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Witness Describes How the Chinese State-run TV Series "Life is Innocent" Distorts the Facts - What Life is Really Like at the Beijing Xinan Forced Labor Camp

January 29, 2004 |   By Chen Ying (a practitioner from Beijing)


July 27, 2003

A fellow practitioner wrote an article entitled, "Chinese TV Series 'Life is Innocent' Distorts the Facts-- This is What Life at the Beijing Female Labor Camp is Really Like." After reading the article, I was shocked at how, in order to defame Falun Gong and cover up the crimes committed in forced labor camps against Falun Gong practitioners, some state-run television stations broadcast the TV series "Life is Innocent", which is allegedly based on life in the Beijing Female Labor Camp. I could not help shedding tears.

Based on my personal experience at Chaoyang Detention Center, the Forced Labor Center, and Xinan Forced Labor Camp in Beijing City, I would like to expose the crimes I experienced and witnessed. I went through the four stages mentioned in the fellow practitioner's article. What she wrote was all true. I can even add more facts that I know.

My Personal Background

I started practicing Falun Gong in 1996 and came to France with my husband in December 1998. In December 1999, I went back to China to visit my parents. While there, I took the opportunity to let the public know that Falun Dafa is good at Tiananmen Square during the Chinese Lunar New Year of 2000. I was unlawfully arrested and detained at the Tiananmen Police Substation, along with at least 2,000 other practitioners. That evening, we were transferred to the Thirteenth Department of the Public Security Bureau in Beijing. Then I was transferred again to the Chaoyang Detention Center, where I was detained for a month until my working unit provided a guarantee for me. At the end of September 2000, some fellow practitioners and I gathered together to exchange experiences about our cultivation at a practitioner's home. The police suddenly arrived to search the practitioner's home. As the practitioner did not allow the police to enter, two security guards stayed outside, watching the door 24 hours a day, while plainclothes policemen and a police van waited by the entrance of the building. Finally, after five days of staying in the apartment, we decided we were unwilling to be controlled by their actions any longer and we went down the stairs, intending to leave. I was arrested and detained at the Chaoyang Detention Center for nearly a month.

On November 23, 2000, a policeman whose last name was Wei, from the Babaoshan Police Substation, came to my home and lied to me, saying that the Chaoyang Public Security Branch wanted to get some information from me, that they were waiting for me at the Babaoshan Police Substation, and that it would not take more than twenty minutes. Unexpectedly, a policeman whose last name is Guo, from the Hujialou Police Substation in Chaoyang District, took me to the Chaoyang Detention Center, where I was sentenced to a year of forced labor without any trial or charge. I was detained in Team Three of the Xinan Forced Labor Camp. During detention, due to my attachments and the persecution I suffered, I said things against Dafa, which I deeply regret. I was released on November 26, 2001, and on March 20, 2003, came to France again on a student visa.

In France, away from the vicious environment in China, I gradually awakened and regretted my previous actions. I met with fellow practitioners and came back to the cultivation path of Falun Dafa. Once again, the teachings from our compassionate Teacher, provided me with the chance to purify myself again, to expose the evil, and to clarify the truth of the persecution. As a witness to this vicious persecution, I have the responsibility to do what a Dafa disciple should do: to clarify the truth, expose the evil, and save sentient beings. The following is my account of the persecution I experienced in the labor camp.

The Confusion Created by the Xinan and Tuanhe Forced Labor Camps

I left the Xinan Forced Labor Camp at the end of November 2001, at the completion of my term. When I was still in the labor camp, I heard that the camp would move to the newly built Beijing Female Forced Labor Camp. I had heard that Jiang Zemin and the "610 Office" spent a huge amount of money creating a forced labor camp that specialized in forcing Falun Gong practitioners to renounce their belief in Falun Dafa. The fellow practitioner's article mentioned above describes how the dormitory buildings in the Beijing Female Forced Labor Camp look very pretty on the outside with beautiful flowers and grass growing in the big yard. Their surface attractiveness cannot hide the horror of the persecution that occurs inside the camp. It is even more brutal than what happens in a prison. The situation is the same in the Xinan Forced Labor Camp, where I was detained.

