Eyewitness to History: The Persecution of Falun Dafa as Experienced by a Practitioner in Hegang City, Heilongjiang Province
(Clearwisdom.net) Following the appeal of the 10,000 practitioners on April 25, 1999 at Zhongnanhai Central Government Compound, many practice sites in Hegang City encountered interference. Our practice site, located at an elementary school, experienced a similar situation. We had practiced there for many years, but suddenly the door guard refused to open the front gate, saying the school principal said they had orders from above that Falun Gong should not be provided a place to practice. We were forced to practice on the side of the street, outside the school. (Note: most urban residents in China live in apartments that are relatively crowded. It has been a longstanding tradition for the Chinese people to do morning exercises in public parks and along the streets.)
On May 26 and 27, 1999, we were blasted with water from high-pressure hoses during our exercises in the New Century Square (related photographs were published on Clearwisdom Net). On the morning of May 29, my wife and I went to the New Century Square, but our practice site was taken over by a dance team, organized by the local government. We had no choice but to go to a place close the Electrics Building on the east side of the square. By this time, several cars had arrived and a loudspeaker repeatedly broadcast a city government announcement. There were scores of plainclothes police, and many people surrounded us. After practicing for a while we could not continue.
On the morning of May 30, my wife and I went to the Children's Park. The park staff allowed other people to do exercises but refused to let Falun Gong people practice. They pushed and shoved us but we persisted; they lit a pile of dry leaves in an attempt to drive us away with the smoke.
At another practice site, near a grocery shop, the security workers installed a loudspeaker and played loud music whenever we tried to practice the exercises.
April 8 [according to the Chinese lunar calendar] was Master's birthday. We stood in front of the train station square to do group practice, as we had always done in the past. On that day in 1999, a big drum was placed in the square. If we attempted to practice, someone would beat the drum. A large bus was parked on the north side of the square, full of police officers. Many plainclothes police were also in the square. Yang Yuguang, Secretary of Hegang City Political and Judiciary Committee, Deputy Mayor Wang Limin, and Tian Xiwen, Chief of the Police Department were all in the square. We left and went to the Hexiang Park to do the exercises. Soon, those individuals arrived at that park and stopped us from doing the exercises. There were also some special agents from the National Security Bureau lurking among our practitioners.
On the evening of July 3, I took a bus to go to Beijing to appeal for Falun Dafa. On July 4, the authorities checked me at Harbin City Railway Station and found an appeal letter in my bag. I was sent to the local police station. Practitioners Shi Chengjie, Yan Huijuan (female) and Huang were also sent to the same station. At the police station a meeting was in progress with many police officers participating and making preparations to search for more practitioners who were on their way to appeal. We inquired of Ma Liangcai, chief of the railway police division, why we were not allowed to appeal. He said the government issued an order forbidding appeals. We asked him to show us the decree, but he refused. We were detained in the police station for more than ten hours. Around 2:00 p.m., they arbitrarily cancelled our train tickets and confiscated our cancellation fees, and turned us over to Zhang Han, Chief of Hegang City "610 Office."* We were forcibly taken back to Hegang City, our appeals letter was confiscated. I was on the blacklist of Hegang City.
On July 13, a department in Hegang City confiscated hundreds of Dafa books we had bought from other cities. On July 14, my wife and I went with five or six hundred other practitioners to the city government to appeal and requested the government to return our books. They not only rejected our request, but also dispatched police in the evening to round us up. It was learned that they had planned to arrest practitioners at 6:00 a.m. on 15th, so most of us left around 4:00 a.m.
Between July 20 and July 22, the head of the residential committee came to check the number of people at our practice site every morning. Sometimes a police car would park next to us and leave after a while.
On July 22, my work unit put me under house arrest and turned me over to Song Jiaju, director of the Vocational Education Center, and Tang Yalou, Party committee secretary of the Vocational Education Center. In the afternoon, they took me to the No. 2 division of the City Disciplinary Committee, where two division chiefs talked to me and ordered me to leave the "Falun Gong organization." I said to them, "We have no organization." Seeing my determined attitude, they asked Song Jiaju and Tang Yalou to take me back to my work unit to watch T.V. At 3:00 p.m., all Party officials at the Vocational Education Center were compelled to watch a Dafa-slandering T.V. program. I was forced to sit in the first row. After watching it, I stood up and announced, "I practice Falun Gong."
I was taken to the education center's office and was put under surveillance of the security officers. In the evening, the district police and security officers from my work unit illegally took me to the district police department, and later they transferred me to the police station in my residential area. The next day local police officials ransacked my home and took away some Dafa books and Master's pictures. After being detained for more than 24 hours, I was forced to give in to their demands. With many people acting as my guarantors, I was released around 9:00 p.m. on 23rd .
