First Hand Experience of Cruel Brainwashing at the Beijing Women's Forced Labor Camp (Part 4)
(Clearwisdom.net) (Continued from Part 3)
13. Receiving Six of Teacher's Articles in One Day
Since the time Teacher's article, "Foretelling the Fa's Rectification of the Human World" was published, it was as if the wind changed direction and attacked the old forces with determination. A fresh current rushed into the women's forced labor camp and frightened the evil elements there. For practitioners, it triggered an awakening of the entire Third Brigade.
At that time I had just been released from an isolation room. I was not allowed to be alone. Monitors surrounded me as I walked behind the entire brigade to the dining area. There were long tables, with six people sitting on either side of each table. I was sandwiched in the middle. Everyone sat down and waited for the meal. Everyone was given two steamed wheat flour buns, and some received three. A bowl of vegetables was served as well, but I was singled out again. I only received one corn flour bun and several pieces of pickled vegetables. I actually felt indifferent about this kind of persecution. I thought: "Who cares about being treated differently?" I didn't know the people that sat across from me, because people came and went, but when a corn flour bun was pushed in front of me, they all knew what was going on. This was a form of silent warning.
When I was eating my bun, I raised my head. Suddenly I saw a pair of eyes sending me a message. When I walked out the door in a crowd, a hand put something into my pocket. I walked down the stairs as if nothing had happened and put my hands in the pockets. My fingers felt a paper ball. My heart started to beat violently, and I tried hard to not let tears role down my face. I knew it was Teacher's articles.
I longed for the middle of the night. Finally, I opened the little piece of paper inside a book. In the dim light, I read Teacher's article:
"The Fa-rectification moves through the world, the grand manifestation of Gods and Buddhas unfolds, and all of the chaotic world's unrighted wrongs and karmic relationships are settled with benevolent solutions. The ones who do evil against Dafa go down into the gate of no-life. As for all the others, people's hearts return to righteousness and they cherish virtue and do good, all the myriad things are renewed, and every single sentient being reveres Dafa's saving grace. All of the heavens and the earth celebrate together, congratulate each other, and exalt together. Dafa's most glorious period in the human world begins at this moment." ("Foretelling the Fa's Rectification of the Human World" from Essential for further Advancement II)
I cried hot tears. All pain and loneliness was instantly gone! I cried and cried and wished that I could let out the sound.
I cautiously listened for steps while reading Teacher's article over and over again. As I read, I just let my tears fall on my clothes. After reading it several times, I had memorized it. I felt that I had entered the splendid and amazingly wonderful atmosphere of the Buddha light shining everywhere and the Fa's rectification of the human world.
Every true practitioner in the forced labor camp was very excited and touched by Teacher's article. They all wished they could run all over, tell each other about it, and raise their arms to cheer.
I was stuck in the very strict monitoring environment. Even so, I received six copies of "Foretelling the Fa's Rectification of the Human World" in one day. I was so excited I couldn't hide my happiness and joy, and it was seen by one of the collaborators who monitored me. She reported it. Luckily, I was able to remain calm and very cautious. I did not reveal any names.
The authorities were frightened and mad. They began to search the entire jail as if their last day was imminent. They searched all our bags and everywhere on our bodies, as if they were looking for gold. But by then, we already had the article memorized.
14. Stand Up
I do not know the details of the process of how those collaborators came to the Third Brigade. But from what I experienced, what I saw, and the things I indirectly heard or felt, I could tell how brutal, moving and solemn their fight between righteousness and evil was.
One evening I was suddenly called to Class Two. This had never happened before. When I entered the room, everyone was sitting already. Everyone looked very serious. I didn't know what they called me for, and I sat down quietly. Everybody took turns and spoke. Their speeches astonished and touched me greatly. Their righteous thoughts were strong and they did not try to cover up their viewpoint. They talked about the truth of the Staged Tiananmen Self-Immolation incident. When the evil slandered Teacher in different ways, they clarified the truth very deeply and completely rejected anything evil. I suddenly understood that the long-planned awakening had begun.
The discussion was not over yet, but the jail manager's face was distorted and he angrily stopped the discussion. The practitioners were actually the ones who had announced, or planned to announce, that they wanted to retract the "Four Statements" (similar to the "Three Statements) that they had signed. Besides three people who still insisted on being collaborators, all the others clearly declared that they would follow and defend Dafa and Teacher.
This major awakening of this group, which was not possible earlier, had finally begun. An incomparable feeling and an unexplainable solemnness arose in my heart. I quickly searched for several good and strong practitioners, as well as for practitioners that captain Jiao did not believe were "transformed." But none of these practitioners was there. I was wondering whether they were put in other classes or were arrested individually. I was a bit worried. But everyone here was doing so well, and that made me so happy. I hoped that they would remain strong while facing the future ruthlessness and cultivate firmly to the end.
The meeting came to an end. The jail manager went to report it. In a little while, captain Jiao came in angrily and with him came dozens of people who had been selected from each class. These people sat in te four corners of the room. Jiao herself was walking around anxiously, like an ant walking on fire. I wasn't quite sure if she was this angry because the discussion in Class Two was totally different from what they had expected, or because the situation in the entire group was like this. She was very restless. She randomly said things that were hard to understand, and the things she said were insinuations. But altogether she was just trying to say: "There are people planning an upset [in which practitioners announce brainwashing gains to be void]. Following this path will not have a good result. Do not follow these people." She then angrily lay down on a bench in the room.
Everyone sat quietly with no one saying a word. I looked at them. I knew many of them. Among them there were also the collaborators. But those that I particularly knew, and the ones the guards thought were dangerous, were not there. Of all the people in the room, it was only about one-third of all the people in the brigade. Where did those people go? I thought to myself that there were a lot of people awakening this time, and that's why Jiao was so restless. It seemed as if the world was coming to an end. Obviously, how could the evil let the previous so-called "transformation" all be wasted? How could they let their despotic power disappear and lose the money and fame already earned for their so-called successes?
