Non-Practitioner Witness: Falun Dafa Practitioner Ms. Li Shumin Dies As a Result of Persecution
(Clearwisdom.net) In April 2003, I returned to my hometown after completing a three-year term in a forced labor camp. Those three years were an unforgettable experience, which changed me--someone who was originally introverted and very reticent.
A few days ago, I received a Falun Gong truth-clarifying flyer in a market. It had some miraculous stories about what happened after a Falun Dafa practitioner in Tianjin was tortured to death in the Tianjin Banqiao Female Forced Labor Camp. After reading it, I was astonished. Though there have been so many Dafa practitioners who have died from the persecution, when I read about Li Shumin's death, it made me stand there for a long time. I could still hear her resonant and joyous laughter around me.
In the forced labor camp, I had been in the same team with her for a long time. Her acts embodied sincerity, kindness and righteousness in that she risked her life for the sake of Truth, which is typical of Dafa practitioners. Her death awakened my sense of justice, and made me break my silence. I am now writing what I witnessed and experienced in the Tianjin Banqiao Forced Labor Camp, where I was held together with Dafa practitioners. I would like to tell the truth to kindhearted people and let them truly understand who is righteous, who is evil, and who is harming lives.
In 1999, I failed the national college entrance exam for the second time. In November, I went north with two girlfriends from my village. We came to Tianjin, a big city in northern China. I decided to work to earn some money so that I could realize my dream of going to college in the future.
However, in only half a year, my dream was destroyed. When I went to the big city from the village, everything was so strange to me because I had never left my village before. Because of my inexperience and naivet? I didn't even know when I was being deceived or used. I stupidly got involved in a crime.
I still remember the day when I was sent to the Nankai District Detention Center. It was so windy that afternoon that I will never forget it. When I entered the ward, I saw a dense mass of people sitting on a long wooden board facing the same direction. After searching my body, they ordered me to sit on the board. I was told that because there was no work in the ward that day, the prisoners were forced to sit on the wooden board according to the rules. They were not allowed to talk when sitting on the board, nor were they allowed to talk while working.
After I gradually calmed down, I observed all the people in the ward. I found that there were 27 people held in this little ward of less than 200 square feet. Among them, there were white-haired old ladies and women of all ages. I noticed that they all looked kind and calm, so I could not imagine what crimes they had committed. Every time I made eye contact with them, they would look at me with a kind smile. Their smile melted the ice in my heart. I felt better with no more fear. Gradually, I found out that the head prisoner in the ward, who had been a drug addict, was very fierce and cruel. She always beat and abused the kind looking prisoners I sat with. Yet, those prisoners who were all convicted for being prostitutes, thieves, and drug addicts received her respect, and she called them "grandma" or "auntie."
I was more confused. Who were these people I was with? It was not until that night that I found out that all those people were Falun Gong practitioners. Like many other people, I didn't know what Falun Gong was. I only heard the propaganda on TV and in the newspaper. During that time, I lived together with those people, but they were not frightening like what was reported on TV and in the newspaper.
During dinnertime, these Falun Gong practitioners told us how good Falun Gong is, how their teacher has taught them to be moral, how to cultivate "Truthfulness, Compassion, and Tolerance," and how to be selfless and altruistic people. They said that after practicing Falun Gong, they became healthy, their moral standard improved, and their family life became harmonious. They said that they went to Beijing in order to tell the truth and clarify to the government that Falun Gong is good for the country and people. They wanted more people to know the truth of Falun Gong, and let them know Falun Gong has been defamed and slandered. They believed their appeal was peaceful and legal, and the persecution against Falun Gong was illegal and violated the law. They also disclosed that Falun Gong practitioners were subjected to torture. They even taught the prisoners in the ward to recite Dafa poems and "Lunyu" from Zhuan Falun.
Except two deaf-mutes, all the other prisoners could recite Hongyin. Those two deaf-mutes also raised their thumbs toward them. The Dafa practitioners also told the prisoners to give up committing evil deeds, return to goodness, and obey the rules and law. They told us that good will be rewarded with good, and evil with evil. They not only explained this with sound reasoning, but their words and behavior were also respectable. They selflessly gave their clothes and property to those who didn't have a change of clothes, and gave their money to those who could not afford pickles.
I was held in the Nankai sub-department for over three months. During that time, almost every day there were Falun Gong practitioners being sent in. No matter whether it was day or night, once the door was open, with just one glance, we could tell what kind of person had been brought in. Especially those who were Falun Gong practitioners, their kindness and righteousness made it easy to tell that they were Dafa practitioners. They looked so different from the female guard who sat on a chair and asked two prisoners to massage her sides while prisoners were being taken outside for fresh air. Some male guards said dirty words to the female prisoners when they were on duty at midnight. The guards even helped pass messages for the detained drug addicts after receiving a package of cigarettes from the head prisoner in the ward.
Later on, after being sentenced to forced labor, I was sent to brigade 1, of team 5 of the Tianjin Banqiao Womens's Forced Labor Camp. I recall that when I first arrived there, the prisoners were unloading beans. Those prisoners, young or old, carried 110-pound sacks of beans on their backs. I could still recognize who were Dafa practitioners with just a glance. I was really surprised; why were so many Dafa practitioners being held there? I was informed later that among the 210 prisoners in our brigade, there were 178 Dafa practitioners. I heard that other teams had a similar ratio. Among these practitioners, there were 70-year-old ladies and 20-year-old ladies. Among practitioners were senior government officials, intellectuals, senior teachers, graduate students, doctors, nurses, undergraduate students, veterans, retired workers, farmers, and unemployed workers. I once heard a team leader secretly say that since the forced labor camp was founded, they had never seen so many people or so many educated people in there. The prisoners in the forced labor camp also felt surprised; why were so many good people held there?
