Weathering the Storm, Chapter 4 of Part Three
Part III. Detained Eleven Times
Coming Through the Ordeals of Repeated Detention and Torture
Chapter 4: The Chinese Regime Uses Huge Lies to Deceive the People
Sichuan Television Broadcasts Lies in its News Programs
I was locked up inside a small room in Chengdu City's Liaison Office to Beijing for a week and transported back to Chengdu under guard by riot police. Once I arrived in Chengdu, I was sent to the Qingyang District Drug Rehabilitation Center in Chengdu City and forced to attend brainwashing classes for two days. All Falun Gong practitioners in Chengdu City who were arrested for making appeals for Falun Gong were forced to take the two-day brainwashing class.
After that, I was sent to a local detention center. The original term of my sentence was supposed to be 15 days. As soon as I arrived at the detention center, like all other prisoners, I was forced to remove my clothes and was strip-searched. When it came to Falun Gong practitioners, the guards concentrated their efforts on confiscating our money as well as books and articles written by the founder of Falun Gong, Mr. Li Hongzhi. Each practitioner was forced to pay 15 yuan per day as living expenses. After paying the money, each of us had to fish out a worn-out, dirty food bowl from a big water-filled container that was left outside. Then each of us was given a pair of crudely-made chopsticks and two pieces of tissue paper. That was all the supplies we got for 15 days.
After lunch, I started to practice the Falun Gong exercises. Before I even finished one set of the exercises, an inmate told me, "You have an aneurism of the cranial artery in one of your legs."
"How do you know that?" I was very surprised.
She answered, "As soon as you came in, I thought you looked familiar. Your voice sounded very familiar too. I just couldn't remember where I had seen you before. Once you started practicing the Falun Gong exercises, I remembered that I had seen you on TV before. Last winter, I went back to my hometown to help my family harvest wheat. After dinner, my family sat down to watch TV. The local evening news program had a piece of news on you. You were inside a room with several other people. You said you were a Falun Gong practitioner. You gave your name and where you were originally from. You then rolled your pants up to show something on your leg. After that, we couldn't hear what you said. Your voice was cut off and we only saw the video camera rolling. The TV reporter explained that after you began to practice Falun Gong, you developed an aneurism of the cranial artery. The reporter also said that Falun Gong forbade you from seeking medical treatment and you became paralyzed because of it. How come you are here and not paralyzed?"
I told her, "I have never been paralyzed. I was detained in various detention centers for several months since last winter. After I was released, I went to Beijing to appeal for Falun Gong. That's why I was arrested again. The TV footage you saw was taken on October 1, 1999 in the office of Business Morning newspaper. That day, Business Morning published an article that slandered Falun Gong and called it a cult. Several local practitioners and I went to the office of the newspaper to tell the reporters there how all of us had benefited mentally and physically from practicing Falun Gong. A reporter took some notes, and there was also a video camera. I told them how I had suffered from an aneurism of the cranial artery in my right leg since childhood and how the condition got worse and worse through the years despite my repeated visits to various hospitals. A surgeon misdiagnosed my condition and removed a blood vessel from my leg by mistake. It caused damages in my cerebellar nerve and I developed a serious cerebrovascular disease. When the disease flared up, I couldn't walk steadily and even temporarily lost my eyesight. Two months after I first began to practice Falun Gong, the aneurism of the cranial artery in my right leg and the cerebrovascular disease that I was suffering from completely disappeared. I used to have dark brown patches on my face. I spent tens of thousands of yuan in cosmetic treatments trying to remove the brown patches but nothing worked. The patches completely disappeared one week after I first started to practice Falun Gong."
The inmate was shocked and asked me, "So you are saying that Falun Gong is actually good? How come when the program was shown on TV, the anchor said that Falun Gong was bad? It is shocking that the media could lie like that. It's hard to know how many people were deceived by the news about you. If I hadn't seen you with my eyes, I would still believe what the news said was true. The news about you was shown on TV more than once. I watched it one night. The next night, I was washing my feet, and my son told me to hurry up and watch the news as the Falun Gong lady was back on TV again."
I asked her, "Which channel was the piece about me aired on?" She answered, "In our countryside, we could only get a signal to watch one TV channel. That is the Sichuan TV Station." I asked her, "If someone performs an investigation on this in the future, will you dare to stand by your story?" She said, "I certainly will. My name is Jiang Xianbi, and I live in Fangsheng Town, Lezhi County, Sichuan Province. I own a bike store in town. I am detained here because I bought a stolen bike."
There were over 20 people in my cell, and all of them were shocked by what they had heard. They were dismayed that the media dared to openly tell lies and intentionally deceive the audience in order to slander Falun Gong. After they learned the truth about Falun Gong, more than half of the people in my cell started to learn the Falun Gong exercises with me right away. Some other people in my cell told me that after they were released from the detention center and allowed to go home, they would start to learn Falun Gong too. They also said that they would tell their family members and friends that the things shown on TV about Falun Gong were fake.