The Tuanhe Forced Labor Camp is also the same, according to some practitioners I know. The beautiful environment, which also hides the forced labor camp's brutal activities, is designed to confuse the practitioners.. In order to force Falun Gong practitioners to renounce their belief in Dafa, huge sums of money have been invested in renovating the forced labor camp. The authorities have made it look like a garden, with colorful murals painted on the walls. The iron fences, the electric wire mesh on the windows, the doors of the dormitories, and the monitors in the rooms have all been removed. There are flowers in every room. Every inmate is given a pet gold fish and a TV set in each room. The dining room provides a variety of food, and the menu is changed daily. In addition, the authorities organize all kinds of recreational activities, such as singing and dancing competitions. The authorities require us to sing a "transformation song" before each meal. However, all of this is just a fake "store front" to disguise the forced labor camp and put on a show to deceive people. This same false appearance of happiness is used to confuse and brainwash Dafa practitioners.

In each team of the forced labor camp, Dafa practitioners are fed countless lies such as "The policy of the government is to educate, move and save," "The forced labor camp is a special school instead of a prison." "Falun Gong practitioners are good people who only need to change and transform their thoughts." These deceptive strategies are part of the brainwashing process, which intends to confuse right and wrong, and is calculated to throw Falun Gong practitioners off guard. The ultimate purpose is to make them unconsciously accept brainwashing and give up their cultivation practice. This false appearance is coupled with threats and promises, while the victims are deprived of all personal freedom.

The evil makes use of the fake surface appearance to cover up the brutal nature of the persecution going on behind the scenes, so as to confuse Dafa practitioners, especially those who have attachments to such outward comfort. The authorities make use of human notions as a way to launch psychological attacks, and create illusions so that the human notions of those practitioners who do not have a deep understanding of the Falun Dafa principles, and have not let go of their degenerated concepts, form a huge psychological discrepancy. While such a deception outwardly looks normal and reasonable, it is actually the most despicable and vicious way to confuse practitioners who have been deprived of personal freedom. Such practitioners are then subjected to persecution and forced brainwashing.

Deprived of the ability to study the Falun Dafa teachings, some of us found we could not face the tribulations from the perspective of the Fa, and our own attachments made us unable to see the truth clearly. The majority of practitioners who have been brainwashed are deceived and bewildered by the illusions and lies. Cultivation is a serious issue. If we cannot view things happening around us from the perspective of the Fa, it becomes very easy to be confused, fall into the trap of degenerated concepts, and be taken advantage of by the evil. As a result, we might be brainwashed without realizing it. After getting released from the forced labor camp, such spiritual torture makes many practitioners unable to discern the nature of the evil persecution. It fundamentally destroys a person's righteous thoughts and righteous beliefs, taking them away from the virtue of Falun Dafa and down a path of self-destruction. For a practitioner who becomes confused by such illusions in the material world, the result can be horrible.

Often, practitioners who see this illusion are unable to determine its true nature. Such a practitioner might stand up for the evil and help cover up the truth of persecution. That is why many people who came out of the forced labor camps after being brainwashed told others, "It is pretty good in the forced labor camp." This is what the evil wants to achieve; the fundamental destruction of sentient beings.

Fabrication and deception have become the central core of the Jiang regime's system of false compassion. In order to confuse and deceive the Chinese people, the Jiang regime follows the propaganda tactic that, "When a lie is repeated ten times, it becomes the truth." The Jiang regime's practices are deceiving people all over the world as well. To help people see the truth and make their own judgment after they are aware of what is really going on, I feel it is my responsibility to expose what life is really like in the Xinan Forced Labor Camp and to rectify what is wrong.

I. Deceiving the International Media

Below is my personal experience from the Xinan Forced Labor Camp in Beijing. It shows how the media from the United States was deceived while doing a report on the forced labor camp. We heard that the media came for the sake of human rights organizations that heard Falun Gong practitioners were being tortured in the forced labor camps. The American media came to the Xinan Forced Labor Camp. (I cannot remember the exact date. To my memory, it was in the summer.) At the time, an American journalist filmed everything that the police staged: "The so-called happy life in the library."

