Saturday, February 21, 2015

Singing Songs No One Hears: Ethan Gutmann’s New Year’s Greetings to the Chinese People

While she was in prison, a thought kept running through her mind: will the world ever know what happened here?

By , Epoch Times | February 18, 2015
Young women dressed in traditional Chinese gowns walk in the Lunar New Year Parade in Flushing, New York, on Feb. 8, 2014. (Samira Bouaou/Epoch Times)

In my mind, Chinese New Year usually announces its presence through a long-forgotten song. The first notes–often something I accidentally hear on the street–acts as an emotional tripwire. Just for a moment, strangers are transformed into fellow passengers on a breathtaking journey. So I know of no better way to express my New Years greetings to Chinese people across the world than to tell a story about people singing together in extremely difficult circumstances. The following account was told to me in Bangkok, by five religious refugees from China:

The doors to the caged balcony of Heizuizi Female Prison had not been opened for a year, but an irresistible, almost itchy feeling was sweeping through the cellblocks as a warm afternoon wind blew in after the heavy snows of 2004. The guards checked their watches, unlocked the massive steel gates, and threw them open. Streaks of sunlight illuminated the concrete floors and all the prisoners from seven cells stepped out at the same time. For a change, everyone was together: All the religious prisoners, many with the scars of electrocution on their faces, side by side with the hardened criminals–drug addicts and prostitutes in the main–who served as the daily masters of routine punishment. 

Everyone remembers how quiet it was. Everyone just breathing the air as if one could drink in traces of oceans and steppes and the Himalayas. Beyond the cell blocks and guard towers, vast clouds were tumbling across the horizon, and even patches of grass and tiny white flowers seemed to be waving toward the heavens. 

Spontaneously, softly at first, a young religious prisoner began to sing a spiritual hymn in a spacious falsetto. Normally the hardened criminals would stop her and make her assume the airplane position for such an infraction. Yet looking out at a world they could not attain, the criminals stood reflectively listening as the religious prisoners in the other cells began to sing along. And as they reached the chorus, the young religious prisoner’s voice swelled and trilled … 

“Coming from far away, again and again, I come for you, I come for you…” 

…and the hardened criminals joined in. Tentatively at first, then loudly, with great spirit. And as the chorus drew near again…

“…I come with love for you.”
…they began crying. Then everyone was. Across seven cells.

Then the guards said, “Okay, okay, get back inside.” And everyone did. And the guards locked the steel gates and never opened them again.

Jing Tian is on the far left, Ethan Gutmman center. (courtesy Ethan Gutmann)
 Jing Tian is on the far left, Ethan Gutmman center. (courtesy Ethan Gutmann)

I saw one of the women who told me that story quite recently. Jing Tian lives in Vancouver with her husband (who had also been incarcerated for his beliefs). Instead of dwelling on the past, we celebrated in a hot, crowded, and noisy hotpot restaurant where we ate endless plates of lamb and told jokes until my stomach hurt. But Jing said one serious thing that stuck with me. While she was in prison, a thought kept running through her mind: will the world ever know what happened here?

Those who sing songs that no one can hear will justifiably ask that question. Yet Jing is not full of bitterness. Jing is full of hope. As the women in those seven cells were, if only for a moment. So let us pause, from our steaming hot pot, our jokes, our politics, and our differences, and let us hear their song, and reaffirm, if only for a moment, that faced with the promise of Spring, perhaps we are not strangers at all.

Ethan Gutmann is the author of “The Slaughter,” currently available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Random House.

Views expressed in this article are the opinions of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of Epoch Times.

Saturday, February 7, 2015

‘Never Again’ Is Here Again

A reflection on the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Chinese Regime Pads Military’s Pockets Through Murder

Military hospitals have been the main location for forced organ harvesting

《转法轮》首发20周年 法轮大法洪传世界

客户经理Cary Dunst:〝我想把〝真善忍〞带入我的日常生活,这看似简单,实际上充满挑战。但如果你真的努力去做了,你周围的人都会看见你的改变。你变得更开朗了,整个人的笑容都变多了。〞
国会议员Stephen Woodworth: 〝在我心目中为法轮大法学员留有一个特殊的位置,我发现你们所遵循是人类文明的最高境界。〞
加拿大国会议员Rob Anders:〝真正值得敬佩的是被强权压制的,那些在劳教所里受迫害的,那些被酷刑折磨的人,他们是真正的英雄。谢谢你们的坚韧。〞
[VIDEO] 连环画音像片:评江泽民与中共相互利用迫害法轮功