckloads of goods.
Zheng was held in the Tanghai County Detention Center for more than one month, where he was subjected to physical abuse and mistreatment. According to Minghui, Zheng became emaciated, his breathing became shallow, and he was in critical condition.
Zheng’s situation became much graver on April 6, when he was transferred to Tangshan City’s Ankang Hospital, which is a mental hospital. Practitioners detained in this hospital have been injected with unknown, toxic drugs, according to Minghui.
One practitioner detained there became emaciated after the injections. One suffered a stroke and another mental collapse. The injections left another in great pain, disoriented, and unable to move her eyes or tongue.
When Zheng was transferred to the hospital, the police charged his family 10,000 yuan (US$1,571) for the “treatment” he was to receive.
Falun Gong was first taught publicly in 1992 and by 1999 between 70 and 100 million people were practicing Falun Gong in China, according to Chinese authorities. The practice involves doing five meditative exercises and living according to teachings based on the principles of truthfulness, compassion, and tolerance.
On April 25, 1999, the then-head of the Chinese Communist Party, Jiang Zemin, wrote a letter calling for the repression of Falun Gong. Jiang described his concern at the large number of people practicing Falun Gong and his fear that the people of China would prefer the teaching of Falun Gong to communist ideology.
The actions of the villagers in Zhouguantun Village, which the citizens of Tangshan City appear to have imitated, have received widespread support in and out of China.
The founder of the Chinese human rights website 64tianwang.com, Huang Qi, knows something about the risks of speaking out in China. He has served 8 of the past 12 years in prison in China because of his advocacy.
On May 30, Huang commented on the actions of the “brave 300” in Zhouguantun Village. Huang said the current situation has changed vastly over the last 12 years—when the persecution of Falun Gong was first launched—and that people now dare to talk openly about sensitive topics, such as redressing the situation of Falun Gong.
Huang believes that the Chinese regime must reflect on its past mistakes in the face of mounting discontent from the Chinese people, and redress the historical injustices it has committed, such as the persecution of Falun Gong and the Tiananmen Square Massacre of 1989.