A Fourteen-Year-Old Falun Dafa Practitioner Tells Her Story
(Clearwisdom.net) My name is Qiqi (a pseudonym). I am a 14-year-old Falun Dafa practitioner from China.
In 1996, at the age of five, I began to cultivate in Falun Dafa. My parents and I practiced Dafa since then and my mind and body have benefited greatly. Before I began practicing, I suffered from pneumonia and bronchopneumonia and was often hospitalized. My right arm still shows the needle marks from many injections. Since I started practicing Falun Dafa, my health has improved and I no longer need to be hospitalized or take medicine. My mother endured severe rheumatism and was bedridden at that time. After she started practicing Falun Dafa, she regained her health within one month and was able to play with me.
Falun Dafa requires practitioners to live by the principle of Truthfulness, Compassion, Forbearance and to be good persons. After we started practicing Falun Dafa, we all eliminated our shortcomings and our family became happy and harmonious. Dafa gave me a good family and a happy childhood. Tens of thousands of families have benefited from practicing Falun Dafa.
Everything has changed since July 20, 1999, when the Chinese Communist Party banned Falun Gong. Soon after that, two policemen came to our home and searched it without giving a reason. They confiscated all of our Dafa books and Teacher's picture. They arrested my mother. I was eight years old and was very frightened. In school, the teacher in charge of our class (my mother had introduced Falun Dafa's book to her, but she refused to read it) always asked me, "Do your father and mother still practice Falun Gong?"
Since 2000, the police have often come to our home to harass us and talk about "problems with Falun Gong." On every holiday, the police call to tell us, "Don't go to Beijing to appeal." I was afraid they would arrest my mother again. I was under pressure every time the police showed up at our home. I couldn't understand why they always came to our home.
On January 23, 2001, the so-called "Tiananmen Square Self-immolation" took place. All TV stations and media reported this incident that, as I later learned, the government itself staged. I was very young and was unable to judge truth from lies. After I saw people being burned and in flames and heard the stories told by some people with unclear minds, I couldn't fall asleep at night. I had great fear for a long time. At night, the images of those self-immolators frequently appeared in my mind and I was afraid to turn the light off. After a while, when I became scared I would wake up my mother. She would read the Dafa book with me and I was then able to go to sleep.
After the winter break, when we went back to school, our teacher brought up the subject and told the class that Dafa was bad and that Dafa practitioners had mental disorders. She also asked the class, "Do any of your parents practice Falun Gong?" Several of my classmates knew my parents practiced Falun Gong and they all glanced at me. My heart felt as if a needle pierced it. Afterwards, I overheard my classmates chatting behind my back, "Her parents practice Falun Gong. Do they have a mental disorder? Will they commit suicide?" The school also issued booklets slandering Dafa. Articles slandering Dafa were also included in our textbooks. The Communist Party didn't care about the mental health of children as they included photos of the staged self-immolation in our textbooks. Their goal was to scare children and to turn them against Falun Gong. Teacher also wanted us to discuss the subject in class. Due to long time pressure and the false information that the Communist Party publicized, I didn't dare to talk about Dafa, and I gave up Dafa cultivation. I was ten years old then.
During the time I did not practice Dafa, I no longer followed the principles of Truthfulness, Compassion, Forbearance. I would fight to be the class leader and to obtain awards. After 2003, my health became poor. I often had stomach spasms. Once my stomach was in so much pain that I felt as if I were going to die. My energy and physical health began to deteriorate. Every spring and winter I came down with a cold.
Later, my mother took me to Singapore and Malaysia on a vacation. She wanted me to learn the truth. To my surprise, I found that Falun Dafa had spread all over the world and practitioners overseas were clarifying the truth to people about the Chinese Communist Party persecuting Falun Gong. I met many Dafa practitioners in Singapore and Malaysia. They gave me the "False Fire" VCD and photos showing that Dafa had spread around the world. After seeing these materials, I thought about the photos published in China and found many questionable points: Why did the plastic bottle filled with gasoline that was in the self-immolator's lap not melt? Why was the woman who allegedly drank half a bottle of gasoline still o.k.? Generally, a person who drank that amount of gasoline would have died. Instead, she was full of life and slandering Dafa. All of the self-immolators were wrapped with bandages after they were treated in the hospital. It is common medical practice that burn victims should not have their burned skin wrapped, to facilitate healing. Slow-motion photos showed that Liu Chunling was hit with something, which killed her on the spot. The 12-year-old girl was able to talk clearly and call out for her mother after she had a trachea incision.
After returning home, I began again practicing Dafa with my parents. I also clarified the truth to my classmates and teachers. I told them, "The Communist Party is persecuting Falun Gong practitioners inhumanely. They fabricated lies to deceive us. Falun Dafa is good." My classmates all agreed with me. Some of my classmates who just returned from Hong Kong said they had seen Dafa practitioners clarifying the truth and putting on exhibits.
