A German Practitioner Speaks Out - 'Please Help Us to Rescue Our Family and Friends from Brutal Persecution'
Ladies and gentlemen, worldwide governmental organizations, NGOs, media and kind-hearted people:
My name is Jeng-Tong Chang and I am a Falun Gong practitioner who lives in Germany. I am currently studying computer science in Augsburg University.
In July 1994, when I went home from university on a summer holiday, a friend gave me a somewhat belated birthday gift, the book Zhuan Falun [the main text of Falun Gong]. He spent more than 2 hours introducing it to me. At that time, I felt that it was what I wanted. After a period of understanding, I realized that it was about how to be a good person and gradually reach higher moral standards. I felt brilliant changes in myself as my temper improved; I began to think of others first and I learnt to look at myself whenever I encounter a problem. I gradually became more kind and benevolent. I felt light and my body was without illness. I've got a lot of friends who practise Falun Dafa and most of them are younger than me. We often studied the Fa [referring to the teachings of Falun Dafa] and practice together. My wife also studied and practiced with us - her name is Hsiao-Yan Wang.
In July 1999, when we were very happy, Jiang Zemin began his vicious campaign of persecution. At midnight on 20th July, the houses of some practitioners whom I had been familiar with were searched and they were arrested without warning. It was soon announced that Falun Gong was banned throughout China. Countless rumors were spread by Jiang's regime, who used the media to slander Falun Dafa. I felt like the ceiling fell in and the ground sank overnight. One hundred million people were suddenly deprived of their basic right to freedom. People, who had practiced Falun Gong in parks for many years were now being beaten, arrested and fined if they went out to practice their exercises.
For a period of time we were deeply confused, wondering why the government would want to persecute so many good people who have no interest in politics or governmental affairs. But we were very clear on one point - we are not like the people portrayed in the state-controlled media. Friends of mine started to tell people that the lies in the media were all false and Falun Gong practitioners are good people. However, this did not resolve the problem. Instead, it created even more serious persecution. The practitioners were kidnapped. They were then arrested, placed in detention centers and beaten by policemen and criminals. When they began hunger strikes to protest against their abhorrent treatment, they were violently force-fed. One of my friends is a nurse and she said that this kind of forced feeding is extremely dangerous.
In May 2000, my wife told me that she was going to Beijing to appeal for the human rights of Falun Gong practitioners. I knew she made this decision after carefully considering all aspects. She had thought about the worst scenario. But I knew that she wasn't going there for herself, but for thousands upon thousands of people who were being persecuted for believing in the truth and justice. So I said that I supported her. She urged me to take care of our 2-year-old daughter and she began her journey to Beijing.
Several days later, I got a call from the police station and was told that my wife was being detained at the office of the Dalian Public Security Bureau in Beijing. This is where Dafa practitioners who appealed in Beijing were brought. A few more days passed - people in the police station told me that she had been moved to the Dalian Drug-rehabilitation centre; a place which had become one of the dens where the notorious "610 Office" detained practitioners [a bureau specifically created by the Chinese government to persecute Falun Gong. It has absolute power over each level of administration in the Party, as well as over the political and judiciary branches]. I once tried to visit her but was told that I could only visit if I paid 3500 Yuan [the average monthly wage for an urban worker is 500 Yuan. For a rural worker it is 200 Yuan]. Out of my concern for my wife, I borrowed money and went there again. When I asked them what the money was for, they responded, "It is necessary". I was told, "No money, no visit". They wanted nothing but money! They didn't give me a receipt, but simply put a mark in one of their books. During the 20 minutes when I was there, I saw a couple who also paid their "fine" out of concern for their relatives safety. It is clear that the police are making money from the persecution of Falun Gong.
Walking outside the building, I thought we could both return home. However my wife was taken away for 15 days of detention. The reason the police gave was that she was "disturbing social order". When asked how she had disturbed social order, the police had nothing to say. In fact, the reason for appealing is to question any irrational situations and this one of the basic rights guaranteed under the Chinese constitution. It is clear to see that the Constitution and law exist in name only. I was forced to pay 150 Yuan more for a so-called "detention fee". After a short meeting with my wife, I saw her being taken to the Yaoji detention centre.
I began to worry about my wife's future. I had heard endless news about how Falun Gong practitioners are beaten up and persecuted in jail. 15 days passed and my wife came home. She told me what she had experienced during her detention in Beijing; more than 10 people were locked up in a room that was rented by the Dalian Public Security Bureau in Beijing. They were packed into a room and slept together on the ground. While arrested in the drug rehabilitation clinic, they were forced to listen to anti-Falun Gong statements. If someone refused, he/she was beaten up. In the Yaoji detention center, more than 10 people were locked up together. Falun Gong practitioners were detained with common criminals.
