Break of Dawn (Part II)
Hoping to Awaken Their Conscience
Visiting practitioners slipped us the book, Zhuan Falun. We took turns reading it. The officials from the team and several members of the Civilian Administrative Committee (CAC), whose members are common criminals selected by the labor camp to assist the camp authorities (most of them had a volatile temper), came one night while Zhu Li, from Room 301, was reading the Fa; they confiscated the book and tied Zhu Li up with rope all night. After we found out what had happened, our hearts ached from the loss of the Dafa book. That morning, when other inmates went to clean up, we did not do the exercises. We all went to Chen Xiangzhi's room and wrote a letter with all of our signatures, asking the team leader Zhan to return the book to us. Chen Xiangzhi represented us and went to team leader Zhan to clarify the truth and to personally ask her for the book. Our request was turned down.
Fourteen Dafa practitioners decided to start a group hunger strike. During the first three days, all I could feel was hunger and discomfort. I became severely dehydrated by day four: my eyelids were wrinkled; my eye sockets were sunken; my face and hands were shriveled and wrinkled; my hair turned gray; my stomach turned upside down; the stench from my stomach made me feel nauseated and I vomited all the time. I could not even swallow my saliva. I lay there reciting the Fa silently. As soon as my discomfort subsided, I got up right away to do the exercises.
By day seven, the feeling of hunger and discomfort disappeared and I was able to lie there and recite the Fa again. I went to Chen Xiangzhi's room every morning to support and encourage everyone. By day nine, the CAC notified us that the police would no longer confiscate our books and that we could study the Fa freely in our rooms and exercise together in the hallway. We stopped our hunger strike on day nine.
We stopped the hunger strike, but we did not eat the food they sent to us through the window. We wanted to exercise on the assembly grounds. We refused to be locked in the room at all times. Every team has to pass by the assembly grounds on their way to the dining hall. We wanted to encourage every practitioner in the labor camp to practice and exercise in dignity. Zhu Li and Chen Xiangzhi divided the peanuts that fellow practitioners sent to us. Each of us had some. I did not know how long the situation would last, so I ate seven peanuts for each meal and drank a big glass of water. Whenever the inmates went to the dining hall, I started counting my peanuts. Sometimes, when I grabbed nine peanuts in my hand, I automatically put back two. Deep down in my heart, I really wanted to eat a handful of peanuts! I only had a small amount of peanuts, and they helped to maintain my life so I would have enough energy to defend Dafa. I had been very strict with myself: one peanut with several big gulps of water to ease the hunger. I spoke to Master saying, "I really want to eat a full meal!" In order to defend Dafa and strive for freedom, even though we endured unbearable hunger, we still felt happiness in our hearts. We held "Truth, Compassion, Forbearance" in our hearts. It is the universal Fa! We exercised and studied the Fa daily. We knew that Master had been strengthening us. We were all skin and bones, but still had rosy complexions and our spirits continued to be high. We persisted until the twenty-seventh day, when team leader Zhan let the CAC members open the lock in our room. We were then able to go to the dining hall to have a meal with the rest of the inmates.
From that point on, all the practitioners in our team could study the Fa and exchange experiences freely. Even the inmates were very happy; they could go to different rooms freely.
We finally were able walk out of the gate of the Third Team and practice on the assembly grounds. This was the wish of every practitioner in our team. On our way back after each meal we sat on the assembly ground in meditation. I saw that Yang Qihui, Pan Guangping, and Zhu Li were all dragged back, one by one. Yang Qihui was tiny and skinny; her legs were still crossed in a double-lotus position on the way back. We clarified the truth to the inmates in our room; they all knew that the reason we sat in meditation was to validate Dafa. Even though the team leader Zhan ordered two inmates to sandwich me, I was able to escape each time and sat in meditation. The roommates also protected me from other inmates who tried to beat me. That day on my way to lunch, I thought about meditation on the assembly grounds. On my way back, as soon as I came to the assembly grounds, I ran as fast as I could and sat on the assembly ground. I did not even take off my tennis shoes. I was able to double cross my legs with ease - they were so light and soft. When my hands went into Jieyin, I felt so auspicious, glorious, and splendid. I sat there quietly. I heard my cellmates (non-practitioners) Xiao Jiang and Yangyang whisper in my ear, "It is time to Heshi. All other practitioners have been dragged away except for you." I closed my hands in Heshi and opened my eyes. Yangyang helped me straighten my legs and Chen Hongrong supported me as I stood up. All my roommates surrounded me to protect me from being beaten by the CAC members and other criminals. I was so happy for them that they understood the truth and were kind to Dafa practitioners. They also told me that one of the practitioners from the First Team saw us and started sitting in meditation too.
May 13 is our Master's birthday. We requested in writing to have an experience sharing meeting. Team leader Zhan Li refused. We held another hunger strike for three days in order to ask for our freedom of belief and to release the innocent practitioners.
Tortured for Not Turning in the Books
One night in the middle of June, Chen Hongrong told me that the Labor Camp purchased many handcuffs and electric batons. The officials intended to choose the most vicious criminals to be members of the CAC to persecute the practitioners. They picked the most violent police officer, named Zhang Xiaofang, to be the team leader. We also heard that the hospital bought some old buildings in order to keep all Falun Dafa practitioners in separate rooms. We confirmed the news that the guards were going to separate all Dafa practitioners in order to manage us individually. There were nineteen Dafa practitioners in our team. We planned to move Zhuan Falun and Falun Dafa Lectures in Singapore to a safe place. Practitioner Pu Youcui had a good idea. She made many book bags out of her quilt cover. Each of us carried a book bag under our clothes.
The book assigned to me to carry was Falun Dafa Lectures in Singapore. I was determined to protect that book. I got up at 5 o'clock in the morning on June 20 and started packing. I hung the book bag around my neck and wrapped it around my waist. As soon as we got up, we were told to bring all our belongings with us and to gather in the field. When we came downstairs, we saw that all male police officers were lined up. They wore red armbands, and had all sorts of devices hanging around their belts, including handcuffs, electric batons, and "wolf-tooth clubs" (1). All of the officials at the facility were standing there as well. All our belongings were put together around a marsh gas pool and the police started to unwrap all of the bags to search for Master's articles and lectures.
