How would you feel if you were blacklisted from your own country, rendering you unable to attend your late father’s funeral, and unable to care for your elderly mother, whom you miss so dearly? Meet Jennifer Zeng, a Falun Gong practitioner, and Chinese forced-labor-camp survivor. After enduring her darkest hour in her home country and securing asylum in Australia, she devoted herself to writing a memoir to expose her hellish experience.
Zeng had been illegally imprisoned and tortured in Beijing Female Forced Labor Camp in 2000, just for being a Falun Gong practitioner.
To get released, Zeng painfully acted against her conscience and complied with what the guards wanted—to sign a “guarantee statement,” promising to stop practicing Falun Gong, something she later nullified.
Upon her release, Zeng fled to Australia in 2001, where she continued to document her ordeal, which she already began prior to leaving China.
As fate had it, Zeng found she was not alone, and felt she was being guided along. One day in 2002, a friend invited her to a speech night hosted by a “Chinese Studies Group,” and the subject was on China’s forced-labor-camp system.
During the event, an audience member raised a question, but Zeng wasn’t so satisfied with the speaker’s answer.
“As a labor camp survivor who had just recently escaped, I could see that obviously the speaker’s abstract knowledge about Chinese labor camps was very much ‘out of date’ and ‘out of touch’ of the reality,” Zeng wrote. “The labor camp system in China had become a main tool to persecute Falun Gong. But the speaker didn’t touch upon this at all.
“I didn’t say anything; as I didn’t know whether it was appropriate to contradict him publicly.
“But I did feel obligated to give a more satisfactory answer to the gentleman who raised the question. So I approached him after everything was finished; and told him that I could tell him more about the Chinese labor camps, since I just escaped from one.”
Surprisingly, this man was a journalist, who later interviewed Zeng and published a 2-page report.
What followed were more interesting “arrangements,” which Zeng hadn’t imagined possible.
An ABC radio show host read the report and contacted Zeng for a radio interview. “During the live interview, I shared my experiences in the labor camp; as well as why I escaped: because I wanted to write a book to expose it all.”
The interview was broadcast nationwide, and an editor from Australia’s largest independent publisher, Allen & Unwin, happened to be listening.
Zeng soon heard from this publisher, but advised that she was writing in Chinese and had yet to finish.
“I thought that would be the end of the story, as they only published English language books. At that stage I really never dreamed about an English version of my book.
“To my surprise, the editor wrote back by saying that it didn’t matter that I was writing in Chinese; nor did it matter that I hadn’t finished yet.”
Zeng learned from the commissioning editor that this was: “…the first time in her career, or perhaps in Allen & Unwin’s history as she was aware of, that they decided to publish a book which they didn’t understand, which they had not read; and which had not been finished yet.”
Her Chinese edition was first printed by a Taiwan-based publisher in 2004, and her English version, titled, Witnessing History: one woman’s fight for freedom and Falun Gong, in 2005. The English version sold well, and was re-printed twice in three months. Although Zeng didn’t look for a publisher, a publisher found her. After her book was published in English, another publisher, SOHO, re-published it in the United States. Everything just fit in place like a jigsaw.
Zeng understands that her achievements weren’t earned through dogged pursuit, but rather, by the natural order of events. She admits, there must’ve been some sort of “mysterious, behind-the-scenes process.” Upon looking back at “all the most important events in my life, it was crystal clear that everything was arranged,” the 51-year-old said. “What I have to do is just to follow the course of nature and do what is right.”
Zeng explains that if she hadn’t talked to that gentleman, who turned out to be a journalist, the 2-page article wouldn’t have happened, nor would the subsequent radio interview. If the radio interview didn’t occur, her publisher wouldn’t have even known about her. She believes this is an example of the natural flow of events.
“Do what you should do; and leave everything else to the hands of higher wisdom and higher beings,” explains Zeng. “Have faith; and everything else is looked after.”
Watch the trailer for documentary “Free China,” in which Zeng is featured:
Photo Credit: Facebook | Jennifer Zeng.
Falun Dafa (also known as Falun Gong) is a self-improvement meditation system based on the universal principles of Truthfulness, Compassion, and Tolerance. It was introduced to the public by Mr. Li Hongzhi in 1992 in China. It is currently practiced by over 100 million people in 114 countries. This peaceful meditation system has been brutally persecuted in China since 1999. For more info, please visit: www.FalunDafa.org and www.FalunInfo.org.