Jing Trien is one of the lucky ones.
The 37-year-old Vancouver resident and Falun Gong practitioner managed to escape her captors and her home country of China but left with some very deep emotional scars.
Trien was a member of a group of touring Falun Gong proponents who were in Penticton recently to raise awareness and support for their cause.
In particular, they want an end to what they say is the mass killings and the state-sponsored crime of forced organ harvesting of its members in China.
Trien was in prison with other family members including her sister, brother and mother.
“Jing says she is so fortunate and lucky because her mother was persecuted and then blinded and then died,” said Vera Sun who translated Trien’s statement. “She knew another woman in the prison with her, after being persecuted to death and when the family came to check the body they found holes at the waist where they took the organs.”
Trien was eventually able to escape to Thailand and made her way to Canada in 2009. Her brother also escaped but is still in Thailand.
During her incarceration Trien had numerous physical check ups and now believes her poor medical condition was part of the reason she escaped organ harvesting.
“Millions more are not so lucky,” said Sun. “That is why all of us volunteers are doing this, to simply raise awareness of what’s going on.
“We are urging Canadians to condemn the horrific crime of forced organ harvesting from Falun Gong practitioners in China and to help stop the ongoing campaign of persecution and mass killings of practitioners.”
Falun Gong is a traditional, spiritual discipline whose adherents follow the principles of truthfulness, compassion and tolerance.
“I think it’s human nature of the communist party they are afraid of people being empowered by anything other than their ideology,” said Joy Wang of Penticton who is travelling with the group. “I learned the truth about Falun Gong after I left China 15 years ago. Since I started practising my problems have disappeared and I’ve become much calmer.”
She has started a local class which meets weekly near the SS Sicamous and is becoming increasingly popular.
A number of countries including the U.S. along with the European parliament have condemned the practice.
In June, a report released by Canadian human rights lawyer David Matas, former Canadian secretary of state David Kilgour and investigative journalist Ethan Gutmann indicated up to 1.5 million Falun Gong practitioners have been killed since 2001.
“We call on the federal government to warn Canadians not to go to China for a new organ since they may be unknowingly become complicit in this crime and we urge Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to raise these issues during his upcoming visit to China,” said Sun.