Everyone's face was very serious. I knew that the evil was demonstrating its might. They were doing a group "stew the eagle" [a torture method in which the practitioners are not allowed to sleep]. I was worried for all the practitioners, hoping at the same time that every practitioner could withstand the pressure and firmly walk forward. Everyone just sat quietly. I looked at every practitioner and made eye contact with each one. Some of them looked back at me to share their feelings, and some avoided eye contact. When they saw my eyes, they had different replies, depending on what kind of person they were.
It was past 1 a.m. Jiao told people to go back to their classes. Only several dozen people were left, but it took until daybreak. The room emptied out and in the end there were only one other practitioner and I. Jiao stared at me fiercely. She sat up, then lay down, again and again. She was just like a yoyo. It was evident how worried and restless she was. I knew that she wanted to make me the troublemaker again, but couldn't find evidence to blame anything on me. I was extremely calm, quietly repeating Teacher's writings with my eyes closed.
Finally the night was over, and it was another bright day. Jiao suddenly yelled, "Zhang Yijie, go back to class!" I was the last one to go back to class.
One day, I was suddenly called again. I followed a big group of practitioners to the visitor's building, which was about 50 meters away. We sat down in the biggest conference room and started knitting gloves. I was sitting by the window. I was usually not allowed to leave my room. They even brought my meals to my cell. But that day they had me join the group. I felt quite strange.
After everybody sat down, Jiao commanded a criminal to start singing and told everyone to join in. The song was only half way through and it died out. The criminal didn't want to give up and started to lead again. Suddenly, during the singing, I heard some screams. In a few moments, the singing stopped again. We were quietly knitting, and no one was talking. Jiao walked back and forth in the room. Suddenly I again heard horrifying screams. My heart immediately tensed. I tried to figure out where the sound came from, and once again I heard the screams. I concluded that the sound was from the direction of Class Three. I gave Jiao a look. She also heard the screams and ran to the window. The screams became clearer. Everyone heard them and looked at each other worriedly.
Jiao hurriedly whispered something to another guard. That guard left the room, and we no longer heard the screams. I suddenly understood why they had allowed me to join the group. They wanted to empty the brigade and torture those awakened practitioners. Jiao wanted to use the singing to cover up the screams, but her evil intention was exposed.
I did not know until I was released that the awakening of Class Three had affected between 80 and 90 practitioners. The awakening had frightened the authorities and sent shock waves within and outside of the forced labor camp, as well as through the entire Beijing Forced Labor Bureau. Jiao and deputy captain Huai asked to resign.
But in this situation the evil supported them and encouraged them to intensify the persecution and to turn the awakened practitioners away from their cultivation path again. Higher officials demanded that the entire forced labor camp take action and switch practitioners who declared their Four Statements null and void to different brigades and try to transform them separately. At the same time, male guards arrived in the Third Brigade. They remained in the lobby to threaten practitioners. Jiao and Huai did not sleep for nine days as they madly tortured and brutally beat practitioners.
During this time, to try to make me feel grateful, they had a small birthday party for me. At the party, deputy captain Huai brought back a practitioner from our brigade who had awakened and had been taken to another brigade. Jiao ordered her to read her pledge of accepting "transformation" again. Jiao looked at me proudly, because she believed that I had participated in and organized that awakening and that I was the one responsible for what went on. She was showing me in her own way that she had won, and at the same time, she found a number of practitioners that had "transformed" again to talk to me. I did not know until this time that they had sent the practitioners that were awakened to other brigades for cruel torture. This practitioner was one that was "transformed" again and brought back. My heart was deeply hurt. I was sad and sorry for her. I thought about how many practitioners could make it through to the end. My heart was sad. I will never forget that painful, black birthday.
The awakened practitioners had to bear a great deal. The evil Jiao used every brutal method she used on me to torture these practitioners. She was attempting to force these practitioners to recant and announce that they had voided renouncing the Four Statements. Jiao and other guards called drug and prostitution criminal inmates from the drug brigade to monitor and torture these practitioners. Jiao set a cell in the visiting building aside to torture these practitioners and to force them to take back their announcement. At the same time, Jiao opened up a secret room in the brigade, which was called the "small black room." Practitioners were brutally beaten in there around the clock. They were given very little food and were not allowed to sleep or use the toilet. They used all the violent methods they could think of to torture practitioners. Practitioners that were taken there were tortured until they were injured everywhere and had suffered internal injuries. The "small black room" was dirty, smelly and dark. Any scream or sound from brutal beating could not be heard on the outside. This "small black room" was an inhuman torture room. Crimes were committed there without a break. Practitioners Lang Zhongyue, Zhang Liqian and others that entered the forced labor camp at a later date and who firmly refused to be transformed were tortured at Jiao's evil hands.
One day at 1 a.m., the guards locked all the metal gates in the hallway. Two guards and five or six drug addict inmates brutally beat practitioner Ms. Lang Dongyue. These inhuman people also assaulted Ms. Lang sexually and used high-heel shoes to step on her over and over again with as much force as possible.
One morning, despite it being very cold outside, Jiao ordered all practitioners to go outside and knit there. When we returned after four hours, everything in the Class Three room was scattered around. There was a great mess. We also saw five criminals surrounding practitioner Tao (surname) and brutally beating her. The heating pipe was broken, too. Ms. Tao's chest and stomach were injured and she had pain when breathing. Her private parts were also injured.
Practitioners Xu Mei and others arrived at the forced labor camp about the same time as I. Their bodies showed injuries from being shocked by Jiao with electric batons. At times, Jiao gave the electric baton to drug criminal Liu Fengqin and ordered her to torture practitioners. China has strict laws on the usage of electric batons, such as what is a valid use for them, as well as the amount of electricity allowed to be discharged and for how long. However, the electric baton became Jiao's personal property. She used it whenever she felt like it.
The awakened practitioners in the Third Brigade experienced harsh tests and tribulations. Jiao of the Third Brigade was well known for her evilness. The practitioners could not come back to Falun Dafa without letting go of life and death. In later days, whenever the guards beat practitioners, they would take everyone outside, including me. Despite it being quite cold in March and April in the suburbs of Beijing, we were taken outside in freezing weather for entire mornings or afternoons. This happened quite frequently. For the awakened practitioners, this was the test of life and death.
Nevertheless, more and more awakened practitioners overcame difficulties and remained firm in their decision. They continued to step forward and bravely faced evil and violence. They cultivated, corrected their wrongs, and refused to turn back from their decision. Whenever they fell, they would bravely get up and stand firm!
