(Clearwisdom.net) On August 27, 2008, Dr. Xu Yan, a former professor at the Department of Civil Engineering in Tsinghua University, and his family escaped from China and arrived in Chicago, Illinois. He was warmly received by his fellow colleagues from Tsinghua and his friends. During an interview, Dr. Xu talked about his life, especially when he was arrested and tortured for practicing Falun Gong in China.

Dr. Xu Yan and his family arrived the O'Hare Airport in Chicago.

Outstanding Teacher: Dr. Xu Wins 11 Awards Out of 36 in His Department

Dr. Xu had been teaching at the Department of Civil Engineering in Tsinghua University for 13 years. When he started, there was a lot of work and pressure. He had a nervous breakdown and couldn't sleep at night. Then in 1995 he learned Falun Gong. According to him, "I finished the book Zhuan Falun in one day. I was very relaxed and fell asleep right away afterwards. I never lost sleep again."

Xu became energetic and his performance at work improved greatly. He won many awards for his diligent work. He even won several national awards for outstanding teaching and research. He had the highest evaluation from the students in the department for many semesters. One of the students' commented about him being "The best teacher I've had since middle school." He was also ranked in the top 5 percent of teachers at the university several semesters in a row. Everyone who was ranked in the top 20 percent could win a "smiley face." One semester, Xu won 11 out of 36 awarded to the 30 some teachers in the department.

The Persecution of Falun Gong Begins

In July 1999, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) began to persecute Falun Gong. The University 610 Office and the secretary of the departmental party commission suddenly made Xu a member of the athletic labor union and forced him to meet with and report to them frequently.

Xu said during the interview, "Falun Gong teaches me to be a good person. I was a good teacher and researcher and was one of the best faculty members in the department. The department head and my colleagues thought highly of me and were not bothered by my practicing Falun Gong. Students all knew that I was a practitioner and many secretly looked out for me."

Seeing that Xu wasn't going to stop the practice, staff members from the 610 Office threatened Xu with his job if he continued to practice Falun Gong. Xu told them, "If you want to fire me, you must issue an official notice and let the entire university know that I was fired, not because of the work I do, but because of my belief, because I practice Falun Gong. They never brought it up again."

Put in a Forced Labor Camp, Innocent Family Members Implicated

On the morning of March 13, 2006, two dozen officers from the Haidian Public Safety Bureau, without identifying themselves, broke into Dr. Xu's house and began searching for Falun Gong related materials. When the police found Falun Gong books, they filled out a blank search warrant and interrogation warrant right there and used them to arrest Xu and his wife.

Mr. Xu's wife was released one day after they were detained, but he was put in the Haidian Detention Center. The next day Mr. Xu was taken to court and sentenced to two years in a forced labor camp.

A policeman told him, "It's dangerous for us to catch criminals but it is not so with Falun Gong practitioners. We also get cash awards for arresting practitioners." "We are catching Falun Gong practitioners in preparation for the Olympics in two years. We want to make you scared so that even if you were released before the Olympics, you wouldn't dare to make a move."

Mr. Xu said this was total state terrorism, "My wife had to shoulder the economic burden for the entire family and was under tremendous mental pressure from worrying about me. My daughter was 14 and she was an outstanding enough student to be accepted to the affiliated high school of Tsinghua University. Because I was suddenly imprisoned, she did not do well on the entrance exam. She dared not tell others it was because her father was arrested. My parents later came to Beijing to help my family. My father was almost 80 and his illness got worse from the ordeal. He even had to have surgery but did not want to tell me. My family was under so much pressure."

At the same time, Mr. Xu's students weren't satisfied with the substitute teachers. When they learned that he had been arrested for practicing Falun Gong, one of his graduate students went to the detention center where he was imprisoned to deliver clothes for him and said, "My teacher is not a bad man and we respect him."

Leaving the Forced Labor Camp

On November 3, 2006, Mr. Xu was sent to the Tuanhe Forced Labor Camp. For eight months, he was locked in solitary confinement and was forced to sit on 1/3 of a small stool that was only 12-inches tall all day. He wasn't allowed to move or close his eyes and suffered terrible physical pain due to the strange sitting position. The guards tried to brainwash him and would not allow him to have any kind of human contact to prevent him from getting any form of encouragement.

The camp went through all his letters and confiscated them if there was any "improper" content. The camp even threatened to stop his letters. Xu said, "When my father was ill, they told me something was wrong at home and asked me if I wanted to make a phone call. They told me if I signed a statement to renounce Falun Gong, I could call whoever I wanted. It was really tempting for me at that time. But I knew that would only be the beginning. If I signed the statement, then I would have to write materials to slander Falun Gong. Then I would have to take some kind of exam about Falun Gong every month or two. If I passed their exams, I would get a reduced sentence. This is their so-called 'learning program.'"

"I refused to cooperate. The guards instigated the prisoners who were not practitioners to torture me. In a forced labor camp, any little favor was a great temptation. The prisoners listened to every order the guards gave."

"Later they forced me to watch a video with brainwashing material. After I watched it, I told the guards those people who were talking in the video were not practitioners. I explained the truth of Falun Dafa to the guards. Later whenever they had me watch videos, I made fun of the content. They soon stopped doing that to me."

"The guards tried to brainwash me and all the practitioners in the camp with a video entitled 'False Science Uncovered.' We were forced to watch it many times. The content of the video tried to prove that supernormal abilities weren't real by showing a magician performing magic tricks. I told the guards that what magicians use to perform magic tricks was not magic. 'How could they prove something to be fake with a fake trick?' I asked. The camp never showed that video again."

"I tried to use their language when I talked to the guards who tried to brainwash me. I used scientific logic to fight the CCP's political logic. I tried to prove to them that Falun Gong is a good practice from a scientific point of view. They knew I was a rational person. By asking them questions, I led their thoughts away from the CCP's ideology. The guards told me there wasn't anyone in the camp who could persuade me and all the videos and books in the camp were useless in front of me. They never wanted to talk to me again."

"No one wanted to 'transform' and 'educate' me anymore. The guards wanted me to leave the camp as soon as possible in case I created more trouble for them. When I was released from the camp, a guard told the person who came to pick me up (he was a supervisor in the university I taught) to watch me closely because they couldn't brainwash me."

Regaining Freedom

On March 13, 2008, Xu was released. The Tsinghua University tried to force him to sign documents admitting he made a mistake and would never practice Falun Gong again. They threatened that if he did not do so, he would not be allowed to return to his teaching position. Mr. Xu gave up his job and came to the U.S. with his wife and child.

At least 40 people from Tsinghua University have been imprisoned, sentenced (the longest sentence is 13 years), and put in forced labor camps.

In Mr. Xu's statement, he said, "I loved my job, my students, and my family. I didn't want to abandon the land that raised me; I did not want to leave the classrooms and give up my students. But when my own government persecuted me for my beliefs, I had to set an example for my students. I had to tell the facts of the persecution and expose the CCP's evil deeds. To wake up those who dwell in the CCP's lies, I had to give up everything I love and leave China to go to a place I can tell the truth and what is in my heart."

"I want to tell the world with my experience that the CCP is guilty. I want to tell the world what I have been through and let the people know the reality behind the CCP's iron curtain."