Friday, April 28, 2017

【Book Review】Zeng’s Story is Emblematic of Thousands More

Witnessing History
Jennifer Zeng
Allen & Unwin $29.95
Reviewer Lorien Kaye

The history that Jennifer Zeng has witnessed is black. After three stints in a detention centre, she was imprisoned in a “Re-education Through Forced Labour Camp” for almost a year. Re-education was often a euphemism for brainwashing, labour was often a euphemism for physical torture. Sleep deprivation, beatings, and electrocution were common. Her crime? To practice Falun Gong after the Chinese Government had declared it an “evil cult” and banned it.
Falun Gong, as Zeng explains throughout, is a spiritual discipline that was created in China in 1992 based on three core tenets: truth, compassion and forbearance. It is not a religion; although it is based on faith; nor is it a political movement, although practitioners are fighting for their rights.
Zeng is something of a restrained evangelist for the practice, believing that it cured her of Hepatitis C contracted through a book transfusion. Such evangelism can be off-putting, but there is an undeniable power in her account. Whether or not you can accept the claims made for Falun Gong, you can only be outraged by China’s blatant abuses of human rights. Zeng’s story is emblematic of thousands more.
It is Zeng’s description of her internal struggle over whether to renounce the practice that carries the most emotional weight. Torn between her commitment to telling the truth, and her desire to be released, she torments herself over whether to publicly repudiate that she believed in so strongly. Zeng is unflinching in her appraisal of her own behaviour.

(The above review was published at Australian newspaper “The Age” on April 16, 2005)

Click here for info about where to read or buy Jennifer's book in English and Chinese, as well as where to watch award winning documentary based on Jennifer's story: "Free China: The Courage to Believe"

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