An Open Letter to President Bush: Rescue Our Parents

Shuangying Zhang & Annie Hongyuan Li
 Aug 8, 2008

President George W. Bush during the new US embassy dedication ceremony on August 8, in Beijing. Bush made a new plea for freedom of expression in China. (Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images)

2008 Olympics & Human Rights

Dear President Bush:

You will soon be present during the Opening Ceremony of the 2008 Beijing Olympics, and we respectfully request you to urge the Chinese leader, Mr. Hu Jintao, to stop the persecution of Falun Gong and immediately, unconditionally release our parents, Professor Xingwu Zhang, in Shandong Province, and Professor Shizhen Qin, in Gansu Province.

Mr. Xingwu Zhang, Ms. Shuangying Zhang’s father, is a 67-year-old retired professor of physics at Shandong Jinan Education College. Ms. Pinjie Liu, her mother, is also age 67, and is retired from the Jinan Research Institute of Semiconductors. Both practice Falun Gong.

Their peaceful lives have been disrupted since July 1999, when the persecution of Falun Gong started. They have been paid less, their home has been monitored and ransacked, they have been detained, and they eventually were forced to leave their home.

In 2001, they were sentenced to three years in prison. The elderly couple had been forced to work for more than 17 hours every day. Shuangying’s father was twice forced to stay awake continuously for six days, in an effort to make him renounce his practice of Falun Gong. Her mother’s release was postponed twice.

After getting out of jail, they still cannot live peaceful lives because the police have followed them around ever since. Their daughter Shuangying has lived in New York for many years. She wants her parents to come to this country and stay with her, but the communist regime refuses to issue them passports.

Less than 30 days from the 2008 Olympics, more that 20 policemen from Jinan City Policy Station and Wei Gong Zhuang Branch broke into their house, confiscated their computer, printer, bank card, and 100,000 Chinese dollars, and arrested them.

Professor Zhang was detained in Jinan Detention Center right away and has not been heard from since. Ms. Liu had a stroke. The police did not want to take responsibility and asked her family to take her away. However, Ms. Liu cannot enter her own home because the police have confiscated her house.

Retired associate professor Shizhen Qin is the mother of Annie Hongyuan Li, an Albany resident. Ms. Qin just had her 67th birthday. However, she could not hear the blessings of her children and her grandchildren on that day. Because she practices Falun Gong, she was sent to Gong Jia Wan Law School, where 48-year-old Ms. Zhifang Liu was tortured to death within one month of her detention. For the so-called “safety of the Olympics,” professor Qin’s sister was sentenced to one and one-half years in prison at Urumqi, Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, in May 2008 for practicing Falun Gong.

Annie’s mother had suffered from diabetes, high blood pressure, and female diseases for many years. Her health improved significantly after she started practicing Falun Gong in 1996. Since then, she has been able to take very good care of her sick husband and has treated others with more patience. From the day professor Qin was illegally detained, Annie has not been able to contact her mother, whereas before her detention, Annie called her mother every week.

President Bush, our parents’ voices cannot be heard in a country controlled by the Communist Party’s dictatorship. Only we daughters, who live in a free society, can speak for them.

While we have a good life here, our parents cannot even have basic human rights, and can be subjected to detention and torture at anytime—only because they conduct themselves according to “Truthfulness, Compassion, Tolerance” and want to be good people. They cause no harm to society or to the country.

When you sit in the “Birds’ Nest,” please remember the bloodshed and tears behind the splendor, and the truth behind the false appearances! Since the beginning of 2008, the Communist regime has kidnapped over 10,000 Falun Gong practitioners in the name of the Olympics. Our parents are one example, and this has already brought endless worries and sadness to our family and friends and to us.

President Bush, in the United States we take freedom as dearly as our lives. We hope you will help the more than 100,000 innocent Falun Gong practitioners who are illegally detained.

Please help our parents be released. Thank you for your time and attention.


Shuangying Zhang

New York City, New York

Annie Hongyuan Li

Albany, New York

Aug 08,2008
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