Eight years ago, on July 20, 1999, I was detained in a sports stadium in Beijing with thousands of other Falun Gong practitioners. I did not know that this would mark the beginning of the largest scale of persecution in the 21^st century; nor did I know that this persecution would last for as long as eight years. However, witnessing these thousands of innocent people detained like this, I couldn't help crying for a long time. Perhaps deep in my heart I had a premonition about exactly what Falun Gong practitioners would be forced to go through, and about the marvelous courage and magnificent deeds they would be capable of.
My instinct was not wrong. Indeed, what millions of Falun Gong practitioners have endured is unprecedented. To date, 3073 deaths have been confirmed and there have been unknown numbers subjected to forced organ removal, "grotesque form of evil new to this planet."
However, eight years of most severe persecution has not "defeated" Falun Gong. Around the world, Falun Gong continues to grow. It has spread to nearly 100 countries; its books translated into more than 30 languages. Encouraged and inspired by Falun Gong, people are increasingly uniting to protest the persecution. Millions have chosen to quit the Chinese Communist Party.
Throughout the Communist era in China, never before has any group been able to withstand the suppression of the Communist Party. Facing all the crises created by the Communist Party, including the ever-declining moral values, a critically endangered environment and ecological system, on the very edge of total collapse, non-existence of social justice, social welfare or sense of security, Chinese people are now regarding Falun Gong as the ultimate hope for China.
Sadly enough, for western governments and politicians, who have not had the "luxury" of direct persecution at the hands of the Chinese Communist Party, the so-called "rising China" is still a rosy delusion.
Eight years of human rights disaster; eight years of the immense sacrifices and arduous effort by Falun Gong practitioners should have opened their eyes and awakened their conscience long before this. Today, on the eighth anniversary of the persecution of Falun Gong, I'd like to stress again: by helping the Chinese people with their historical choice of abandoning the Chinese Communist Party, we are choosing a bright future for the world; conversely, if we continue to turn a blind eye to the party's evil, we are ruining our own future.
Jenifer Zeng - author of the Australian-published book Witnessing History: a Woman's Fight for Freedom and Falun Gong