We nineteen practitioners were lined up in two rows and were searched, one by one. When it was my turn, they took me to the bathroom on the first floor and a policewoman ordered me to take off all of my clothes. I told her, "I have Master's book on me; I won't take off my clothes." She ordered me to hand over the book. I replied, "I won't give it to you." I thought, "I am going to protect this book with my life; I won't give the book up no matter what." I refused to budge, and she suddenly yelled, "Security! Here is a stubborn one, she won't hand over the book." Several of them rushed inside, kicked me to the ground, handcuffed my hands behind my back, and dragged me from the bathroom to the field, over 50 meters away. The ground was very bumpy and my pants were dragged off. A large piece of skin was torn off of my bottom. Practitioner Yang Qihui was crying and running towards me helping to pull up my pants. The guards took away all the practitioners. Two guards dragged me to a tree and handcuffed my hands around the tree, behind my back. Police guard Mao Wei shocked my arm with his electric baton. None of the inmates went to work that day. They were all locked in their rooms. They heard the noise of the electric shock and came to the window and screamed, "Sister Zhou, they want to shock you to death." I looked up and saw that my roommate Chen Hongrong and Yangyang were crying and screaming. I shook my head slightly signaling to them not to be scared. The electric baton was set to the maximum level but it could still not drown out their crying and screaming. Policemen Mao Wei shocked my left arm, my right arm, and both hands for a very long time. I endured the excruciating pain, reciting Master's poem:
"Wu Chun [Non-existence]
To live with no pursuits,
To die with no regrets;
All excessive thoughts extinguished,
Cultivating Buddhahood is not difficult."
(Hong Yin, provisional translation subject to improvement)
Finally, Mao Wei was worn out and said, "Don't be stubborn. I will come back to finish you." He went to sit under a big tree next to me and drank some water. I was still reciting Hong Yin. Mao Wei ordered an inmate to stuff a dirty rag into my mouth.
The Seventh Team Started to Wage a Brutal Persecution
The guards and members of the CAC seized me by the throat with my arms twisted behind my back and transferred me to the newly-established Seventh Team. Upon entering the team, policeman Li Jun came over and slapped my face forcefully several times and then ordered three members of the CAC to hang me up. I was hung up from the iron window of a room on the ground floor of the building.
That whole afternoon, I heard detainees being shocked with electric batons. After shocking someone for a while, one of the perpetrators would ask, "Will you do the count off?" There was no answer. Later, I learned that the individual who was being electric shocked was practitioner Wen Yuechao, a teacher.
At dinnertime, I heard team leader Li Kunrong cursing people. Fellow practitioners were staging a protest, requesting to see me or they would not have dinner. I asked to use the restroom. I was still handcuffed although two criminals and one guard accompanied me. I needed assistance to take off my pants and undergarment since I was handcuffed. The criminals had to forcefully pull down my pants and undergarment because they were stuck to the wounds on my buttocks that had dried up. I was seized with sharp pain all over the injured area. When the criminals saw that my wounds were serious, they reported to Li Zhiqiang from the education section. I was released that evening. I had been tortured for a whole day, without water or food.
At about 6 a.m. on June 21, I heard team leader Li Kunrong swearing. Practitioner Ms. Yang Xu from Yibing and I went to look out the window. We saw some practitioners tied to the cement poles and others were beaten up at the assembly ground. The door of our room was locked, so Ms. Yang and I knocked on the window and asked them not to beat the practitioners. Unexpectedly, the window broke into many pieces. Li Kunrong was furious and ordered the CAC people to come get us. Li asked Ms. Yang and me to line up and lied that we were attempting to rebel by climbing out the window. He ordered the criminal inmates to beat us. Li Xiaolin, a drug addict, took one of her leather shoes off and slapped our faces with it. Our faces turned purple.
The following morning, the rooms on the ground floor and the assembly ground became the sites where practitioners, who were practicing the Falun Gong exercises on the assembly ground the night before, were badly beaten. The sound generated by the electric batons could be heard everywhere. I felt bad and thought that practitioners should not be persecuted like this. We should practice the exercises nobly and righteously. It is not wrong to cultivate "Truthfulness, Compassion, Forbearance." When everyone came back to the room after the assembly, I shared my thoughts and understanding with them. All of us agreed that we should practice the Falun Gong exercises at the assembly ground because group practice is the form left by Master.
In the morning of June 22, the guards told us to squat down and do a count off. Some of us sat down, crossed our legs and began to do the sitting meditation. Then most of the other practitioners joined us. At that moment several male guards from the Security Team, 17 people from the CAC as well as seven guards from the team began to assault us. Seventy to eighty practitioners were severely kicked or beaten up with police batons and wolf-tooth clubs. Still, we persisted in doing the exercises. At the time, the wound on my buttocks festered and was very painful. Fellow practitioner Xing Bing took out a sanitary towel and Wen Yuechao helped to cover my wound with the towel. When we were kicked to the ground we got up and crossed our legs again. Then the depraved guards came over to beat us. Practitioner Mao Junhua lost consciousness from the electric shocks and only came to after a long period of time. The faces of Zhang Yuchun and Bai Helin became deformed from the beatings. Their mouths were crooked and they could not open their eyes.
We were ordered to do three count-offs a day, but instead, we did the exercises and were beaten up three times as a result. Each time the beatings would last for nearly an hour. Many practitioners were covered with cuts and bruises all over their bodies.
Team leader Li Kunrong tortured us with various new methods. He told us to stand in an "army corps" posture (2) or to march in parade steps or to run. It is very hot at the end of June. We were tortured from 6:30 a.m. until 12 midnight. We were assaulted. The depraved guards also randomly selected practitioners from each room and beat them with bamboo planks. An English teacher named Wang Hongxia, from the Anyue School of Advanced Studies, and Wen Yuechao, a teacher from Panzhihua were beaten until their buttocks were black and blue. Li Fengqi's buttocks were severely injured because the perpetrators forcefully took off her pants and undergarment before whipping her with the bamboo plank. There were many cuts and the muscles were torn off. As a result she could only lie on her stomach and a practitioner covered her buttock with a pair of pants. Seeing Li Fengqi's horrible condition, tears kept coming down my face. I hurried upstairs to ask other practitioners to come witness the result of such inhuman torture, so as to increase their confidence in opening up an environment for us to continue to practice the exercises. I met practitioner Liu Guoping from the third floor in the restroom and told her about Li Fengqi's condition. She went and told other practitioners. When the guards saw many practitioners visiting Li Fengqi, they ordered people from the CAC to move her to a different room. We later learned that she was locked up in a room on the ground floor.
