In His Own Words: Hao Fengjun Explains Why He Escaped from China, Part I
Special to The Epoch Times
Jun 09, 2005
Editor's note: Hao Fengjun, 32, a former police officer of the 610 Office of the Tianjin Bureau of State Security, sought political asylum in Australia after he fled China in February, 2005. He left his work because he no longer wanted to be involved in the persecution of Falun Gong and other religious groups. Encouraged by the recent events related to the "Nine Commentaries on the Communist Party" and the Chinese Consulate employee who recently defected, Chen Yonglin, Hao decided to step forward and tell the public the truth. The following is a transcript of Hao Fengjun's words about why he chose to escape from China.
1. Family Background
I was born late in China's Cultural Revolution. My father was a construction worker and my mother a housewife. I have an elder brother. My father was the only bread winner in the family. My childhood memories were full of political purges and earthquakes. The only good times I could remember were when I played in the mud and had water-fights with the other kids. Fortunately, my loving parents always taught me to be optimistic about the future, gave me moral instruction and told me what is really important in life. They also told me that I should have courage to face any difficulties and be positive in anything I do. My parents paid a lot of attention to nurturing their children's character by teaching us to be honest, righteous, modest, kind and brave. My growing years were profoundly influenced by my parents and I did well in school.
I had been fascinated by many professions, foremost among them was that of police officer. I wanted to make my contribution to society by fighting the bad guys and crime, and protecting people. I had worked to achieve that goal! In 1985, I got into Nankai High School, one of the five elite high schools in Tianjin City, through a competitive exam after finishing my grade school, and I chose to focus on the humanities.
The June 4th incident (Editor's Note: more commonly referred to in the West as the Tiananmen Square Massacre) that shook the world broke out between the spring and summer of 1989 when I was a junior in high school. News about the student movement in Beijing spread to my school, and we began to care about the situation in Beijing and the students there. One day, led by our homeroom teacher, we took to the street in support of the college students in Beijing. The flyers I took and read while walking in the parade shocked me. I learned from those flyers the notorious acts of corruption by our country's political leaders at various levels.
For instance, Deng Xiaoping's son Deng Pufang held the post of president of China's Federation of the Handicapped; another of Deng's son, Deng Zhifang, was the board chairman of China Northern Inc. (an arms dealer), and so on. Watching the dialogue between China's then premier Li Peng and college students on TV, I felt the questions raised by the students were indeed realistic. Though still in my formative years, I already saw a lot of social ills including graft, disparities between the rich and poor, and favoritism. What those college students stood for reflected exactly how I had felt and inspired my sympathy with the students' just actions and my desire to fight for democracy and against corruption. Then, the central government silenced the whole incident with guns.
I learned afterwards that the personnel files of the college students would include records of their involvement in the June 4 demonstrations, and these students, after graduation, would have to find jobs themselves. Since no one dared to take them, they had to support themselves by doing odd jobs.
2. The Conflict between My Dreams and Reality
I got into the Tianjin Nankai University and became a student in the law department in 1991. Upon graduation in 1994, I was assigned to work in the Tianjin Public Security Bureau. One year of ideological and legal education in addition to military and submission training [training that makes one get used to obeying the order of higher authorities] left in the minds of college graduates that "the organs of the public security are violent apparatus in the state based on people's democratic dictatorship, and the tools serving the Party." We learned, after the brainwashing, to obey orders without asking why. I finished the basic police training at the end of 1994 and was assigned to the anti-riot team of the Heping branch of the Tianjin Public Security Bureau, where I worked for two years.
When I started out, I had wanted to get rid of gangsters and protect people, and arrested some suspects of murders, robberies, and drug trafficking. Meanwhile, many things that happened illogically during work hurt me profoundly. Take for example a case that took place in 1996. I got a report that someone was stabbed at Fulihua Entertainment Center. When we arrived there, we saw the injured man, stabbed four times and bloody, lying on the floor of the center's lobby surrounded by six security guards in black suits.
Before I had a chance to ask about what had happened, the guards asked me to take the victim to the police station for detention. I felt both insulted and puzzled. And then my boss, Zhao Shaozhong, came and also ordered me to take the victim away, first for treatment in a hospital and then for detention. I'd rather have vanished into thin air at that moment! Was I still a police officer charged with the responsibility of protecting people? No way!
I didn't learn the truth until later. Fulihua Entertainment Center was run by Liu Li, sister of Liu Ying who was a standing member of the city committee of Tianjin and Party chief of Heping District. It is well known that China, a socialist state, claims not to allow the existence of brothels. But it's an open secret that Fulihua Entertainment Center was a whore house with patrons like Gao Dezhan, then the Party chief in Tianjin (later removed from the post for visiting prostitutes), and some high-ranking officials from Beijing and dandies of central leaders.
