(Clearwisdom.net) In July 2001, I was sent to a so-called "legal education program" to undergo forced brainwashing. I didn't regain my freedom until more than half a year later. I would like to share what I went through.

Although Jiang's regime has repeatedly claimed to the international community that no Falun Gong practitioners have been convicted or sent to labor camps due to practicing Falun Gong, this is not true. If a Falun Gong practitioner openly voices their opinion in a peaceful manner, Jiang's regime will charge them with "breaking the law" and sentence them to a heavy jail or labor term. Many people have been sentenced to several years of prison or hard labor simply because they wrote a letter or signed their names on a joint letter to the government. For practitioners who don't exhibit "open opposition behavior" but who refuse to accept brainwashing or give up their belief, Jiang's regime will, aside from depriving them of their basic living conditions, subject them to forced brainwashing, or send them to a legal education program.

Here, I'd like to summarize the features of the so-called "legal education program" from the perspective of a legal professional.

First, the "legal education program" targets people's "thoughts" but not "behavior." It is an illegal administrative method beyond the scope of legal penalty; as long as Falun Gong practitioners refuse to give up their belief, they are sent to the program.

Second, the "legal education program" imposes unlimited illegal detentions on practitioners and ruthlessly restricts their physical freedom.

According to operators of the "legal education program," the relevant documents of the "610 Office" require that every such program run for two or three months. Whoever comes out the program but does not meet the criteria is forced to attend a second or third program until they finally give up their belief. As far as the

"legal education program" that I attended is concerned, the degree of restriction on physical freedom is as bad as or even worse than that of jails or labor camps. Every practitioner is assigned two "helpers" who provide surveillance and accompaniment all day and night. Even when the practitioners go to the restroom or take a bath, they are followed or accompanied by someone.

One of the helper's main responsibilities is to prevent Falun Gong practitioners from doing the Falun Gong exercises. Even the way the practitioners sit is regulated. For example, they are not allowed to sit with their legs loosely crossed, because this resembles the meditation position. If the practitioners are found to have emotional fluctuations or if they cast a look of dissatisfaction, they are regarded as being hostile. Helpers need to report on the practitioners' performance to their upper level instruction team, daily. In addition, security guards are also used to monitor and control the helpers and the practitioners; they directly report to the police in their instruction team. Structurally, the "legal education program" is similar to a spy organization with a strict hierarchy: Falun Gong practitioners are placed on the bottom. Not only do they have to follow the various harsh principles (not exercising, not exchanging information, etc.), but they also have to endure paramount emotional pressure.

Third, inflicting mental torture and attempting to break the practitioners' willpower through brainwashing.

Though the "legal education program" does not impose hard labor, it employs brutal measures aimed at mentally torturing the practitioners who refuse to give up their belief, attempting to destroy their willpower. There are endless talks with the practitioners, repeatedly demanding them to write "progress reports;" they are forced to watch CCTV programs slandering Dafa, and they are forced to listen to and read/transcribe anti-Dafa materials written by those who have been brainwashed, etc. Among other things, the unlimited illegal detention gives the practitioners the hardest time, because the torture appears endless. Although one's thoughts are hard to change, one's mind can hardly sustain this kind of high pressure all the time. Most of those who gave in to the evil indicated that they gave up their cultivation against their own conscience because they could not put up with such torture.

Fourth, besides forced brainwashing, the "legal education program" also uses methods of forced-feeding, liquid infusion, etc., to torture Falun Gong practitioners who protest with hunger strikes.

Generally speaking, unless a practitioner's life is in critical condition, he or she will not be allowed to quit the program. During the time I was forced to receive brainwashing, a practitioner refused to take any food or water for 7 consecutive days. At that point he started coughing up blood. The medical personnel believed his life was in danger and allowed him to leave the program. That practitioner also had the experience of getting out of the detention center after 9 days on hunger strike. Hence, as long as one has a determined mind, a hunger strike is a thoroughly effective way of resistance.

Fifth, personal humiliation.

Once a practitioner shows the willingness to give in, he or she is expected to go through a so-called "transformation" according to the procedures of the "legal education program." First off, he needs to write four letters with the help and instruction of the helpers and instructors: a letter admitting his mistakes, a letter of repentance, a letter of guarantee [promising not to practice Falun Gong any more], and a letter to break off [from Falun Gong]. Secondly, he should write exposing materials in which family conflicts and living difficulties--though caused by Jiang's crackdown--are attributed to Falun Gong. Finally, once the "exposing" materials are finished, they need to be read publicly at an "exposing convention." Only after one finishes this exposing process will he or she be regarded as a good product of transformation and be "proudly" sent out of the program. However, the bitterness derived from such humiliation and forced changes in one's determination will deeply stay in many people's hearts.

These people [who gave in to the evil] made the decision to practice cultivation on their own free will in the past because they believed in the cultivation principles of Falun Gong. They also benefited from "Truthfulness, Compassion, Tolerance." However, Jiang's regime now uses threats, the temptation of interest, and deception, etc., to force numerous cultivators to slander their own belief. This is actually equal to slandering Falun Gong and humiliating Falun Gong practitioners.

Sixth, economic deprivation.

After the protracted detention, the practitioners who have long been cut off of any financial resources will have to pay hundreds or even thousands of Yuan for their "meals" before they are released. This adds further burden to their life that follows.