Weathering the Storm, Chapter 2 of Part Three
Part III. Detained Eleven Times
Coming Through the Ordeals of Repeated Detention and Torture
Chapter 2. A Difficult Journey to Appeal for Falun Gong
a) First Appeal
On December 3, 1999, a fellow practitioner who had just been released from Ankang Mental Hospital in Chengdu City and I decided to go to Beijing to appeal for Falun Gong. I took my 8-year-old son with me. I wanted to tell the government how I had seen improvement in every area of my life after I began to practice Falun Dafa.
At that time, the government had placed plainclothes policemen everywhere to block Falun Gong practitioners from going to Beijing to appeal for Falun Gong. Instead of going to Beijing directly, we decided to travel to Mianyang City in Sichuan Province by bus. Then we got on a train to Zhengzhou City in Henan Province. From there, we took an express train to Shijiazhuang City in Hebei Province. After that, we spent 800 yuan on a taxi from Shijiazhuang City to Beijing. We finally arrived at Laiguangying, a suburb of Beijing. We went to a temporary lodging place where practitioners from all over the country who had come to Beijing to appeal for Falun Gong were staying. We arrived there on the morning of December 8, 1999. My original plan was to stay there for two more days so I could share experiences with other practitioners there and then go to make a formal appeal for Falun Gong. My son wanted to go home early so he could be there in time for the new semester in his school to start. A male practitioner with the surname of Nie was going to appeal for Falun Gong at Tiananmen Square that afternoon. My son decided to go with Mr. Nie to make his appeal, and they left together after lunch. The next morning, an unknown person came to interrogate us (besides me, three other practitioners from Sichuan Province were staying there). That person asked us if we practiced Falun Gong, and we answered yes. That person immediately placed a phone call using his cell phone. A bunch of people came in and kidnapped us. We were brought to the Laiguangying Police Station. Ten hours later, we were transferred to the Liaison Office of Chengdu City, Sichuan Province to Beijing.
b) The Chengdu Liaison Office
The Chengdu Liaison Office has a small courtyard in the back. The courtyard has a row of small rooms on three sides and a gate on the fourth side. Practitioners who were brought there were stripped-searched and then locked into the small rooms. I was forced to strip down to my underwear. The liaison office has a hotel. The woman who strip-searched me was probably a member of the staff of the hotel since she was wearing the hotel's uniform. Another female practitioner and I were locked in the same room. The guards took away one of my Dafa books and several hundred yuan left on me. They found a note I was carrying that contained the phone number of another practitioner, and placed the note on a table. I grabbed the note and swallowed it immediately because I did not want them to use it to persecute other practitioners. Feng Jiuwei, the evil head of the Chengdu Liaison Office, immediately ordered a guard with the surname of Wang to handcuff me. Wang dragged me outside and handcuffed me to a stone lion statue outside the main entrance of the liaison office. The weather was extremely cold. I was handcuffed there from 7 PM to a little after 11 PM. They then started to interrogate me. I told them, "Being a good person is not wrong. As a Chinese citizen, I have the right to file an appeal to the government. I haven't even had the chance to file my appeal yet, and I am already locked up here." They tried to force me to tell them who organized my trip to Beijing. I told them, "We have no organization of any sort. We are all doing this on our own." They could get nothing else out of me, so they locked me in Room # 6. During the illegal interrogation, the policeman asked me whether Zhong Caiyi was my son. It was only then that I learned my son was also being detained there. They locked me and my son up separately for 5 days before sending us back to Chengdu.
Before we left, around 3 PM, Feng Jiuwei, the head of the liaison office, came to see me again and said, "I'll give you 30 minutes to tell me the phone number on the note you swallowed the other day. Otherwise I'll call Chengdu and send you to prison for at least three years." He then got up and left. No matter what he said, my heart was not moved at all. After a long while, my son asked me, "Mom, it's been such a long time. Why hasn't the policeman come back?" Feng never did come back because he knew he didn't scare me a bit and I would never tell him anything.
