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Wednesday, July 21, 2010

XUAN: An empty seat, a broken heart

Reunion denied by China's ongoing religious persecution

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Washington Times: Have you ever waited at an airport for a loved one you have not seen in a long time? Surely you remember the giddy expectation, scanning arriving passengers for that familiar face. But what if your loved one never arrived?

My husband never turned up. On Feb. 18, I waited for him at Newark International Airport with flowers. It had been over three years since I last saw him before fleeing China. Jiang Feng was to arrive on a Continental Airlines flight from Shanghai, but after the last passengers left he was still nowhere to be seen. My calls to China confirmed my greatest fears: He checked in, but never boarded the flight. Chinese secret police abducted him.

We married 12 years ago in Anhui province. I was a musician and he worked as a piano tuner. But before our first anniversary we were kidnapped from our workplaces and jailed. That was July 20, 1999, the first round of arrests of Falun Gong practitioners like us.

Our worlds collapsed as the campaign rolled in with a force equal to that of Mao Zedong's Cultural Revolution. Suddenly, we were enemies of the state, cut off from our family and friends. We were arrested for practicing meditation and following our discipline - principles of truthfulness, compassion and tolerance. Falun Gong was becoming too popular for the Communist Party's liking and our crime was having an independent belief system. Read more.

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