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A Family of Falun Gong Practitioners Reunites After Son Suffers Three Years of Persecution in China (Photos)

August 18, 2003 |  

July 22, 2003, Chen Gang and his family joined the Falun Gong rally in Washington D.C. (Photo footnote: Chen Gang and his entire family express their gratitude to Congresswoman Ross for her support in rescuing Falun Gong practitioners from China.)

(Clearwisdom.net) Report from Epoch Times

A son from China visiting his parents in the USA is usually a very common event. However, for the Chen family who live in South Jersey, July 18, 2003 was an unforgettable date, because it was the day that they finally reunited with their son Chen Gang, who had been separated from them for a long time.

With tears in her eyes, Mrs. Chen Ningfang looked very happy and excited when she met her son, "Before my son came, I kept wondering if my dream would become reality. Is this true? Only until I awoke the next morning and saw my son was still with me did I realize that it was real. It seems that a whole century had passed since I last saw my son. I knew he had suffered a lot and learned from the Internet how vicious it was in the Tuanhe Forced Labor Camp in Beijing. However, what I had learned was not very specific. I could not imagine that the persecution conducted there was so brutal and terrifying."

Chen Ningfang is a renowned flute performer in China. (Photo footnote: Chen Ningfang being interviewed in Washington D.C.)

Three years ago, Chen Gang was arrested at home and sentenced to one year of forced labor because he practiced Falun Gong. He was then detained in the Tuanhe Forced Labor Camp in Beijing, and was a victim of all kinds of inhuman treatment and torture. One year later, his forced labor term was extended for another half year. After he was at last released, he was still being monitored.

Chen Gang, age 31, was a manager of the logistics department of a large joint venture company's branch in Beijing. His wife, Ms. Bai, was also employed in a joint venture company. His father Chen Rutang is a cellist, and his mother Chen Ningfang plays the flute. They were both national first class performers and had performed in China's Central Philharmonic Orchestra for 33 years before retiring in 1996. His older sister Chen Ying opted for study in the United States with the Philadelphia Orchestra's principal flutist Murray Panitz. She is currently living in New Jersey, working as a manager in a firm.

Chen Gang's wife Ms. Bai recalled, "It was about 1:00 a.m. on June 25, 2000. Someone knocked on the door. Several policemen broke in and arrested my husband and my mother-in-law. My father asked, 'Why do you arrest them? What laws did they violate? There are a dozen of you here, how come no one can tell me? Where are you taking them?' They said they were from Chaoyang District of Beijing City. They would answer his questions in 24 hours. However, nobody ever gave us a reason even after 4 days. On the 5th day, we were informed that they were detained in Beijing's 7th Police Division; however, we were still not allowed to visit them."

Ms. Bai continued, "At that time, life was not easy. We didn't know where my husband and mother-in-law were. We didn't know anything about them. One month later, my mother-in-law was released. Chen Gang was sentenced to one year of forced labor. We were not allowed to visit for three months. In September, we finally got permission to visit him. During the visit, we were separated by glass and had to talk through a phone. Policemen packed the room. It was only 10 minutes and we were separated before having the chance to really talk about anything. During that one and a half years, I went to visit him every month. But there was a period of 6 months that I was not allowed to see him. It was only after he was released that I got to know that it was because he was beaten so badly that no family members were allowed to see him."

But what was the exact reason that Mr. Chen Gang was sentenced to one year of forced labor? It is still a mystery. The officers at the No. 7 Police Department even told them, "That is something even we can't tell you. If we told you, you would ask 'what kind of reason is that?'" Mr. Chen Gang said, "The only thing I can think of is that I once met several Falun Gong practitioners and had a meal with them. Just because my mother and I were teaching assistants at the practice site, we were arrested for no legal reasons." Ms. Bai said, "Even today, we were still not told the reason. Nor did we receive any notice of his term extension. We waited to the end of his term and were ready to take him home when I received a phone call from the "610 Office" [an agency specifically created to persecute Falun Gong, with absolute power over each level of administration in the Party and all other political and judiciary systems] saying that his term was extended and he was then detained for another half year. There is no rule of law in China."

Mr. Chen Gang said, "It is difficult for people to imagine the darkness inside the Tuanhe Forced Labor Camp in Beijing. Once you get there, you are no longer treated as a human being. You are not allowed to hold your head up, you have to keep your head down as low as possible. If you firmly adhere to your belief, the people there will use every possible method to torture you. They will try to make you suffer every minute. The hurling of insults, and assault and battery happen very often. They also use electric batons all the time. Other inmates could not stand the shock from one electric baton; however, they use five or six, or even up to eleven electric batons on Falun Gong practitioners all over their bodies. Every electric shock feels like being bitten by a snake. When the electric baton shocks your head, it feels like you have been hit with a hammer. Every time, practitioners are shocked for long periods of time. Those vicious policemen also like to shock practitioners on sensitive places such as the head, chest, and private parts. Practitioners' flesh is often shocked so much it is burned to a crisp. One practitioner's legs were shocked so much that the bones could be seen. It was too horrible to look at."

"The policemen also ordered the criminal inmates to beat and physically punish practitioners, and to force practitioners to stay awake for long periods. Practitioners who refused to be "transformed" are only allowed to sleep for 2-3 hours a day. While I upheld the mind of refusing to be transformed, for 15 consecutive days, I was not allowed to sleep or touch a bed. If I closed my eyes, I would be immediately kicked or beaten. Two groups of people took turns guarding me. I was also forced to do heavy physical labor."

