Falun Gong student fears China return

The Press (New Zealand), Dec. 10, 2002
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Lulu Long is living in exile in Christchurch, fearful she will be persecuted and imprisoned if she returns to her home and family in China.

The 19-year-old Christchurch student is a Falun Gong practitioner from Sichuan province.

Her mother, who is also a follower of the banned movement, has been repeatedly arrested and sent to labour camps for months at a time.

Falun Gong is a controversial spiritual movement which was outlawed in China in 1999. Government authorities have cracked down on the popular movement, which they describe as an evil cult, arresting many of the 100 million people who practise it.

Two years ago, Miss Long was held in detention, but was released after 10 days because as a 17-year- old she was still a minor.

While detained, she says she witnessed several beatings, was subjected to repeated strip searches, and deprived of food and drink.

Miss Long’s father saved enough money to send her to New Zealand before she turned 18, so that she would be able to continue her education. She was a student at Mairehau High School this year and plans to study agriculture at Lincoln University next year if she is able to extend her current student visa or apply for refugee status.

She enjoys New Zealand, but says she is desperately homesick, particularly when many of her friends are returning to China for a holiday, and New Zealanders are preparing for Christmas with their families.

She believes the only way she could return to China safely would be to renounce her faith in Falun Gong — an option she won’t consider.

Her family has warned her that the authorities are compiling evidence against her and would immediately arrest her if she came home.

Miss Long contacted The Press because she wanted to draw attention to the situation in China: “The persecution there is quite cruel and lots of innocent people are in a terrible situation. I just want people to know it, and maybe other people’s words can support them.”

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Religion News Blog posted this on Wednesday December 11, 2002.
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