Free Zhao Ming
Video: Trinity students, Irish people, march on the street, with posters of "release Zhaoming",
Audio: "Shi Fang Zhaoming", "Shi Fang Zhaoming" (Free Zhaoming， Free Zhao Ming!)
Lord Moyne: the Houses of Lords of UK
Ming has been arrested and put in a labor camp in China, his own country. simply for practicing his religion
Ms Suzy Guinness,
more than anything in the world the we want to get Ming back to Dublin, back to his associate, his friends, and back to his studies.
Mr. Richard Madigan, Former president of Graduate Students’ Union of Trinity College：
there is no way, that we can sit back and allow ming to be forgotten. and slip into craps. he is a human being, he is a value part of our community in trinity, and we want him back.
v.o. The story of a Chinese overseas student studying in Trinity has captured the attention of the people in Ireland, Europe, and even the world.
Title: Free Zhaoming
V.O. Situated in Dublin, the capital of Ireland, is the prestigious University of Dublin, Trinity College. With a history of more than 400 years, it is a privileged school that has produced some of the great talents in European History.
V.O. On March 23, 2002, the bell echoes in the campus, welcoming back the young student who has been forcibly kept away from here for the past two and a half years.
Professor: So good to see you!
Ms Mary Lawlor, Director of Frontline Human rights Defenders
Hello, How are you? Welcome Back！
Jim Dowling (Spokesperson for the “Friends of Zhao Ming”):
They have been working so hard, they didn't even know who you are.
Jim Dowling: He had been in prison in a lable camp in China since May 2000, and he was just recently released on March of 12th from TuanHe labor camp near Beijing, we are here today to welcome him back to Trinity, and to his new life.... Zhao Ming, （applause)
Elizabeth Drew: While you were here before, you made a lot of friends. I have met a lot of people who knew you before. and I heard a lot of very good things about you, so you are definitely a part of this community.
Brian MacSharry :
You are in the front page of one paper, another demonstration, another one as well, we also made a t-shirt as well.
Elizabeth: It's faded a bit。
Brain: and again, I am just on behalf of anyone I met at last years, people who have been in the college who have left toward America, everywhere, this is just a day people been hoping for two and a haft years, and we are glad you are back. it's great to see you.
Ming: I really felt very much moved, what you have been doing are out of my imagination, I am not a Irish man, I am a Chinese person, I am only studying here, and you are doing so much.
Jim : it's very difficult for us to understand what he has endured, the police he stood up for, and the torture he's endured and so on in China, and It takes a very great person to come through that, and be in such well mental health only ten days after his release, so it gives you an idea of the strength of character he has, and we are delighted to have him back. （applause)
V.O. In early 1999, Zhaoming came to Trinity College in Ireland to study in the Department of Computer Science as a graduate student. The free academic atmosphere, elegant environment, and the friendly teachers and students, brought him much happiness.
Jim : He was working in the same department as me, and we met at lunch, and talked a bit, you know, our interests, and we discover we shared the same interest in meditation, and thats really how we got to become friends with him. And he was open to having great discussions about what he thought FLG was about, how would it benefited to him, how would it had a great impact in his life.
V.O. In 1994, Zhaoming started practicing Falun Gong for self improvement after graduating from Tsinghua University. Following the principles of Truthulness, Compassion, and Forbearance filled his heart with peace and tranquility.
He was fascinated and grateful for having found this practice, as it answered questions that he had been searching for his whole life. He practiced everyday, enriching his spirit through Falun Gong.
Zhaoming: The change is dramatic. I know that it contains the principles of the universe. I believe that following these principles is the most important thing I should do in my life.
V.O. In July, 1999, Falun Gong, the most popular and wide spread spiritual practice In China, overnight became the target of suppression and a vicious persecution by the Chinese government. Every resource of the state, including the media, the military force, police, and special agents were turned against its own innocent and kind-hearted citizens. Anyone who was caught practicing Falun Gong or appealing for Falun Gong faced detention, jail sentences, and long terms in Labour camps.
V.O. Around Christmas 1999, Zhao Ming went back to Beijing, hoping to tell the government the truth of Falun Gong, using his own personal experience as testimony to the goodness of the practice. He never suspected that this action would lead him to serious torture and detention in Chinese labor camps, preventing him from returning to Trinity to complete his degree.
Lord Moyne: Well we were very shocked, because anyone knowing him would also know that there would be no object of reason to detain him,
Colleague of Zhao Ming: We used to eat lunch together, and then suddenly one day after Christmas, I realized that he wasn't anymore in the lab. and I thought that was pretty terrifying experience when we found out he was under the house arrest in china.
Zhaoming: The labour camp management at the dispatching center were extremely inhumane, and very strict. As soon as you entered, they stripped you of your clothes and shocked you with electric batons. You are not allowed to raise your head. You are not allowed to look at the police. You have to bend you head down all the time except while sleeping.
