Tina’s Story is about a young woman living in Melbourne under a protection visa after leaving her home in Mainland China from persecution for her belief.
Tina practices Falun Gong — a traditional Chinese spiritual discipline where practitioners adhere to three core principles: Truthfulness, Compassion, Forbearance. It has its roots in Buddhism, and also includes five slow-moving exercises, including meditation.
In 1999, Jiang Zemin, the Chinese president at the time, banned the practice, so tens-of-millions of Chinese citizens were branded criminals overnight. Tina traveled to Beijing to appeal the ban, and spent almost 3 years in prison in a labor camp, where she was beaten and tortured.
The short film, Tina’s Story, was made in 2010 by filmmaker Jarrod Hall, and consists of a series of beautiful black and white portraits of Tina in her new life in Melbourne. There is an introduction to her story, and then audio of her sharing her experience translated to English.
She talks about her arrest at Tiananmen Square when she was appealing the ban for shouting out “Falun Dafa is Good!” She believes that to live in line with Truth, Compassion, and Tolerance is not a crime; she has nothing to hide, and should not live in the shadows — that is why she went to appeal. She also felt that she had a responsibility to the Chinese people who were being lied to by the Chinese Communist Party.
In prison, her first hunger strike was 6 days and nights. On the seventh day, she was very painfully force-fed soya milk through a tube down her nose. When the tube came out, it was covered in blood.
Tina recalls a memory from her time in the prison in March 2001. Those who practiced Falun Gong were lined up outside and made to hold an uncomfortable standing position, unable to move at all, looking down at a piece of paper that slandered Falun Gong. They were told they were going to hold the position for a week, and any time someone would move, they would be tortured with an electric shock club.
The guards held them in that standing position overnight instead of for a week, but by telling them they would have to be there for the week added to the mental pressure on the prisoners. They were told if they signed a statement to give up their practice, the police would stop torturing them. Meanwhile, prison guards played music over the loud speakers that mocked and criticized Falun Gong.
Tina was also thrown into a small metal cage, and forced to stand for 7 days and 7 nights. She said she would not have made it if it weren’t for a prison guard allowing her to rest every now and then when the police were not in sight.
Working in the labor camp, they started at 6.28 A.M. and finished at 9 P.M. In summer, they started an hour earlier and finished at 9 P.M. — this was the official time, but the reality is they worked until 10 P.M. and sometimes until midnight.
In 2009, Tina arrived in Melbourne, Australia, and was given a protection visa, which is similar to being granted permanent residency. Forever grateful for a safe place to live, she hopes people will take notice of the persecution of Falun Gong in China, and that the Chinese people will raise their voices to stop this persecution.
The figures at the end of the video are 10 years old. Unfortunately, the numbers of Falun Gong practitioners killed in China’s prisons have dramatically increased over the years.