Sven learned Falun Gong in Sweden in 1995 and visited China many times when the practice was flourishing, and once in late 1999 after the persecution began.
EXCERPT FROM INTERVIEW:
I went to the first introduction about Falun Gong in Sweden and I was surprised about how much knowledge and wisdom came out like raining water from the master, Li Hongzhi, when he first visited Sweden. I practiced other qigong systems before, but I never expected this. Even just sitting and listening I felt energy flowing through my body. Other practices I did before were very expensive, but this was one was just like it was up to you if you want to practice or not. There was no requirement to start practicing.
I went to China a six or seven times before the persecution began. I went there to travel and do sightseeing, as well as to meet other Falun Gong practitioners. At that time when we walked around Beijing, I wore a Falun Gong pin and everywhere I went, restaurants and other places, people would comment positively about Falun Gong. I was so surprised, I didn’t know it was so spread everywhere. From the military, policemen the uniforms, all different kinds of people in the society from old retired to children, all different levels.
For me the whole thing is strange how they can persecute honest people who are practicing Truth, Compassion, Forbearance. The last time I went to China was in December, 1999. When I was there I could feel the pressure. I went to a park and talked to a man there. He said there used to be many there practicing Falun Gong before, but then they had put notices on the wall saying that it’s banned.
Before that time, it had always been more open, you can go and you don’t feel so restricted. I mean, for me, it’s a strange situation… like before you come and go and everyone is happy and practicing Falun Gong is no problem at all, but then in 1999, at that time, I could really feel the restriction and pressure.
Even worse, when I was there, I heard some stories from some of my friends who I had met in my travels to China. One of my best friend’s wife was tortured in custody of the police because she practiced Falun Gong. It was really very shocking.”