The guards got some people to create this library near the auditorium, where nobody had ever been seen reading books. The police singled out several Falun Gong practitioners who were considered reliable and had a pleasant appearance. These people, including me, were brought to the library for about ten minutes before the American journalist came to interview us. While we sat there, waiting for the interview, the police instructed the interviewee to say only what they had scripted beforehand. What the American journalist filmed was pre-arranged and not the real situation at all. When the journalist finished filming, we were brought back to our rooms to continue with our labor.

Everyone who has experienced the real situation in a forced labor camp knows that what was depicted on the state-run TV series was completely fabricated and used as propaganda to deceive and fool the Chinese people.

II. Heavy Labor

As described in the fellow practitioner's article, the police guards often violated the regulations regarding working schedules in the forced labor camps. They make use of cheap labor in the forced labor camps to manufacture products for export. For instance, we were forced to make stuffed toy rabbits to fill an order for the Nestle Company, to work with fabric and strong smelling glue that filled the whole room and the fumes were not properly ventilated (we made all the products in our rooms), and to make cushions. All the above products were for export. When an order came, it was always a big quantity and had to be done within a few days. Everybody in the camp was assigned a certain quantity to complete in a certain time. The labor camp forced us to finish work rapidly by linking one person's output to the treatment of the entire group of detainees'. If one person could not finish the work, we were all forced to work until midnight, which was far beyond an average person's endurance. We had to sit on a little bench, working all the time, and were not allowed to move about or to talk to each other. Going to the bathroom was only permitted at set times for the whole group. No individual was allowed to go to the bathroom alone at any time. After a day's work, everybody was very tired and wished to sleep. Even so, the police always talked to us using a false compassionate tone. They told us their salaries were low, that funds from the government were not sufficient, that in order for us to eat better, we had to work hard to achieve self-sufficiency, etc. They exploited our labor without paying us at all.

If the authorities arrived unexpectedly to inspect the camp, they would ask us to hide what we were working on, to sit comfortably, or to go to sleep. When some leaders came to visit the labor camp, they would prepare us by asking us not to work or do some light work, or to watch TV, and they would improve our meals so as to bolster the illusion. This happened frequently in forced labor camps. Deception is also used when the forced labor camp takes part in a competition, or applies for an award. There is a regulation for a forced labor camp to have a limited number of people in one room and a certain amount of space for each person. In order to comply, the guards move the extra detainees, the aged or those in poor health to a location that the inspection team cannot see. Those moved are not allowed to come out of their hiding place. Someone even brings them food. This is how the labor camp "complies" with the requirements, by deceptive means. Meeting the requirement and being selected as an advanced labor camp directly relates to their monetary reward.

My fellow practitioner mentioned in the article that the guards illegally impose heavy labor upon us, not only for the purpose of making a larger bonus for themselves, but also for the purpose of brainwashing Falun Dafa practitioners. They also verbally abuse us and try to wear us down with exhaustion. Not having time to think about our understanding of Dafa or to recite Teacher's articles, we begin to unconsciously accept the imposed persecution. Deceived by the false impression, we become indifferent and forget about cultivation during Fa-rectification. We use our human mentality to find excuses for the survival of our attachments, instead of having a clear understanding from the perspective of the Fa that illegal detention and forced labor result from the evils' suppression and persecution of Dafa.

As Teacher said in the article Expounding on the Fa,

"Whenever a tribulation comes, you do not see it with the side of your original nature but view it completely with your human side. Evil demons then capitalize on this point and inflict endless interference and damage, leaving students in long-term tribulations. As a matter of fact, this results from an inadequate understanding of the Fa by your human side. You have humanly restrained your divine side; in other words, you have restrained the parts that have been successfully cultivated and have prevented them from doing Fa-rectification. How can the uncultivated side restrain your main thoughts or the side that has already attained the Fa? Having humanly fostered the evil demons, you allow them to capitalize on the loopholes in the Fa."

This is one of the reasons that some practitioners cannot pass the test of tribulations. Humanly fostering the evil demons also means acknowledging evils' damage to Dafa and the persecution of Dafa practitioners, both physically and spiritually, which is a totally intolerable injustice. Getting lost because of an unclear understanding of the Fa principles is the same as becoming blind to the true meaning of life.