V.O. In protest of this treatment, Zhaoming started a hunger strike, refusing to take any food or water.
Zhaoming: The second day after I had the hunger strike, they began to force-feed me by Inserting a plastic tube through my nose Into my stomach.
They organized many policemen. In the room, over ten of them stood In a circle. The head of the clinic inserted the tube Into my nose. He Inserted the tube In and then pulled It out, In and out. he did It many times until my nose was bleeding heavily. Later he became extremely furious and said, "you make me mad!" then he deliberately Inserted the tube Into my windpipe. Once he Inserted It Into my windpipe, it was hard for me to breathe. The channel for breathing was restricted. so I coughed violently. He said, "I will Choke you to death." He said furiously, "you make me mad." He deliberately Inserted the tube Into my windpipe, but he couldn't get it in, he only got the tube partly in, it never reached my stomach. Then he started to pour in some liquid that he had prepared. It was a kind of chemical that disturbs the stomach badly. Actually he was not force-feeding, because he wasn't really feeding in food. It was pure torture.
V.O. Zhao Ming refused to renounce his practice in Falun Gong and continued on his hunger strike without food or water for 18 days.
Jim: he obviously was a very courageous person. a person who is willing to go back to China, willing to put his future life on hold to speak out against the persecution of FLG in China, you know he has shown the bravery to stand up for what he believes in, which many people would find difficult, but you know he is the one who is standing up for all those FLG practitioners who can't practice FLG in China at the moment.
V.O. On January 25, 2000, The Irish Times reported the first public news about Zhaoming's detention because of his appeal for Falun Gong. This attracted great attention from the Irish people.
Elizabeth: We're Trinity college students generated 2000 letters, that were then sent to the chinese premier, um, the Chinese ambassador, the head of the labor camp, and the Irish minister for Foreign affairs.
Mr Terry Butler (amnesty): We believe that torture is wrong in all cases. it is completely against the universal declaration of human rights against torture. against the unit nation's convention against torture.
V.O. In order to make Falun Gong practitioners give up their faith In Truth Compassion, and Forbearance, the Chinese Authorities adopted all unimaginable extreme methods, to torture and destroy people mentally and physically. But the most widely used method in the persecution is the mental and spiritual rape through brainwashing.
Zhao Ming: For a period of time, about two months, we were forced to read and listen to propaganda against Falun Gong. This was how they would try to brainwash us. The sound was extremely loud and would start from early morning after breakfast until we go to bed at twelve, fifteen to sixteen hours per day.
VO: Another method of forced brainwashing is sleep deprivation for long periods.
Zhao Ming: It was very usual that we go to bed at three, four in the morning. There was a period of two weeks where they cuffed me to a chair. Whenever I dozed off, they would have people jab me. they didn't allow me to close my eyes for a second.
V.O. The guards intended to push practitioners to the brink of sanity, in their attempt to break their will and reprogram their minds, so they would give up their faith in Truthfulness, Compassion, Forbearance.
Zhaoming: In this world there has to be principles, righteous principles. There has to be a standard for being a human, and a moral standard for the society. Yet all this was turned upside down during the persecution. They are ruining people. they are destroying the fundamental kindness of human nature. Some people, after being forced to transform, became Insane, crying and laughing uncontrollably. They were mentally disordered. I really can understand why they were like that. They could not resolve the conflict within themselves. They knew clearly how righteous Falun Gong is, yet they were forced to renounce this fundamental belief.
VO: The police would also incite the Inmates to torture Zhaoming.
Zhaoming: First they forced me to do military squatting, I had just arrived, and had been on hunger strike for many days. My body was very weak and could not hold the squatting position. So they bent my head to my feet and pushed me under a bed. The bed was quite low so the boards were propped up. They sat on the bed to press It down. They thought this wasn't enough, so they pulled me out and started to beat me. There were more than ten people, using their fists and knees to hit me. As a result, my thighs were all black. I couldn't walk for two weeks. Later on, they told me that they did not want to do that. It was the police who told them to do it.
JIM: it's very easy to say, "Well you know, he shouldn't have spoken out against FLG. he shouldn't have gone back, why is he doing that? it's his own fault." but if we don't stand behind the people who stand up and are courageous then theres no real hope for making progress in China. And he was a friend, so I felt a huge responsibility on me to try and do something about...
Terry Butler (Amnesty):
We're also featuring ming in our campaign to send greeting cards to prisoners of conscience in various part of the world, and we chose six cases every year. Ming was one of those cases this year, and we've getting greatest response for Ming.
For the last two years, almost all my spare time after work we were working on ming, you know try to help ming's release.
Brain: And then shortly after that we come to attention, because there are numerous of people like Jim's doing some work, amnesty were doing some work, GSU were doing some work, Dai was doing some work all about Zhao ming, so come up of the idea that instead of five or six group working kind of at different angles. We should all get together, so we formed "Friend of Zhao Ming"
VO: During a period of two years, "friends of Zhaoming", and Irish people who sympathize Zhao Ming, had been working very hard to appeal for his release. from ireland to other countries in Europe, more and more people and governments were aware of the situation of ming and Falun gong practitioners in China.
