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Former Falun Gong Follower Renews Love of Music (01/29/02)


"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 southern Beijing.

 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.
 
The 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 country.
 
"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.
 
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.
 
"The 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.



 


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