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The Different Faces of 21st Century China

July 16, 2002

Re "Sect Hacked Into TV, China Says," July 9: I was born and raised in Los Angeles, and I had the opportunity to live in China and teach English there three years ago, when it was safe to practice Falun Gong exercises in public. I asked one of my students to teach me, and in a short time I was waking at sunrise to practice the tai chi-like exercises and meditation in a nearby park, which was brimming every morning with Falun Gong practitioners. What was notable about the practitioners I met was their tranquillity; they were quiet, yet friendly.

I left China in July 1999. Since then, my former student and his mother have been jailed because they practice Falun Gong, and another Chinese friend has been tortured by police. The Chinese government's persecution against the Falun Gong is well documented.

Now, Falun Gong practitioners are allegedly disrupting China's state-run broadcasts with images of the meditation practice. China's leadership publicly vows to punish Falun Gong practitioners for this "crime." Let's take a step back. This month marks three years that Chinese police have slandered, tortured and murdered Falun Gong practitioners. I think it is easy to see who has committed the crime.

Albert Roman

Palos Verdes Peninsula

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After returning from a recent three-week trip to China, I would concur with "Sleeping Giant Decides to Rise and Shine," John Balzar's July 10 commentary on China's cultural complexities and economic prowess. In Liaoyang City, you see Internet bars near 2,000-year-old pagodas and peasants with horse-drawn wagons alongside black Audis.

While I was lecturing on U.S. history at Liaoning University, Chinese students asked me if the U.S. is ready to compete economically with China. Funny, I had always thought it was the other way around.

Scott W. Howlett

Rancho Santa Margarita

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