15. Goods for Export from the Forced Labor Camps
Sometimes between April and May 2002, just before I was sent to the "absorption" brigade, I was able to leave the cell for a little more than 20 days and allowed contact with practitioners in our brigade. Actually, Jiao had an ulterior motive for this short-lived favor. She wanted to find reasons for sending me to the absorption brigade. During those few days I was forced to do slave labor just like all the other practitioners. Now, I knew of the existence of goods made for export in forced labor camps. I understood that, although being sold for a high price, they were made cheaply with the blood and sweat of slave laborers. This made me realize mistakes of my past, which I regretted deeply.
All eight brigade sections occupied one area on the big field and formed a circle. Everyone was knitting woolen scarves as fast as possible, because it was rumored that the person in charge would come early in the afternoon to collect the goods. But, if truth be told, many physically couldn't complete the task. Thus, those who knitted the fastest from all classes were selected and ordered to finish the knitting for the others.
Criminal inmates were sitting next to me, waiting for the last scarf I was knitting. I finished it as fast as I could. When I was finally done, I raised my head, took a deep breath, and stretched. I had been sitting in one position for several hours. I extended my stiff fingers with some effort, and it took a while to be able to relax them.
I was forced, because I couldn't be "transformed," to perform slave labor. I produced the following products: wrapped chopsticks; insoles; and knitted hats, gloves, scarves, and wool sweaters. Besides that I was forced to move garbage, clean bathrooms, wash dirty clothes, dig holes for trees, and clean rooms. I was involved in all work related activities at the camp. Besides that, I had to perform other kinds of labor that was not asked of criminal inmates and other practitioners. The work never stopped, and I earned lots of revenue for the forced labor camp. As I was under close supervision, I was involved in exhausting and grueling work.
After the knitting "marathon," I was not allowed to rest. A criminal inmate brought more work for me to do. We all had to knit scarves. Everyone was forced to work just like a machine.
There was no rest. Everything was a rush job. All practitioners had to get up at 6 a.m. to begin work as early as possible. From after breakfast we worked until noon. In the afternoon we worked from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. That was not the end of it. At night we worked from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. I noted that winter and summer schedules were not quite the same. No one was allowed to rest at noon during times of rush deadlines or when too much work needed to be done. They even had us work at night beyond 11 p.m. When knitting sweaters and gloves for export, because of deadlines, the work was even more exhausting.
The person responsible for export production required high quality work. We might work an entire day and turn in several dozens of knitted gloves, with none qualifying as export goods. They were all returned for repair or to be started over from scratch. When the export contracting person, "the boss," sat outside the door and waited, the guards had everyone work overtime, regardless of age. At such times, no one was allowed to rest and worked around the clock. One was not allowed to sleep until one had completed one's quota.
There was a day when suddenly my eyes gave up--I couldn't see people in front of me. Long term physical and spiritual torture, hunger and lack of nutrition, damage to my eyes from being beaten by guards, and the around-the-clock work had had a detrimental effect on my eyes. Everything was extremely blurry. At first I thought it was because of the dark room, or because we were knitting black gloves, so I changed to knitting white gloves, but everything was still blurry. Soon I wasn't able to recognize people in front of me. Since I couldn't see clearly, my knitting speed decreased and I was the slowest in the group. Now, I suffered another round of torture.
Deputy captain Huai called me to the lobby and forced me to work on the job during the night. I stood in the lobby with two blurry eyes, extremely tired. I had a difficult time to continue knitting. This kind of punishment actually had no effect on me. Because, even if I finished my quota during the night, I could only sleep a little bit between 2 or 3 a.m. or perhaps until 5 a.m. When it was time to go to bed, I didn't even take off my clothes or shoes, as within a short time I had to get up again and start working. Later, there were other people who couldn't see clearly. Yet we were still forced to knit woolen sweaters, and the amount of work never decreased.
This is how the staff at the forced labor camp treated inmates and practitioners alike. There is no justice, no morality, and the imprisoned just work and see no return for their efforts. Sometimes a flower needed to be embroidered on the backside of a glove. Embroidery is not easy. A pair of gloves is made in three parts. Some people knit the wrists, some the palms, and some the fingers. I always made the palm, and it's very complicated. My quota was four palms daily.
Quality was foremost on the list. Everything had to be export quality, for which the standard was very high. All ten fingers had to be knitted perfectly. Generally, quality control discarded 80 percent of our work and we had to start from scratch. One pair of gloves needed so much effort to yield an export quality pair of gloves. Yet, the labor fee was barely one yuan. I never found out if the staff at the camp kept the money, or if the boss was stingy. The factory workers who did quality-checks told us, "This pair of gloves, if you sell it in a big mall, the price would be four or five hundred yuan ($50-^60 US), but if exported, the price would be over $100 US." Maybe these are the characteristics of "forced labor products?" I wonder who pockets all that money. No wonder some Western people are angry with how such products are produced.
Talking about slave labor production helped me remember something from the past. It was actually quite ironic. When I used to work as a government official, for the "national benefit" (or rather, the benefit of CCP members), for the fame and dignity of our nation, I once fought verbally with US government officials. They had pointed out that China's exported goods were made by inmates at forced labor camps, and our government denied it. I wanted to uphold our country's dignity and gain benefits for our country, so I quickly produced some so-called "investigative materials" as counter evidence. I then quickly sent the material to the Chinese Department of State, other involved agencies and officials, as well as the relevant embassies. We came up with the same story, argued strongly, stopped the American people from complaining any further, and gained the so-called "dignity" for our "mother country."
However, reality finally gave me a chance to know the truth and to let me measure myself against things I did in the past. I was once the defender of the national benefits, and then I became a prisoner in a forced labor camp and produced these goods myself. I was so tired. I could no longer stand straight or extend my fingers, and my vision was so blurry that I could not recognize people in front of me.
I had a feeling of being used and slapped in the face. Feelings about the past were unbearable to recall.
