During my 13-year long modelling career, I got opportunities to travel to a lot of different places. However, one country I fell in love with at first sight was China. I really enjoyed every time I went to China! … From Shanghai, Beijing, Guangzhou, Xiamen, Ningbo, Chengdu to Zhangjiajie in Hunan province, where they shot the movie Avatar. However, it was much later that I came to know about the dark side of China.
For my first trip, I remember taking a China Eastern Flight from Mumbai and landing in Shanghai. My agency manager Jen (name changed to protect identity) had come to pick me up from the airport. She had got a gift for me when she arrived at the airport. It was a goody bag. I must say it was quite a gift because the goody bag contained chicken feet, duck fat candy, some dried octopus and a lot of things that I had never seen in my life.
However, my stay in China was comfortable, and most people I met were extremely good, humble and hardworking. I was awestruck by the mega infrastructure of Shanghai. In the evenings the lights in the city would be dazzling and it was a totally new experience.
I vividly remember an incident during my initial stay. My friend Steve (name changed to protect identity) from Miami was asking Jen about the persecution of Falun Gong, a peaceful spiritual practice that is banned in China with its practitioners under brutal persecution by the Communist regime. Jen kept saying with a lot of fear that she doesn’t want to talk about it. I didn’t pay much attention to what Steve was talking about but what I was concerned about was the sudden change of expression on Jen’s face, frightened as if somebody was keeping tabs on her.
It has been eleven years since that incident. I had gone back to China quite a few times after that first trip, but now I can understand why Jen was so scared to voice her opinion.
After returning to India from one of my trips to China, I was introduced to the wonderful practice of Falun Gong. After six years since I have been practising this system and all that I can ever imagine coming out of this tranquil practice is solely positive and utmost wonderful things… things that have definitely changed my life for the best!
In the recent outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic, the entire world witnessed how citizen journalists, doctors, students and a lot of other people went missing in China, without a trace. However, that’s not something new in China. There have been numerous cases of mysterious disappearances. The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) will silence any voice of dissent.
It is not without reason that Wuhan has been the epicentre of breeding the evil CCP Virus; it started way back in 1999 when Jiang Zemin started the brutal suppression of Falun Gong. The Organ Transplant Research Institute located in Wuhan is also infamously known for being the state-authorised forced organ harvesting centre from live prisoners of conscience, mostly adherents of Falun Gong, Tibetan Buddhists, Muslim Uighurs, and others.
My love towards the Chinese people has not diminished, but I no longer feel safe to travel back to China. During my initial trips, it was possible for me to access my social media accounts and emails, but by the time I made my last trip it became more and more stifling. Nothing was accessible. Also, the environment was starting to look colder and somewhat hostile. Somehow, I couldn’t connect with the way I had felt earlier. I still do think about my days in Beijing … and all my friends that I had made during my earlier stay …
“The Autumn flowers have bloomed, beautiful ephemeral
Friends await in distant lands under dimmed lanterns
Remembering the taste of mooncakes from the festival
Be strong and courageous
… we meet on completion, our journey to the west!”
I might be lucky to be born in this country as I have my basic right to freedom of belief. I have the right to express myself and not be in constant fear that speaking the truth will end my life or that I might mysteriously disappear to a remotely located detention centre … where my blood samples will be forcefully drawn … yielding to the heartless devils who would pull out my organs. However, deep inside I have a sense of urgency, a sense of regret that before being a citizen of my country …
“I am a temporary dweller of this world, boundaries there might be many but they are invisible … the only thing that’s visible are the bonds of sentient beings … living with faith and belief!”
If the nations of the world don’t act out quickly against this evil regime called the CCP, maybe the next pandemic will lead us to a point of no return. From my personal experiences of traveling to China, I had met nice and kind people. Looking at the current state in China I often wonder about Jen and many others like her … and wish someday there will be a better world for them for me and for all of us … #worldpeace … #freetobelieve … #freetomeditate !!!