Professor Zhang Mengye Maintains Firm Commitment to Falun Dafa after Two Years of Imprisonment and Torture
(Note: Prof. Zhang Mengye was a classmate at Tsinghua University of Hu Jingtao, who is currently the Vice President of the People's Republic of China.)My name is Zhang Mengye, and I am an Associate Professor at the Guangdong Electric Power Institute. During my illegal detention and its subsequent extension, I went on a hunger strike to protest the persecution and request my unconditional release. I was released on February 10, 2002, just one day before the Chinese Lunar New Year, due to the many appeals by my friends and relatives. However my release was with the condition that I sign the "Agreement to Help Educate" [Note: Agreement to Educate refers to participation in the "re-education" efforts by the Chinese Government which is primarily a brutal tactic of brainwashing Falun Dafa practitioners until they denounce Falun Gong].
I had previously been thrown into a forced labor camp and illegally detained for two years, from November 18, 1999 to November 17, 2001, only because I had gone to the Central Appeals Office in Beijing to clarify the truth about Falun Dafa. After the initial ten-month detention in the forced labor camp, my jail term was reduced to 53 days, so I should have been released on September 26, 2001. Of course, I did not accept the terms of my illegal detention and refused to cooperate with the various shenanigans of deception and persecution by the evil forces. Both verbally and in writing, I continuously reiterated that in order to uphold the universal truth of Falun Dafa, and because I had no fear of death, my heartfelt intent to safeguard Falun Dafa would never change.
The forced labor camp administrators were very angry because they could not change my mind. In an attempt to make me give up my beliefs, they inflicted mental torture and extended my term in the labor camp for eight months. By extending my detention illegally, my tolerance of such outrageous treatment ran out, so on December 14, 2001, I handed in a Hunger Strike Statement of Protest. With the support of a fellow practitioner, we started a hunger strike and demanded our immediate and unconditional release. During my detention, I participated in hunger strikes three times: the first time was for twelve days (from December 14 ~ December 26), the second time was for seven days (from January 3 ~ January 10), and the third hunger strike lasted for twenty-eight days (from January 13 ~ February 10).
During our hunger strikes, the prison guards not only totally ignored us, they also started a rumor to tarnish my reputation: "Zhang Mengye eats cereals and milk on the sly." I suffered a great deal while I was detained, especially during the third hunger strike. Due to the long period of time without food and water, I became physically weakened and mentally demoralized. I was not even able to hold my back straight, but the prison guards still forced me to work every day. If I refused to go to the work site, I would be physically escorted by two guards. I was forced to work from 7:00 a.m. until 10:30 p.m. every day. Often I was required to work overtime until 11:30 p.m. My fatigue was beyond description from working such long hours. Upon my release, my weight was less than 70 pounds (my normal weight was 110 pounds), my face was pale, my eyes were dark and sunken and my feet were swollen. Even now my feet are still a little bit swollen.
The Falun Dafa practitioners were not frightened by these persecution tactics in the forced labor camp. I was inspired by what Teacher had taught us: "... A Dafa disciple completely opposes everything arranged by the evil old forces..."(from Teacher's article, Dafa is Indestructible, June 23, 2001), and I used the inspiration of these words for guidance. I not only kept my hunger strike going, but also, at roll call as we convened one day in February, I formally proclaimed, "I will never be re-educated here, and from now on, I will no longer participate in re-education activities." I further stated, "When my name is called, I will not answer, first, to make clear that I will not be re-educated, and also to make known my strongest contempt and protest to the government's insane persecution of Falun Gong!"
On January 14, 2002, my second year "anniversary" of illegal detention in the forced labor camp, I wrote a poem about my hunger strike, which I'd like to share with my fellow practitioners here. Any criticism or correction is appreciated.
The Hunger Strike Poem
(Thoughts upon my second year at the forced labor camp to share with fellow practitioners for mutual encouragement.)
Selfless altruism is dauntless,
Two years thrown in prison.
Will to guard the Truth, though persecuted,
Reading the teachings enlightened me.
Hunger strike to safeguard Dafa,
Overcome the tribulations and attachments until Consummation.
Teacher's compassion rectifies the Cosmos,
Magnificent Universe, unprecedented.