III. Extremely Unhygienic Conditions

There are bathrooms at Xinan Forced Labor Camp. For us, however, it is viewed as a charity to be given a chance to take a shower. In summer, we were only permitted to take one quick shower per week. In winter we rarely were allowed to take a shower. Even though we were allowed one shower occasionally, all people from the seven teams of the labor camp had to finish within half a day (with limited shower heads). The guards told us it was for our sake -- in case we caught a cold. After the shower, we had to finish washing all of our clothes in the shortest time and we were not allowed to wash clothes at any other time.

Our clothes and bed coverings could not be washed regularly. Only when somebody had scabies were we allowed to wash our bed sheets and coverings and to sterilize the quilt in the sun. Every morning and evening, washing and brushing time was very short. The police guards urged us to hurry, with watches in their hands. Within a few minutes, over twenty people had to finish washing and brushing at only ten sinks. It was very militarized.

Under such a bad condition and intense atmosphere, many older people could only wash one foot or did not wash their feet at all. Sometimes they had to wash their underwear using the time designated for washing their faces and then hang their underwear in a hidden location that was not easy to find. Real life in the labor camp was always under high pressure and forced brainwashing, with no personal and spiritual freedom at all. The situation was always intense, with human dignity entirely lost or distorted. The evil constantly ordered practitioners about and persecuted them.

As the fellow practitioner pointed out, many suffered from high blood pressure and other diseases. Yet, the police blamed Falun Gong. They boasted that the government showed great concern and gave them medicine to take. The fact is, almost all practitioners were in good health before they were detained. Furthermore, no matter how serious their illnesses were at the forced labor camp, as long as they went back home, and resumed the normal practice of Falun Gong, they would recover very quickly. The labor camp's medical expenses are proof that Falun Dafa practitioners are being persecuted, as such expenses would never be necessary were the practitioners free to practice.

Some practitioners who were brainwashed went back to an everyday person's life completely and did not practice any more. After they were released, many did not recover at all from the illnesses they acquired in the forced labor camp. Instead, they started taking the same medicine they had thrown away after benefiting from Falun Gong. What's worse, many of them did not know what to do. They lived in misery, filled with fear and confusion resulting from the spiritual devastation of brainwashing.

IV. Worse and Worse Food

The food at the Tiantanghe Xinan Forced Labor Camp was of good quality in some people's eyes. One reason is the Jiang regime's strategy of false compassion, a component of the brainwashing. Many practitioners had been in some other detention centers that had very horrible conditions, so by comparison, they were deceived that they were in a better place and let down their guard.

Before practitioners were detained in the forced labor camp, the conditions were very bad, with low quality food as well. The criminal prisoners detained there told us that it was a blessing that Dafa practitioners came there, since the head of the persecution, Jiang Zemin, used the excuse of transforming Falun Gong to force the country to invest in the living conditions in the forced labor camps.

Many practitioners had been to detention centers or terminal centers, which were in really bad condition. They were only permitted to eat food with poor nutritional quality such as steamed corn bread, and soup with dirt in it every day. Many Chinese people live a very poor life. After they came to the forced labor camp, they felt that life there was even better than at home. They were satisfied with the food there because they were provided with meat and vegetables cooked with oil, which they rarely could afford to eat at home, so they felt good psychologically, and more comfortable, even though they had no personal and spiritual freedom in the forced labor camp. Some people did not even want to leave the labor camp. That element also contributed to people who have been brainwashed saying, "It is pretty good there."

The above-mentioned strategies are what are being used in the forced labor camps to brainwash Falun Gong practitioners. They lie and deceive, so that people can no longer tell good from bad. When people do not have righteous thoughts, they do not mind whether it is right or wrong. New practitioners, or those who did not yet really understand the Fa, totally forgot that they were practitioners and why they were forcibly detained.

Even though the menu on the blackboard in the dining room is different from the real dishes, people regard it as normal. By watching such abnormal thoughts over such abnormal things, we see the indifferent and distorted souls of people after forced brainwashing.

