Welcome to my blog!
Last night I attended the “Publish You…” Book Launch at Housmans radical bookshop, which kicked off the Alternative Press Festival 2009, organised by Jimi Gherkin and friends.
The anthology showcases a diverse selection of comics, illustrations and poetry produced by talented ‘creatives’ in London.
I was well chuffed when a 2-page comic strip I produced for last year’s Random House graphic novel competition was selected to be in the anthology.
My strip was a biography of a woman, Annie Yang, who was tortured in China for practicing Falun Gong until she managed to get asylum in the UK.
I chose this subject as this is the 10th year that Falun Gong practitioners have been persecuted by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). Falun Gong (or Falun Dafa) is a traditional cultivation practice that improves one’s physical health through meditation exercises and develops one’s spiritual awareness through the principles of the practice, truthfulness, compassion, tolerance.
In 1999, under orders of Jiang Zemin, then Premier of China, the CCP launched a persecution against Falun Gong practitioners after an official report showed that 70–100 million had taken up the practice. As the number exceeded the members of the CCP, Jiang Zemin targeted Falun Gong for fear that such a large group would undermine his power. And so began a campaign that tortured, killed and raped ordinary Chinese citizens on the sole account of their beliefs.
Everyone has seen the image of the Tankman at the Tiananmen Square Massacre. This year is the 20th anniversary of when the CCP ran their own people over with tanks when students began calling for democracy and anti-corruption measures.
Although other peaceful groups are persecuted such as Tibetan monks, Muslims and some Christian groups, Falun Gong is the most targeted because it is the largest.
The whole floor at Housmans was extremely packed and during the launch, I gave a small speech on what I thought the alternative press was all about, video to come soon!