My name is Zhang Yuzhen, and I am 39 years old. I live in a village in Shandong Province. After I started to cultivate Falun Dafa, all of my physical ailments (such as, migraines, stomach problems, and pain and weakness in my lower extremities) that had bothered me for over ten years, disappeared miraculously. In the meantime, my spiritual and moral standard has risen to a higher level. As a businesswoman, I was not immune to being attached to money. Whenever I saw money on the ground, I would naturally pick it up and put it into my own pocket. Our Teacher taught us to be altruistic and selfless people in accordance with the principle of "Truthfulness, Compassion, Forbearance." Following his teachings and trying to hold myself to a higher standard, I became a broad-minded person. My spiritual and moral standard was also raised to a higher level. Falun Dafa has brought healthy minds and bodies, elevated the moral standard of society, and opened people's hearts.

Last July, the government wrongfully banned Falun Dafa and gave it the label of "evil cult" while turning a blind eye to the truth. This has interfered with our normal activities of practicing our morning exercises and studying Falun Dafa teachings. Because of this situation, I went to Beijing to appeal to the government together with my son Wenwen and a fellow practitioner named Zheng. I took it as my responsibility to the government and the society to do this. At Tiananmen Square, we were put into a police van and taken to a nearby police station. They seized our Dafa books and then handcuffed all three of us, with one hand going from over our shoulder and the other hand coming up from the lower back. This position hurt so much that our whole bodies were shaking from the intense pain. Zhengs face instantly turned white and she moaned from the pain.

Later we were brought to the Beijing Office of our local government. They first took away RMB 800 (about twice the average monthly salary of a Chinese worker) from each of us, and then they handcuffed us again in the same painful way as before. Several policemen took turns slapping my face and kicking me. They also grabbed my hair and kicked my feet out from under me, causing me to completely lose balance and fall hard to the ground. Then they dragged me to my feet and repeated the same abuse again and again. After finishing with that, they used different brutal methods to beat and torture me further. It is too difficult to describe in detail all of the brutal torture techniques they used. As a result, my thighs and arms were full of dark bruises.

Later they forced me to stand in a position called the "horse stance" (note: to hold a squatting position with the two legs apart and knees bent at 90 degrees while the upper body is held straight, causing a person to quickly become exhausted.) Or I was forced to hold the "hanging plane" position (note: in this position the person is forced to bend over, lower his head toward his feet with legs straight, while holding the two arms behind the back and pointing to the sky. This position is also designed to make a person exhausted.) If my posture was not up to their "standard," I immediately got beaten up. They spent the whole morning to torture me alone. Then they moved on to my 16 year-old son, Wenwen. They kicked Wenwen in his crotch several times and slapped his face until it was swollen and misshapen. Zheng was beaten so badly that she writhed on the ground in excruciating pain. Another local practitioner was subjected to the same torture as I went through.

On the third day, we were escorted back to our local area. The law enforcement officers in the city first started by kicking my head and then made me sit on the ground, with my two legs stretched straight out in front and my hands holding my feet. When I bent my knees slightly, they immediately kicked my knees with their big boots. This torture lasted for an hour. My knees were in excruciating pain from the torture. Because I refused to write the pledge [renouncing my belief in Falun Dafa], they continued to torture me this way. Other practitioners in police custody were forced to endure brutal beatings. I was in custody for over ten days. Then I was illegally given a 15-day detention and a fine. My home was also ransacked (for items to be confiscated by the police).

After the 2000 Chinese New Year, the police took me away to another location where they had rented some rooms for our detention. It was below -10 C (14 F degrees). The police officers completely covered me with snow, for an hour, so I looked like a snowman. Then they put another practitioner, named Li Xiaoling, and I into separate rooms that were ice-cold and damp. In the room there was a small plank-bed but without any bedding. It was one of the coldest days of the year, and the little room was so freezing and damp that we could only sit on the cold bed shivering all night. We were locked up 24 hours a day. The police handcuffed us when we were discovered practicing the exercises. One evening, we were handcuffed outside to an iron ring and forced to sit on the ice-cold ground. Sometimes they handcuffed me to the head of the bed forcing me to sit overnight. No food was provided for five or six days. We were released on the eighth day. However not long after the release, we were brought back to the detention center for no reason. Only after the three of us went on a hunger strike for eight days, were we able to get released.

Later I was detained again because I was discovered practicing morning exercises in a sport stadium. When I started another hunger strike they took me to a hospital against my will and forced a food tube into my stomach three times, which cased me much pain. Other practitioners suffered the same torture. We were released on the ninth day of our detention. We all suffered both mentally and physically from the brutal torture.

One day in June 2000, security guards arrested nine of us while we were practicing the exercises outside in a park. Some of us were detained and monitored while others were placed under police custody. Later, some practitioners wrote to the Municipal Party Committee and the Municipal Government, asking for the release of all Falun Dafa practitioners in police custody. They also requested the government give us a legal cultivation environment. If the government refused to respond to their request, they decided they would continue to appeal to a higher level of government all the way up to the Central Government Appeal Office. Before we received a reply, the Police forcefully arrested thirty-nine people. Some were detained; some were brought to their workgroups or their local police substations and were put under surveillance. To date, we are still in a very difficult situation. Appealing to a higher authority is every citizen's right as provided by the Country's Constitution. Morning exercises are also protected by the Constitution. The police officials have seriously violated the Constitution. Falun Dafa is good for both the country and the people. It is "the great law" with great virtue. We are calling upon all governments and kind-hearted people around the world, for help. Our only wish is that we can have the freedom to practice Falun Gong in our own country.

Zhang Yuzhen

June 25, 2000

Note: All the names in this article have been changed, in order to protect the writer from further persecution.