They also use the practitioners' captivity to extort money and property from them. One example is that detainees have to buy the commodities sold at the labor camp store due to the low quality of the food and their need for necessities. The commodities are mostly fake products at double the price compared with those sold outside the labor camp. Even those who are very poor have to buy some preserved food or other necessities. Another example is the computer course. The forced labor camp set up a computer class in order to extort money from practitioners using the excuse of helping them obtain a skill for a career when they are released back into society. A certificate is granted after finishing the course. In fact, the guards register those whose family members give them more money for living expenses: 100 Yuan per person. Since we have to do the forced labor, no one has time to attend the class and no certificate is actually issued, either. It is just a way for the forced labor camp to collect money, which shifts a heavy burden to the detainees' family members. It is part of Jiang Zemin and the "610 Office" policy of "bankrupt them financially." Many practitioners had a job before they were detained. They did not work because they were not allowed to, and were illegally detained, so they have no need for a compulsory computer course where they cannot learn anything anyway.

V. Brutal "Rescue"

I had been through brainwashing and experienced how Xinan Forced Labor Camp treats Falun Gong practitioners. At the time, I was in Team Three. Jiao Xuexian was the team leader and Huai Chunhong was the deputy team leader. Policemen Huo and Du were in our team. The telephone number of Team Three is 86-10-60278899, ext. 5301.

Team One, Team Three, Team Five and Team Seven had generally adopted a strategy of depriving all detainees of sleep. From the time of their arrival at the labor camp, Falun Gong practitioners are not allowed to sleep, until they become compliant. I have witnessed the following. The practice in Team Three was not to allow detainees to go to sleep in their bedrooms unless they agreed to renounce their belief in Falun Dafa. They had to stay in the hall or corridor, as mentioned in the fellow practitioner's article. If practitioners did not renounce their belief in Falun Dafa, they were forced to squat, stand, or bend forward while their hands were handcuffed behind their back for extended periods. Often collaborators [former Dafa practitioners who renounced their belief in Falun Dafa due to severe pressure and torture] were ordered to beat any practitioners who would not renounce Falun Dafa. Detained drug addicts or prostitutes following the guard's orders beat all of the practitioners who remained firm in their belief. The prisoners were quite vicious and would strike the most sensitive parts of the body. Eventually, the guards would send the most steadfast practitioners to the Concentrated Training Team, where they are placed in cages.

In October 2001, the head of Team Three instructed drug-addicts and collaborators to deal with a firm practitioner named Zhang Yijie (She was a department director of the National Economic & Business Ministry. Li Lanqing, head of the "610 Office", personally sentenced her to one and a half years of forced labor.) Her eyes became black after the brutal beatings. After that, the head of the team was afraid that she might die or something might happen, so other measures were undertaken, to force her to renounce her belief; but they all failed.

Usually, the labor camp authorities would not release anyone who had been brainwashed or became collaborators until they were their sentence was over. Once brainwashed, they were directed to brainwash others. Using people this way was aimed at making the more steadfast practitioners suffer, contributed to their self-destruction, and, at the same time, trying to force them to fight with each other.

Because I succumbed to the brainwashing, I was asked to persecute practitioner Zhang Yijie (I will expose the process in detail in a separate article) but I failed. Her belief in Truth, Compassion and Tolerance never wavered. Even though some people developed distorted understandings after undergoing the forced brainwashing, once they left the environment of persecution, and no longer were under the power of the regime, they would awaken and see the truth some day. I am a typical example of such a case. Falun Dafa gave me a new life and the principle of Truth, Compassion and Tolerance is in my heart.

As a witness to history, as a victim of brainwashing, as a person who was once taken advantage of by the evil, and as a being who has awakened and come back to the cultivation practice of Dafa, I would like to tell people in the world that TV series such as "Life is Innocent" distorts the facts. It turns things upside down by describing the torture in the forced labor camps as if it were a spring breeze. I hope all who take part in the making of this TV series and support it, take a look at themselves. It is a cosmic principle that good is rewarded with the good, and evil with evil. It is a sin to distort facts like this, and to defame Falun Dafa, which promotes virtue.

I wrote the above after I awakened and restarted my practice of Falun Dafa. These are my personal experiences. If there is anything that does not conform to Dafa, please kindly point it out. I know that I need to strengthen Fa study and to improve myself in the Fa. At the same time, I will try to catch up with the process of Fa-rectification by exposing the evil and clarifying the truth.