16. Evil Jiao: "All That We Are Allowed or Forbidden to Do, We've Made You Suffer Them"
Despite being kicked and beaten, forced to stay awake day-in and day-out, suffering hot or cold weather when forced outside, years of being hungry and thirsty, my black hair turning white, dirty clothes and messy shirts, I still smiled. I had--and have--the Buddha Law in my heart.
I'd become the major reason for Jiao's anxiety. Higher officials assigned me to her (originally I was in the First Brigade). She relentlessly tried to "transform me" and hoped that I would become putty in her hands. She would have received credit and a big bonus. But I never made her wish come true.
With the passing of time, from being with the people who monitored me at all times, I gradually realized that beginning with Li Lanqing, then the National Party Committee and Labor Committee Leader, together with the Foreign Economics Bureau, and the forced labor camp staff, everyone was paying attention to my "transformation." They told the camp staff that I must be "transformed" with whatever method could be employed. Thus, Jiao's brains were exhausted in devising torture methods. She never stopped forming "teams of assaulting the firm practitioners" but failed every time. She constantly changed to different torture methods, starting with brutal beatings, long term confinement, physical and spiritual torture, and all kinds of brainwashing methods--she used them all.
Finally one day, Jiao said to me disappointedly, "Zhang Yijie, all that we are allowed or forbidden to do, we've made you suffer them."
I then responded. "But, do you know the outcome of your actions?" She looked at me diffidently and with eyes widely open. I said calmly: "Let me tell you, all the things you did to me could only make me stronger and my mind firmer." Jiao had nothing to say to me anymore.
Jiao knew that her evil deeds had done everything but kill me. But she also knew in her heart that even if she had taken my life, she still couldn't destroy my belief.
In reality, she had taken my life in a figurative sense many times. The brutal beatings were meant to take my life. Torturing me day and night for 18 days without letting me sleep, and then 42 days of even more brutal torture, each time more cruel than the previous time... All these tortures were meant to take my life. The endless taking turns to torture me day and night and having collaboarators who undermined the Fa attack me again and again. I see all these as taking away my life--taking away all of my previous lives!
One night during the 42 days' confinement in an isolation cell, the guards ordered two criminals to take me outdoors where it was freezing and make me run in the yard. It was a cold winter and even colder at night, and I was not dressed for the cold outdoors. At that time, they had not let me sleep for an entire month. I was exhausted from all the torture, and I could not move my badly swollen legs and feet. I was running and stopping. The monitor person pushed and dragged me and constantly kicked and hit me. When I really couldn't move anymore, Zhang Su, a drug addict, madly hit my temple with her fist. I heard a cracking sound, something that clearly was the crack of a bone. "Bang," the back of my head heavily hit the concrete ground. A flash of thought appeared on my mind: "This time it's over!" I passed out instantly.
After a long time, when I regained consciousness, Zhang Cuifen, a large woman, pulled me up. I touched the back of my head and shook my head. There was nothing wrong with me.
I held my temple and thought that I was hit so hard, and that hitting a person's temple is definitely deadly. I really heard the sound of a bone cracking, but my head wasn't damaged at all. I again felt my temple. It was hard to imagine, because it did not even hurt. Then I felt the back of my head. No matter how I touched it and pressed it, I didn't feel any pain. It was as if I wasn't hit at all. These kinds of things happened many times.
The miracles that I experienced during the many times I was tortured showed me that Dafa has given me infinite endurance! Dafa has given me a strong will, strong enough to overcome any difficulties and tribulations! The supernormal Dafa has given me the supernormal ability to bear hardships!
During these seven years of unprecedented persecution of practitioners, there were so many practitioners that challenged the limits of human endurance, an endurance that cannot be explained with today's science. Many practitioners protested with hunger strikes. They didn't eat or drink for two weeks, a month, three months, five months, or even longer than half of a year. This has not been a rare occurrence during the seven years of persecution. Despite inhuman torture for 18 days, continually standing for 42 days and nights, suffering other types of torture at the same time, and being forbidden to sleep, I survived because of my supernormal strong will. How did I become supernormal? We understand that it's Teacher that uses supernormal abilities to transform our bodies. Teacher is guarding us and bearing for us. I can fully understand this now after suffering these inhuman tribulations. The evil Jiao had indeed taken my life. Only because of Teacher's protection could I walk out of that evil place alive. All that they made me suffer in the end had no effect on my determination. I am still, and will remain, a firm practitioner of Falun Dafa.
Jiao lost all hope of "transforming" me. She was afraid of me. My existence was a threat to her and an encouragement for other practitioners. The minute she realized this, she had to get rid of me as fast as possible. By June 2002 I had stayed more than a year with Team No. 3.
On June 28, I was called to the office. After I entered, I was surprised to see no one from Team No. 3. There were three guards, including Director Shi of the Education Branch. He looked as if he was ready to kill someone.
Shi announced that I would be punished. They had decided to take me to the concentrated training team for a month. They thought that I had been responsible for Li Huixia's practicing Falun Gong again and that I spread Teacher's lectures to other practitioners in the camp. I asked them to show me evidence. They naturally could not provide any evidence.
Generally, one's team leaders announced such punishment. But Jiao and the rest of Team No. 3 kept out of sight in this case and deferred all actions to the director. This changed the situation to one similar to a court proceeding. And they even brought in two of the guards to watch me.
When leaving the office, I saw Jiao hiding behind the door. When I looked into her eyes, I noticed that she was frightened. She really looked pitiful, and I remember her behavior to this day.
That day, I was taken away from Team No.3, where countless Falun Dafa practitioners were tortured. I knew that Jiao would face retribution for her criminal actions against practitioners. I was now detained with the concentrated training team.
Once I arrived at the concentrated training team, deputy director Huai, who was monitoring me, asked: "Zhang Yijie, do you hate us?" I looked at her and answered calmly: "I wouldn't want to be re-educated by you!"
After I was released and able to study the Fa diligently, I realized that what I said was not within the Fa. What I said gave the impression that I accepted the evil persecution, although Huai was shocked by it.
17. Enlightenment While Being Persecuted
Suddenly I realized I should clean up my environment. I had been forced to write a daily report. I was not allowed to sleep until I submitted a report. This had gone on for over a year. Now, I refused to write another report.