Ms. Bai said, "In the beginning of October, when I heard that Chen Gang was not allowed to sleep for over 10 days, I couldn't help but cry. I couldn't speak a word. When I called the superintendent of the forced labor camp or wrote to him, there was no response."

Chen Gang continued, "Another kind of physical torture is called the 'Military Squat.' They force people to squat down on just one leg with the knee not touching the ground. All the weight is completely on the toes of one foot. One would feel pins and needles in the legs after doing that for 10 minutes. But they forced Falun Gong practitioners to do it for several hours. It was very painful to do it for so long. If you collapsed, you would receive another round of beatings and cursing. He said, "Because I refused to be 'transformed' and to read the books slandering Falun Gong, and I always disclosed their vicious actions such as them beating Falun Gong practitioners and physical tortures, they sent me to the intensive monitoring unit and I was deprived of the right of family visitation."

"The prison guards often ordered other inmates to beat us badly. Once I had injuries all over my body due to the beatings and my face was distorted. They then tied me up with my hands behind my back, and my feet and legs also constrained. They used great force to bend and tie my head against my legs. And I was then put in a washbasin and pushed underneath a very low bed. Then several people sat on the bed to keep it down. I was pressed down and unable to breath. I almost suffocated and nearly died. Afterwards, I was unable to walk for two weeks. I had to be carried around by others. Another Falun Gong practitioner, Mr. Lu Changjun, had his back broken due to this type of torture. He is now paralyzed."

"After Mr. Lu's incident was exposed. The Bureau of Forced Labor Education had to investigate. Because I reported to the bureau and testified, I was deprived of my rights of family visits many times and my term was prolonged for another 6 months. I was also sent to the intensive monitoring unit again. However, those policemen who did most of the torture are still at large. They only punished a few inmates who were under orders to do it."

"The regulation for forced labor education says that after a one year term expires, one's term can be prolonged for another 6 months and to a maximum of another year. In order to force practitioners to give up cultivation, when the one-year extension expired, the police drag practitioners to a place that no other people can see and then they strip practitioners' clothes and pour water on their bodies and use over a dozen electric batons to shock them. If the practitioners still refused to renounce their belief, the police would do it again the next day. They kept repeating this torture to try to force practitioners to give up their beliefs."

"The mental tortures were even worse than the physical tortures. In the camp, we were not allowed to read Falun Gong books or do the exercises. We were not even allowed to sleep or talk to other practitioners. The vicious police ordered a group of people who were once practitioners and now "enlightened" along an evil path to surround us all the time, dispersing all kinds of devious ideas and fallacies. They also forced us to watch those TV programs, books and newspapers slandering Falun Gong. They made you unable to rest while enduring the physical tortures and made you mentally suffer as well."

On December 25, 2001, Mr. Chen Gang was released but was taken to a place under house arrest by the neighborhood committee office. He did not come home until January 4, 2002. Even after he was released, he still did not have any personal freedom. He had to report to the neighborhood committee by phone or in person every week and tell them where he had been.

Chen Gang said, "After I came to the United States, I felt that it is so free and fortunate here. Practitioners in China are enduring a lot of pressure every moment. Their life is difficult. Support from abroad has encouraged practitioners in China a lot. International support has a great impact."

Ms. Bai said, "Compared to other practitioners, the persecution Chen Gang received was not the worst. The captain in the forced labor camp said that because Chen Gang had relatives overseas, they had to think twice."

The father, Mr. Chen Rutang said, "Some people asked me, 'Your son has already been in jail. The more you tell people about it, might that make the persecution against your son be more severe?' We had exposed to many newspapers, radio stations and TV stations the facts about my son being persecuted and detained in jail. As the family members of the victim, if we did not speak out, who would? In order to gain justice, someone needs to speak out. If nobody speaks out, the persecutors would be more reckless. The stronger the international voices, the more it constrains the evil. Only by doing that, would the viciousness be lessened. The more people speak out, the better."

Irene, an immigrant from Russia who is residing in South Jersey, was shocked upon hearing of Mr. Chen Gang's experience in China. She said, "I am so shocked. Falun Gong practitioners' situation in China is horrible. It is unimaginable the treatment that they and their families are suffering. This is a crime against humanity. We who live in the United States shall do our best to end this persecution. Many examples have shown that international support is very important in suppressing the persecution."

Mrs. Chen said, "Jiang and his gang are so vicious in persecuting Falun Gong. Bringing him to court is a way to pursue justice. Hitler and the Nazi's are gone, but their criminal conduct is still being investigated. That is why I think that it is very necessary to bring Jiang to justice. They shall not do whatever they want like before. We are very happy that we have this reunion with our son. However, many practitioners are still being detained, even U.S. citizen (Charles) Li Xiangchun, and he has been forced fed and tortured. A practitioner's sister from our area is also still in prison in China. There are many Falun Gong practitioners being persecuted. Even though we have had our family reunion, we shall try harder to appeal for those Falun Gong practitioners in China. Only voices from outside of China can speak for those practitioners, since they are not allowed to do so. The international appeal has the power to suppress the evil. I sincerely hope that all Falun Gong practitioners that are persecuted can reunite with their families as quickly as possible. I believe this day will come soon."