We had to work for 17-18 hours every day, or even 20 hours sometimes. Most Dafa practitioners were elderly, but they were still forced to work as much as we did. There was a work quota every day. If we could not finish, we would not be allowed to sleep. The team also lied. Every time when the above mentioned officials came to inspect, they hid the beans in advance. Every team was given a white sheet, and we were ordered to sit and record what we had done. Once the officials left, the white sheets were taken back, and everything would go back to normal. Because of the overload of work and insufficient sleep, everybody felt physically strained. Even so, miraculous things manifested in the Dafa practitioners around us. Those elderly ladies, who had been living in big cities and had never done hard physical labor before, carried beans together with young prisoners. They walked as if they had wings on their feet, even faster than us. Most of them had started to practice Falun Gong because of illnesses they had or poor health. A 50-year-old lady named Yang Xiuying was not allowed to sleep for many days because she was determined to practice Falun Gong. Every night she was punished with being made to stand in the yard. In the daytime, she had to unload beans with others. This went on for more than ten days.
In addition to heavy labor, those steadfast Dafa practitioners were not allowed to sleep. Every night, they were forced to copy articles that defamed Dafa, physically punished, confined to small cells where they couldn't lie down, or brutally beaten. A Dafa practitioner, whose name was Zhao Xueping, stopped the team leader from cursing her teacher and asked him to respect her teacher. She was then dragged into solitary confinement by Gao and several prostitutes. They shocked her mouth and body with electric batons, and knocked her head against the wall. They threatened other prisoners and told them not to tell other people what they had seen. In November 2002, some Dafa practitioners stopped doing the labor to protest the overload of labor and insufficient sleep. Several days later, when threats and deception didn't work, team leader Han Jinling and another team leader named Zeng took away a young teacher named Dong Hongxia. She was suspended in the air and beaten, locked in a pigpen, and shocked on the breasts with electric batons. They used all kinds of means to inhumanely torture Dafa practitioners. For many days afterwards, this Dafa practitioner still could not straighten her back while walking.
After torturing this Dafa practitioner, they took away another practitioner, whose name was Li Shumin. She had been a nurse in a hospital in Tianjin. Several days later, we were informed that Li Shumin died. The team leaders said she died from a heart disease. However, everybody knew that Li Shumin had been very healthy. According to the records from the routine physical examination, she had no heart disease. Thus, the team leaders and doctors covered up the truth about her death. Everybody could tell what had happened once we looked at the manner and expressions of those team leaders.
This kind, pretty Dafa practitioners was only 42 years old when she died. Right after she died, they cut back a little on torturing Dafa practitioners.
However, it didn't last long, and everything soon went back to normal, or even worse. The guards in the forced labor camp shocked Dafa practitioners with electric batons, forbid them to sleep, punished them by making them stand for long periods, tied up practitioners' hands and then hung them by their hands for extended periods of time, exposed them to the sun, let mosquitoes in at night to bite the practitioners and disallowed them from moving, and forced them to take their winter-clothes off and stand outdoors in the winter for long periods of time. Some practitioners told me that in the winter of 1999, the team leader forced Dafa practitioners to stand in the cold wind and scrape bricks, wearing only underwear. Some practitioners were confined to small cells for over ten days without being allowed to wash, and they were provided with very little to eat. Several people covered Dafa practitioners' faces with sacks, and then brutally beat them. The team leaders covered practitioners' faces because they felt guilty or feared Dafa practitioners' righteousness. Some practitioners were tortured to the point of losing it mentally. Under the torture, one practitioner held in the second team was driven to the point where she had mental problems.
The Dafa practitioners that I know are all kind and wise. I have seen the persecution against Dafa practitioners. You could say that it was brutal murder. I think there must be a lot of Dafa practitioners being detained across the country, and there must be a lot of people like me being sentenced to forced labor, jailed or detained together with Dafa practitioners, and there must be a lot of policemen or judges who have handled cases dealing with Dafa practitioners. We are all witnesses to this persecution against Dafa practitioners. No matter how the persecutors have been beautified on TV or in the newspaper, with their crimes being covered up, and no matter how they deceive with lies people who don't know the facts, and defame the founder of Falun Gong and his disciples, everything will one day be exposed and the facts will be revealed.
Influenced by Dafa practitioners, I have become more tolerant, and take fame and profit lightly, which has made me less stressed. When I returned to my hometown after being released, I could not forget the experience in Tianjin, and those Dafa practitioners who suffered a lot. I had thoughts to practice Falun Dafa many times, but at that time, the scene of the persecution against Dafa practitioners scared me. I know Dafa is good, and Dafa practitioners were so determined despite the cruel torture. "Can I endure it?" I have asked myself many times. Though I haven't started to practice Dafa, Dafa practitioners' kindness, determination in Truth and firm belief in "Truthfulness, Compassion, and Tolerance" have influenced and changed my life. From now on, I will be a good person. Maybe some day, I can also become a noble and upright Dafa practitioner.
I hereby express my respect to all the detained Dafa practitioners and to those who told me the truth of Dafa. Thank you very much. I'm also calling on those policemen who were involved in the persecution against Dafa practitioners to show your conscience and stop the persecution. I hope more people can come to know about Falun Gong and listen to what they are talking about. Then you will know who is righteous, who is evil, and who is harming lives.
March 7, 2004