Forced to Sit in the "Army Corps" Posture
As punishment, every practitioner was forced to sit in an "army corps" posture and listen to recordings that slandered Teacher and Falun Dafa. We were forced to sit on a small plastic stool 20 centimeters tall, with our backs straight, our legs at a 90 degree angle, our hands on our thighs, and our eyes looking straight ahead. We were not allowed to close our eyes or talk. We were forced to sit this way from 6 a.m. until 11 p.m., in the sun without water. In just half an hour, our buttocks were in extreme pain; however, we dared not move because the guards from the Security Team were watching us, armed with wolf-teeth clubs, electric batons and handcuffs. There were also a dozen or more CAC people and the guards from the team. If anyone moved or her back was not straight, the perpetrators kicked her. Luo Zhiyu, Yang Xu and some other practitioners were kicked to the ground several times. Several elderly practitioners were kicked to the ground from time to time. Ms. Luo Zhiyu, over 50 years old, could not bear the sitting torture any more and moved once. Someone from the CAC smashed a bottle of ice water on her head. Blood immediately gushed down from her forehead. They dragged her out and asked Zhu Rui to wrap her wound. Then they took off her white shirt that was soaked with blood and threw it away.
I constantly heard practitioners being kicked and beaten up. Though my buttocks were painful as if needles were pricking me. I dared not move. The weather in July is extremely hot. Having only sat for less than half an hour in the morning, we were already sweating all over. At noon, the heat waves rolled in front of our eyes. No one dared to wipe the sweat off their face. My short-sleeved shirt and cotton pants were soaked with perspiration. We endured the torture second by second, minute by minute. We were only allowed to use the restroom twice a day, three minutes each time. Since the restroom was on the second floor, we had to run in order to get back in time. When I pulled my sweat-soaked pants off, a piece of skin at the buttocks area was pulled off too because my pants were stuck to my skin. The wound on my buttocks began to fester. One morning, the right side of my buttocks could not touch the plastic stool, or I would be in horrendous pain. Still, I was forced to sit in an "army corps" posture. I felt sick and flushed from the pain. My legs were trembling and I almost lost consciousness. I endured the pain until it was time to use the restroom. I asked fellow practitioner Ms. Yang Yunxia to check my wound. She said it was festering, red and swollen. Immediately she used the needle, used for wearing our nametag, to puncture it to let the pus out.
The prison guards did not allow us to take a shower or wash our clothes, so we had to wear the same clothes which were soaked with sweat. I developed scabies all over my body and the itching was unbearable. Practitioners Li Fengqi, Wang Hongixa, Tao Juhua and others, who suffered the same severe buttocks wounds, were also punished by being forced to sit in an "army corps" posture. This was how Li Kunrong tortured the practitioners.
However, the physical pain failed to shake my determination to continue to practice Falun Gong. In my heart I still felt happy and peaceful, because my determined belief in Master and Falun Dafa was indestructible.
In mid-July, officials from the State Justice Department brought someone from the notorious Masanjia Forced Labor Camp to our team in an attempt to make us renounce Falun Dafa. In the morning, team leader Li Kunrong forced me to undergo brainwashing. She detected the bad odor from my clothes and asked practitioner Xing Chen to get clean clothes for me. Then she told us to go to the Team Education office. Mao Kun, Luo Changhua, Li Fengqi and I were forced to be there for the brainwashing session. The woman from the Masanjia Forced Labor Camp was in her 50s and she talked nonsense. I got up and walked out of the office. Other practitioners followed suit. Policewoman Li Jun brought me back to the office. She tried to persuade me to carefully listen to what the woman had to say. I said to her that the woman talked nonsense. Our Master never said anything like what she talked about, therefore I would not listen to her any more. The following morning Li Jun and Li Kunrong again told me to listen to the woman. This time, the brainwashing session was held in a small air-conditioned meeting room. We were made to feel comfortable and were provided with fruit, mineral water and melon seeds. About 20 to 30 practitioners attended. I raised my hand and said, "None of what you talk about has anything to do with the Fa. All you talk about is nothing but heretical ideas." Then I started to recite what Master said,
"At the same time as teaching the Fa, we have also explained the principles of being a human being, and hope that if after the class you cannot follow this Dafa to practice cultivation, you will at least be a good person. This will benefit our society." (Zhuan Falun 2000 edition)
Master also said,
"I also want to tell you that your nature in the past was actually based on egotism and selfishness. From now on, whatever you do, you should consider others first, so as to attain the righteous Enlightenment of selflessness and altruism. So from now on, whatever you do or whatever you say, you must consider others--or even future generations--along with Dafa's eternal stability." ("Non-Omission in Buddha-Nature" from Essentials for Further Advancement)
The woman could not continue with her speech anymore and shouted, "Ask your team leader to take this person away. She came here to make trouble." I stood up and walked out of the room.
In the afternoon, the guards asked several dozens of practitioners to go to listen to the speech in an attempt to persuade them to "reform". As punishment, I was forced to sit in an "army corps" posture. Li Jun asked me once again to go listen to the speech. In order to expose the lies of this so-called "transformed" person, I went to the meeting room again. On entering the room, it was the same woman. When she saw me she said, "Those who are unwilling to listen can leave now." I turned around and walked out of the room. Several other practitioners came out after me.
Team leader Li Kunrong was waiting outside the meeting room. She flared into a rage when she saw me come out. She shouted, "You went there to make trouble in the morning and bring people out of the room in the afternoon." When I arrived at the team gate she shouted, "CAC members, go and punish her!" Long Ping from the CAC placed me in confinement and forced me to squat down and stand up with both hands on top of my head for a long period of time. After while, it was difficult for me to stand. I had to rest on a small stool for a while before I could continue on. Since I had already "squatted down" 600 times that morning as punishment for doing the exercises in our room, I was in extreme pain, and had to tightly clench my teeth to continue to do the "squat down." Perspiration ran down my face. I felt out of breath and my heart was beating fast. I had to squat up and down for more than 1,000 times. After that, they did not tell me to go listen to that woman anymore.
