. Congratulations to the winners! Readings of the top three winning poems have been published here: . FIRST PLACE https://www.youtube.com/watch?v69i-IfOt9-k Connected by Sasha Palmer I’m Russian-born, live in the USA,I’m Catholic, and Falun Gong to me—A chain of cryptic hieroglyphs that sayNothing of consequence; and yet I see—Beyond the mystery—a familiar sightAs crouching tigers, hidden dragons fadeAnd all that’s left is people, whom I mightHave known forever, closely; should I tradePlaces with them, would I remain steadfastIn my own faith? Would I refuse to bowBefore the human idols? Would I castMy fear aside? I do not know. Somehow__I know this: when another victim falls,__Don’t ask for whom the bell of freedom tolls. . . SECOND PLACE The Devil’s Definition by Susan Jarvis Bryant The Dragon’s claw is slick with rawest red From spoils that keep the greedy demons fed With hearts from souls caught by the Dragon’s eye Sold to a world that buys the Dragon’s lie--- A world that twists the gist of honest words To hide the feasting beasts from senseless herds Who bleat the mangled mantra of reform Till genocide’s “a different cultural norm.” When brains are washed in propaganda’s guile Then backs are turned on tyrannies so vileThe slaughter of the Falun Gong’s dismissed As devils deal in crimes that don’t exist. So never let the Dragon normalize Barbaric acts all humans should despise---Massacre occurs when ears won’t hear The sin concealed in spin that’s insincere. . . THIRD PLACE The Broken Kingdom by Brian Yapko Dare to look at China through a glassUndarkly past the shining spires of steelWhich hide barbed wire. See the Party brassMake laws coercing people not to feel.See prisons sprout in sight of the Great WallAnd see the Yangtze clotted red with blood.Regard the bones on which each garish mallIs built—old virtues ground into the mud.Then see our Friends of Freedom robbed of breathTormented to insanity or death. Joyce described the sow that eats her young.Well, Party leaders also eat their own;They propagate the worst of Mao Tse TungDebasing freedom from a Marxist throne.This harsh totalitarian regimeWhich causes dissidents to disappearHas squandered China’s birthright with its schemeTo stamp out faith and hope with guns and fear.Smash the temples! Plant informants! Spy!Force men what to think. Then make them die. Karma guarantees the Party’s nooseMust one day strangle its own cold cabal. Every act of torture, each abuseWill bring it closer to its final fall. Leaders that crush freedom into sand,Who can’t persuade and therefore must enslaveMust soon be driven from this broken landWhere they’ve failed to break the good and brave.Inspired by the truth of wrong and right,Falun Gong shall surely win this fight! . . FOURTH PLACE West Looking East by Raz Bosoaga What does freedom mean to you?The right to live, to learn and to pursueA life of meaning and one of choiceFree to be you and have your voice.To practice faith or lack thereof,But to have that choice, to choose to loveOr to choose to live a life that’s ledBy a set of principles that spreadHonesty, benevolence, restraint.To be loving, to forgive and not to taintYour heart with evil, lies or hate.Falun Gong these rules createAimed to instill and to procureA life of peace and one that’s pure.How can such faith, such true love shown,Turn Chinese government on their own?We watch the news, here in the West,Countless Falun Gong oppressed,Countless stories never toldCountless victims, young and old.What principle means that they must face,Such persecution, such constant chase?People tortured; people dead.People arrested as in their headThey dared to believe in something moreDared to think it’s worth standing forHumanity, truth, freedom to believeTo choose one’s faith and to conceiveThat we’re all born pure, goodness innate.Such passive teachings attacked by state.The hammer swings, the sickle reaps,A harvest plentiful as a mother weeps.The crop of genocide laid bare,People massacred, butchered with little care“Re-educated,” tortured, organs sold—But there’s one thing the state can’t hold.That they can’t scare, slash nor silenceFalun Gong, for freedom, in defianceStand united, driven by belief from withinFreedom, love and peace will always win. . .