Tegan Davies was born and raised in Western Australia. She grew up on a farm, her grandfather’s farm near the Stirling Ranges in the Southern region of Western Australia. Five years ago she started practicing Falun Gong meditation. Next month she will be graduating with a PhD from the University of Western Australia.
“I started practicing Falun Gong … to help me with stress and in order to relax during my studies. And I found it really helped me a lot to be able to focus and have a clear mind, to be able to work productively on my PhD,” explained Davies.
Tian Feng Ying, 72, was a school teacher in China before she retired. The Chinese Communist regime deemed her a national threat and imprisoned her several times—only because she practices Falun Gong.
After learning Falun Gong in 1996, Tian said she not only recovered her good health, but she became more open minded and was no longer short tempered as she’d been before.
“I was no longer angry. Many illnesses were caused by anger. If there is no anger then there’s no illness, right?” said Tian.
Despite the obvious benefits of the ancient spiritual practice, Falun Gong was banned by the Chinese Communist Party in China in 1999.
But Tian refused to give up her beliefs. And because of that, she was sentenced to three years in a labour camp, although she had committed no crime. At the Women’s No. 1 Labor Camp in Shandong Province, from 2002 to 2005, she was repeatedly tortured but never gave in.
“I follow the principles of Truthfulness, Compassion and Forbearance. Why should I give this up?” she said.
Twice the elderly woman was put into solitary confinement. On one occasion, it lasted an entire year.
“That year, I didn’t see the sun, I never saw the sun. I was locked up alone in a prison cell for a year,” she recounted.
Because she refused to watch tapes demonizing Falun Gong, the police hung Tian, who was nearly 60 years old at the time, by handcuffs.
“It was very high; I was hung very high so my feet could barely touch the ground handcuffed like that. Above, on the wall, was a big, metal beam; the handcuffs were tied from there, my two hands hung like this …”
Last August, Tian came to Western Australia to reunite with her daughter, then she met Davies.
“When I met Tian she reminded me of my own grandmother. … I wondered how, how the Chinese government could be threatened by somebody like that,” said Davies.
It was hard for her, having grown up in Western society, to imagine that people just like herself, who practice Falun Gong but in China, could be suffering such brutal persecution.
“I knew about the persecution five years ago when I started practicing Falun Gong, but I knew about it in my head. But when I met Tian and heard her story, I felt it in my heart,” said Davies.
“I knew that it can’t go on like this forever and we need to do something about it,” she said.
Davies says she was always a timid country girl. “I often felt scared, even doing small things, I have a lot of fear.” But when she heard Tian’s story, she overcame her fear, and began to courageously speak out. She becomes a voice for the voiceless.
In November 2016, Davies and Tian took part in the Falun Gong car tour. Over various legs of the tour, which initially started in late August, stops were made across Western Australia’s inland and coastal towns. There they held events and met with officials to tell people about Falun Gong and to urge them to help stop the persecution.
“It was a couple of thousand kilometres that we drove, and we approached media organisations and told them about the persecution in China,” said Davies.
Davies said she would like to share Tian’s story with more and more people in Western Australia, and to keep doing it until the persecution stops.
NTD Television Perth Reporter contributed to this story.