When we were sleeping, the CAC person on duty searched every room using a flashlight. I was spotted doing the exercises. Guard Li Guirong came in my room with a wolf-tooth club and hit my back with the club while shouting. I told her that there were wounds on my buttocks so she would not hit that area. She rushed out angrily after she finished beating me.
On another evening when I was doing the exercises, my "personal cangues" (3) made a lot of noise to try and stop me. At midnight, as punishment, the CAC forced me to squat down in the corridor. There, I saw Tao Juhua sleeping on the floor in front of the CAC's on-duty office located next to the stairs. She told me the guards did not allow her to go back to the room to sleep and was forced to sleep on the floor for several nights because she refused to renounce her belief. After I was forced to do the squat down, I could not walk and had to hold onto the railings of the corridor. My clothes were soaked with sweat. Tao Juhua and I encouraged each other to firmly believe in Master and never renounce our belief.
I was placed in the room on the second floor next to the stairs to sit in an "army corps" posture and was supervised by two personal cangues from our room. There were fourteen people in the room. They took turns harassing me. They followed me to the restroom and did not allow me to talk or even nod to the steadfast practitioners. On my way to the restroom, I saw the steadfast practitioners sit in an "army corps" posture under the sun on the assembly ground. I gave them a thumbs-up to express my admiration for their steadfastness. The personal cangues, however, saw it and reported to the team leader, who called me to her office and verbally abused me. She also extended my term of forced labor for another fifteen days.
Every day, we were forced to sit in an "army corps" posture from morning until night. I constantly and silently recited the Fa and was able to overcome the tribulations one after another.
To publicly criticize and denounce practitioners, a big class was held; and every time the class was held, the steadfast practitioners would be punished. They were verbally abused and forced to stand for a long time. One morning, when the class had just begun, team leader Li Kunrong wrote the character "compassion" on the blackboard and asked me to explain what it was. I answered that "compassion" meant treating everyone well. Li Kunrong told me, "You shut up!" She said that if I did not renounce Falun Dafa I was not qualified to talk about compassion. The verbal abuse lasted until noon.
At the beginning of September 2001, in order to make me renounce Falun Gong, Li Jun asked my family and friends to bring my son to visit me. They hoped my family and friends would persuade me to renounce Falun Dafa. In the afternoon, team leader Li Kunrong and guard Li Jun brought me to a place outside the Education Section. My son, elder brother, sister-in-law and friends were waiting there for a long time. I looked tanned and skinny owing to being forced to sit in an "army corps" posture under the sun every day. I was totally deformed and my hands and face were very dark. When my family members saw my condition, they all cried. Li Kunrong asked me to stand in front of my family and friends, accusing me of refusing to renounce Falun Dafa. She asked my 7-year-old son to hold onto my waist. My son was scared and he hurriedly came over to hold onto my waist. Then he just motionlessly stood there. The driver who drove my family and friends there heard the guards abuse me with vicious words, and stayed far away.
I gently loosened my son's tiny hands and lowered my head to tell him, "Be a good boy. Don't be afraid. You must remember that your mom is a good person. Mom will come back to take care of you." My son did not say anything. His eyes were filled with tears and he could only nod his head. I slowly moved my son away from me and helped him stand up straight. My son lost his father when he was only three months old. My son and I had been dependent on each other for survival. When he was 6 years old, I was illegally detained. How much harm has this experience inflicted on his young heart? All the while, Li Kunrong kept swearing at me. My son was constantly shedding and wiping his tears. Li Kunrong swore for nearly an hour and then ordered Li Jun to take me back to the team.
My family became more heartbroken when I had to leave. I looked back from a distance and saw that they were still motionlessly watching me, apparently reluctant to leave. Returning to the team I quietly thought to myself, who could be so cruel as to separate my family? I always tried my best to be a good person; however, I was illegally detained and brutally tortured. Why? I thought of what guard Zhang Xiaofang often said when he verbally abuses practitioners, "You practice Falun Gong so you are an anti-revolutionary and we have to exercise the dictatorship over you!" As a matter of fact, practitioners only practice "Truthfulness, Compassion, Forbearance" and were good people. On July 20, 1999, when Jiang Zemin started the persecution, nearly 100 million practitioners became targets of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) overnight. Falun Dafa practitioners were ruthlessly persecuted simply because they want to become better people and maintain their belief. Also, how many among the millions of practitioners have experienced the same suffering as my son and I have experienced?
I was transferred to a room next to the bathroom on the third floor because I refused to renounce my belief. Every day inmates in the same room and other people arranged by the team would try to force me to renounce my belief.
