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At a GCSE art exhibit at the school I work at, staff were allowed to show their own work, so I decided to put up a comic strip I had drawn for the “Publish You” anthology of alternative comics as part of Alternative Press.
The strip is a biography of Annie Yang, a woman who was tortured in China for practicing Falun Gong until she managed to get asylum in the UK.
Originally in Black and White, I had an awesome illustrator friend of mine, Joel Benjamin, do the colours to make it stand out amongst the other bright pieces on display.
In his own words,
“Joel Benjamin was born and raised on the east coast of the UK and spent much of his youth reading comics and drawing. In his teenage years he became obsessed with skateboarding and spent much of his time lurking around the streets of his hometown with his skater buddies. After studying fine art at Norwich school of art and design he made the sensible decision to go to Lincoln University to earn a degree in Illustration. Since then he has been working as freelance illustrator, creating illustrations for clients in the UK and US. Joel’s work expresses his love of nature and the great outdoors as well as his enthusiasm for music and human culture.”
This is the 12th 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.
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. for more information, see http://www.faluninfo.net