On May 6, 2000, Zhou Zhichang, a Falun Dafa persecuted practitioner that died at the age of 45 at Shuangcheng Detention Center. He defended the truth of the Universe with his life. He fulfilled his solemn plight of "Assisting the Teacher in the Secular World".
Before his death, Zhou Zhichang was a vice assistant at Falun Dafa assistant center in Shuangcheng (city). He started to practice Falun Dafa in 1995. Afterwards, apart from doing his own job well, he devoted most of his effort to the cultivation practice. At that time, not many practitioners had a better understanding of Falun Dafa. In order to introduce Falun Dafa to more people, Zhou Zhichang bought a VCR and the videotapes of Teacher Li's lectures, though he had financial hardships. Besides, he voluntarily took responsibility for the distribution of Falun Dafa material in Handian District using his own money. Later, when other practitioners had a better understanding of Falun Dafa, that work was taken over by other practitioners in a good financial condition.
Zhou Zhichang practiced his cultivation very diligently. He got up around 3 o'clock every morning to read books or recite Teacher Li's articles. Then he went to the practice site to practice the exercises with other fellow practitioners. Every night after he came back from the practice site, he read Falun Dafa books until 11:00pm. Because of his good role as a leader, all practitioners in the Handian District practiced very diligently. At that time, they practiced the first four sets of exercises every morning in front of the town government building for one hour. In the evenings, they did group study of the Falun Dafa books for two and one-half hours from 5:00pm to 8:30pm at a practitioner's house. Then they practiced the sitting exercise. The duration of sitting exercise varied from person to person. Practitioners did the sitting exercise as long as possible depending on their own capabilities. Zhou Zhichang practiced the sitting exercise for two hours every day.
In order to promote Falun Dafa, Zhou Zhichang often went to the rural areas to spread Falun Dafa with other practitioners. Whenever there was an open farmer's market, they went to the market to do group practice and introduce Falun Dafa to more people. Driven by his devotion, other practitioners raised their understanding of Falun Dafa and became enthusiastic in promoting Falun Dafa. Sometimes a couple of hundred practitioners would join the activity of promoting Falun Dafa. Most practitioners in rural areas lived in poverty, but they were able to endure hardships. During promoting Falun Dafa, they generally brought their own food and traveled on foot. Sometimes practitioners had to walk more than one hundred Li's (Chinese mile, =500m) round trip, leaving in the morning, arriving at the market at noontime, and returning in the evening. Yet everyone was happy and no one felt it was a hardship. Before July 22, 1999, more than 500 people obtained Falun Dafa in Handian District. Teacher Li said: "If you are doing well in your cultivation, you will do well in spreading the Fa in your local area and practitioners will do better in their cultivation." Zhou Zhichang and his local practitioners validated Falun Dafa through their own cultivation practice in various aspects.
Before being put into prison, Zhou Zhichang was the head officer of the Department of Armed Forces at Handian (town) in Shuangcheng (city). He was an excellent officer and party member widely known in Handian. At his workplace he always required himself according to the standard for a cultivation practitioner, abstaining from any pursuit for fame and self-interest. When talking about Zhou Zhichang, all common people in Handian would raise their thumbs and say: "A good person!" and his supervisors said: "Zhou Zhichang can accomplish the work of several people by himself." At the workplace he was awarded dozens of times diversified honorary titles such as "Excellent Worker", "Model Worker", "Example Worker" and so on. He had a big pile of certificates of honor. He had a family of four: his wife was a homemaker; he had two sons; one of his sons just graduated and worked in Beijing and the other was a junior college student in Harbin. Before he was incarcerated, his monthly salary was 480 Yuan. Without any extra income, his family had to take usurious loans to support his son in college. The loans that accrued with interest bearing interest exceed 50,000 Yuan today. Last year he went to Beijing to appeal to the government for Falun Dafa. Some other practitioners covered his trip.
On the morning on July 22, 1999, Zhou Zhichang and some other Falun Dafa practitioners in Shuangcheng went to appeal to Heilongjiang provincial government, requesting the release of the four Falun Dafa assistants at the assistant centers in Harbin who were taken away by force. That evening, he was escorted back to Shuangcheng. He was incarcerated in Shuangcheng Detention Center until August 28, 1999, when he was released at the strong request from the Handian Government. After his release, he often exchanged experiences with other practitioners. He encouraged practitioners around him to be determined on Falun Dafa. He said, all we can do is to go forward and we should never step back. He also said to practitioners around, "I am the one to pave the road for Falun Dafa."