One evening, Zhang Ling, the room head, suffered from diarrhea. People had to use the chamber pot inside the room at night if they needed to relieve themselves since the doors were locked. That night, the chamber pot was full, so Zhang Ling asked a CAC person to open the door. Instead, the two got into an argument. The following morning, Zhang Xiaofang said to me, "Zhou Huimin, since you cultivate 'Truthfulness, Compassion, Forbearance' you come forward and tell us the content of the argument." I replied, "The argument covered a lot of contents and lasted for a long time so I do not remember." Zhang Xiaofang flared into rage and ordered dozens of detainees from the No. 3 Team to have a meeting. I was sitting in the workshop of the No. 3 Team and listened to their speeches. It was a meeting to criticize me because I refused to renounce my belief in Falun Dafa. The meeting lasted the whole day. With a heart of great forbearance I endured their accusations and their sarcasm. I felt bad when I saw former practitioners who had been "reformed" due to brainwashing and torture, participate in the meeting. Other steadfast practitioners were transferred to teams consisting of drug addicts, and were forced to do manual labor. I was still kept at the No. 7 Team. Zhang Xiaofang did not allow practitioners to talk to me nor did she allow me to say hello to them. The only people who talked to me were those who came to persuade me to give up Falun Dafa. Wu Huizhen, who was in the No. 3 Team with me in the past, also refused to give up her belief. She was supervised by two personal cangues. One morning, she came over to me and showed me her tongue, which had many cuts. I felt distressed and asked, "Is it painful?" The personal cangues saw that I talked to her and reported on me. Team leader Li Kunrong called me to the office and verbally abused me in front of the guards. Walking out of the office I recalled Master's words,
"The trials that a cultivator goes through are something an everyday person could not endure. That is why throughout history so few people have been able to succeed in cultivation and reach Consummation." ("Position," from Essentials for Further Advancement II)
Locked in a Dark Room for Over 50 Days for Forced Brainwashing
The people assigned to watch and follow me finished their terms and went home one by one. The police locked me in a room next to the second floor restroom and assigned the room head to watch and follow me. There were fourteen people in the room. I was locked in a small dark room inside of the room and not allowed to step out, with eating, drinking, and eliminating all done inside the small room. Every day they assigned two people in the room to talk with me, to persuade me to renounce Falun Dafa. The team leader Zhang Xiaofang also arranged people from other dorms to do the same to me. They sent as many as seven different groups of people a day to work on me. In order to increase the "reform" rate, the team and the camp officials both tried very hard to "reform" me. The education section head, Luo, came to talk to me first. A few days later, he took me to the office of the labor camp director, Wang. Wang said, "There are over a thousand people in the labor camp. It is impossible for me to talk to every one directly. We are paying a great deal of attention to you." I said, "Mr. Wang, I am not going to "reform". I have had all sorts of illness since my childhood. When I was in pain and despair, I found Falun Dafa. It is my Master who cleared my body, thoughts, and mind. I feel that cultivation is so wonderful. Before I began my cultivation, experts and professors decided that my illnesses were incurable. My mental state used to swing from depression to impulsiveness. After beginning cultivation, I have not had to take any medication. Falun Gong is only good." Wang said, "If you don't reform, you have to stay in the labor camp forever." I said at the end, "If you let me choose either to "reform" or to be executed today, I will choose to be executed." Seeing that there was no way he was going to change me, he had Luo take me back to the team.
They continued to lock me in the small room. A few days later, the deputy director of the Judicial Department in Sichuan Province came to the labor camp and called me to the workshop of the No. 3 Team to try to reform me. Locked in the small room for too long, I was not accustomed to the outside environment and felt cold. But I got used to it very soon and sat down as they told me to. With two cameras operating next to me, Labor Camp Director Wang said, "Only division managers or higher are qualified to attend today's meeting. The team staff was not even qualified." The deputy director of the Judicial Department who was sitting right next to me said, "Zhou Huimin, why don't you renounce Falun Gong and stop practicing?" I told him how effective Falun Gong was in healing diseases and improving one's health, and told him the change it made in me both physically and mentally. I told him how our Master told us to be a good person. I said that to be a good person could not be wrong, and ought to be encouraged. I told him that I would never renounce Falun Gong. They stopped me, and began slandering and defaming Master. I told them solemnly, "Please respect my teacher. I cannot tolerate your slandering my teacher. I would not "reform" even I were executed." I reiterated what my belief was. They could not help but give up trying to persuade me.
Forced to Stand in the "Army Corps" Posture at the Edge of the Assembly Field
After I was locked in the little dark room for over 50 days, they moved me downstairs to the No. 3 Team workshop, and forced me to listen to articles slandering our Master. I refused to listen. They punished me and other steadfast practitioners including, Tao Juhua and Wang Hongxia, by making us stand at attention like soldiers. It was late in November 2000 and very cold. We were forced to stand from 7:00 a.m. until 11:30 p.m. every day, rain or shine. As a result, I had to wear a pair of large slippers that a practitioner gave me because my feet were so swollen that I could not put on my normal shoes. Every day my feet felt like they were being pierced with needles. My lower legs were as thick my thighs, and my hands were swollen so badly that I could hardly hold chopsticks. Even at mealtime we were not allowed to sit, and had to stand and hold the bowls to eat. I recited,
"Did you know that in order to save you the Buddha once begged for food among everyday people? Today, I once again make the door wide open, and teach this Dafa to save you. I have never felt bitter for the numerous hardships I have suffered. Then what do you have that still can't be abandoned? Can you bring to heaven the things deep down inside that you cannot let go of?" ("True Cultivation" from Essentials for Further Advancement)
As a true practitioner of Dafa, I have found the truth of Buddha Law. Whatever measures that people take to change me are in vain.
On January 13, the team called a meeting to slander our Master and Dafa. Because in the past, steadfast practitioners would stand up to protect Dafa every time they called such a meeting, team leader Zhang Xiaofang called in guards to keep order. I was still forced to stand in the "army corps" posture at the side of the assembly ground in the morning; the security team head, Yang Xiaoping, called me to join the meeting. When I refused, they tried to drag me along. I continued to resist, while other practitioners who were being forced to stand in the "army corps" posture all did the same. Zhang Xiaofang and another guard, Liao Xiaoling, kicked my legs from the front, and Yang kicked me from the back. Seeing that I was not falling, Yang pulled me by my overcoat and tried to drag me down. The buttons all came off and the overcoat was torn. I fell to the ground and slipped quite a distance. Then they handcuffed my hands behind my back, pulled me over, and had two people push me down on a little bench to force me to listen to the speeches in the meeting. Seeing that I was so cruelly persecuted, practitioners around me all could not help crying.
I was forced to stand in the "army corps" posture all the way until the Chinese New Year in 2001, when we were ordered to sit in the "army corps" posture instead.
On New Year's Eve and New Year's Day of 2001, we were forced to sit on the assembly ground in the rain. My whole body was wet except the place on my thighs where my hands rested. In the rain, I quietly thought, "New Year's Day is a traditional Chinese festival when the whole family gets together. But because I persisted in my belief, I am deprived of my rights and the happiness that belongs to every Chinese. How pained were my relatives and how pitiful was my son who could not see his mother. This ought to be the happiest day of the year since I had always played with fireworks with him in the past." Then I felt proud that I could stand firm and protect the law of the cosmos in such an evil environment.
Despite January and February being the coldest season of the year, I did not feel cold at all. At night, I used my body heat to dry my clothes so that I could wear them again the next day.
