In my world, the odd hateful comment or religious argument may rear its ugly head from time to time, but for the most part freedom of religion is just another thing that is so normalized, I don’t even have to think about it— I never have to worry about it. But not everyone is so lucky.
In what has become the largest religious persecution in the world, large-scale propaganda and careful surveillance has led to reports of torture, forced labor, imprisonment, organ harvesting, abusive psychiatric measures and death – with an underreported death toll of over 3,000.
The mother and baby both died at the Tuanhe Forced Labor Dispatch Division less than a month later.
The coroner examination determined that Lixuan’s neck and fingers had been broken, her skull was fractured and she had a needle stuck in her lower back.
Her son had deep bruises on his ankles and head, and blood in his nose. The verdict was that the child had been hung upside down by his ankles until he died.
Once she was imprisoned for having two Falun Gong practitioners in her home for dinner – three people gathered together is considered an illegal party. After her fourth arrest, which happened at her workplace, she was taken to a brainwashing centre and held there for 45 days.
They came together from all walks of life, united in the pursuit of freedom of belief.
Through rallies, protests and meetings with national leaders they will spread awareness across the country – and hopefully across the world – to try and rescue five orphans, who are in danger because of their belief in Falun Gong.
The cyclists, who all practice Falun Gong and range in age from 11-25 years old, will be cycling through extreme conditions from the highs of the Rocky Mountains to the lows of Death Valley in the Mojave Desert.
They will be pushed out of their comfort zone, as some have never ridden a bike before, some don’t speak English and for many it is their first time in America.
Once the bike tour ends, the teens will travel to New York City to address the UN General Assembly.
Ride to Freedom is an attempt to change that. It’s the idea that with the help of others – the ones like myself, who often take for granted their freedom – the situation in China will be globally recognized and a fight for justice will take place.