Eric and his father’s story is the subject of a new short film, ‘Split by the State’. (Alexander Nilsen)Eric and his father’s story is the subject of a new short film, ‘Split by the State’. (Alexander Nilsen)

“Split by the State”

 

As millions of Australian families prepare to celebrate Father’s Day to honour their paternal bonds, for Sydney refugee Eric Jia, his version of Father’s Day is a lonely affair.

The last time he saw his father Ye Jia was 15 years-ago when he was 3-years-old. This father and son were forcefully split by China’s one-party state, simply because Ye Jia wanted to meditate and follow his beliefs.

Eric and his dad in Shaanxi province China during happier times.  (Alexander Nilsen)

Eric and his dad in Shaanxi Province China during happier times. (Alexander Nilsen)

 

He practices Falun Gong, a traditional Chinese meditation and spiritual practice based on the principles of ‘Truthfulness, Compassion and Forbearance’. It rose to popularity in China in the 1990’s, with over 100 million people experiencing its health benefits.

: Eric doing the Falun Gong meditation exercise at home in Sydney, Australia. China is the only country in the world that doesn't allow Falun Gong practitioners to meditate freely.  (Alexander Nilsen)

Eric doing the Falun Gong meditation exercise at home in Sydney, Australia. China is the only country in the world that doesn’t allow Falun Gong practitioners to meditate freely. (Alexander Nilsen)

 

These numbers proved too overwhelming for the Chinese regime, which with around 60 million communist members at the time, saw the practice as a threat. Former dictator Jiang Zemin initiated a country-wide crackdown and persecution against the peaceful movement, that hasn’t waned since it began on July 20, 1999.

The decision to persecute Falun Gong was made by former Communist Party leader Jiang Zemin alone. Other members of the leadership favoured a more conciliatory approach, recognising that Falun Gong was peaceful. (NTD Television)

The decision to persecute Falun Gong was made by former Communist Party leader Jiang Zemin alone. Other members of the leadership favoured a more conciliatory approach, recognising that Falun Gong was peaceful. (NTD Television)

 

As days and months turned into years, the state-sanctioned persecution has taken a heavy toll on fathers, sons and families alike, who have suffered severely and have too often been torn apart.

In modern China torture is a routine component of law-enforcement and punishment. Jiang Zemin issued his famous edict, “It is not a crime to beat a Falun Gong practitioner to death.” (en.minghui.org/)

 

Eric and his father’s story is the subject of a new short film, “Split by the State”, its release comes on Father’s Day.

The film’s director Gina Shakespeare said: “this film is dedicated to prisoners of conscience, like Ye Jia, who today number in their millions. It’s also an exposé of the Chinese regime’s relentless use of physical and psychological torture against Falun Gong adherents and their families, told through a young man’s heart.”

Ms Shakespeare recalled being deeply touched as she read Eric Jia’s original letter he wrote to Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull in 2016, pleading to save his dad from a Chinese prison.

 

“I knew Eric’s story needed to be told and that the letter he wrote was actually the beginning of a powerful script, one that would also move others” she said.

“Hearing that his dad was spending eight years in a Chinese prison, had been tortured, starved and subjected to filthy and inhumane living conditions, I could never fathom this type of ill-treatment, this just doesn’t happen in Australia” said Ms Shakespeare.

“Eric possesses an incredible resilience and determination. His desire for justice and to be reunited with his father, after all this time has never diminished. I really hope the Prime Minister can pressure China to release Eric’s dad urgently.”

Australia's Prime Minister Malcom Turnbull. (Alexander Nilsen)

Australia’s Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull. (Alexander Nilsen)

 

Eric spends a good deal of time assisting other Falun Gong families still imprisoned in China by speaking out at rallies, collecting signatures for petitions and even calling prisons in mainland China. Surely something his father would be proud of. 

You can also help Eric and his family by sharing the film and by visiting this website and signing the petition.

www.splitbythestate.org

 

 

Read the full article here

When parents and children enjoy being together while learning and improving skills, it creates the perfect conditions for strengthening family relationships and enhancing lifelong learning.
These are some of the goals of family literacy, which focuses on interactions between generations in the family and community that foster a culture of learning and the development of literacy and other life skills.
Inter-generational teaching and learning are longstanding traditions rooted in many cultures.