Torture Method: Electric Baton
In May of 2001, the staff in the Education Section spread a big sheet of red cloth on the ping-pong table and asked everyone to sign his or her name. Propaganda defaming Falun Gong was written on the cloth. Zhang Wenhong, Zhang Shiqing, Zhang Fengqing, and a few other practitioners stepped up to validate Dafa. The team leader, Qin Wenxia, and guard, Hu Rong, pulled them into the office one at a time, shut the door, and shocked them with electric batons. I sat in the outermost row next to the office door. The piercing noise of the electric batons prevented me from calmly reciting Dafa. I felt awful, as though it was I who was being shocked. They let Zhang Fengqing out after shocking her for about half an hour. Then they pulled Zhang Wenhong in. Thinking I needed to be with them since we are all practitioners, I began to sit in a full lotus position to meditate. The guards rushed to me immediately to pry my legs apart. I stood up by myself and walked straight toward the office when Zhang Wenhong was just let out after being shocked. Team leader Qin Wenxia stopped me. They pulled Wu Huizhen in and shocked her first for about half an hour. I walked in again when they were done with Ms. Wu. Team leader Zhang Xiaofang was just returning at that time. The guard Hu Rong and Qin Wenxia told her that I had just meditated again. Zhang Xiaofang said, "You have meditated. I will let you have a good meditation today." She pulled an electric baton from the wall (hanging on the wall were a row of electric batons, a row of thorny batons, and a row of handcuffs) and began to shock me on my face. I stepped up and stood straight steadily and let her shock me. I recited Master's poem, "One seeks nothing when alive, and cherishes nothing when dying." ("Non-existence," unofficial translation) But the baton did not work. She flipped the power switch again and tried to shock me on my lower body. But it still did not work. She tried to shock me on my exposed arm and it did not work either. Zhang was agitated and threw the baton down on the desk. In this way, the shocking of practitioners with electric batons was ended for the day.
Transferred to the Eighth Team
I was transferred to the No. 8 Team on June 20, 2001. Zhang Xiaofang told the people of the CAC to mess up my packed clothes and the quilt, and to search them. They took away my Falun Dafa button and Zhang Xiaofang was grinning. I thought to myself, Dafa has long been in my head and my heart. No matter how hard they searched, they were not going to steal Dafa away from my heart.
Arriving at No. 8 Team, the guards there told people in the CAC to search all my belongings again, and had a person who had been previously brainwashed watch me around the clock.
One day, when I was forced to do labor in the hallway outside the dorm after lunch, I saw that the steadfast practitioners in No. 7 Team were being forced to stand in the "army corps" posture under the hot sun on the assembly ground again. I waved and smiled at them. It was seen by people from the CAC and was reported to their team leader Qin Wenxia. In the afternoon, Qin and team leader Cao of the No. 8 Team, as well as a guard asked me to go to the office and began to scold me, which continued until after dinner.
On August 8, 2001, I was transferred again to the No. 6 Team. The CAC there consisted entirely of drug addicts. There were more steadfast practitioners, at least one in each room. A practitioner named Yan Baoping from Panzhihua City was very steadfast. So they specially assigned people to watch and follow us. Ever since people from the State Justice Department and from Masanjia Labor Camp came to visit the labor camp, they prohibited me from talking to any other practitioners, and had people watch and follow me around the clock. Yan Baoping and I were not even allowed to nod to each other. They made sure that we kept a distance between us every day and even during sleep at night, when they would sit on our beds to watch us all night. But we felt we were very close to each other. Lying on bed at night, we would work together to stop them from making Dafa-slandering remarks in their attempt to "reform" us. During the day, police would move us downstairs to sit on the assembly ground with our teams. The inmates would read materials slandering Master and Dafa. Steadfast practitioners recited Dafa by themselves and did not listen to what they were reading.
Refusing to Do Aerobics
I refused to do the required exercises for inmates at the labor camp. I so wanted to do Falun Gong exercises! One afternoon, I saw fellow practitioner Tan Guangrong, in her 60s, being dragged and pushed and forced to run the perimeter of the assembly ground. It was very hot and she ran for a very long time. I felt terrible. Guard Li Jiarong came to my room and asked me, "Zhou Huimin, will you do the labor camp exercises tomorrow?" I said, "No!" She said, "If you don't know how to do them, I'll have someone teach you." I said, "I know how to do it, but I won't!" She asked me several times and I firmly answered no. She ordered inmates to drag me downstairs. I saw members of the CAC guarding every room so no inmate could come out to see me. They took me to the sewer ditch on the assembly ground. Guard Li ordered the CAC members to stand in a circle with me in the middle; they ordered me to do the camp exercises. I refused, and they pressed my head down to near my knees; they put my arms on my back and raised them up. I broke free and sat with my legs crossed. Li Jiarong yelled, "How dare you do the Falun Gong exercises!" She ordered the inmates to kick me and stomp on me.
They kicked me all over and continued kicking me for a very long time. Li Jiarong and another guard ordered the inmates to drag me into an empty room next to the office. They stretched out my limbs and then stomped on my legs and stomach for a long time. Li Jiarong shouted, "Get me the rope!"
Team leader Cao, who was transferred from the No. 8 Team to the No. 9 Team, entered the room and told them not to tie me up. She said she wanted to have a good talk with me. I didn't see through her hypocrisy at the time. She told me to get up, and discussed some conditions with me. She said if I did the camp exercises the next day, she would not punish other practitioners who also refused to do the camp exercises, as she otherwise would.
I saw that practitioner Tan Guangrong could barely run and was being dragged along. My heart ached at the sight of her. I thought it might be difficult for elderly practitioners to endure their ruthless torture, so I agreed to Cao's conditions. I did the labor camp exercises on the next two days.
In the afternoon when I was in my room, I heard people who had been brainwashed reading some documents written in a labor camp and distributed to the whole country. I heard them read, "Practitioners held in labor camps will replace the Falun Gong exercises with labor camp exercises." I immediately realized that it was wrong to do the labor camp exercises and that I should not have given in to their demands. I should resist performing the exercises, along with other practitioners. The next morning I stood still on the assembly ground during the morning exercise.
Two days later I was told to pack my things. Team leader Cao took me to the education section, and I knew I was going home.