With disappointment in my mother country, I left China for Germany to study in September 2000. Here in Germany, I can practice Falun Gong freely as can people in every other country in the world. I can even teach the Falun Gong exercises to people. I also receive support and sympathy from many, kind, German people. Whenever I see people smile, take a flyer and sign their names on our petitions, I feel enormous emotion. Because of a couple of people with bad intentions, there are countless people deceived by lies, countless practitioners being persecuted and countless people using their lives to seek for truth and freedom. While I work and study in this environment, my family and friends are in a difficult situation, in danger all the time.
Not long after I left China, several of my friends were arrested one after another. In Autumn 2000, my best friend, Hsin Chen, was arrested while at school (he was a teacher). After days and nights of continuous interrogation and torture, he was released only after paying a huge fine. He has become destitute and homeless. A couple, Tei-Dong Leu and Hsieh-Mei Chang, were arrested at home, their house was searched and their Falun Dafa books were confiscated. They were sent to Dalian Labour Camp to suffer forced labour and brainwashing. They were beaten severely all night long just to force them to write a letter guaranteeing that they would not practice Falun Gong any more. Yue Wang's company caught him writing a Falun Gong article on his own computer. He was sent to the Dalian Labour Camp and the Guan-Shen Labour Camp for 2-years. His daughter was just 2-years-old at the time. He was not allowed to see her because he didn't give up practicing Falun Gong and he wasn't released until November 2002. I'm not sure if his daughter was able to recognize him when they met again.
I lost contact with my wife at the end of 2000. Through the help of friends in China, I finally got updated news about her. Because she distributed flyers that revealed the facts about Falun Dafa, she was arrested and sent to Yao detention center in Dalian. She was then put in the notorious Masanjia Labor Camp. No one was informed of her arrest and detention, including my family members and myself. Our 2-year-old daughter started to depend on her grandparents, who are in their sixties. In autumn of 2001, my wife was released to obtain medical treatment. Even though they were separated for a year, our daughter still called her "Mom" without hesitation.
During that period, I talked with my wife on the phone and found that she did not think rationally. Her thinking was disordered and there was no logic. She also became emotional very easily. I was shocked and confused when I personally experienced this, even though I had often heard what practitioners experienced in the Masanjia labor Camp. What exactly made my wife become like this? After several long conversations on the Internet and the telephone, I helped her to calm down and return to normality.
She gradually told me what she had encountered in the labor camps. When people first go to Masanjia, it is planned to have them brainwashed by force. What my wife first encountered was not physical torture but evil spiritual torture. They forced practitioners to sit together and listen to propaganda against Falun Gong. They were brainwashed day and night. The purpose was to make them disoriented, so that they'd sign a letter of guarantee not to practice Falun Gong any more. After the rest of the people in her group were brainwashed, my wife stood up during the middle of a brainwashing session to point out their errors and said to them, "Falun Dafa is good". A criminal dragged my wife to a room and beat her on the chest with a stick. At that moment, she was still clarifying the truth to this person without any resentment. After this, the labor camp arranged several well-known people from our town, who had already been brainwashed, to continue to work on brainwashing her. At the same time, they kept her awake every night. She finally signed the letter of guarantee while her mind was confused. After regaining her freedom, she deeply regretted her mistake and she declared that what she wrote against her conscience was invalid.
Despite being bailed out for medical treatment, she was monitored daily by the local police station. Whenever sensitive days came, someone would come to the door or call to ask whether she still practiced Falun Gong or even to enquire as to whether she was at home. Once, several policemen arrested her on the way home from work, just to investigate whether she was still practicing Falun Gong. Although she was eventually released after our family's strong request, her passport was withheld without reason. This made it hard for her to visit her family in Germany. To avoid further persecution, she was forced to become homeless. In many places in Dalian, new employees are asked to write a letter of guarantee not to practice Falun Gong, or they will not be hired. With the police's threats, she lost one job after another and had difficulty making a living. She survived only with the help of other practitioners. Again mother and daughter were separated. I couldn't go back to China to visit my relatives and friends because my safety was not guaranteed.
Compared to some of my friends and the millions upon millions of persecuted Dafa practitioners, the pains my wife and I went through are nothing. My good friend, Hai-Fei Zhen, and his wife, Deng Li, have kept contact with me ever since I went abroad. I heard later on that the police searched their house, and their Falun Gong materials were confiscated. They were arrested and detained in the Yao detention center. I've been very worried about them and I feel there is reason to worry; the details of the persecution speak for themselves
After the events of September 11, I was touched by the compassion of people in so many countries, including Germany. Wreaths and candles appeared everywhere. This revealed the power of compassion. Now in China, a horrible persecution is occurring without the Chinese people's knowledge. It's an unprecedented disaster, which equally requires help from all those who value kindness, truth and justice. In the United States, Canada, Ireland and Australia, the power of compassion has taken effect. Each of these countries is home to Dafa practitioners who have been successfully rescued. Goodness will always triumph against evil.
Almost in tears, I finish writing this article to appeal to rescue Falun Dafa practitioners in China have been suffering.
I hereby request for people from various levels of society to pay attention to the persecution of Falun Gong practitioners. Please help us to rescue our friends and family.