The guards soon learned that many people in my cell had started to practice
Falun Gong. The guards took out the inmates individually and threatened them one
by one, "If you continue to practice Falun Gong, your jail term will be
extended, and you shouldn't even think of leaving this place." Despite that
threat, a few inmates still persisted in practicing Falun Gong. They were forced
to stand for a long time as punishment.
A Senior Communist Cadet Imprisoned in the Detention Center
Several days after I was sent to the detention center, the police sent a 70 year-old lady named Liu Can to the detention center. She was the principal of No. 69 Junior High School. She and her husband had been Communist Party members for several decades and both fought in the Chinese Army during the Korean War. Both of their children now live outside of China. Like me, Liu Can had been imprisoned in various detention centers and the local police station for the long time because she went to Beijing to appeal for Falun Gong. During her most recent detention at the local police station, Liu Can learned that her husband had fallen on the sidewalk when he went out to buy food and had seriously hurt his leg. He could not take care of himself and had nothing to eat except cold steamed buns every day. She wanted to go home to take care of him and refused to go back to the detention center. Three policemen from the Jianshelu Police Station stepped on her back and tied her hands behind her back. She was tossed into the back seat of a police vehicle and forced to go to the detention center.
At noon we went to the small store inside the detention center to buy some personal items. Several Falun Gong practitioners, including me, chatted with Liu Can. Because of that, the guards forced us to stand under the hot scorching sun. It was very hot that day. We were forced to stand on a cement road, and could feel the temperature of the ground beneath us rising. I had just bought a bar of soap from the store, and it began to melt. Despite her old age, Liu Can was also forced to stand with us under the sun.
Repeated Detentions over a Long Period of Time
In the detention center, many Falun Gong practitioners had been repeatedly arrested and forced to stay in the detention center for long periods of time. Many of them were elderly people.
One day after dinner, the head of the detention center asked all the Falun Gong practitioners to gather in a room. He told us, "I don't want you to come back here again. This is not the place for you. In the summer, the temperature inside will be at least 50 degrees Celsius. The ventilation here is very poor and the fans don't work at all. With so many of you being elderly, how can you bear it?" We answered, "Chief, we don't want to come here either. You know we aren't allowed to go home. After we finish serving one term of detention, the police simply make us start another term of detention immediately."
The detention center soon implemented a policy - once an inmate was released from the detention center, he or she couldn't be sent back to the detention center on the same day.
The police quickly figured out their way around the policy. When a Falun Gong practitioner finished serving one term of detention, the police simply took her out of the detention center, locked her up in the local police station for a night, and then sent her back to the detention center the next morning. The detention room in the local police station was very small and narrow. It was a dark room without windows. The room had nothing but a chamber pot filled with feces and urine. Weeks went by before the pot was emptied. It was around April and May. The room had a terrible smell, and there were many bedbugs and mosquitoes. I was covered with insect bites and couldn't go to sleep at night. One night I was extremely tired and finally managed to fall asleep. When I woke up and opened my eyes, I saw a toad squatting beside me and staring at me. I tried to drive it out but I couldn't.
One term at the detention center was supposed to be two weeks. When I finished serving one term of detention, the police would bring me back to the local police station before sending me back to the detention center the next day. Since the day I spent at the local police station fell on a Sunday, my son would come to see me at the police station every two weeks. But the cruel-hearted policeman Wei Daping deliberately changed the term of my detention from 2 weeks to 10 days. This way, my son would be in school on the day I was in the local police station and could no longer come to see me.
After serving five back-to-back terms at the detention center, I asked my younger brother to sell my car cheaply since nobody was using it. In order to force Falun Gong practitioners to give up their beliefs, the guards at the detention center often cut off the water supply on purpose during the hot summer. More than 20 people were held in a room that was slightly more than 10 square meters in area. Without any water supply, we couldn't wash away feces and urine. The smell in the room was horrible. When we asked the head of our cell block to give us water so we could clean up the mess, he cursed loudly: "If you want to be comfortable, go to the 4-star Jingjiang Hotel. This is the way it is here. Who asked you to come here?" Of course, when someone higher-up came to inspect the facility, the water was always turned back on.
Group Hunger Strike and Brutal Force Feeding
In order to protest our illegal arrests and continued illegal detention, we started a group hunger strike in the second half of May. The head of the detention center became scared and came to persuade us to give up the strike. We told him, "No! We believe in 'Truthfulness Compassion Forbearance,' and there is nothing wrong with that. We just want to go home." He said, "You were sent here by various police stations. Our job is to watch you and hand you back to them when they come to get you. We have no authority to release you." We told him, "In that case, we are left with no choice but to validate the Fa with our lives. Everyone knows that life is precious. But for our freedom, our belief, we have no other choice except to hold the hunger strike."
