My name is Jennifer Zeng, a journalist and writer in Washington DC.
Last November, when I was only a writer, not a journalist yet, I wrote an open letter to you before your visit to China, and after the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) officials warned me through my mother in China not to try to come into contact with you.
In that letter I urged you to recognize the evil and unchangeable nature of the Communist Party, and to encourage President Xi Jinping to consider abandoning Communism.
Since then a lot have happened. The most notable and important change is that your administration has started to re-evaluate the failed “engaging China” policy of the past 40 years, and has set a decisive and new course for U.S. strategy toward China.
The most important change to me is that I have moved to Washington DC from New York to work for the English version of The Epoch Times as a journalist in July.
In his landmark speech on U.S.-China relations on October 4, vice President Pence said, “More journalists are reporting the truth without fear or favor, and digging deep to find where China is interfering in our society, and why.”
I am proud to say that I am one of these journalists. For example, on September 28, I published an in depth investigative report “A Case Study: The Chinese Communist Party Works to Influence Oregon” to expose how a piece of Oregon state legislation that encouraged the establishment of Confucius Classrooms could have been pushed through by the long arm of the Chinese Communist Party.
Dear President, I am writing this letter not to boast about what I have been doing, but to inform you what a price I have been paying for being a journalist and a writer who chooses to expose the CCP’s vicious actions.
Several days ago, on Oct. 1, my 76-year-old mother traveled from Mianyang City in Sichuan Province, China, to Chengdu, and then from Chengdu to Shanghai, a journey over 1,000 miles, to take an airplane from there to the United States to visit me.
Coming to the United States was a very tiring and long trip that my mother had been reluctant to take, as she had just had a surgery, and her health was not in good shape. She doesn’t speak any English and traveling alone to America was very challenging.
However, she bravely took up the challenge, as, in both a bitter and sweet way, she regarded this as the last chance she would have to see me in her life. She said she didn’t intend to come again after this visit, as she would be too old and unfit to travel, and she never dared to expect that I could travel back to China to visit her.
Why can’t I go back to China? Because as an outspoken writer and journalist, I could never get a visa to return ever since I escaped from Beijing in 2001, after nearly being tortured to death in Beijing Female Forced Labor for practicing Falun Gong.
For more than 17 years, I have never been able to visit my family in China, not even when my father was dying in the hospital, before he eventually passed away, in 2014, without having set sight on me for more than 13 years.
So for my mother, the only way to see me is for her to fly across the ocean to the United States.
But alas! To her astonishment, she was unexpectedly stopped at customs at the Shanghai Pudong International Airport, while filled with mixed emotions of excitement, longing, sweetness and bitterness, and an expectation of seeing me in just 15 hours. She was then told that her passport was revoked by the Public Security Bureau in Mianyang City, before an officer actually destroyed her passport by cutting off two corners of the main page.
No explanations were offered. My mother, a shocked, scared, desperate, helpless and weeping elderly lady, had to figure out, in the middle of night, at a strange place, how to notify me that she couldn’t come, how to stop her luggage from being flown to the United States, how to get a ticket to fly back to Chengdu, and how to travel back from Chengdu to Mianyang with her big luggage, alone.
Several days have passed since then, my mother is still weeping alone at home, too distressed and ashamed to go out and let others know that she was not allowed to travel.
My heart was nearly broken when I learned all this. Why did my mother, an innocent and harmless elder lady, have to suffer this kind of inhumane treatment?
Ever since the persecution of Falun Gong started in 1999, over more than 19 years, she has had to suffer again and again, bitter, unnecessary and groundless separations that felt like death, when both my sister and I were thrown into labor camps, when I had to flee China to avoid further persecution, when my father died in misery after suffering from the persecution for more than a decade.
My dear mother had to endure all these for more than 19 years. For more than 19 years, the CCP never stops harassing her and forcing her to give me pressure in an attempt to silence me.
And now, her last hope of seeing her dear daughter for the last time in her life was so cruelly taken away.
Dear President, I cry my eyes out as I write this letter to you. Please help my mother to get a new passport so that she can come to visit me. Please help end this 19-year-long ruthless persecution of Falun Gong in China, the largest scale human right disaster in this century.
Lastly, if you could, please investigate Wang Minghua, the vice mayor of Mianyang City, the CCP’s party secretary and director of the Public Security Bureau in Mianyang City, to see if he belongs on the U.S. sanctions list against CCP officials who violate human rights. I believe he is the one responsible for illegally depriving my mother’s lawful right of owning a passport and has been culpable of many crimes against Falun Gong practitioners.
This request was actually suggested by your decision to impose sanctions on the Chinese military's Equipment Development Department and its director, Li Shangfu, for purchasing Russian weapons.
I could see the shockwaves caused by the decision among Chinese communities were huge. Therefore, I believe that holding individuals accountable for what they have done is a very effective way to stop the evil deeds in China and to send a message to those who might want to make a different choice, because they don’t want to bear the consequences.