After I cut the chain, they asked me why I refused to write the report. I answered, "I was forced to write it. Now I don't want to write it anymore. It's that simple." They just took my answer and did not argue with me. I felt as if a large stone was lifted from my heart.
I evaluated carefully my "compassion" and "tolerance" level. I evaluated my past experiences against these two principles many times. I needed to find out if my tolerance helped strengthen the evil. Whatever happened to me on Chinese New Year's Eve made me realize that I had to take control of my life. But, I also knew that there was no opportunity for filing a lawsuit. I was watched around the clock. Even if I wrote a letter to the prosecutors they would keep it in the camp and it would go nowhere. At the time I believed that there was no way out of this deadlock. Unfortunately, the guards asked Huang Ping to persecute practitioner Lang Zhongyue even more inhumanly. I felt guilty. My "kindness" toward them made them behave worse. This was the first time I realized that I was in the wrong and I was sad about it.
At the time I was sentenced to forced labor, at the beginning of 2001, we only thought of individual cultivation. I suffered all the inhuman mental and physical torture, evaluating them with the principles of "compassion" and "tolerance." I could give up everything, even my life. I resolved early on that I would not be "transformed." I used all the strength within me to protect the Fa in my heart. Jiao used to say, "Zhang Yijie would bear anything except 'transformation.'" Afterward she told me, "We did all we could or we couldn't to you." When she realized that there was no further method she knew of that would change me she resolved to send me to the concentrated training team where I would continue to be persecuted. They extended my "sentence" by ten more months.
Practitioners displayed in their demeanor "Truthfulness, Compassion, Tolerance" and they shocked even the evil! But we did not fully understand the Fa, although Teacher taught it in "Suffocate the Evil." But, I couldn't quite understand it. Looking back now, I understand that Teacher already talked about all the situations and theories before the persecution began. What I remembered most clearly was, "What's there to fear? My body would still sit there even with my head cut off." ("Huge Exposure" from Essentials for Further Advancement) I shed tears. That is right. Firmly believing in the Fa is a validation of the Fa. But the Fa has boundless meanings. We are not only cultivating ourselves and validating the Fa. We also have a mission as Fa-Rectification disciples. If we could not realize this and could not take this step, the persecution would worsen.
When I was taken to the concentrated training team, I had already matured and I understood the Fa from within the Fa. Here, I had time to think about the lecture notes and Teacher's poems I had obtained. With Teacher's guidance, I took the step away from individual cultivation and became a Fa-rectification disciple.
While with the concentrated training team, I followed the Fa and knew what I should do. I was telling the truth to the guards and I openly protested the persecution. I resisted the playing of the tapes slandering Dafa.
We practitioners in the concentrated training team cooperated with each other. The environment improved. We were allowed to buy food and make phone calls. I understood that we are one body. As long as we act as one body and keep our righteous thoughts, our environment will be normal.
18. Falun Dafa Is the Righteous Law
There was no clock and no calendar. I had no idea what date it was. At the beginning, I was counting days. Later, I didn't care about the time anymore. But one day my heart was restless and I just felt something was going to happen.
I recalled something from the previous day. We were working. What did the other practitioner try to tell me? Because of the guards, I did not understand what she was trying to tell me. What did she want to tell me?
At breakfast, we reported numbers, sang a song and began to eat. It was a long line waiting to pick up food, and I was at the end. I knew something was going to happen and I watched closely the long line in front of me. All of the sudden, a shout came from somewhere in the line: "Falun Dafa is good!" "Falun Dafa is the righteous law!"
I finally knew what it was. As soon as I was about to shout it, too, I saw someone hit the back of practitioner Ms. Chen, who had shouted "Falun Dafa is good!" I shouted loudly: "Stop beating people! Falun Dafa is the righteous law!"
I believe my shouts shook heaven and earth. All the guards were shocked. Team leader Jia yelled, "Go back!" I saw that the practitioner who had shouted was surrounded by guards and several drug inmate "helpers." They were dragging her toward the office. Generally, that meant a beating.
After I got back to the room, two "helpers" were still in shock. Usually they would jump up and beat me. The guards had given this order to the criminal inmates. But today they looked as if they were in a daze, just as if they had been reprimanded. They did not say a word.
Director Jia broke in and asked loudly, "Zhang Yijie, what are you trying to do?!" I answered: "Nothing. I said, 'Stop beating her . I protest beating people! It's illegal!' Where did you take her?"
Jia said: "She shouted a slogan and it is against the law!"
I said: "Isn't beating people against law? If you punish the person who shouted, you must punish the person who beat others as well. I'm waiting to see how you handle this!"
Jia was angry. He turned and walked away.
A little later, team leader Zhao came in and said, "Zhang Yijie, I did not beat anyone! I did not beat anyone!" I said calmly: "I didn't say you beat Ms. Chen. I did not see clearly who did it, but I saw someone beat Ms. Chen with a fist. If Ms. Chen is punished, I request whoever beat her gets punished, too." Zhao left.
I decided to go on a hunger strike. I looked at the meal but did not touch it. I thought, "I must support Ms. Chen." I said I would wait and see what happened. I was sure Jia and the other leader saw what I was doing through monitoring devices.
Soon, Zhao came again and said, "Ms. Chen returned to the dining room. No one beat or punished her. She only sat in the office for a while and has already returned to the dining room." I asked, "How can I trust you?" Zhao looked quite sincere and said, "It's true. I can bring you to see her if you doubt it. She's eating her meal." I thought about it and then realized that she was not lying. Therefore, I said, "All right. I believe you." Zhao said: "You can eat your meal." And she left.
In the evening when we were watching the news, I saw that Ms. Chen sat at her place. She looked unharmed.
19. Being Released
(a) Taken To Prison
It was close to the date of my release. My actual release date was September 2002 and it was now July 2003, because of the ten months they had added to my term.
The rumor was that practitioners who refused to be "transformed" were given another ten months detention. And if they were not "transformed" after ten months, they were taken from the forced labor camp to a prison.
I didn't know if this was true. But I knew it would affect me. I recall that there were some practitioners who did very well until just before they were to be released. But, when they were threatened with longer sentences, they agreed to be "transformed" or wrote down things they should not write.