While this may be a specialized and relatively new field originating in the West, inter-generational teaching and learning are longstanding traditions rooted in many cultures. In modern times, some countries have designated times of the year for celebrating family literacy, such as in January in Canada and in November in the United States.
Canada’s Family Literacy Day on Jan. 27 highlights the joys and benefits of this integration of learning and everyday living. Epoch Times takes this opportunity to showcase some inspiring stories and sayings from ancient China.
‘Teaching and learning are mutually beneficial’
If you are a parent, you might have noticed that when you teach your child, learning occurs for both of you, be it some skill or knowledge, a good principle, or a lesson learned.
MORE:Confucius, the Greatest Sage and Teacher in Chinese History
A passage in the “Classic of Rites,” or “Liji,” one of the core texts of Confucianism, refers to two expressions that speak to this experience: “Teaching and learning are mutually beneficial,” and “Teaching is the other half of learning.”
Teaching is the other half of learning.— ‘Classic of Rites’

“It is only after learning that one knows one’s own deficiencies, and only after teaching that one knows the difficulties of learning,” the passage notes.
“Only after knowing one’s own inadequacies can one reflect on and examine oneself, and only after knowing the challenges can one motivate and strengthen oneself to do better.”
In this way, teaching and learning complement and advance one another, helping both the teacher and learner grow.
Overcoming Adversity
While the term “literacy” encompasses much more than just reading and writing, these two skills, along with arithmetic, are indeed what we often think of as the basics of education.
There is a well-known story about a dedicated parent from the Northern Song Dynasty (A.D. 960–1127) who used her wisdom and determination to overcome adversity and teach her son how to read and write.
MORE:Chinese Character for Wisdom: Zhì (智)
That son was renowned writer and historian Ouyang Xiu (A.D. 1007–1072), who lost his father when he was only 4 years old. The family was left impoverished, and the mother and son often did not have enough to eat, let alone have money to buy pen and paper or send Ouyang Xiu to school.
However, Ouyang Xiu’s mother did not give up on her son’s education because of this. Instead, she came up with a solution—using a reed to teach him how to read and write in the dirt on the ground outside. This is the origin of the idiom “writing with a reed to teach one’s son.”
Ouyang Xiu’s mother taught him how to read and write by using a reed to write in the dirt when he was a child. The renowned Northern Song Dynasty writer lost his father at the age of 4 and his mother could not afford to send him to school, so she thought of this solution to ensure his education. (Catherine Chang/Epoch Times)
As Ouyang Xiu grew older, his mother brought him to their neighbour’s home to borrow books to read, and sometimes copied down the contents of those books.
Guided and encouraged by his mother, Ouyang studied diligently and at age 23 passed the imperial examinations as the top scholar. He went on to hold important positions throughout his 40-year political career.
As a government official, he never forgot his mother’s teaching—to follow his father’s example and serve the people in an honest, upright, and compassionate manner, never seeking wealth and self-interest but rather always helping those in need.
Teaching by Example
Their story can be likened to the journeys of overcoming adversity of the many refugee and immigrant families resettling in other countries. It also reflects the experiences of many parents and caregivers who themselves face life challenges but nevertheless do everything they can to support their children’s education.
Those adults themselves set good examples to follow, such as those of hard work, perseverance, resourcefulness, resilience, treasuring learning, and giving back.
MORE:Mentoring Month: Insights From Historical Figures in Ancient China
There is a Chinese idiom that describes “using words to teach and personal action as a model.” Another idiom says we can “educate without using direct/standard teaching methods.”
These idioms remind us that it is entirely possible and natural to influence and teach simply through our everyday activities and interactions.
It is not limited to the usual literacy activities of reading, writing, and doing homework.

It could be through playing a game, cooking or baking, making a budget, planting a garden, or watching the stars. Your children are also learning when they see how you treat others, solve a problem, resolve a conflict, and correct your mistakes. It is not limited to the usual literacy activities of reading, writing, and doing homework.
Sharing Your Wonder
Parents should also consider that they have the ability to greatly enhance their children’s education and learning just by sharing their own wonder about the world.
Observe your surroundings and show that it’s natural to have questions and that it’s important to ask when we don’t understand. Take the lead in demonstrating how enriching it is for everyone to discuss ideas and find answers and solutions together.
You might have some personal experiences of how the curiosity of children led you to discover and learn something new and valuable.

Speaking to the value of inquisitiveness and the power of curiosity is another Chinese idiom that’s variously translated as “being curious about what’s unusual,” “being interested in what’s different,” or “paying particular attention to what’s out of the ordinary.”
This idiom might come to mind when you or your children venture to ask why, why not, or what if.

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