I was about three or four years old when my parents were arrested.
When the persecution [of Falun Gong] started, all the journalists and all the newspapers in the world reported what the Chinese government said, which was fake. So my parents contacted Western journalists who came to China to do interviews with other Falun Gong practitioners who were being persecuted. The Chinese government really hated that, so they put both my parents in jail.
I started practicing Falun Dafa (also known as Falun Gong) when I was 14 years old. That’s when my parents got out of jail. They still believed in Falun Gong even though they had been imprisoned for ten years. My mom introduced Falun Gong to me, and she used her actions to show me how to get out of bad situations and become better. Because when I saw my mom, even though she was in jail for ten years, she still tried to learn all these things and tried to get back into society, and finally she got a job. And I thought, oh, I can do that too. My dad also helped me a lot. He taught me how to think logically.
I think the most important thing Falun Gong taught me is how to identify myself. Because previously in China I was taught this: You are valued because you have high grades, you go to this club, or you’re in this activity. Basically, it’s based on your grades. At that time my grades were pretty low, and I felt pretty upset. Now I know there’s something more important than grades: like compassion, like forbearance. I should become a better person. Being a better person may not mean I should get higher grades, but it means that I should treat others kindly. I should make myself mentally stronger. And when I understood those things, I no longer evaluated myself based on grades. Because of this, my grades improved.
The Persecution’s Effects on Family Members
Before my parents got out of jail, I did not even know what Falun Gong was. Because my grandparents saw how badly my parents were persecuted, they were afraid that, first, I’d be persecuted; and second, they were afraid the police would catch me and persecute me to threaten my parents.
I didn’t think much [about my parents being in prison] when I was really young. Because at that time, when I was in first grade or second grade, I had some good teachers; they did not treat me badly because my parents were in prison. And also they did not let other students know that my parents were in prison. So for me, when I was young because no one treated me badly, I did not know the difference between my parents being in prison or not. So I just felt like maybe it was normal that my parents were in prison.
But when I went to middle school, things started to change. My grades dropped a lot. And at the same time, I did not have parents like other students did. I did not have my parents to talk to, and I did not have my parents to help me.
I think the whole school environment is bad for all the families who are persecuted by the Chinese government. Why? Because when you are in school, they evaluate you based on your grades, so you should have high grades. And how do you get high grades? You should not only attend class at school, you should also attend some after-school classes. All these classes require money. A lot of money. Because my parents were in jail, so they had no income. So that’s a disadvantage for me. And also, for me, when I was in trouble, I had no one to talk to. I had no one to help me.
When I was bullied, I did not dare to tell my grandpa about these things until the bullying got really bad. My classmates pushed me into the girls’ restroom and my teacher ignored all of these situations. It’s not because they hated me or they disliked me, but I think it’s because of the Chinese government’s propaganda. The propaganda says Falun Gong is bad, and even though at that time I was not a Falun Gong practitioner but just a relative of practitioners, because my parents were Falun Gong practitioners, I still got persecuted.
A Fresh Start in the United States
If I were still in China, I would not enjoy the freedoms that I have here in America. Maybe I wouldn’t even get to attend a university like I am here. So I would have a low-income job, and I would do hard labor just to earn a little amount of money to survive in China. This persecution is really cruel. It doesn’t only take place physically, but also mentally. And it does not only persecute Falun Gong practitioners, but also their family members. It’s really evil and really cruel.
Giving a Voice to Falun Gong Practitioners’ Kids
My family and I were granted asylum in the United States and now live in Minnesota.
I want to call for more attention to Falun Gong practitioners’ kids and also little Falun Gong practitioners in China. I consider myself really lucky because, even though I experienced the persecution, I finally got out of China, and I came here to America, the free land. And when I came here, I noticed that someone in a Falun Gong parade carried a banner with my picture on it. And even though, when I was in China, I didn’t know about it, but still, someone in this world was giving me a voice. Right now I’m lucky, and I can stand in America and speak to you. But for those who are not that lucky, other small Falun Gong practitioners and Falun Gong practitioners’ kids, they’re still in China, and they may be experiencing even harsher persecution. I think they need more attention.