Righteous Thoughts and Righteous Actions: Walking Out of Shibalihe Forced Labor Camp in Excellent Health after a 20-Day Hunger Strike
Editor's note: The Shibalihe Women's Forced Labor Camp in Zhengzhou City is known for its brutal brainwashing of Falun Dafa practitioners. In China, after being detained and deprived of freedom, many practitioners in forced labor camps go on hunger strikes to protest the persecution. It is a peaceful and reasonable way to protest the illegal incarceration and abuse. However, since the persecution started, the forced labor camps have used force-feeding of practitioners as a brutal form of torture. This form of torture has caused severe physical damage and even death to many practitioners. However, a Dafa practitioner from Henan, after a hunger strike of 20 days, didn't become sick and thin. Instead her face was glowing with health. Although she is a mother of two children, she looks younger, more like a 20-year-old. How did she do it? How did she perceive or mentally respond to the persecution? Here is her story:
I Persisted in My belief in Dafa; Three Years of Brainwashing Were in Vain
In 2000, I was sentenced to three years of forced labor because I appealed for the right to practice Falun Dafa. I was sent to the Shibalihe Women's Forced Labor Camp in Zhengzhou City. I began practicing Falun Dafa relatively late, and when I got Teacher's new articles in the labor camp, I couldn't even understand their meaning at first. However, I had just one thought: "Master is good. Dafa is good. Nobody can change my mind." Therefore, in those three years, no matter how the evil forces tried to deceive me and tortured me, I was not "transformed".
Just before I was released, the authorities made a last attempt and tortured me once again. The guards tied my arms behind me. They squeezed me into a specially designed torture apparatus. A big wooden board with many nails was against my back, with the sharp ends of the nails toward my back. One end of the board touched my body. The police and prisoners held the other end. They gradually pressed the board against me and I felt extreme pain in my back. They put pens and paper in front of me and whenever they pressed the board against me, they asked me whether I would agree to write a "guarantee statement". I held just one thought in my mind, "Never compromise with the evil." Later, they said that the limit for people to suffer such torture was 10 or 20 minutes. However, they tortured me for almost one hour. Furthermore, during the torture they pulled on my arms that were tied behind me to increase my suffering. Eventually, I couldn't feel any pain at all as my arms became numb.
Arrested for the Second Time, I Suffered Again
At the beginning of 2004, just a few months after I was released from the previous term, the authorities arrested me again because I distributed truth-clarifying materials. I was sentenced to two years of forced labor.
The Shibalihe Forced Labor Camp in Zhengzhou City is known for its brutal treatment of practitioners. There were 70 to 80 practitioners detained in the No. 3 Division. All newly-detained practitioners were first put in a solitary compartment and two drug-offenders were assigned to watch them day and night. Then collaborators took turns promoting their false understanding of Dafa. If this didn't work, the prisoners would beat and torture the practitioners. Since I refused to succumb to brainwashing, four drug-offenders were assigned to forcefully transform me. I was not allowed to sleep for 24 hours and suffered mental and physical torture. My body was covered with bruises due to the beatings I received.
Maintaining One Thought, "Never betray Master and Dafa," and Always
Strengthening My Righteous Thoughts
For a person who has not experienced this himself, it is hard to imagine how much pressure a person can suffer when detained alone in such a terrifying and tense environment all day long, day after day. In such an environment, lacking righteous thoughts just a little bit can cause psychological distress and make one compromise with the evil and do things that a practitioner should never do. Most of the "guarantee statements" given by practitioners were written under such duress.
I deeply understood that for me to obtain the Fa, I must have a predestined relationship with Master. On the day I realized that Dafa is the most righteous Fa, I also determined that I would never betray Master and Dafa. During the persecution, I kept reciting Master's poem in my mind ("No Confusion," from Hong Yin II, unofficial translation),
"Who is the lord of the heavens
Realm after realm, beings deviate from Fa
Each claiming to rule the firmament
Time is already near for returning to position
See who is still muddleheaded"
I was a Dafa disciple and came to assist Master in the Fa-rectification. No one deserved to test me. I kept strengthening my righteous thoughts. At the moments when I couldn't hold out because of the suffering, I would ask Master to help me. Following Master's teaching, while the evil still existed, I would not stop sending forth righteous thoughts to eliminate the evil in other dimensions. I always remembered that I was the disciple of Master Li Hongzhi.
Perhaps Master saw my steadfast heart. One day the evil suddenly stopped wreaking havoc on me. Prisoners said, "Hey, 'transforming' her is hopeless," which strengthened my belief in Master and Dafa all the more. Master has said,
"If a disciple has enough righteous thoughts, Master will have the power to save the disciple from any desperate situation." ("Gratitude of Master and Disciples," from Hong Yin II, unofficial translation)
I felt that Master stayed beside me throughout the tribulation.