During the following days, the head of the residential committee and local police officers came to my home to harass me. On July 26, the head of the residential committee notified me to go to the Shengli Administration Office at 8:00 a.m. the next day. I was forced to go to a meeting at the district Party organizational department. When I got there, they asked for my opinion. I didn't say anything against Dafa; however, the local newspaper published a photograph of me in its July 30th issue and added in the caption under the photograph words that I had never said.
In the evening of July 27, two police officers from the Guangming Police Station arrested me and sent me to Xiangyang District Police Department for interrogation. They made a written record.
At my work unit, they held a meeting and ordered me to take a stand. I didn't say anything. In those days, every day we felt burning with anxiety and were overcome with regret for having done things against our will under pressure.
I remember one day when I bumped into fellow practitioner Xie Lanxiang. We went to get some groceries together, and saw another practitioner, Yan Jinwei, at the vegetable market. We were all very pleased. As we had not seen one another for a long time, we decided to go to Jinwei's sister' house for a little chat. By coincidence, Jinwei's sister and her husband, both of them practitioners, too, were at home. Within 20 minutes, the police came, saying that we were having a "meeting" and it was not allowed.
At the end of October 1999, bad people heaped slander on Falun Gong. Because of this, many practitioners from our city went to Beijing to appeal. I was worried that I might involve those people who vouched for me, so I wrote a letter of appeal, to clarify the truth and took it to the Shengli Police Station to apply for permission to appeal. However, I was illegally detained and was released on the 13th day.
During the time while I was at the detention center, I was given two meals a day, plain food and a bit of soup. Occasionally we were given some pickles. There was never enough to eat, and even so we had to pay 15 Yuan per day for the meals; otherwise family visits would be denied.
Where we were detained was gloomy and damp, and a ten-square-meter room was crammed with over 20 people. There was an open toilet in the corner and the room stank.
At that time, any practitioner, if he/she insisted on practicing Falun Gong, would be sent to the 2nd Detention Center 15 days later where they would be subjected to forcible brainwashing, and be deprived of sleep until they said that they would not practice any more. If they refused to give in, they would be put in long-term detention or sent to forced labor camps.
On February 3, 2002, I was working in our family-run store. At around 8:00 a.m., local police officer Li Shuxiang came and ordered me to go with him to the police station. Later, he went to my home and tricked my wife and my son, not even 8 years old then, to go to the station. Li asked me if I would still practice Falun Gong and if I would still go to appeal. I told him that appealing was our civil right, bestowed to us by the constitution. I was detained for 15 days for saying this. I spent the New Year in a jail while tens of thousands of families were having a get-together. My wife and son were released the next day after she made a guarantee that she would not go to Beijing to appeal.
When I was sent to the detention center, I saw two other male practitioners, Guo Xingguo and Zhou Dianjie, who were already detained there. Many female practitioners were also there. Later, Meng Xiangguo was sent there, too. He suffered severe beatings by the police from the Xinyi Police Station for going to Beijing to appeal. His nose was bleeding and his lips were badly swollen. Fifteen days later, Xiangguo was forced to give in to the evil's demands, but the head of the Xinyi Police Station demanded several thousand Yuan from his family. When the family was unable to meet the demand he continued to be detained.
Later, many practitioners were sent into the detention center. At the beginning of January, all female practitioners from the detention center, the 1st Lockup and the 2nd Lockup were sent to Luobei County Detention Center. All the male practitioners remained where we were. The cells were so crowded that for a few days we had to take turns sleeping.
I did not feel hungry during the first few days, but receiving only two steamed sponge cakes and some thin soup everyday, I began to feel extremely hungry. We had to appease the feeling of hunger by drinking cold water. We were denied access to things our families had brought for us.
Two weeks later, when our detention term was up, we all expressed that we would continue to practice Falun Gong, so none of us was released and our detention continued. On February 26, all the illegally detained male practitioners and those female practitioners arrested after 9th were sent to the 2nd Administrative Detention Center, where we were detained beyond the 15-day limit. They extended our term to three months, with the excuse of "accepting appealers."
Many practitioners went on a hunger strike to protest the illegal detention, and many were force-fed. On March 22, Zhang Chunqing, deputy head of the police department in Hegang City who is in charge of jails and was also a head of the 2nd Lockup at that time came with some assistants and forcibly took Wang Shusen, Sun Shihong and Yu Yongtao to the 1st Lockup, while Wang Liguo, Cong Zhiwu were taken to the 2nd Lockup. Yu Yongtao was later forced to give up his belief and was extorted money. Because his family was unable to give the persecutors the money, the criminals strapped him up tightly until he fainted. From March 22 to April 30 the criminals beat him badly almost daily.