Meanwhile, my son told me what happened to him after he went to Tiananmen Square to appeal for Falun Gong. This is what my son told me:
"When you accompanied me to the bus station that day so I could go to Tiananmen Square with Mr. Nie, my heart felt heavy and I did not want to say anything on the way there. As we got near the bus station, I slowed down my pace and hoped that time could tick slower. I wanted to stay with you just a little longer. You said to me, 'Son, after you get back home, remember to listen to your grandma. Study well at school and cultivate firmly.' I could not fight back my tears and answered yes in a choking voice. At that moment, no words could describe how sad I felt. I asked you, 'Mom, when will you be back?' You answered, 'I don't know.' We both cried then. It was snowing and we kept crying. I am only 8 years old, and yet I left you not knowing whether you were going to live or die, or if we would ever see each other again. When I got on the bus, I couldn't see clearly through my tears. As it was driven away, I stuck my head out of the window and saw the bus moving further and further away from you."
"After we arrived at Tiananmen Square, Mr. Nie and I walked to the middle of the square. I was a little nervous. There were not many people around. We stood there and started to practice the second exercise (Embracing the Law Wheel). Only a minute went by before I heard the sound of the police siren. I opened my eyes and saw the bystanders around us were all watching the two of us doing the exercise. A police van came and stopped in front of us. Several policemen jumped off the van and forced us into the van. A number of Falun Gong practitioners were already in the van. One policeman asked me, 'You are so little. What are you doing here?' I said, 'I am here to safeguard the Fa!' He said, 'Safeguard the Fa? You didn't mean to safeguard you hair (in Chinese, "Fa" and "hair" have the same pronunciation)?' Other policemen started to sneer at me. Then the policeman who questioned me slapped me hard on the face, and I began to cry. A young female practitioner took me into her arms and tried to comfort me, 'Don't cry. Don't cry. A little Dafa practitioner will not cry. Master Li likes young practitioners the most.' Soon after that, the police took us to a big room. The room was completely fenced in by tall iron posts. Inside the room, a long bed made of concrete ran alongside an entire wall. On the bed sat many Falun Gong practitioners. After we stayed in the room for about half an hour, the police took Mr. Nie and me to the Chengdu Liaison Office to Beijing. We were locked in a room. There were more than a dozen chairs and several tables inside the room. I placed several chairs next to one other and made a bed for myself. After I lay down, Mr. Nie took his coat off and put the coat over me. I was wakened by a loud noise later. A policeman was yelling at Mr. Nie and slapping him because he was angry at Mr. Nie for giving me his coat. After the policeman left, I asked Mr. Nie if the slap was painful. He said, 'Because I gave you my coat, I've been freezing. My face felt so cold that I could not feel any pain from the slap.' It was several degrees Celsius below zero at that time. A kind-hearted person tried to keep a child warm with his own clothes but was slapped by a policeman for doing that. What kind of a world is this? The lights in the room were on all the time. We could see through the curtains to see what time of the day it was, and I did not know how many days we were locked up there. One day, Mr. Nie said to me, 'Your mother is here.' I hastily asked, 'Where?' He said, 'Just outside.' I immediately tried to look outside through a crack in the curtains but couldn't see anything. My heart sunk again. Mr. Nie said, 'I saw her being locked up in another room.' About two days later, I saw you and ran to your side."
I was saddened to hear my young son being mistreated by the police. But then when I looked at his young face, joy and pride flowed from deep within me. I told him, "Son, you did very well!"
Several policemen were on their way back to Chengdu, and they took three other practitioners, my son, and me with them. They forced us to pay them 50 yuan each, claiming it was the transportation fee from the liaison office to the Beijing train station. After we were taken to the Beijing train station, they forced us to pay for the train tickets, including the cost of two beds on the train.
c) The Stewards Know the Truth
The policemen reserved a private cabin on the train so they could sleep more comfortably. The cabin had six beds with an upper, middle and lower level bed in each one. The three other practitioners, my son, and I were forced to share 2 beds. When the policemen slept at night, one of them remained awake to guard us. All of us were handcuffed to the beds.