In May, a practitioner who had to be released from the camp was taken at 5 a.m. We heard that she was taken to a prison. Then came my turn. And after me, there would be six more people whose sentences were served. The authorities used their last chance to try to "transform" us.
I decided that, wherever I went, I would remain calm. With only two weeks left, no one came to tell me anything With only a few days left, still nothing. Other practitioners were all watching and hoping that I would be released. If I was released they thought they would be, too.
I gave some of my clothes and some other daily goods to several kind "helpers" and prisoners who had longer sentences. Only three days left. That morning leader Zhang suddenly came and called me to come along. She took me through the gate. I asked, "Where are we going?" She answered, "You will know soon."
She took me to the visitors building. We went to the second floor. She opened one door and asked me to go in. I saw a group of four or five policemen coming from downstairs. I was surprised, since policemen were usually not seen in the women's forced labor camp. What was this group doing here? I saw a policewoman in the room. Were they going to keep me in confinement? I asked: "Why did you bring me here? I won't be 'transformed.'" Zhang said: "Oh, nothing. You stay here for two days and then you will be released." "If I'm being released, why do you detain me here and not let me go openly?" Suddenly I understood: they wanted to release me quietly.
Half an hour later, the policemen brought my belongings and left. I looked at those things. They even brought the things I did not want anymore. I could only imagine how those four men had broken into the female cell and packed up everything of mine. They were pretending that I was detained and would receive another long sentence. They wanted it to serve as a warning for others. If not "transformed" there would be a prison sentence. They were making a show.
A normal release procedure is to tidy up a day before one is released. The second day, family members would bring clean clothing, and the person would change. The director would take the person through the prison door to the outside, while other prisoners waved good-bye.
They made a real show of my release. They wanted to keep me isolated from the others and then release me quietly. They wanted the others to think that if they were not "transformed" they would be given another sentence to be served in a prison. They sometimes succeeded with their charade and frightened people.
Now I was isolated from the others. I wanted to expose their game, but I didn't know how to proceed.
(2) What Really Matters Is That You Persecuted Falun Dafa
I walked to and fro in the corridor, so guard Zhang asked, "What are you doing, Zhang Yijie?" "I'm practicing walking," I said. "I was held captive for nearly two and a half years in that small cell with little or no space. One is not even allowed to go 'outside for fresh air,' a privilege even given to criminal inmates. It was a 'privilege' if one was given the opportunity to fetch hot water with the others, go for a walk outside, look at the blue sky and take in a breath of fresh air while being in the 'Special Training Team' section."
There would still be a long way for me to go once I was released! I walked despite my injured legs, still wondering if I would be able to leave this place. Was it really true that this nightmare would come to an end? I was not excited, but still some type of sentiment came over me at times. I couldn't figure out what this sentiment was about. I could not guess what this feeling represented.
I looked through the window at the end of the hallway and saw the marvelous blue sky and the green trees. I'd never envisioned that I would leave with dignity. Whenever I watched practitioners being released they were waving. I sighed with emotion and felt sorry for them. I held the thought at times that this would not be the way I would leave. I usually thought only of leaving the land beneath my feet. I never thought of green trees and blue sky. It was as if they did not exist. The scene changed and it was as if they were so close to me and the boundless universe was only one step away, but the picture was still tinged with dark clouds moving along the sky and an occasional flash of lightning followed by thunder.
As I thought, I walked slowly on unsteady legs. I couldn't help longing for the magnificent day when the "Fa rectifies the human world."
The two guards on duty asked me, "What will you do once you are released?"
I answered, "If I was dismissed by my work unit, I will find another job. If not, I will work there."
Zhang told me then, "I didn't mean that. I meant if you can sign a 'guarantee statement' not to practice?"
I finally knew what they wanted to know. I told her calmly, "I will not sign the guarantee statement or write anything else. How I make my living is my concern. If this is the condition for releasing me, you may as well take me back to my cell now."
She said, "I didn't imply that."
I said: "That's fine, then." That day we were at peace with each other.
The morning of the next day, the day of my release, Zhang brought something for me sign. I told her, "Sorry, but I refuse to sign." She responded,
"I think you'll need to sign this document, won't you?" She took out the deposit slip I for me to sign so she could return my property. At that time, I realized that someone was taking photos of me from the front and back. They made sure that they caught my face on film. I turned back immediately and lowered my head and stood next to her. She followed me and was on her knees to take some more photos. I turned another time and she followed once more. I suddenly realized that they could use of this photo and tell others that I had been transformed. The photos would show that I was in cahoots with the police, that we were standing next to each other. How intimate!
I stood up straight and told her, "You can't take my photo without my permission."
She then stood up. When I bent down to sign the document for my deposit, she tried to take another photo. I asked, "Why don't you listen to what I said?"
I said, "Why didn't you take photos of the others when they were leaving. Is your duty to just take a photo of me? And another thing, why didn't you take a photo when my face was bruised and black and swollen from the beatings? Why didn't you exercise your duty then? Why didn't you take a photo of me at that time?" The female guard was speechless and stopped taking photos.
Then the educational section guards, in charge of handing out punishment arrived, holding files in their hands. They opened up the file, asked questions, and got ready to put down my answers.
The taking of photos and making notes were for a special reason, as other practitioners were not required to go through these procedures when they were released. I thought that they planned to make a record for "important people." This was not good, so I wouldn't cooperate with them.
I soon calmed down, but the solemn and strong feeling to face death unflinchingly rose again inside me.
When writing this, another thought came to me about keeping in mind or making notes when something is important. It is about the guards, the team chief and also the head of the prison. By being with them those two-and-a-half years, I did see and feel a little of their good sides, something decent left in their human natures. Once a team chief said to me," Since I have been associated with all of you, my temper towards my family has really changed for the better, and I also understand much of the human truth." I believe what she said came from the bottom of her heart.
Speaking to those who showed their good sides, I'm telling you now that it is for your and your family's benefit if you try to open and hold on to the goodness in your heart, put down the "butcher's knife" and stop your criminal activities. Only then is there a future for you--but only if you can pull back before it is too late. You should take responsibility for your own lives and future. Anybody who participated in the persecution of Falun Gong must pay for it, and those police and guards who treated Dafa disciples well must always remember the proverb that good deeds will bring rewards and bad deeds will result in retribution. The universal principle of "Truthfulness, Compassion, Tolerance" will eventually judge every human being.
