Fight to find out if captured grandma’s alive

PAUL Lin has just one wish – to know that his grandmother back in China is safe.

The 22-year-old from Guildford arrived in Australia when he was 14. He was about to start second semester of Year 7 in China but every day in China had become a dark, scary prospect for Paul and his family.
Many family members, including his parents and grandma, had been heavily persecuted in China for their faith.
His parents spent a decade in and out of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) jails for their belief in Falun Gong, the yoga-like practice that teaches living with truthfulness, compassion and tolerance.
After the regime banned Falun Gong, also known as Falun Dafa, in 1999 when it became too popular, the party leader ordered it to be eradicated.
His parents both made harrowing escapes from China, but his dad was the first to get refugee status in Australia.
As Paul’s mum made her dangerous escape through Thailand, she sent a message to the family of Paul’s predicament – with two blacklisted parents, the regime soon would never allow her son to leave China.
So Paul decided to run; his family got him on a plane that night as he was dreaming about training with his soccer coach on the first day back at school.
“My mind was overwhelmed,” he said, remembering his pain to leave his friends, teachers and other family members.
“I was a class leader; they had so much expectation and hope for me.”
Now an Australian citizen, his is ever grateful to the Australian public and the government for giving him and his family the gift of freedom and a new life free of fear and violence.
However, in December 2020, the regime abducted his grandmother, Tan Zezhen, 72, and the family has not seen her since.
The family was only told she was being held at a detention centre in Beihai City for distributing information about Falun Gong. They know nothing of her condition.
“I don’t know if she’s dead or alive,” Paul said. “It’s like a knot tied in the heart.”
The family has told Foreign Minister Penny Wong’s office about their grandmother’s predicament, and is hoping the minister will be able to help them get a “verification of life” or secure her release if she’s still alive.
Paul’s other goal is to become an NSW police officer.