One morning, upon hearing that we were Falun Gong practitioners, several stewards pulled up the curtain on the cabin window to take a look inside. A policeman told them, "Be careful. These Falun Gong people have supernormal abilities. You might get hurt." One steward said, "Actually, a lady who used to work in our department practices Falun Gong. She treats people very well and we all like her a lot. Who knows what happened? Once the government turned against Falun Gong, she was laid off for no reason."
d) Qingyang District Drug Rehabilitation Center
Two days later, at around 7AM, the train arrived in Chengdu City. We were met by a police van at the train station and taken to the Qingyang District Drug Rehabilitation Center. With a deafening noise, a loud megaphone blasted groundless slanders against Falun Gong and Master Li. The security guards inside the center guarded us closely. We were not allowed to speak. The police took my son away around noon. After dinner, they locked us in a big room and tried to brainwash us. I refused to listen to their lies and stood up to do the Falun Gong exercise. The security guard noticed me, and began to kick me. I was kicked outside. The guards forced other practitioners and me to take off our coats and stand outside in the freezing cold wind. At the beginning, the guards rolled up the plastic door panel so they could see us from inside the room. Even though they were eating a hot pot meal, they got too cold as time went on and cold air drifted in from the outside. So they gave up and let us back inside. We were forced to squat on the ground for a long period of time. My feet and legs became numb. When I was about to lose balance, I grabbed the iron frame nearby to brace myself. I requested to use the restroom. Only then I got a chance to rest a little. When I returned, I had to continue to squat.
e) Jiurucun Detention Center
After going through two days of forced brainwashing, I was sent to the Jiurucun Detention Center and illegally detained there for 15 days. The female section of the detention center was running out of room because it was holding too many female Falun Gong practitioners and had to clear out room in the male section to hold female practitioners. Nonstop broadcasting of lies to defame Dafa and Master was sent through loudspeakers every day. In such a filthy environment, I thought of Teacher's Fa from "Further Comments on Superstition,"
"The understanding of the Truth of the cosmos by students of Dafa cultivation is an elevation that results from rational understanding and experience. It's futile for human beings to refute--regardless of what their stance is--the Fa-principles of the cosmos, which transcend all theories in the human society. At a time when the morality of human society is on the verge of total collapse, in particular, it is the great cosmos that has once again shown mercy to human beings and given them this final chance. This is mankind's hope, which it should treasure and cherish immensely. Out of selfish wants, however, humans are undermining this last hope the cosmos has given mankind, infuriating Heaven and Earth. Ignorant people even call the many disasters "natural phenomena." The cosmos does not exist for mankind. Humans are merely a manifestation of the existence of the lowest-level beings. If humankind no longer meets the standard of existence at this level of the universe, then it can only be weeded out by the cosmos's history.
Mankind! Awaken! The ancient vows of Gods are being fulfilled. The Dafa is judging all beings. What path a person takes in life is his own choosing. One thought a person has might determine his future.
Treasure and cherish it: the cosmos's Fa-principles are right in front of you. (Essentials for Further Advancement II) ."
In order to make us give up the truth and accept the lies, the staff at the detention center forced us to read fabricated articles written by former Falun Gong practitioners who had been brainwashed and watch TV interviews of those former practitioners. Every day we were kept in dark cells with no daylight for a very long time. We were not allowed to study the Fa or do the exercises. We were often beaten with electric batons or tied up with ropes and left outside in the rain. Knowing that they had the former Chinese dictator, Jiang Zemin, behind them, the guards were extremely cruel toward practitioners. A practitioner with the surname of Wang tried to practice the Falun Gong exercises inside the detention center. The guards repeatedly beat her with electric batons. Then they tied her up with ropes and threw her outside in the rain without letting her eat first. She soon lost consciousness. Despite their cruelty, the vicious guard couldn't shake the faith of Falun Gong practitioners who understand the truth of the universe.