I finally broke through the illegal detention and went home in an open and dignified manner. The date was August 30, 2001. I had been illegally detained for a total of 19 months at the Nanmusi Women's Forced Labor Camp, seven months past my sentence. I remembered guard Li Jun saying to me, "Zhou Huimin, you'll die here if you don't accept the brainwashing. You will never get out of here alive! My daughter and grandchildren will take over my position after I retire, and there is no way you will be released as a Falun Gong practitioner." I recited,
"If every one of you can understand the Fa from the depths of your mind, that will truly be the manifestation of the Fa whose power knows no boundary--the reappearance of the mighty Buddha Fa in the human world!" ("Cautionary Advice" from Essentials for Further Advancement)
I felt the Buddha Fa's boundlessness and omnipotence, and I was certain that I would defeat the evildoers and regain freedom. When the car carrying me slowly exited the gate of the labor camp, I felt the power of Buddha Fa manifesting throughout my being.
Chapter 4. Suffering Physical Abuse and Torture
34-day-long Beating and Torture
On October 11, 2001, practitioners Zhu Yinfang, who was later tortured to death at the Nanmusi Women's Forced Labor Camp, and Zhao Xiangrong, both from the Xinjiang Autonomous Region and who had just been released from the Xinjiang Labor Camp, shared their opinions with me. We agreed that we should do the Falun Gong exercises in an open and dignified manner, to show the world's people that Falun Dafa is great. The next morning we hung up a banner that read, "Falun Dafa is good," did the Falun Gong exercises and recited Lunyu. A plainclothes police officer came and tried to take away the banner, but I stopped him. I took down the banner and the officer called for backup. We sent forth righteous thoughts to stop him and left safely after we finished reciting Lunyu.
On October 13, 2001, Tao Juhua, Zhu Yinfang, Zhao Xiangrong and I took a banner and went to Tianfu Square in Chengdu City to do the exercises. It was around 7:00 a.m. when we arrived; only a few people were in the square. We started by sending forth righteous thoughts. Two groups of armed police officers rushed toward us and took us to an area behind Mao Zedong's portrait. Soon, two vans arrived and we were taken to the Xiyuhe Police Station in Chengdu City. We were each sent to a different office and were ordered to give our name and address. None of us complied. We told them, "We are Dafa practitioners! Remember, Falun Dafa is good."
I sat in the office, sent forth righteous thoughts and recited Master's articles. One officer came and dragged me toward a row of dilapidated houses in the courtyard opposite the office. Zhu Yinfang and Zhao Xiangrong were handcuffed to a tree, with their hands behind their backs. Tao Juhua and I sat down and crossed our legs. The four of us began reciting Dafa articles while a few young, male plainclothes police officers watched us.
At noon, several police officers came over and ordered the plainclothes people to put us in two cars and drive us to the Longquanyi Detention Center. When we arrived, we were taken before a row of low-roofed houses; a female guard came to search us but I refused to let her. Soon, two male guards handcuffed and shackled me. They removed my belt and dragged me to Room 1 on the second floor. I protested saying, "I didn't do anything wrong! I should not be wearing these!" I removed the handcuffs and threw them to the side. I refused to sit straight with the other inmates and study the detention center policies, because there is nothing wrong with being a good person and practicing Falun Dafa! I asked practitioners Li Xiaojun, Chen Bihua and others who were held in the same room as me to join me in reciting Dafa articles.
After dinner, four or five male guards led by Detention Center Head Wei pulled me off my cement bunk with my shackles on. They dragged me out of the metal gate of my room and threw me into the hallway. Wei violently hit my head several times until I fell to the ground, and then the other guards ganged up on me and kicked me with brutal force. Wei got some cold water and poured it over my head until my clothes were completely soaked. He then handcuffed me, dragged me back to my room, locked the gate and left.
Because I was handcuffed and shackled, fellow practitioners could not change my clothes for me. In the evening, practitioner Li Xiaojun put a quilt over me and slept next to me, to dry my clothes using her body heat. The next morning, seven or eight guards came in before I got up, Li Xiaojun said to them, "You are really ruthless! Look at Zhou Huimin! Her face is deformed from the beating!" Before she finished, the guards tore up my quilt and threw it away. Two or three guards stood on my bunk and started beating me. They handcuffed Li Xiaojun.
At noon on October 14, I was able to remove the handcuffs again. I threw them away. Room head Xu Qing reported this to the guard. Within a short while, several male guards pinned me down in my bed and beat and kicked me. One guard punched my temple twice, and I saw flashes of light before my left eye. My head swelled up and I almost lost consciousness. Even now I still often feet those flashes of light in front of my left eye, the symptom after I was hit. In the end, the guards put me in a "dragon hugging a pillar" torture device [the victim's hands and feet are locked together, so she cannot stand up or walk and can only squat and move slowly on the floor].
In the morning, the inspection guard saw me reciting Fa-rectification verses. He called in seven or eight guards to beat me again. Practitioner Li Xiaojun said to other practitioners, "We can't let the guards beat Zhou Huimin again. We have to protect her." Three practitioners held onto me with a firm grip and prevented the guards from taking me away. All seven or eight guards fanatically beat all four of us. They dragged Li Xiaojun out and then they dragged me out and tossed me in the hallway. They dragged me over a long distance to the office. I closed my eyes and sent forth righteous thoughts. Soon they took me back into the hallway. A male guard took some tissue paper and wiped away the blood from my nose. He hauled me back to my room and left me on the floor. All fellow practitioners in my room were handcuffed. Several inmates carried me to my bunk. Around noontime, practitioner Xiao, in her 60s, passed out from the pain because her handcuffs were too tight. She suddenly fell off her bunk. She was released after she woke up in the afternoon.
