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Book Review of ‘Witnessing History’ one woman’s fight for freedom

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Appearing on the bookshelves this month is Jennifer Zeng’s ‘Witnessing History – One woman’s fight for freedom and Falun Gong’, published by Allen & Unwin. Witnessing History is a true story of the triumph of the human spirit: a powerful and moving account of how a bright, successful young scientist and happily married mother survived illegal detention and torture, only to be forced to flee her family and homeland to seek asylum in Australia. Witnessing History is a tale of courage and conviction in the face of the most gruelling adversity. The story reveals a hidden tragedy that is unfolding behind closed doors in China today.

 

Jennifer begins her heart-wrenching account with the analogy of an ancient Chinese saying, ‘Still water runs deep!’ . . . “Looking at the water’s stillness on the surface, we can hardly see or feel the rapid current that lies underneath, however, what lies under the surface could be truly terrifying . . . and yet the world is still largely unaware of the vastness of the current.” Using this metaphor, Jennifer begins to tell her own personal story.

 

Living in modern day China, Jennifer excelled in her academic studies and began a successful career. She met her husband, also a young academic, and together the happily married couple had their first child. However, through a tragic turn of events, her once peaceful life was suddenly shattered when she was illegally detained in a forced labour camp for her belief in the spiritual practice “Falun Gong”. Jennifer describes her forced-labour camp ordeal: “During my year long detainment, I experienced far more brutality and darkness than I ever thought existed, and certainly more than I could bear”.

 

Witnessing History is a testimony of what is currently happening to the countless thousands of innocent Falun Gong practitioners locked inside China’s inhumane jails and forced-labour camps. During her time in detention, Jennifer was forced to squat for hours in the blistering sun, endure hours of physical and verbal abuse, and knit garments until her hands bled to feed the booming Chinese economy. During this time Jennifer saw many of her companions tortured to the point of dying and many still remain incarcerated. With the rest of the world blinded by the water’s alluring surface and the pot of gold at the end of China’s economic rainbow, Witnessing History brings to light what is really occurring under the ‘still surface’ of Communist China today.

 

Witnessing History can be purchased from all good bookshops, or on-line at www.allenandunwin.com/default.aspx

 

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