Mr David Norris Senator : how a government can be threatened by Truthfulness, Compassion and Tolerance.
Joe Higgins TD [MP]– Socialist Party
I call on the Irish government to step up its pressure on the Chinese regime with regard to this matter.
Dr. Christian Nielson-Founder of the Irish Foundation for torture survivors:
We as Irish people have to do this because we are human beings.
Joe Higgins MP: I think the case of ming in particular highlighted the problem that exist for people who practice FLG, the fact that he has been a student here living in Dublin, makes it very real for many people. force the Irish Government to take it up a very specific way when the Chinese Premier was here in Ireland some time ago.
Brain: we have big demonstration on the side of DUblin Castle before he came. the ..polititians refused to meet him because the treatment to Zhao Ming, ... the provost of the Trinity College handed him a letter and said he's concerned about ZhaoMing's plight.
News Reporter: Chinese premiere Zhu Rongji, was taken taken in a back entrance of Dublin Castle this evening, after hundreds of noisy protesters gathered at the front gate.
Irish Protester: This is not a protest against the china or such, its against the Chinese government and the Chinese state, which imprisons their own people and tortures their own people, and killing a student from Trinity College.
New Reporter: One of the main focus wasn't on business matters, that Teshi told a joint press conference that he had a frank but friendly discussion with his Chinese counterpart on the whole area of human rights.
Teshis: Today um, we discussed, ah, the issues of Zhao Ming the Trinity student. We discussed the issue of Falun Gong. We have exchanged our views on those, and want the time from primiere for listening to my frank position, on behalf of the Irish people.
Video: Big poster of "Free Zhao Ming", with a big photo of Zhao Ming's face.
Woman Reporter: Critics of China say this is the face of human rights abuses in the country. Former Trinity college classmates of Zhao Ming today handed out pamphlets to protest of his detention in a labor camp in Beijing.
Elizabeth: I think that was our most successful moment in terms of making the irish people aware of ming's case.
V.O. : January 24, 2001. After campaigning for over two and half long years, the first glimmer of hope was in sight. While visiting Beijing, Irish Foreign Minister Brian Cowen, once again asked the Chinese Foreign Minister for Zhao Ming's release. This time he got an answer. Ming would be released on March twelfth.
V.O. What the kind-hearted people of Ireland could not imagine, was that while the Chinese government had made a promise to release Zhao Ming, they secretly used all sorts of methods to crush him before setting him free.
V.O. For more than two months before his release, Zhaoming was kept in an isolated empty building, far away from anyone. No one would know what happened in there. Zhao Ming was pressured even more intensely than before, the police keeping him awake by beating him and kicking him constantly, and pouring cold water on him in the cold wintery climate. Two weeks before his release, and without sleeping for two days, he was taken into another room. He knew clearly what was going to happen to him.
zhaoming: five policemen laid a bed board on the floor. Using bandages, they strapped my limbs, body and head tightly to the board. Then the five policemen used six electric batons to shock me all over the body.
The room was filled with the crackling sound of electric sparks. He bit hard on the bandage strapped across his mouth, while his whole body shook uncontrollably.
V.O. After 22 months in a hell on earth, the memory of this nightmare is impossible to erase. The wound to his spirit will never be fully healed, yet Zhao Ming Is fortunate.
Jim, He is special case, he was a student in a foreign country, he had friend who campaign on his behave, he had a government intervened on his behave, So he was very lucky.
V.O. With the help of the kindhearted Irish people and Government, Zhao Ming, was once again breathing the air of freedom.
Mary: Even though Ireland is a very small country and Zhao Ming is only a dot in the ocean. it was successful.
Elizabeth: To see that in a sense people really can make a difference, really can influence the people who are in power to do the right thing, it is really an incredible feeling,
I am only one of the tens of millions of practitioners being persecuted In China. Many more people have experienced even more severe physical and mental torture than I have. Through my ordeal, I would like to call out for the attention of more kind-hearted people to help stop this brutal persecution.
Yuan Jiang, (picture)
Yuan Jiang, 29, schoolmate of Zhao Ming in Tsing Hua University in Beijing
Tortured to death for practicing Falun Gong
Wang Chan (picture)
Wang Chan, 39, Zhao Ming's friend in Beijing.
Tortured to death for practicing Falun Gong
509 people are confirmed dead
as a result of police torture as of November 2002 .
Hundreds of thousands detained
Over 100,000 sent to labor camp without trial
Thousands estimated sent to Mental Hospitals
It is our responsibility to speak out on behalf of those who cannot be heard
Protect those who have put their lives on the line to affirm the values of Truth, Compassion and Forbearance.
For more information, contact Friends of Falun Gong: www.fofg.org