. A Tale of April 25, 1999 I’d practiced Falun Gong for seven years. It stopped my spine disease’s jabbing spears And repositioned bone and smoothed skin pores. Such cures were far beyond mere earthly scores. The same occurred for many friends of mine Who felt in touch with elements divine. Bad medical or physical concerns Were gone like smoke—a doctor’s bill that burns. While using tolerance and good and truth, We felt our minds and bodies blend with youth, And working hard on raising character, We felt our spirits rise and heavens stir. We were lifting up the nation’s heart. We were millions three years from its start. We were given prizes by the state. But we were growing at too fast a rate And independently. We were a threat To insecure authority who met Autonomy with covered mouths and twist- ed words and black redactions list on list. They planted agents underground with us, Spies in disguise, and all that dressed-up fuss, Who found no potent propaganda prize Just goodness standing calm before their eyes. So they sent more men to investigate, To openly take notes and concentrate, To test the practice for security, But what they got was near to purity. The General Administration of Sport went in (For that’s the Ministry qigong is in) To speak to bosses, friends, communities, To check out routines, health, our families, Cross-referencing each aspect of our days To figure our demeanors and our ways. And after six months probing nationwide, They all found good, and put their notes aside. About this time, a segment on TV Presented Falun Gong nefariously. Thousands from the areas around Wrote telling of the falsehoods they had found. And two months later this Beijing TV Withdrew the lies like an apology. But still, submerged and bloated, bulging, shelved, The mundane Party thinking ducked and delved. They took our books, disturbed our practice sites, Hoped we would feel uncomfortable at nights And not get up to exercise again So disappear with no need to restrain. So they persisted this way year on year Although the practice did not disappear; It grew. Miraculously ills were healed, As morals grew, compassion was revealed And people talked of Gods and Buddha Light, Of Daos, avoiding wrong and doing right, Restraining impulse, cooling struggle’s heat, To disengage from winning and defeat. Where did this leave an atheist regime Who only had a godless gauge to scheme? If power’s all you seek, you won’t see God. So they could do no more than wave their rod. Soon after 1999 began, That same Academy of Sciences man Who had defamed us on Beijing TV, Used similar falsehoods and infamy. He said that mental health would end up wrong For anyone who practiced Falun Gong. And like the killing Boxers who rebelled, So Falun Gong could too, if not repelled. When these absurdities he published in An educational journal of Tianjin, A city 30 minutes from Beijing, His text was such a bogus, twisted thing. Some Falun Gong practitioners acted fast To prove that Falun Gong had been miscast. They talked to editors for two days straight But on the third, police stopped their debate. They smashed into the people who were there. They dragged them into jails and locked them there. Then more came asking what the jailed had done To be so beaten and so overrun. Officials said, “Appeals go to Beijing, We’re local here, this is too big a thing, National Public Security is involved So only in Beijing can this be solved.” Thus we turned to the normal channels “on high,” Petitioning ourselves at Zhongnanhai, A walled-round compound near Tiananmen Square With government buildings; “top brass” living there. We spoke to friends on phones and face to face, Deciding what to do and at what pace. I had the time and cash to go by plane; It’s just a hop from here and back again. Some came in cars, were stopped and turned around, Or couldn’t leave Beijing Train Station’s grounds. No fuss was made. Those who arrived, just walked. And some did qigong exercise or talked. Policemen guided us around the block, We went, of course, as we’re a civil flock. We kept to curbs to let the traffic flow: Pedestrians and cars could come and go. And while they led and pointed, we complied. They moved us in wide lines round every side. Responsive, singly, and as a total group, Both calm and quietly, we joined their loop. We’d soon surrounded every gate and wall. (“Besieging Zhongnanhai!” would be their call.) Later, China’s premier gave his word. We were satisfied with what we heard: Tianjin practitioners would be released. We could now practice Falun Gong in peace. And we could print the books that taught our Way. And peacefully go on about our day. We gave another chance to Party power. We packed our things. Within but half an hour, However many thousands who’d been there Were gone, the litter too, the place was bare. From then, the Party leader, Jiang Zemin, Could scream and cry and make a din That Falun Gong had been political And its immediate ban was critical! And so, unprecedented persecution. And so, there’s consequence and retribution. Most here live in the shadows of false crimes Police have wrecked our households many times. Beware! This is the road of modern states Who try to play the role of God and Fates. We seekers of the Way must trumpet Truth, Forbear, stay kind, and keep it smooth; Remember we will rise and they will fall; Compassion is the order—I know it’s tall. . . Damian Robin is a writer and editor living in the United Kingdom.