The Evil Felt Threatened Within the Field of My Righteous Thoughts
Even after that, a few individual prison guards still wanted to persecute me. They attempted several times to provoke prisoners to beat me, but they failed. Some prisoners didn't dare to do so; some just couldn't do it.
The evil feared that I would affect other practitioners and they soon transferred me, along with several other steadfast practitioners, to another division.
I Came to the Human World Not to be Detained in Jail but to Save Sentient Beings; I Refused to be Persecuted and I Felt that I Must Leave the Labor Camp
The new division was not as evil as the No. 3 Division. Although the environment was relatively relaxing, I believed the forced labor camp was not the place where practitioners should be. I came to the human world not to be detained in jail but to assist Master in saving sentient beings. I knew I had to leave there. Therefore, I started a hunger strike, refused to wear the prison uniform, and refused to do any labor or listen to any of the prison authority's orders. I thoroughly denied any of the old forces' arrangements.
They pretended to show concern for me and asked prisoners to persuade me, saying, "It is in vain to be like this. You are only hurting yourself." "Stay in good health and then deal with whatever you need to after you get out of here." They tried to shake my determination through human notions. I was not moved by anything. Master and Dafa are there and we can achieve anything. I did not go on the hunger strike to obtain my freedom, but rather, it was to deny the old forces' arrangements and to save sentient beings.
The Evil Felt Frustrated and Hurried to Release Me
A prison guard saw my determination and stated, "You Falun Gong practitioners who refuse to cooperate with us at all, you really give us a headache and we would like to have you leave from here as soon as possible. We like those who obey us." (A guard had previously said, "Those Falun Gong people are honest. Let them work [at forced labor] more.") To my fellow practitioners who cooperate with the evil, I say: when we face the evil that persecutes us, how can we still "try to be good people and not bring trouble for others?" Isn't that cooperating with the evil in this persecution and letting the evil take advantage of a loophole within us? Could this be why many fellow practitioners remain stuck in the tribulation for a long time and why their righteous thoughts become more and more weak?
On the tenth day of my hunger strike, the evil could not remain calm and sent me to the hospital to have a medical check-up. The doctor said I had a liver problem. I ignored it and continued with my hunger strike. On the twentieth day, the guards called me out and said they were taking me to see the doctor. Not until I was at the gate of the labor camp, was I told that I was being released. The local police station and the 610 Office had people who were waiting for me in front of the gate. The labor camp was afraid that if the other practitioners knew I was being released it would be a "bad influence" on them. Therefore, they didn't want me to collect my belongings before I was released.
Later, after hearing my story, many people came to see me. They were all surprised to see that my face glowed with health and that I hadn't become thin (as one would expect from a hunger strike). In fact, even though I am a mother of two, I looked like a just-over-20-year-old young woman. This was simply amazing, after a 20-day hunger strike!
In reviewing my experience, the following are some of my thoughts:
On the One Hand, the Evil Did Indeed Persecute Us; On Other Hand, It Is We Who Caused the Persecution to be More Severe
My experience of walking out of the forced labor camp with righteous thoughts made me realize that this is the only successful way to firmly believe in Master and Dafa in order to be a Fa-rectification period Dafa practitioner and to reach Consummation. The evil persecution is just one aspect of the attempt to destroy Dafa. We are the ones who cause the persecution to be more severe. Although some practitioners have studied the Fa for a long time, they have not understood the Fa thoroughly with righteous reason and have not treated the persecution with personal righteousness. Their fundamental nature hasn't completely assimilated to the Fa. Therefore, during the evil persecution, it is hard to be solid as diamond and to truly give up the thought of life and death in order to deny the persecution. Some deny the persecution in their minds but in their actions they acknowledge the persecution to varying degrees. In the long run, when such human/ordinary thinking continues, these practitioners may compromise with the evil and even take the path of "evil understanding," betraying Master and Dafa and enlarging the evil field. If practitioners, especially those in the forced labor camps, can truly give up the thought of life and death, no matter how strong the evil is at the moment, it cannot last long.
Clarify the Truth to Family Members: the Restraint on the Persecution Is Stronger When Our Families Cooperate
At the same time, restraining the persecution is stronger with our families' cooperation (regardless of whether they are practitioners or not). Use kindness and righteousness to restrain and expose the evil and to leave no opportunity or field for the evil to interfere with us. In the past, some family members stood on the side of the evil, by blaming those family members who practiced Falun Gong. This increased the perpetrators' arrogance and made the persecution of their family members worse. It hurt their family members, as well as themselves. If the family stands on the righteous side to resist the persecution, the evil is indeed frightened. Of course, more patience on our part, and unremitting work are required for fellow practitioners to do this.
February 20, 2005