UN action on persecution charge
Wednesday, December 18, 2002
By Karen Hodge
If Bulleen resident Jennifer Zeng could be granted two wishes, it would be for peace and freedom in her homeland of China.
If she had an additional wish, it would be to reunite with her husband and nine-year-ole daughter, whom she has not seen in three years.
She fled China for Australia about a year ago after being released from a labour camp.
Her crime was practicing Falun Gong-a movement banned in China in 1999.
The 36-year-old took up Falun Gong after developing Hepatitis C from a blood transfusion after the birth of her daughter.
Like thousands of others, Mrs Zeng was arrested repeatedly for being involved in Falun Gong in China.
She said she was eventually sent to a labour camp in 2000 without a trial-a horrifying experiences still firmly etched in her mind.
Mrs Zeng said she was forced to work from 5:30am until midnight, and with hundreds of other captive practitioners was forced to knit toy rabbits by hand for export. She said she saw people tortured with electric batons and sleep deprivation and even spent 15 hours squatting in the intense sun one day.
"It is just unimaginable, cruel and brutal-I got tortured, but so many others were tortured worse than me," Mrs Zeng said.
"There were so many occasions I was just at a point of total breakdown. I just thought I could not survive."
In Australia waiting to hear about her application for asylum, Mrs Zeng said she hoped to be reunited with her family one day.
"When I arrived in Australia I felt free and wonderful but on the other hand my heart is still very heavy because there is so many practitioners who are still prisoners," She said.
In a bid to change the Chinese Government's stance, she has joined five other Falun Gong practitioners taking legal action against Chinese President Jiang Zemin for what they say has been brutal persecution of Falun Gong.
The action was made to the UN Committee Against Torture, UN Human Rights Committee and International Criminal Court recently.
"It is only doing harm to the whole country-so many people are suffering and losing their homes to avoid being sent to a labour camp," Mrs Zeng said.
"I believe that justice should be overcome the evil."
Since the lawsuit was announced, Mrs Zeng''s husband, who did not practise Falun Gong, was taken in by Chinese authorities and is being detained.
TAKING UP THE CASE
Rescuing people who have been persecuted for practicing Falun Gong is a passionate cause for Caterina Vereshaka.
The Melbourne campaigner has heard too many harrowing stories such as Jennifer Zeng's through her involvement in the Rescue Our Family Members campaign.
She has visited China to appeal the ban herself and hopes a greater awareness of what is happening in China will force it to be lifted one day.
She said the Falun Dafa Information Centre had confirmed about 500 deaths since the action against Falun Gong began in China in 1999.
Mrs Vereshaka said Falun Gong, also known as Falun Dafa, was becoming more popular in Australia and was even recognized as part of Active Australia.
Falun Gong involves meditation and exercises with teachings based on the principles of "truthfulness, compassion and tolerance"
It is practised at Yarraleen/Morris William Reserve, Bulleen, weekday from 7am to 8am.