All students in China have to take a political science course. It teaches Communist Party ideology. Our political science teacher told us that the Chinese people had the right to organize public parades, and demonstrate and the right to appeal to their government. Then she added, "But those who practice Falun Gong do not have this right, since they are against the party and our government." She attacked Falun Gong in the class, but without mentioning the persecution of Falun Gong. The class was given exercise problems dealing with Falun Gong. I was very sad that day and tore up the sheet with the problem. Later, I told another teacher that I didn't want to write anything that slanders Falun Gong. She said, "I understand and I know what is going on. But you need to pay attention to your own safety in a country like China."
Many people in China who do not know the truth do not respect others' beliefs. They innocently do wrong things because the Communist Party is deceiving them. Even my own relatives might harm us because we are Falun Gong practitioners. That was why I always clarified the truth to people when I rode a cab, or talked to my teachers or to strangers.
In May 2005, I was shocked to find out through a third party that the 610 Office was investigating my parents. They told us that as soon as they found any evidence they would arrest us. They threatened us, saying, "We have been watching you for a long time. Not only do you do the Falun Gong exercises and tell others about Falun Gong, you also have connections with overseas Falun Gong practitioners. This is very serious." My mind was reeling. Every day I worried about my parents' safety. I wanted to call them but I knew my cell phone was monitored (because it was registered under my mother's name). I wasn't sure whether my parents would come to pick me up after class and worried about where I would be during the weekend.
I felt very lonely, helpless and terrified. I was afraid that my parents might be arrested, jailed, beaten, shocked with electric batons, force-fed, and forced to give up their beliefs. I worried that no one would give them food or clothing. I worried that they would have to go to jail and be in a cell with criminals. I worried about mother being thrown into the men's jail. I worried that I'd be sent to an orphanage, etc. I worried that they would persecute our entire family, because we believe in Truthfulness, Compassion, Forbearance.
I cried during class. My classmates and teachers were very concerned, but I couldn't tell them the truth. Later, my classmates took me to see a doctor. After a consultation, the doctor told me, "You have too great of a mental burden." He asked me the reason, but I couldn't tell him the real reason. Even though I was very fearful, I didn't want them to worry about me because of this difficult situation. Therefore, I didn't tell them anything. I only wrote it once in my diary. I really wanted to call my parents, but I couldn't do it.
Later, we were forced to become homeless to avoid arrest and persecution. Every day we wouldn't know where we would be the next day. I lived with relatives, in hotels, and in the homes of fellow practitioners. Once, the three of us lived in a car. Later, we were able to go overseas.
We finally arrived at the airport, at a place of freedom. I thought I'd be safe from then on, and father and mother wouldn't be arrested again. But trouble once again fell upon us. Because of my mother's "Falun Gong problem," she was prohibited from entering the country and the immigration officer took away her passport. I felt as if I had been stricken by lightning, and my entire body trembled. Mother told father and me to leave quickly to avoid our whole family being sent back. I mechanically walked downstairs and started to cry with a broken heart. I told my father again and again. "Mother cannot be here with us because of Falun Gong."
I was in despair and felt that there was no place for me in this world. The 610 Office would arrest her. If mother were sent back to China, she would be sent to a forced labor camp. We wouldn't be seeing each other any more. I cried bitterly for more than an hour. Later, father used a public phone to call people for help.
At about 9 o'clock, I felt that I couldn't wait any longer so I went looking for my mother. Because father doesn't speak English, I shuttled back and forth in the airport and then went to find the airport police. They did their best to call all the airport offices, but couldn't find mother. Later a policeman took me to the immigration office. I talked to the staff for a while and showed them my mother's airline ticket and her passport number. I was told that mother had left the airport and had entered the country. But I still wasn't sure that mother had really left the airport. From my experience dealing with police in China, I remembered that they lie a lot, especially when dealing with Falun Gong practitioners. The police use every possible means to deceive Dafa practitioners, so they can sentence them and send them to forced labor camps. Since I didn't have a local phone card, I couldn't contact anyone. I went to see another officer and she sent someone to find out. Later the person called the officer back to tell her that my mother had left the airport. Father and I fell asleep in the airport lobby at 3:00 a.m. By 7:00 a.m., we heard that mother was safe. At 8:00 a.m., I was relieved to see my mother.
Several days after we arrived, the local 610 Office back home didn't want to let the matter slide. They arrested several Dafa practitioners who had maintained close contact with us. I found out about this from reading the Minghui website (the Chinese version of Clearwisdom.net). Those arrested included several aunts whom I knew since I was little. We used to do the exercises together in the park. When my parents couldn't care for me, they would buy me my favorite food and take me to their home to study the Fa with them. They were persecuted in a forced labor camp because of their belief in Falun Gong.