One morning in mid-October, a male guard opened the gate of my room and angrily ordered the inmates to drag me out. Instead of locking my hands and feet together in a "dragon hugging pillar" torture position, he handcuffed and shackled my hands and feet separately and said I was to be interrogated. I refused to go, so he grabbed my handcuffs and dragged me out, down the stairs and through a long hallway. The shackles caused excruciating pain around my ankles. I was dragged like that all the way to a low-ceilinged room where a young police officer was waiting. Because my face was deformed from the beatings, he said when seeing me, "You look like a criminal on death row." I said, "I am only practicing Falun Gong and being a good person, yet I am treated like a felon." He told me to sit down and asked for my name. I said, "I'm a Dafa practitioner." He said, "Where do you live?" I answered, "I won't tell you anything other than Falun Dafa is good." He said, "I'm just trying to complete my assignment here. It's sad to see you in this condition." I said, "I was perfectly well when you guys brought me here a few days ago and now I have been tortured to this state. Why do the detention center authorities in their capacity as administrators of the law violate the law? Maybe you don't have the guts to tell me about Jiang Zemin's policy regarding Falun Gong practitioners, 'demoralize them mentally, bankrupt them financially, and eliminate them physically,' 'If they are beaten to death, just count them as suicide.' The detention center doctor Tang said to me, 'Jiang Zemin paid me a lot of money to beat you.' I tell you, Falun Gong teaches people to be good, and I am truly being a good person, a better-than-good person. How can that be a crime? Jiang group has been persecuting Falun Gong for over two years and you guys have abducted many practitioners. Have you seen a single practitioner who gambles, steals, robs, kills? You haven't. How can you explain why someone is tortured to such a wretched state, for the sole reason of wanting to be a good person according to Truth, Compassion, Tolerance? I have said a lot to you! Do you think I should be held here and tortured on a daily basis? You really should not treat us Falun Gong practitioners this way, so I hope you will release me."
He was silent for a while and then left. The guard dragged me back to my room and my ankles were severely bruised by the shackles.
Practitioners Successfully Removed Handcuffs Together in a Group
On a morning several days later, I heard the gate open and heard the sound of shackles dragging on the ground. Then I saw practitioner Zhao Xiangrong walking toward me with three pairs of shackles on her legs, two of which had a chain and an iron ball attached to them. Her hands were cuffed behind her back. Her calves were swollen and the chain on two of the shackles cut into her flesh. The flesh on her calves was almost black and was covered with thick calluses. I was wearing only one pair of ball-and-chain shackles, and the metal rings on the shackles hit the bones in my feet and caused great pain whenever I moved my feet. I could not imagine the amount of suffering Zhao Xiangrong was going through.
The next day, practitioners Zhu Yinfang and Tao Juhua also came to my room in handcuffs and shackles. We had a discussion and realized that we are practitioners and should not be restricted this way. We should remove the handcuffs and shackles and do the Dafa exercises. We did the fourth set of exercise and moved the handcuffs down our back and legs, and then moved them to the front. Then we sent forth righteous thoughts to remove them completely. Zhu Yinfang's hands had been cuffed for more than a dozen days and her back was very stiff, so we helped her remove her handcuffs from behind her. Her hands were severely swollen, and the handcuffs scraped off a large piece of flesh from her hands when it was removed. We helped each other and sent forth righteous thoughts, and all of us were freed from the handcuffs and shackles. We could do the Dafa exercises again.
The head of our room reported this to the guards. Seven or eight guards came in and beat us. They stepped on our heads, bodies and legs, put our hands behind our back and handcuffed us. When the guards jumped on our bunks to beat us, all the inmates were petrified and hid in a corner. One inmate, a young girl who often combed our hair after the guards left, said to me with tears on her face, "I cried secretly when I saw them beating you in such a savage manner. I'm afraid they will also beat me." I said, "You have such a good heart; make sure you remember Falun Dafa is good." She nodded.
One morning, a dozen guards with several pairs of handcuffs and shackles tried to lock us together, but we refused to let them. They grabbed our hair, put our hands behind us in "board handcuffs" [an obsolete form of handcuff; the victim can only move her hands horizontally], and they connected every two practitioners with a ball-and-chain shackle and another handcuff. We were forced to wear 15 shackles and 13 handcuffs among the seven of us. We could not eat or go to the toilet. It was extremely difficult to even make a slight movement. We had no choice but to stop eating and drinking.
The guards removed the connecting shackles and handcuffs five days later but left us with individual shackles and handcuffs. We persisted in removing them daily in order to do the Dafa exercises. The guards tightened the handcuffs from grid six to grid eleven, and by grid eleven the cuffs were cutting deeply into the flesh and our hands were severely swollen. One day, when removing the handcuffs, a large piece of flesh was scraped off from the place next to my little finger, exposing the red muscle underneath. The next morning when they came to handcuff us, a female guard named Du held my left hand, looked at it and said, "Oh my God! Zhou Huimin!" She left without handcuffing me.
Jiang group's brutal persecution forces people who practice Falun Gong to endure such savagery and atrocities!
"Dragon Hugging a Pillar" - A Torture Method; Locking One's Hands and Feet Together
The authorities refused to relent, even after administrating numerous tortures on us. In the end, they handcuffed all of us in the "dragon hugging a pillar" position. After we were locked this way, the jail doctor Tang was the one that beat us most often. He was always the one leading the inspection team. As he came in one morning, Zhao Xiangrong was reciting Fa-rectification verses. Tang kicked her face and her head turned to one side; he kicked her again and forced her to turn the other way. He kicked her for a very long time. Seeing their brutal acts, I recited Master's poem,
"The evil ones should think twice about their flagrant savagery,
When Heaven and Earth are bright again, down to the boiling cauldron they go;
Punches and kicks do little to change people's hearts,
Violent winds usher in an autumn with even harsher chill."
("The Chill of Autumn's Winds")
Zhao Xiangrong's face was black and blue and she could not even open her mouth at lunch. The guards beat Zhao Xiangrong and Li Wenyi's thighs and buttocks with a thick metal board covered with small holes, around 6 mm in diameter. The parts of their bodies that took the beating turned black and blue and were covered with small bumps that remained for a very long time. They also suffered from intense pain and itching.
The guards finally removed the handcuffs and shackles after 34 days of beating and torture.
(To be continued)
(1) A Wolf-tooth club is a club with spikes on one end and a long handle on the other, formerly used as a weapon.
(2) Standing in "army corps" posture: Practitioners are exposed under the scorching sun. The feet are planted on the fiery ground. The skin on the face peels off from sunburn. Practitioners are also forced to sit on the ground. The buttocks are covered with sores due to sitting for a long time.
(3) Personal Cangues: Cangue, the name of an instrument of torture, is now used to indicate the person who was designated to supervise the behavior of practitioners.