Half of a month passed and the New Year's Day of 2000 arrived. I was picked up by a policeman with the surname of Tang from the Longtansi Police Substation in Chengdu City. I thought he was going to let me go home since it was the holiday. Instead he took me to the police station. Tang asked me whether I was still going to practice Falun Gong. I replied, "Yes." Just because I said yes, after lunch he charged me with a criminal offense and sentenced me to 30 days at the Chengdu City #2 Detention Center located in Lianhua Village. When I arrived at my cell in the detention center, over 20 Falun Gong practitioners were already locked up there. We were not allowed to study the Fa or do the Falun Gong exercises. Each night we had to take turns staying up and doing sentinel duty. We had to sit on the bed and study the prison regulations daily. If we tried to practice Falun Gong exercises, the guards would place heavy shackles around our ankles and handcuff our hands either in the front or in the back. Both the hands and feet of Xing Chen, a college student in her twenties, became swollen and turned purple and black after the guards shackled her ankles and hands for long periods of time. She couldn't even eat or sleep. When her period came, other practitioners had to help her change her sanitary pads. When practitioners held a hunger strike to protest being mistreated, the guards would force-feed the practitioners through their noses. The whole process was hellish. We were allowed to purchase necessary items only once a week through the foreman of the jail cell. The items were priced two or three times higher than the actual market prices.
After being locked up in the detention center for 30 days, I thought I was going to be released and allowed to go home in time for the Chinese New Year. Once again, the same thing happened - the policeman from the Longtansi Police Station with the surname of Tang picked me up at the detention center. He once again asked me if I was going to continue to practice Falun Gong. When I answered yes, he sent me to the Wannianchang Police Substation. He claimed that even though my official residence registration said I was a resident of Longtansi, I actually fell under the jurisdiction of the Wannianchang Police Subtation because I owned a house in that district. After I arrived at Wannianchang police station, when the police there asked me if I was going to continue to practice Falun Gong, I again replied, "Yes." So they sent me back to the Jiurucun Detention Center. Like a soccer ball being kicked around, I was sent back and forth between various police stations and detention centers for 96 days. During that time, I was not allowed to go home or even take a shower. From December 7, 1999, the day when I arrived at Beijing to appeal for Falun Gong and was arrested even before I had a chance to lodge my appeal, to March 2, 2000, I was officially detained six times without any breaks.
f) Policeman Wei Daping Extorted 3,000 Yuan from My Younger Brother
I finished serving yet another term at the detention center on March 2, 2000. I thought to myself, "I shouldn't allow myself to be detained here endlessly. No matter what, I need to go to Beijing to appeal for Falun Gong and let the central government know how the vicious policemen are abusing power and trampling on the basic human rights of innocent Falun Gong practitioners." When policeman Wei Daping came to pick me up again around 3 PM, I took my quilt with me. Wei told me that I should just leave the quilt behind since I would immediately be sent back in the detention center anyway. I told him that I didn't want to go back to the detention center that day. He was happy to hear that and asked, "So you've finally figured things out? You're not going to practice Falun Gong any more?" I replied, "I've been kept here for more than three months. I've been locked up in the same cell with criminals who steal, cheat, pick pockets or prostitute themselves, and their rude and dirty languages made my head hurt. I need to go home and think things over where there is some peace and quiet. After that, we'll see." He thought that I had finally changed my tone so he let me take my quilt with me back to the police station. Then he called my younger brother and told him to bring 3,000 yuan as a security deposit to take me home. My brother came quickly and he only had 2,000 yuan with him. Wei Daping said, "I told you to bring 3,000 Yuan! It can't be even a penny short! This money is a deposit to insure that your sister won't go to Beijing anymore. If she goes again, we will use this money for the expense of bringing her back." My brother had no choice but to go home and borrow 1,000 yuan. I was finally allowed to go home with my brother around 9 PM that night. Before we left, Wei told me that I had to report to the station every day at 9 AM. In order to be able to go back to Beijing to appeal for Falun Gong, I signed a note promising I would report to the police center every morning. Later on, I realized that I shouldn't have done that. I wrote another note nullifying my previous note and handed it to Wei Daping in person.
On the way home from the police station, my brother said, "Sister, I've tried everything but couldn't get you released from the detention center. Now you're finally out. Let me hold a celebratory dinner party for you. I'll take our entire family out to have a hot pot banquet." It was already around midnight by the time we finished dinner and returned home. My brother slept on my sofa and wouldn't leave. He was afraid that I would go back to Beijing. He was afraid I would be detained by the police again and might not be able to get out. I told him, "Go home, brother! Your wife is waiting for you at home. She will worry if you don't go home tonight." With a great deal of uneasiness, he finally left around 2 AM.
(To be continued)
First Published in English at: http://www.pureinsight.org/pi/articles/2004/10/18/2570.html