Born under Chinese communist rule in 1954, the current resident of Forest Hills was sent to the countryside at the age of 16 as part of the Cultural Revolution, the Communist Party movement aimed at...
By Alexander Dworkowitz
Dora Li has had many important decisions made for her.
Born under Chinese communist rule in 1954, the current resident of Forest Hills was sent to the countryside at the age of 16 as part of the Cultural Revolution, the Communist Party movement aimed at retraining citizens under new Maoist doctrines. She spent four years there performing manual labor from dawn to dusk.
In 1958, Li was sent to Beijing University, where she was told she would study English.
She joined a ping-pong team and sang opera, but not by choice.
They chose me, said Li. They said, Oh, youre good at this, so do it.
But Li, who moved to the United States in the late 1987, has recently come up against the regime that directed the early part of her life.
In February, Li traveled to Tiananmen Square in Beijing, which was the setting of the clash between pro-democracy Chinese students and Chinese police in 1989.
Li spoke out in support of a movement known as the Falun Dafa, or Falun Gong at the square.
Li unveiled a banner which read Falun Dafa is good. She was immediately arrested and jailed by Chinese.
I went to a terrible place, she said. A cell with iron bars, put on a dirty mattress, locked with very big locks, she said.
Li is one of dozens of Falun Gong practitioners who have traveled to China recently to protest the treatment of their practitioners within the country.
Organized in 1992 with the publication of a book of principles, Falun Gong is based on the practice of meditation exercises.
In 1999, after Falun Gong grew in popularity, Chinas President Jiang Zemin outlawed Falun Gong, calling it an evil cult.
China has come under criticism for its treatment of Falun Gong practitioners.
At least 200 to 300 have been killed due to torture by the Chinese government, said T. Kumar, the advocacy director for Asia at Amnesty International, the international human rights group in Washington, D.C.
But Chinese officials have denied such abuses of the Falun Gong members.
Its a potential threat to the social order, said Yin Tang, a spokesman for the Chinese Consulate in New York. They just want to make up their stories to denounce the Chinese government.
©2002 Community News Group
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