Commentary: My Conscience Forbids Me to Keep Silent Any Longer
[Du Daobin is a writer from Hubei Province, China who has published numerous articles overseas in recent years commenting on China's current political issues.]
(Clearwisdom.net July 26 report) About four years ago, I often ate out with the deputy head of a state-run enterprise, who was in charge of Party affairs (Please allow me to not mention his name here to save him unnecessary trouble due to the political atmosphere in Mainland China). There are over 1,000 staff members in his enterprise, and among them are three Falun Gong practitioners. He was assigned to take care of the Falun Gong issue in the enterprise and to communicate directly with the "610 Office"* in the political and judicial department. One of his main responsibilities was to stop the three Falun Gong practitioners from going out to appeal.
Should they manage to run out, his job required him to get them back and properly "take care" of them. At the beginning, he did not take this seriously, and because he did not want to offend people, he mainly "educated them with criticism" and used persuasion. The three Falun Gong practitioners managed to get out twice. For this, he was severely criticized and was given stern warnings. At a meeting, the head of the municipal Party committee warned him that if the Falun Gong practitioners managed to go out one more time, even if only one of them did, he would be immediately removed from his position.
As this deputy head is still young, he did not want to stumble in his career, nor did he want to look bad at his work place as he still wanted to fulfill his ambitions. But how could he make sure that they would not sneak out again? He said to us, "I've made up my mind. I told them and my subordinates very clearly that if they get out, no matter who, I would nail his feet onto a wooden board." What he said made my hair stand on end. I asked him, "Is this a proper way of doing things? It is illegal." He said, "Who cares." Because we used to be classmates, I know him quite well. He came from a rural background and was relatively kind and honest. I went on to ask him why he would treat people this way. He said, "I have no alternative. I'm forced to do so."
At about the time when it was approaching the Spring Festival three years ago, the persecution of Falun Gong intensified nationwide. From him and other channels, I got to know that departments at various places adopted a policy of tight control to prevent Falun Gong practitioners from going out to appeal during the festival period. At that time he was in a critical moment for promotion, and if something went wrong, more than ten years of hard work would amount to nothing. When eating out, if someone suggested that we have a game of Mahjong, he would decline the invitation with the excuse that he had to be on duty at work to keep control of Falun Gong practitioners.
I was concerned that those Falun Gong practitioners would be treated illegally, but found it hard to openly voice my concern. So I asked him in a roundabout way, "Can you kill them?" "No! As long as they do not run away." I asked him again, "Are they afraid of death?" "They are so stubborn, they are not afraid of death," he replied. "That's right. They are not even afraid of death, what else are they afraid of? You know, to those who are not afraid of death, even gods and ghosts would yield a bit. Your work place is not a political organization, so you should not be too harsh on them. You must be careful, or they may bide their time and ask back what you owe later. Don't take any chances. If by any chance their difficult situation should change and they come to settle their account with you, you will have to take all the responsibility. You follow the higher authorities so closely simply for a low-level position. Who would come to take responsibility for you when things change? So, listen to me, have mercy on people when you can, and don't make them suffer too much." He was silent for a long time after hearing what I said. I don't know if what I said to him had some effect, but after that the Falun Gong issue was never mentioned again.
I would never have believed it possible for a person with a kind and honest nature to be forced to use cruel torture on people who simply wanted to go out to appeal, had I not heard it with my own ears. It is because of this personal experience and because I have heard and seen so much darkness in the judicial system, that when I read the following material I could only believe everything was true:
"On midnight July 20, 1999 the nationwide arrest of Falun Gong practitioners started." "Up until now, 754 practitioners have been verified as being tortured to death, many of them died from the brutal killing in labor camps and prisons. Due to the tight blockade on information by Jiang Zemin's regime, these cases are only the tip of the iceberg." "Jiang Zemin employed the army and the police to beat up Falun Gong practitioners in broad daylight, including elderly people, women, pregnant women and children...according to incomplete statistics, Falun Gong practitioners who suffered persecution at the time (including being dispersed by police force, beaten, illegally detained, interrogated, etc) amounted nationwide to more than 300,000 people."
Did the 754 people commit any offense? Even if they did, should they have been treated in such an inhuman way? I can say for sure that most of them were innocent, and they were victims of a political plot. The "610 Office" cannot escape the responsibility for the fact that these people died such tragic deaths right under our noses like Sun Zhigang**. According to the same source of information: The "610 Office" carries out this policy in persecuting Falun Gong: "defaming their reputation, bankrupting them financially, destroying them physically." Later it added more specific instructions: "no law regulates the treatment of Falun Gong practitioners," and "death of Falun Gong practitioners from beating is nothing and shall be counted as suicide; the body shall be directly cremated without investigating the person's identification." People like us who are familiar with what happened during the "Cultural Revolution" and the inhuman treatment people experienced in the birth-control movement such as "if you see a person drinking poison to commit suicide, do not wrestle the bottle from him; if you see a person hanging himself to commit suicide, do not help untie the rope," all have reason to believe that the above mentioned is indeed true.
In the last four years, because I one-sidedly believed the government's propaganda attacking Falun Gong and because I took an unconcerned attitude towards the Falun Gong issue, I did not pay much attention to the inhuman suffering Falun Gong practitioners experienced and kept silent while they were being persecuted--which meant that I indirectly chose to conspire with the autocratic regime. Today, all of a sudden I see their tragic situation; I see that an enormous evil has become reality and is still expanding. I feel shocked, and my heart and conscience are filled with guilt.
I feel I must break my silence and I want to loudly appeal to the intellectual circles and people who are on the Internet: Kind-hearted Chinese people who still keep silent, wake up! While you are keeping silent, the spirit of the Nazis has returned and usurped the power of our government, killing your countrymen with the most inhuman means. It is time we took action! It is time we offered the victims our helping hands! Voice your support to those unfortunate people who have the same civil rights as us! Say "No" to that huge beast, and it is high time we ended this miscarriage of justice.
*The "610 Office" is an agency specifically created to persecute Falun Gong, with absolute power over each level of administration in the Party and all other political or judicial systems.
**Mr. Sun Zhigang, not a Falun Gong practitioner, was a clothing designer who was arrested simply for not having his personal identification. Mr. Sun was later beaten and tortured at the police station for unknown reasons. When friends of Mr. Sun called later about his whereabouts, they were told that he was sent to the hospital. His medical records showed that he was "calm" at the time of admittance and sleeping for most of the time he was at the hospital. The day after, however, Mr. Sun's friends were told that he had "died of a heart attack." When some courageous reporters heard about this case, they conducted a low-key investigation at great personal risk. After an autopsy, the cause of death was determined to be massive internal injuries consistent with being beaten in the last 72 hours. There was also evidence of burn injuries on his shoulders and knees. After the story came to light, the local police denied it completely. However, after it was circulated on the Internet, many people posted their own stories of family members or friends who have been raped, beaten, and even murdered in police custody. Mr. Sun's case was shown to be clearly just the tip of the iceberg.