As to the male and female police and guards and everyone who participated in persecuting me, I have one thing to say to you: "It doesn't matter if you tortured, harassed or hurt me, because I am only an ordinary cultivator. I won't carry any resentment, hatred, nor memory of what happened. I do not carry the wish to retaliate. But it really matters if you persecuted Falun Dafa, for
that will decide your life and your future. Therefore, I hope you will think it over."
Then the head of the special training team arrived. She finally gave me the letters that I had asked for many times and which she had refused to hand over. I opened several outdated letters from my family, which had been torn open. I read them slowly, having an upset feeling inside me. This little bit of kindness made me feel that everything had passed.
Several female guards asked me to change into the clothes that my family had brought. I then walked slowly downstairs and towards the entrance door of the forced labor camp.
As I turned the corner of the building I suddenly stopped in amazement.
Almost the entire special training team, except for the several "higher level people," including the officers on duty, were in front of me, face to face. Everyone held an amazed expression on her face. I think this expression said, "Oh, she was not taken to a prison, she is going home!" As to the facial expression of the guards, it was quite surprising. To me, it was awkwardly colorful. There was surprise, complaint, and depression written all over their faces. I was close to shouting loudly, "How do you feel now? Really too bad! I really was released!"
I just watched them, smiling, and we walked away from each other.
The news of my going home would spread to everyone in the special training team within ten minutes. The lies about having been taken to the prison would be exposed.
Postscript: I Deeply Regret My Actions
One day I received a strange telephone call at home. The person said in a low and depressed sounding voice: "I want to speak to Zhang Yijie." I answered: "This is she." After a long silence came the weeping voice from the other end. She said: " I am so-and-so from the special training team. I once participated in torturing you. I was the one responsible for having your sentence extended by ten months. I deeply regret my actions towards Master, Falun Dafa, and you. I now understand the truth!" Tears immediately came to my eyes. Still holding the receiver, I replayed the scenes in the special training team in my mind. It was vivid and just as if it had happened yesterday. All the people in that unit filed through my mind, just like a movie, but nothing else could make me feel more gratified than hearing what I just heard. I said repeatedly, "To be aware is good! To be aware is OK!"
As I put down the receiver, my face was bathed in soundless tears and I wept for a long time. I felt that my entire mind and body was immersed in the Fa's grand mercy. I knew that it was Master's boundless benevolence and mercy that had brought about this change in a disciple who once went astray. I thought of Chen Ying and the many statements on the Clearwisdom website that were written by awakened hearts who regretted their participation in the persecution. I wept for the many who were still on the wrong path and had not yet returned.
In fact, we have all experienced the same kinds of thoughts during our cultivation process. We all let go of our human attachments and aberrations thanks to the broad and profound mercy of Master and the Fa, and we became more and more purified and walked a straighter path.
After being released from the forced labor camp, I diligently read Master's lectures and made up for missed lessons. A nameless longing for the beginning of the Fa-rectification in the evil camp environment gave birth to many human attachments. Through diligent Fa-study, I gained a complete and profound understanding of Master's fundamental position concerning the persecution. Now I have a deep understanding of disciples taking the most righteous path. I also found the limitations and defects I still held in my thoughts when facing the persecution and the areas that needed to be reinforced. During this process, Master's grand mercy melted the obstacles and knots in my heart. Master's concerned and tireless teaching addressing the lost and "transformed" students, and the prolonged waiting for them gave me a deep shock. At first I nursed some disaffections within me, because of the long and bitter wait that made one day seem like a year, being exposed to the inhuman violence, and because of being confronted daily with the evil faces in the forced labor camp. All this created a vivid pattern in my memory and associated behavior. I murmured with tears in my eyes to Master while reading Fa, "Master, are they worth saving? You know that they are as bad as the evil wants them to be!"
But, as I read one lecture after another, my face was covered with tears over and over again. I felt as if all had been resolved, that all disaffections were resolved and what appeared as unconquerable pain was dissolved by the great mercy of Master and the boundlessness of the Fa. My heart and soul were enveloped by the everlasting and broad benevolence and mercy, penetrating my spirit and every cell of my body. I now had a brand new understanding and way of looking at the persecution, past experiences, and myself.
Therefore, I want to say to you, the lost disciples of Falun Dafa, from deep within my heart: "Master is still waiting for your return. Before the Fa-rectification arrives, Master is still giving you time to come back and amend for your wrongdoings. He is giving you the chance to change direction. But remember the Chinese proverb, 'There will be one or two chances, but there will be no third and fourth chance.' You can't just turn a blind eye to the chances Master is giving you. As to the present situation, the Fa-rectification and the great historical moment in human history is drawing closer. Therefore, your chances to be saved will become less and less. You must understand that there is a possibility of your awakening being too late!
"Your thousands of years' of waiting will be ruined in a moment, and the innumerable trials and hardships we have suffered during these thousands of years will be for nothing. Also, the trials and tribulations we suffered when coming down level after level will have lost any and all meaning. Then, all which is left will be a moment's ending and then centuries of endless regret.
"The path is under your feet, but you must choose the direction you will take. All of you who are humans today, including those who are doing evil, it is for you to choose 'Truthfulness, Compassion, Tolerance' or viciousness. Everyone is judged as to their consciousness at any one time, their moral behavior, justice, kindness, and evil deeds every minute and second. Remember that this is the choice of life or death. Even you, the most vicious ones, if you can drop your hatchet and truly accept 'Truthfulness, Compassion, Tolerance,' and at the same time compensate for all the losses you have caused as soon as possible, you still have a chance. If you accept the principles 'Truthfulness, Compassion, Tolerance' you will not be discarded by history. But remember, you have to truly become kind."
The principles "Truthfulness, Compassion, Tolerance" are Noah's Ark for mankind. All those who were vigilant and awakened to a life of goodness are going to board this ship and sail towards their predestined destiny.
From deep within my heart, I wish all awakened disciples a great journey and wish for the awakening of lost and hesitant students. I hope that they catch up to the Fa-rectification, follow Master's teachings, and do the three things, to not fail the tens of thousands of years' waiting and march forward to the last great return.
