August 4, 2003
[This article illustrates from a unique angle how ordinary officials are forced by Jiang's regime to get involved in persecuting Dafa practitioners and what they are thinking at the time.]
In 2001, I met with a middle-school classmate of mine. He's now head of a personnel department of a certain national bureau. During our chat I talked about Falun Gong. I told him that I had cultivated for a few years and as a result I became healthy. Unexpectedly, he immediately followed: "I'm very familiar with Falun Gong. I take charge of talking with Falun Gong practitioners (to force them to give up cultivation) in my work unit." Then he spent an hour telling me how his work unit "dealt with" the Falun Gong practitioners. I think my conversation with him will possibly help Dafa practitioners abroad to gain a better understanding about the situation in China, so I'll write about it. It could serve as an original record of the attitudes of some government agencies and government officials in China toward Dafa and Dafa practitioners in 2001.
At the time, my classmate said: "In our general bureau there are three Falun Gong practitioners in total. Two of them stopped practicing publicly after the persecution of Falun Gong began. Only one still insists on practicing. The leader of our bureau had me talk with him. In the talk, I confirmed that he was a very good person and excellent worker, and that his work was so remarkable that both his superiors and colleagues had had a rather high opinion of him for years. Then I tried to persuade him to give up practicing Falun Gong, since Falun Gong was prohibited by the state. He said 'no' and insisted that he should practice. I again asked him if he could practice secretly at home so that he wouldn't trouble our boss. I told him to say that he had given it up when he was asked. He said this just wouldn't do and Falun Gong taught him to speak the truth. After that, I again asked him not to take part in the activities in public places so that I could give an explanation to our boss. He still said 'no'."
"At that time the head of our bureau was under great pressure from the higher ups, who had issued this order: if any work unit is found to have Falun Gong practitioners taking part in the activities in public places, the bonuses of all workers in the work unit will be suspended. (Note: the current salaries of Chinese workers are only a little more than half of their total incomes, while the bonuses nearly constitute the other half. This means that the workers would suffer a great economic loss if the superiors determine to suspend their bonuses). For this I talked once again with the practitioner. I asked him to be considerate of everyone and not cause them to lose their bonuses because of his practice. I added that life is not easy for all, and everyone worries about losing their bonuses. Consequently, he submitted a resignation the next day, saying that he would rather fall in hardship himself than get all the others in trouble. Both our boss and myself were surprised by his decision. Still we tried to persuade him to give up his cultivation. Even if he insisted on cultivation, as long as he agreed to secretly practice at home without letting others know, no one in our work unit would make trouble for him. But he was determined to continue his cultivation at the price of giving up his work. I asked him how he would be able to make a living. He said he still had some personal skills to live on beside what he learned in schools. But we knew very well that nobody dared to employ him if he stuck to Falun Gong. We asked him about the opinion of his wife on this matter, and he said that his wife understood him and supported his decision. At this stage the boss had no more to say. He was not willing to force the resignation of such a good worker simply because of his practice of Falun Gong. Everybody knew that he was a good person and what's more, he made this decision for the sake of others. Again and again the head and I continue to try to persuade (beg, more precisely) him. In the end he reluctantly agreed not to practice openly, then the head hid his resignation.
But half a year later he again took part in a public Falun Gong practice in a certain park. He was consequently detained by the public security bureau and was afterwards taken back by our work unit. Once again we asked him to guarantee that he would never practice openly, but this time he refused no matter how hard we tried.
Having no way out, our boss was compelled by his superiors to expel him from our work unit. However, the boss still left him a way out by dealing with his matter as a resignation instead of a punishment, which could be good for him in many ways: first, he would still have another half a year to get his salary; second, he would not be discriminated against in his later job hunting, because it could be difficult for a person to find work again after being expelled from his/her former employment.
I was involved in this matter from the very beginning to the end. This made me feel very sad and regretful for the colleague. I can't see the point of his losing livelihood simply because of Falun Gong. I thought he should stop the practice since the government prohibits it. Anyway, the power of a single person is too weak to go against the power of a country. A wise man will not fight when the odds are obviously against him. After that I had other chances of meeting with Falun Gong practitioners. I always asked them: Why do you stick to Falun Gong when there are so many other types of Qigong? What is the difference between the practice of Falun Gong and other Qigongs? Why don't you choose another Qigong practice as a substitute for Falun Gong? Simply tell a lie, in this way you can continue your practice and keep your work at the same time. Well, you are too honest and good to tell lies, but why wouldn't you learn when we teach you how to tell a lie? How come you guys are so stubborn?"
Taking this chance, I was able to clarify many facts about Falun Gong to my friend, but he always misunderstood it. Then I loaned him some Fa lectures of the Teacher, and he said that he would carefully read through them.
After that, in each Chinese Spring Festival I called him to wish him happy New Year. In the first year, his first words were: "Are you still practicing Falun Gong now? I am very worried about you!" My answer was: "Yes, I am, don't worry! " I understood the underlying meaning of his words: he wanted me to secretly practice at home but superficially say that I had given up, in this way nobody would trouble me even if someone else secretly tapped my phone. But I insisted on not telling lies. Thinking I didn't see his point, he had to say: "So be careful!" He didn't ask the same question in the second year; instead, he asked me on the telephone to be careful of my health. He reminded me to be cautious of the possible hereditary nature of diabetes because my parents had this disease. I said: "You know very well that I was very unhealthy before I practiced Falun Gong and Falun Gong is quite effective in curing diseases and making people healthy. Now the fact is that your physical condition is getting worse and worse year by year, so it is me who should remind you to take care of your health!" He awkwardly answered: "Yes! Yes! Actually I know this very well, I know you Falun Gong practitioners are very healthy, and I am simply used to speaking that way."
Such are the thoughts and behavior of an ordinary governmental official amidst the persecution of Dafa. On the one hand they are forced to reluctantly do bad things to undermine Dafa, on the other hand they manage to protect Dafa practitioners because they, even during the hardest time of the persecution of Falun Gong, still have conscience and compassion in their hearts. In this compassion is exactly where the hope lies.