Chinese New Year is the most important time of the year for a family reunion when people can enjoy themselves together with their loved ones. However, for Jiang Qian’s family, it’s a time when they miss their mother most. Jiang Qian’s family lives in Fujiang Community, Longping Subdistrict Office, Chuanshan District, Suining City, Sichuan Province. Eight years ago, Li Tingfang, Jiang Qian’s mother, died pitifully for being addicted to Falun Gong and trying to ascend to "higher levels," which has left Jiang Qian’s family with permanent regret.
Photo of Li Tingfang
I am Yuan Tao, a community worker in the Longping Subdistrict office, and also a neighbor of Jiang Qing’s family. As neighbors, our two families have been on good terms with each other.
Auntie Li Tingfang was born on July 20, 1957. She was a kind, hardworking, healthy and warm-hearted woman, always helpful to our neighbors and respected by the community. She had been leading a harmonious life after marriage. Jiang Qian was only the daughter in Auntie Li’s family of four.
Since Auntie Li became obsessed with the Falun Gong, however, their happy family life was completely shattered.
I have witnessed Auntie Li's tragic life, which is still vivid in my mind. One day in June 1997, when Auntie Li went to the market on Longping Street, she came across a fellow villager Deng Dafang, who was practicing an exercise on the street. At the sight of Li Tingfang, Deng Dafang took the initiative to talk to her, saying that the Falun Gong exercise she was practicing had magical effects. According to her, it can dispel diseases by "eliminating karma" if you have diseases while improving your health if you have no diseases; and you will become an immortal or a Buddha, bringing benefits to your whole family, if you ascend to "higher levels" by cultivation…
Deng Dafang had been living in the neighborhood for years. Out of trust in her, Auntie Li agreed to practice Falun Gong with her for a try. Since then, Auntie Li had been lost in the abyss of Falun Gong. She bought a small tape recorder and Falun Gong discs in Suining City. Every day, she would keep practicing at home to the music of Zhuan Falun. Also, she would always kneel and worship, praying for "Master" to spread the “Fa” and bless her whole family with peace and health.
One morning in October 1998, I went shopping at Longping Supply and Marketing Cooperative, where I came across Auntie Li meditating on a mat. She greeted me and said, "Little Yuan! Come to practice Falun Gong with me, it will be good for young people and keep you from getting sick. And it can even make you become an immortal or a Buddha..." I responded by saying, "Auntie Li, I don't believe in it, there are no immortals in this world, I advise you not to believe in these superstitions." Seeing my reluctance, Auntie Li no longer insisted on my practicing, nor did she listen to my advice.
In July 1999, Falun Gong was outlawed by the government. Not understanding why the government did it, Auntie Li had a strong resistance to the ban. One morning, she and her fellow practitioner Wang Suqing printed plenty of Falun Gong slogans and other materials before secretly riding to Longping Street and distributing them to passers-by to propagate Falun Gong.
Soon, Auntie Li and Wang Suqing's activities were reported by people to the policemen on duty, who told them that Falun Gong is an illegal organization banned by the government according to law and that they should neither practice Falun Gong nor go out to propagate it. However, Auntie Li and Wang Suqing, promised to do as the policemen required while in their presence, still continued to practice Falun Gong as usual later on.
Uncle Jiang，Auntie Li’s husband, also failed to persuade her to give up practicing, so he called his daughter and son-in-law to help with the persuasion. Although the daughter and son-in-law took great pains trying to persuade Auntie, she refused to listen to them and instead, accused them of being "demons" who interfered with her cultivation. As a result, they departed unhappily.
Instead of realizing her mistakes, Auntie Li went even further, meditating and practicing day and night, which resulted in her body breaking down shortly afterward. She was so pale and thin that she could hardly speak. As Auntie Li had been fond of me since I was a child, I was very concerned about her health and patiently advised her whenever possible to go to the hospital for a proper examination and treatment. However, no matter what I said, Auntie Li wouldn’t listen.
In December 2010, Auntie Li's condition became more serious. Uncle Jiang, her husband, repeatedly begged to take her to the hospital for treatment, but Auntie Li was too obstinate, insisting on not seeing a doctor. She said, "My illness is getting worse because Master is eliminating karma for me, I have to endure Master's test and keep practicing to eliminate karma. I will soon reach Consummation..."
On December 20, 2012, Uncle Jiang prepared the dinner and served it to Auntie Li. After a while, Auntie Li suddenly fell to the ground unconscious while meditating and practicing. In the end, she passed away tragically at the age of 60 before being sent to the hospital.