On September 9, 1999, Zhou Zhichang went to Beijing with over 50 other practitioners to appeal for Falun Dafa. Among these practitioners, more than 20 were practitioners from Handian. They wanted to tell the truth about Falun Dafa to the Central Government. They requested the return of innocence of our Teacher Li and Falun Dafa.
The Beijing authorities were agitated and the Shuangcheng Government was severely criticized. Because of an overall adverse environment, the Shuangcheng Government ruthlessly punished Falun Dafa practitioners who had gone to appeal for Falun Dafa. In the middle of September 1999, these practitioners were escorted back to Shuangcheng. The arrest warrant for Zhou Zhichang was issued at the end of September. He was put in a cell with criminals. The Shuangcheng Detention Center was a dark prison. Prisoners had to eat mildewed corn bread and suffer beatings and abusive language. In the prison, he was put handcuffed and shackled at all times because he wanted to practice Falun Dafa exercises. In the winter, the cotton-padded pants made by his family could not be put on, since the prison officials would not open the shackles. Eventually his family had to make a pair of specially designed cotton-padded pants for him. The pants were installed with zippers and ropes on the sides. The wounds on his body from the shackles had still not healed at the time of his death. In those days, Zhou Zhichang endured the hardships that a common person could not endure. He suffered all kinds of tribulations during the eight months he was detained in prison.
By the end of April 2000, Zhou Zhichang decided to go on a hunger strike. He decided to seek redress of the injustice at a sacrifice of his own life for Teacher Li and Falun Dafa, and for the freedom of practicing Falun Dafa. During his hunger strike, he was once taken by the criminals and slammed against the wall. On the morning of May 6, 2000, the ninth day of his hunger strike, he was taken to the Shuangcheng Hospital by the prison guards. The examination found that he was in good health. On the afternoon of that same day, when he was again sent to the hospital, his pupils were dilated and he passed away.
Half a month before Zhou Zhichang's death, a Falun Dafa practitioner in Shuangcheng had a dream: in a wonderful place, a venerable enlightened being was preaching the Fa to the sentient beings, "The Tale of Zhou Zhichang". All the sentient beings in the paradise shed tears. After hearing the news of the death of Zhou Zhichang, that practitioner recalled this dream. Quite a few practitioners dreamed about Zhou Zhichang around the time of his death. Practitioners realized that this was our Teacher Li's hint to practitioners.
When the news of Zhou Zhichang's death came out, all common people in Shuangcheng were shocked. People were talking about him: such a good person, such a good officer, why was he persecuted to death? Where are the heavenly laws? At the cremation of Zhou Zhichang's body, hundreds of Falun Dafa practitioners, who came to pay their last respects to Zhou Zhichang , were stopped and turned away by police at the entry of the road. Several hundred fully armed police with several dozen police cars escorted the hearse. All the major officials in various departments of the local government were present. People in town sighed out: even for a top official of the country, his funeral would be in this scale.
After Zhou Zhichang was persecuted to death, Falun Dafa practitioners and their family members in Shuangcheng went to the City Government and the City Police Department in succession, requesting release of Falun Dafa practitioners unconditionally. Currently, practitioners in Shuangcheng, whose detention terms have exceeded the legal limit, were all released unconditionally. Each time when a practitioner sacrificed his life for defending Falun Dafa, the overall adverse environment toward Falun Dafa would be improved. Falun Dafa practitioners at a sacrifice of their lives inaugurated that.
"Grand talk counts for naught when it comes to life and death, Actions reveal what is true." (Teacher's new poem "The Knowing Heart")
Zhou Zhichang was gone. It was so solemn and stirring. He cultivated to the realm that a great-enlightened being must have; that is, he will sacrifice his own life for the truth of the Universe. Our Teacher says, "Your cultivation history will be a great Fa that establishes your own mighty virtue in the future". Zhou Zhichang completed this Fa in the secular world. His cultivation story has spread over the ten directional worlds. "Dafa is perfecting all sentient beings, and all sentient beings are also harmonizing Dafa." Falun Dafa practitioners devoted their lives in succession to defend Falun Dafa and the truth of the Universe. They are fulfilling Falun Dafa in the secular world and have established the mighty virtue for Falun Dafa. They paved the most righteous road. They are fulfilling their original chaste oath of "assisting the Fa".
Zhou Zhichang proved himself to be a practitioner who cultivated in Falun Dafa. He proved himself to be among the elite created by Falun Dafa.
A Falun Dafa practitioner
June 2, 2000