Personal Encouragement at EU

Flowers. Hugs. A letter from the EU to the PRC embassy – that’s how our Belgium run ended today in Louvain-La-Neuve.

Earlier this morning, our erhu virtuoso, Mei Xuan, and I visited the European Parliament to seek support for her husband, Jiang Feng. Jiang disappeared in China while boarding a flight in Shanghai on his (luckless) way to reunite with his wife in New Jersey. Mei Xuan believes he was abducted by secret 6-10 Office agents with the purpose of pressuring her to stop performing with Shen Yun.

We were warmly received by three people who are dedicating their careers to fighting for the rights of people they will probably never meet. They listened to Mei Xuan’s story –

how she and her husband were arrested when the persecution of Falun Gong first began; how he had been jailed for three years and, days before his release, she was picked up off the street and sentenced to four years; how she had been handcuffed to a chair for 75 days and not allowed to sleep; how she was tortured and knocked unconscious many times; how she saw her friends die in prison one after another; how she had escaped to the United States; how she and her husband, married for over ten years, had only been given a chance to spend a few months together; how they were to be reunited; how he disappeared, and how worried she is about him now, because she knows what they do to Falun Gong practitioners.

And when she was done with the basics, they simply told us – we would like to write a letter to the Chinese authorities about this case. We will draft it this afternoon.

We invited them to see our last performance in Louvain-La-Neuve, just outside Brussels, that night and rushed to the theater.

Mei Xuan played beautifully. She always does – an amazing feat considering she has no idea where her husband is and whether, while she is in the spotlight on the world’s most famous stages, her husband is under the interrogation lamp being tortured for a false confession.

But maybe it was something about having spent the day with her, translating her story, that made her moving music that much more stirring. Even the silent pauses between her notes were charged with conviction. The applause roared as she finished her own composition: “The Calling.”

Right after the show, at 11:00 pm, a security worker approached me backstage saying three people were waiting for Mei Xuan. As we worked our way around the curtain to the audience we saw our new friends with a beautiful bouquet of flowers. On top of the flowers was an envelope with a copy of the letter that they had already sent to the PRC Ambassador to the EU.

No one seemed wiling to part – they were touched by Mei Xuan and Mei Xuan was touched by their compassion and encouragement.

I must also mention that, while I didn’t have the honor to meet the representative, someone from Amnesty International also presented Mei Xuan with a flower bouquet at that how. Amnesty had just issued an “urgent action” about her husband’s case. The card on Amnesty’s flowers read: “We fully support you.”

Here’s a copy of the letter from the Chairwoman of the European Union’s Subcommittee on Human Rights Ms. Heidi Ms Hautala.

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