On March 23, Zhang Chunqing picked six criminals and ordered them to force us to give up the practice, telling them that if they succeeded, their detention terms would be reduced. The six of them started to beat us as soon as they walked into our cell, making Gong Guidong's nose bloody, while many others were kicked in the chest and back. Ma Yingquan was forced to endure an extremely painful form of torture called "Suqin Beijian" [Suqin carries sword]. He was forced to split his legs to the extreme degree and his head was forced to the ground; then the criminals held his arms and lifted them up till his feet could barely touch the ground, causing him excruciating pain. We were also forced to recite the detention regulations. If we failed to do so, we would be tortured. Not a single day passed by without us being tortured or beaten. We silently endured.
The guards and criminals were allowed to beat us at will. In their words, "Speaking loud is disturbing the detention center; speaking quietly is plotting to escape; not speaking at all is resisting being reformed."
The food we ate was different from that for other criminals; theirs was much better. The cook and the boiler room attendant also bought alcohol for the criminals, which is against regulations. They would beat us up after drinking alcohol. Once Hou Gangzhu beat up Lengbing after drinking, and the chef cruelly called in Lengbing's wife Yan Jinbo and her sister Yan Jinwei to watch the beating from outside the cell.
At the 2nd Lockup, we had to pay 20 Yuan per day for the meals, and if we refused we would be denied family visits. They also forced us to do chores, such as working in the fields, cleaning the yard, clearing away slag and painting rooms, and other manual labor.
Because an old lady with the surname Sun was persecuted to death in prison in Luobei County Jail, on April 30 the vicious police illegally put all of us into the 1st Lockup.
On May 27, with my family's effort, I was among the first group of practitioners to be released. During this process, my family had to obtain permission from 13 different governmental agencies and I would not be released if any one of them said no. These governmental agencies included two officials from the division of my work unit, residential committee, administration office, district government, district "610 Office," city "610 Office," city appeals bureau, local police station, district police department, detention center, police office in the detention center and city police department. My family was extorted 2,000 Yuan upon my release and they had paid 10 Yuan per day for my food at the 1st Lockup. During this process, my family spent lots of money for related expenses, but because they would not tell me the details, I did not know the exact amount.
In late 1999, my work unit launched a competition to stimulate a hiring process. My direct supervisor resisted pressure from a higher institutional head and didn't lay me off. During the time in 2000 when I was illegally detained, my work unit paid me only 300 Yuan a month of my regular salary of 1,000 Yuan per month. Tang Yalou said during a public meeting that "good people" were all laid off. He attacked and persecuted Dafa practitioners, withholding their jobs and forcing me to leave my post. When my family went through the release process, Song Jiaju and others tried their best to pick on me and taunted that I would be "the most safe in jail" for I wouldn't create any trouble for them. After I was released, my salary was 60% of my regular base salary, and I didn't begin working again and receiving a full salary until the end of 1999.
Right after I was released, my work unit forced me to write a "thought report" and I was forced to report to the Political and Security Section from Xiangyang District Police Department every week. I remember the first time I reported, the section head threatened me, "You were released on bail, not an unconditional release; if you don't behave yourself, we'll throw you back in jail."
On January 13, 2001, I moved. The personnel at Shengli Police Station transferred my wife's and my profile to the Hongjun Police Station. One officer at the Hongjun Police Station interrogated me but I refused to answer many of his questions. On January 18, local police officer Li Jun perceived that I wasn't cooperating with them, so he came to my home and tricked my wife, my child and me to come to the police station. Chen Li, the head of the District Public Security Section called the people at the Hongjun Police Station three times to ask for my profile. A kind-hearted police officer told my wife in secret that they wanted to throw us in jail.
On April 20, 2002, Dafa practitioners from Hegang City successfully broadcast a truth clarification video in the Gongnong area. The Party secretary of Hegang City, Zhang Xingfu, was exasperated and ordered the arrest of Dafa practitioners in the city. 500 to 600 practitioners were kidnapped and sent to labor camps; more than 50 practitioners were illegally sentenced to jail or waiting to be sentenced. The highest sentence was 13 years. My wife and I were forced to leave our beloved son and leave home. Some Dafa practitioners couldn't stand the brutal torture in jail and reported me. My home was ransacked and both my wife's relatives and mine were implicated. The police forced them to tell our whereabouts and they didn't even spare the children. When the police ransacked my sister Tang Mingfen's home, they arrested her because they found a copy of Zhuan Falun and my sister said she would not give up cultivation. She was sentenced to two or three years of forced labor and is currently being detained in the Harbin City Drug Rehabilitation Center. I don't have any other specific information about her. My wife and my name are on the "wanted by police" list online. On June 28, we were cornered on the seventh floor in a building near Harbin City Bus Factory. Luckily, my wife and I escaped, but two practitioners, Li and Hong, were kidnapped and I have not heard from them since.
Right now, our life is supported by Dafa practitioners and kind-hearted people. In China, countless thousands of Dafa practitioners are still suffering all kinds of torture in jail.
* The "610 Office" is an agency specifically created to persecute Falun Gong, with absolute powers over each level of administration in the Party and all other political and judiciary systems.