The labor camp used to be a juvenile detention facility. In 1999, when the Chinese government began persecuting Falun Gong, they converted it to a forced labor camp. Most of the "prisoners" were Dafa practitioners. Several Dafa practitioners were tortured to death there. Many of them developed mental disorders or became deformed physically or even blind by the time they were released.
The police in the forced labor camp used ruthless means to torture them. For example, they made Dafa practitioners stand in the snow for several hours or even days when the temperature was below -10 degrees Celsius (about 14 degrees Fahrenheit), wearing only light clothing. Their sentences were arbitrarily extended. They were beat and humiliated and put into pigpens. They forced female practitioners to do heavy labor for longer than twelve hours each day.
In the forced labor camp, those Dafa practitioners who refused to be "reformed" were forced to wear a yellow tag, and those who had been "reformed" wore a red tag. Food was given based on the same criteria. The "un-reformed" practitioners were given the worst and the least amount of food. For example, they were given watermelon skin to eat and some were only given one meal a day. They were forced to do long hours of heavy labor. The guards ordered inmates to monitor the practitioners. The inmates were told they could beat, scold, or even use cruel means to torture them. Some Dafa practitioners went on hunger strikes in protest and the inmates force-fed them. As a form of torture, they used salt and cornmeal mixed with a small amount of water to force-feed them. Countless Dafa practitioners have died because of such forced-feedings.
The Chinese government blocks all websites and bans TV stations from broadcasting the facts about the persecution of Dafa practitioners, just like they block information about the students who were killed during the student democracy movement in Tiananmen Square in 1989. In China we can only see the falsified reports. Once I tried to search on Google for the "June 4 Student Movement." This caused my PC to lock up for several days. (If you want to know the facts about the persecution, you may want to visit the following websites: minghui.ca, www.clearwisdom.net, or www.upholdjustice.org, which are not available in China).
Because I was forced to wander about without a home for a long time, I missed school a lot. I thought about a free country where no one would discriminate against me or disrespect me just because of my belief in "Truthfulness, Compassionate, Forbearance," a country where my family would be safe, a country where I could freely say, "Falun Dafa is good." I thought that I would be able to do more for Dafa before I arrived in that country.
During the three months when I was forced to wander from place to place, I met many Falun Gong practitioners who were so severely tortured that some had lost one eye and some became blind in both eyes. There were practitioners who were beaten when they went to Beijing to appeal to the government for the right to practice. Some were shocked with electric batons and hung up for days after they were arrested. Some people were force-fed with salty water. Some were beaten by the inmates on orders from the guards in the forced labor camps. There were some who were forced to do hard labor for longer than ten hours or even twenty hours a day without being paid even a penny. Some were forced to divorce their husbands who were working for stated-owned organizations. There were those whose children were harassed or sent to orphanages. Some were forced to sever their ties to their relatives. Some were cut off from their financial resources. There were practitioners who were imprisoned in forced labor camps and denied family visitation. The perpetrators even forbade a mother from seeing her two-year-old baby. Some were forced to leave China and be far away from their families. I had seen all of those miserable situations.
An aunt told me about a sad situation she witnessed in a labor camp. The guards in the labor camp ordered several inmates to restrain a female Dafa practitioner on a long bench, while another prisoner mixed two bags of 500 grams (about 1 lb.) of salt with a small amount water in a bowl to make concentrated salt water. (They had to obey the guards or suffer persecution themselves.) They then used a dirty toothbrush to pry open her mouth and poured the whole bowl of salt water into her mouth. The female practitioner was so restrained that she wasn't able to move at all. All Dafa practitioners and prisoners cried.
Even under such tremendous pressure, all Dafa practitioners still displayed their gentleness, rationality and kindness. When they were asked whether they hated those who persecuted them, they all said they didn't detest them and if there were any chance, they would clarify the truth to them. The ruthless persecution couldn't destroy their firm belief in Dafa.
I have chosen to cultivate in Dafa, even though I knew the path would be very difficult. I understood that I would be forced to leave my family, my home and my beloved country. I know all Dafa practitioners have walked the path that has never been walked by others. I myself have experienced miracles and gained happiness in life by following the principles of Truthfulness, Compassion, Forbearance. I firmly believe that both China and I have benefited from it. I want to tell the entire world, "Falun Dafa is good." There is nothing wrong in believing in Truthfulness, Compassion, Forbearance. The world needs Truthfulness, Compassion, Forbearance! Please do everything you can to stop the persecution of Falun Dafa."