The detention center notified the Chengdu police department about our hunger strike. A division head named Feng Jiuwei and several other policemen brought a gang of doctors and nurses from the Ankang Mental Hospital and tried to force-feed practitioners with brutal violence. Each female practitioner was taken outside of the cell by several strong men and then held down by 7 or 8 men on a "bed" made of two long benches pushed together side by side. A person would hold the practitioner's head down. Others would hold the practitioner's legs and arms down. Another person would pinch the practitioner's nose shut or press down on her neck while someone else opened the practitioner's mouth by force. The practitioner would try to struggle. But after she was worn out, the nurse would push a tube down her throat.
The force-feeding session was very painful. I often threw up a large amount
of blood or vomit after each session. I couldn't stop tears from flowing down my
face because of the pain. At such moments, I often recited Master's poem
"Knowing Heart" to encourage myself.
There was a female Falun Gong practitioner named Yan Dihui who was detained along with me. She was in her 50s and worked in the Sichuan Province Textile Factory. I saw her throw up large amounts of pus, blood and spit when the police tried to force-feed her. She was in a tremendous amount of pain. Tears were streaming down her face and she was gagging violently. But still she didn't allow the police to force-feed her.
After we began our group hunger strike, we wrote a petition asking to be released unconditionally. We were finally allowed to go home on May 24th.
After I returned home, many friends came to visit me. Some said that they were worried about me after they saw me on the TV. They tried to look for me everywhere. They thought I was hospitalized and tried to find which hospital I was in. When they saw me, they were happy that I was finally allowed to go home but were also angry about the fabricated news about me.
My Mother's Experience
After all the visitors left, my mother told me what had happened to her after we last saw each other.
"The day after you and your son went to Beijing to appeal for Falun Gong on December 3, 1999, I started to regret that I didn't go with you. I went to Beijing by myself on December 6th to appeal for Falun Gong. I wanted to tell the government about my personal experience after I began to practice Falun Gong. But even before I got to the Appeals Office, I was arrested and detained at the Chengdu City's Liaison Office to Beijing. I was locked inside a room with a table and a few chairs. There was no bed. It was very cold so I put my two legs on a chair to keep them warm. A security guard with the surname of Wang saw me and thought that I was practicing Falun Gong exercises. He grabbed me and pushed me outside. He told me to stand outside in the freezing cold as punishment. A fellow practitioner named Wan Suhua told him, "She is too old and it is very cold outside. Please let me stand outside in her place." After a while, he pushed me inside. Two days later, I was brought back to Chengdu and sent to a drug rehabilitation Center. The center used deafening loud speakers to broadcast slanders against Falun Gong. Every morning after we got up, the guards ordered us to run laps outside. Because I am too old, I couldn't keep up with the others. So I was often ordered to stand outside for long periods of time as punishment. I was also often not given any food to eat. The police then sent me to the Jiuru Detention Center. I was still not given any food once I arrived there. I will never be able to forget the first night at the detention center when I couldn't sleep at all because I was too cold and hungry.
When I was at the detention center, the guards often came by in the middle of the night asking me if I would continue to practice Falun Gong. I always replied yes. As punishment, I was brought outside to stand for long periods of time while freezing. I finally made it through half a month of detention. Wei Daping, the policeman from the Wannianchang Police Station, took me from the detention center. He lied to me and said, "Your daughter has been sentenced to 3 years at a labor camp for practicing Falun Gong. You will never see her again. You can no longer live in her house." After lunch, he forced me to go to my son's house. Once I got there, the police from the Gaodianzi Police Station who oversaw the area where my son lived forced me to go back to my village in Jianyang. Once I returned home, my husband was ordered to watch me. Even at home, the police from the local police station still came to find out where I was living and planned to continue to harass me.
After the Chinese New Year of 2000, I secretly went to your home hoping your son would start school son. Your house was so dirty that I spent three days just cleaning up the place. I didn't dare to go outside because I was afraid the police would find out that I had returned and force me to go home. If I went home, who would be there to take care of your son? I couldn't go out to shop for food. When your brother brought your son back home, he brought some vegetables. After we finished the vegetables, we began to eat pickled vegetables. When we finished all the picked vegetables, the only thing we had to eat was to make some rice congee and add a little salt to it. After eating like this for a long period of time, I am now used to it. I told myself, 'No matter how the Chinese dictator Jiang Zemin and his gang persecute Falun Gong, I will continue to practice it as long as there is a single breath left in me.'"
I was very happy to see how strong my mother's faith in Falun Gong was. At the same time, I was very disturbed by how far Jiang Zemin and his regime had gone to persecute Falun Gong and its practitioners as well as fabricate lies to deceive the public.
First published in English at: http://www.pureinsight.org/pi/articles/2004/11/1/2583.html