"They are all big names. It was a
valuable chance for me to see their performance,"
33-year-old Zhang Xiaojie said on January 29 after a
much-applauded show at a re-education-through-labor house in
Zhang, a woman
music teacher at the Beijing No.1 Middle School jailed for
participating in illegal activities of Falun Gong, watched
the performance with hundreds of fellow inmates and
guardians of the house.
performance at the Tiantanghe (Paradise River)
Re-education-Through-Labor House was given by a volunteer
group of artists in Beijing made up of pop stars and veteran
performers, who are well-known throughout the
"Ever since I became
obsessed with the Falun Gong cult seven years ago, I haven't
been to a concert until this afternoon," said
Zhang graduated from a
normal university, majoring in vocal music and piano. She
began practicing Falun Gong to follow her husband, a college
lecturer, in 1995, and was sentenced last year to one and
half years in a re-education house for illegally
disseminating cult information.
Zhang managed to mentally get out of the shadow of
the cult after three months in the re-education house, but
she said her husband, in another re-education house, still
"finds it hard to totally negate his past (as a Falun
Gong follower) even though he has realized Master Li
Hongzhi's teachings are absurd."
"I've kept writing to him to help
him," Zhang said.
She said she
is also busy rehearsing programs to be staged in her
re-education house for the Chinese Lunar New Year, which
falls on February 12.
There is no
piano in the re-education house, but there are electric
organs and the inmates have a lot to do in their spare time,
according to Zhang.
guardians encourage us to practice music as a means of
bringing us back to normal life," she said.
"It is here that my love for music
has been renewed," Zhang said.