I am from Changchun, Jilin Province, and a graduate of Jilin University. After graduation I was assigned to work at the Ministry of Economic Relations and my task was to analyze foreign countries. In 1982, the three Ministries of the State Council merged into one and became the Ministry of Foreign Trade and Economic Cooperation. I was also assigned to that Ministry. From the middle of the 1980s to the beginning of the 1990s, I was assigned to the Chinese Embassy in Romania as second secretary.
After being reassigned back to China I continued to work in the administration of that Ministry (now the Ministry of Commerce) as a section director until 1999, when I was persecuted for practicing Falun Dafa.
I began to cultivate in Falun Dafa in 1995. I was persecuted for not renouncing Falun Gong from that day in July 1999 when the Chinese Communist regime banned Falun Gong. Because, seven years ago, the former evil head of the Chinese Communist regime, Jiang Zemin, gave the order "to destroy them physically, starve them financially and destroy them mentally and spiritually," I lost my basic right to earn a living and live a normal life. I was harmed physically and mentally. Because of the rule "guilt by association," my family and relatives suffered and still suffer from this persecution.
After the CCP publicly declared the ban on Falun Gong in July of 1999, the administrative service at the Ministry began a full investigation on Falun Gong cultivators. I have suffered attacks, suppression and persecution of various kinds for appealing to higher authorities, since asking for an end to the persecution on July 21, and for declaring openly that I would not renounce Falun Gong. Between July 1999 and March 2003, I lost the Party secretary title, Party membership, and administrative director's title, was demoted to the lowest staff level, was dismissed from the civilian ranks, and was finally driven out of the administration of that Ministry.
After that, I was persecuted for reporting the facts of Falun Gong to the higher authorities and for refusing to give up my belief. The police detained me four times in a detention center and twice in a police substation and a school. I became homeless and police took me to an asylum. I was sent to a brainwashing center and suffered brainwashing twice. In May 2001, I was illegally sentenced to one and a half years in a forced labor camp for refusing to "transform" at the brainwashing center. In the camp, my imprisonment was prolonged for ten months for refusing to be "transformed."
I once had a peaceful and harmonious family and was rather wealthy. All this was destroyed by the persecution. Monitoring and harassment destroyed our peace. The "Breaking them economically" policy ruined us financially, and separation and anger destroyed our once harmonious family.
After I was persecuted, in September 2000 my son and daughter passed the college entrance exam. But, because I was now at the lowest staff rank, I could not afford to send them to college. Our living conditions were poor, and my entire family had sunk deeply. Especially from 2001 to 2003, during the two years when I was in imprisoned, my work unit stopped my paycheck. My family's life was extremely difficult. My husband could not find any way to bring us out of this economic plight and finally had to sell the house because we could no longer pay our mortgage. All his salary went for school and living expenses for the entire family.
For several years my entire family suffered hardship, turmoil, and harassment. It is difficult to describe the bitterness. And the worst of it was the "implication" policy. My relatives in my birthplace of Changchun also suffered from the persecution. They were troubled quite a lot.
The topic of my husband I have tried to avoid until now. He has suffered from the "guilt by association" policy for a long time, and I can do nothing to protect him when facing such a powerful government, not even to give him some peace.
He was head of our country's trade and economic affairs with European countries and a very busy person. Even so, the evil used him as a bargaining chip in persecuting me, and even threatened him from the day when they tried to force me to "transform" and renounce Falun Dafa. The leaders of the Ministry asked him to be present at every discussion they held with me, and they exerted pressure on him to force me to "transform." I did not swerve from my decision to remain firm in Falun Gong, even when they threatened me over and over again with dismissal and expulsion. I stood openly by my decision and told them that Falun Dafa practitioners were of high morals and the so-called "ban" was wrong. They even sent someone to read a letter during a public occasion: "If you still stand by Zhang Yjiet, we will have to make a decision about your employment." They also threatened him: "Concerning this issue, you must think clearly. You have to align yourself with that of our Party at the Ministry when handling the problem of Zhang Yijie." When my husband received the news that I was about to be taken to the forced labor camp, he went to reason with Ministry leaders. They told him: "We are shocked by your action and will bear in mind your behavior. I'll write the following down, 'Zhang Yijie cares for nothing but Falun Gong. Her family means nothing to her.' Why can't you see it?"
In April of 2000, I was transferred to a lower level research center and prevented from working. I had nothing to do other than just sit there, day-in and day-out. All I did was fetch hot water, clean the floor, and get newspapers. I was treated as an outsider, an outcast. Persecution from all sides never ceased.
Since my release from the forced labor camp, staff from the residential committee and my work unit monitored have me at all times. The leader of my work unit said, "You are different than the others, as you did not 'transform.'" When I go to the office, the security guards at our living quarters are forced to get on the regular bus to follow me. My telephone at work and home are monitored. I often find myself followed clandestinely. Especially on sensitive days, they don't even hide that they follow me. The security guards put a desk in the entrance of my apartment building and stay there for eight hours each day. I'm monitored daily. I am not allowed to leave Beijing without the authorization of higher authorities. My vacation leave and visits to relatives must be reported and approved by higher authorities. I can't have visitors and am not allowed rest in the assembly room at noon. They also have not paid my thirteenth salary for some time. When everyone gets a raise I won't. Last March, during the conferences of the People's Congress and the Political Consultative Conference, two fellows from the Beijing Public Security Bureau
broke into my desk drawers when I was absent. I was deprived of my vacation privilege groundlessly, and there is so much more humiliation I have to suffer.
I want to tell and warn those who continue to swing the butcher's knife to stop persecuting Falun Gong and accept the opportunity to survive. Treat practitioners well, accumulate good deeds and associated blessings for yourself and your families. Leave your door open so you will survive!
I call on people worldwide who hold justice high in their hearts to help bring an end to this persecution suffered by Falun Dafa practitioners in China!
I call for human rights and for lawlessness to end! I call for an awakening of conscience and justice! I call for an end to the persecution!
Let us, people who uphold goodness and justice worldwide, stand hand-in-hand and welcome a new mankind, a mankind where the Buddha's light shines everywhere, and happiness reigns everywhere!
November 14, 2006