Model-Photographer Adhiraj’s – Experiences from the East

During my 13-year long modelling career I got to travel to a lot of different places … some within the country and a few outside. However, during my travels abroad, one country I fell in love with at first sight was China! I really enjoyed every time I went to China! … From Shanghai, Beijing, Guangzhou, Xiamen, Ningbo, Chengdu to Zhangjiajie in Hunan province, where they shot the movie Avatar. I had travelled extensively throughout China and it’s one of the most beautiful places I have been … so beautiful that sometimes I wished to stay back in China! 

Adhiraj doing meditation
Adhiraj While Doing Falun Dafa Meditation

Maybe what drew me to China was because it was the first country I had travelled to outside India. Anyway, getting back to my first experience, I remember taking a China Eastern Flight from Mumbai and landing in Shanghai. My agency manager Jen* had come to pick me up from the airport. She had got a gift for me when she arrived at the airport. It was a goody bag. I must say it was quite a gift because the goody bag contained chicken feet, duck fat candy, some dried octopus and a lot of things that I had never seen in my life. Of course, I didn’t know anything that was given to me as everything was written in Mandarin. It was on the journey from the airport to the model apartment that she introduced everything with detailed description. 

However, I was very pleased because my manager ensured that I was comfortable and Chinese people are good hosts and throughout my stay most people I met in China were extremely good, humble and hardworking. The agency owners would often take us to a nice restaurant and on off days try to arrange some recreation activities for us. I would be paid on time and they would always be around to help. Shanghai was really something that I had never envisioned. I had never seen infrastructure like that before. In the evenings the lights in the city would be dazzling and it was a totally new experience.

  I vividly remember an incident during my initial stay. We were having dinner in the apartment. My friend Steve* from Miami was asking Jen about the persecution of Falun Gong (Falun Gong is a peaceful cultivation practice based on truthfulness, compassion and tolerance. It is banned in China and practitioners are being brutally persecuted by the CCP for their belief till today), Jen kept saying with a lot of fear that she doesn’t want to talk about it. I didn’t pay much attention to what Steve was talking about but what I was concerned about was the sudden change of expression on Jenny’s face, frightened as if somebody was keeping tabs on her. We were in the confines of our apartment yet she wasn’t comfortable talking about something, out of fear that she would be grilled and has to bear severe consequences! 

It has been eleven years since that incident. I had gone back to China quite a few times after that first trip, but now I can understand why Jen was so scared to voice her opinion.

After returning to India from one of my trips to China, I was introduced to the wonderful practice of Falun Gong. Now it’s been six years since I have been practicing and all that I can ever imagine coming out of this tranquil practice is solely positive and utmost wonderful things… things that have definitely changed my life for the best!

In the recent outbreak of the Pandemic the entire world witnessed how citizen journalists, doctors, students and a lot of other people went missing, without a trace! However, that’s not something new in China! There have been numerous cases of mysterious disappearances. The Chinese Communist party will silence any voice of dissent.

         It is not the first time that Wuhan has been the epicentre of breeding the Evil CCP Virus ; it started way back in 1999 when Jiang Zemin started the brutal suppression of  Falun Gong .The Organ Transplant Research Institute located in Wuhan is also infamously known for being the state authorised organ transplant centrepiece for prisoners of conscience. For decades believers of Falun Gong, Tibetans , Muslim Uighurs and many others are being held against their will in prisons, detention centres ,labour camps as prisoners of conscience. They are tortured in the most horrific and brutal manner, brainwashed, kept in inhumane conditions, force fed , and a lot more than we can comprehend … all this just to give up their righteous belief . As the Government wants by force to instill the ideologies of atheism in the citizens.

My love towards the Chinese people did not diminish but there was an anguished plea towards the Chinese Communist government to right the wrongs done to so many innocent people. I no longer felt that it was safe for me to travel back to China. The initial trips that I had made I would be able to access my social media accounts and emails, but by the time I made my last trip it became more and more stifling. I couldn’t access any of my social media sites, my blog wouldn’t open and I could not write or share any experiences. Also, I personally felt that the environment was starting to look colder and somewhat hostile, it was there all along but i could feel it gradually becoming more severe. It was all about doing the shoots and shows; making money and doing the work more mechanically. Somehow, I couldn’t connect with the way I had felt earlier. I still do think about my days in Beijing … and all my friends that I had made during my earlier stay … 

The Autumn flowers have bloomed, beautiful ephemeral 

 Friends await in distant lands under dimmed lanterns 

Remembering the taste of mooncakes from the festival

Be strong and courageous 

             … we meet on completion, our journey to the west !”

 I might be lucky to be born in this country as I have my basic rights to believe. I can walk to the seaside or the park and practice Falun Gong unharmed!  I have the right to express myself and not be in constant fear that speaking the truth will end my life or that I might mysteriously disappear to a remotely located detention center or a forced labour camp … I do not fear my blood samples will be drawn forcefully so that I can be on a hospital or prison bed yielding to the heartless devils who would pull out my organs. However, deep inside I have a sense of urgency, a sense of regret that before being a citizen of my country … 

I am a temporary dweller of this world, boundaries there might be many but they are invisible … the only thing that’s visible are the bonds of sentient beings … living with faith and belief !”

          If the nations of the world don’t act out quickly against this brutal regime called CCP, maybe the next pandemic will lead us to a point of no return. From my personal experiences of traveling to China, I had met nice and kind people. People who always looked forward to helping others in every possible situation, they were warm and hospitable. Looking at the current state in China I often wonder about Jen and many others like her … and wish someday there will be a better world for them for me and for all of us … #worldpeace … #freetobelieve … #freetomeditate !!! 


Adhiraj Chakrabarti

(Falun Dafa, also known as Falun Gong, is an ancient cultivation practice of the mind and body. Based on the assimilation of the highest qualities of the universe-  Truthfulness-Compassion-Tolerance ! Through constant practice of five tranquil sets of exercises and reading the profound teachings in the book Zhuan Falun, a practitioner  can achieve a state of purity, self realisation, selflessness, and true health amongst numerous other positive changes. Falun Gong, is now practiced by millions of people worldwide!) 

*names have been changed in order to protect identity