I didn't have the heart to arrest the victim and asked my boss, Zhao
Shaozhong, to let others take over. The victim was really held under police
custody for 15 days for disturbing public order.
Actually, the victim had come to Fulihua Entertainment Center for his daughter, a college student who had gone back home every weekend until nearly half a year before. His daughter's classmate told him that she worked as a bar girl and even a prostitute at Fulihua Entertainment Center after class every day and he could find her there. This case was a blow to me and I felt confused about my future. I didn't know how to be a good person and a good policeman at the same time.
3. The Persecution of Falun Gong
In 1999 the well-known April 25th incident broke out (Editor's Note: this refers to the peaceful appeal of some 10,000 Falun Gong practitioners in front of the State Council Appeals Office in Beijing, which happens to be adjacent to the Zhongnanhai central government compound). The direct cause for this event happened in Tianjin City. As a policeman serving the people, I witnessed the whole event.
At the beginning of April, we received a notice from higher authorities "To be secretly cautious of the scheme of Falun Gong."
On April 11, 1999 an issue of a magazine for youth published by the Tianjin College of Education published an article attacking Falun Gong and its founder. The author of this article was He Zuoxiu, who was a member of an institute affiliated with the institute of the Chinese Academy of Sciences. He was one of a few radicals in China who opposed Falun Gong and qigong. Those radicals regarded all the supernatural phenomena of qigong practices as superstition, deception and anti-science. He claimed that Falun Gong caused mental illness, and said that Falun Gong was similar to the Boxers, who tried in the late 1800s to overthrow the government.
He Zuoxiu's article greatly hurt the hearts of the Falun Gong practitioners. Therefore, some practitioners went to the Tianjin College of Education and other related governmental agencies to tell the facts.
At that time all of us were informed by the Tianjin Public Security Bureau to come to the site promptly and to provide traffic control, block any news reports and surround Falun Gong practitioners on the spot. On April 23, over three hundred riot police were redeployed to this area; they beat up and arrested forty-five Falun Gong practitioners. Some practitioners from the crowd went to the Tianjin municipal government directly. The city officials said they could not solve this problem. To do so, the practitioners should go to Beijing. The Falun Gong practitioners had to go to Beijing on April 25 and appeal to the higher authorities to solve the problem.
At that time, when I came to the site in order to do my job, the scene in front of me made me feel at a loss. I absolutely didn't expect the congregated Falun Gong practitioners were going to strike the Tianjin College of Education with lethal weapons in their hands. Instead, they were all the ordinary civilians, former employees who had been laid off and had no money to pay for their medications, and the aged. I myself wouldn't have had a single thought of hurting them. However, the scene didn't last for a long time.
After two or three days of confrontation with the Falun Gong practitioners, the police started to clear the field. No matter how old or how sick the practitioners were, all of them were forcefully taken away from the site. A few critical members were brought to police stations for checkup and registration. Later on, I found that for all those registered Falun Gong practitioners, their behaviors would be recorded in their personal files permanently, which would affect them and their family members in the future regarding all social services.
I also knew that on that day, they had installed video cameras secretly on the surrounding high buildings of Tianjin College of Education, and tape-recorded all of the more than 5,000 Falun Gong practitioners on the spot.
After April 25, 1999, the Chinese government enhanced the work of collecting facts and information on Falun Gong and prepared fully for the persecution of Falun Gong. At that time, the functional departments in the Public Security Bureau and the Religious Affairs Department of the National Security Bureau all immediately became involved. In July, the higher authorities passed down a piece of news that Falun Gong was going to be banned on July 18. They also informed us that the news was going to be broadcast by CCTV.
Later on, it is said that due to the disagreements among the higher authorities, the news wasn't publicized. Before July 20, my workplace organized people from different levels and ranks to hold meetings and set forth and made firm our understanding of ideology. In those meetings, a few words of an oral order from the General Secretary of the CCP (Jiang Zemin) were passed down to us, claiming that we shouldn't wait any longer to ban Falun Gong, and neither should we focus on solid evidence to do so. Otherwise, Falun Gong will ruin the Party and the nation, etc. On July 20, the news of the crackdown on Falun Gong was finally broadcast by CCTV, and my workplace organized everyone to watch it. From then on, I came to know Falun Gong.
At around eleven o'clock on the evening of July 20th, I was staying at home when my pager rang and I was called to attend a meeting at the police station. We were told that there would be many Falun Gong practitioners appealing the next day. The authority ordered us to stay overnight at the police station. Before five o'clock in the morning of the next day, we arrived at the location where we were assigned to be on duty: the front gate of the Communist Party Committee at Tianjin.
Policemen from our station were grouped into two teams and sent to the Communist Party Committee and the government building. One team was dressed in police uniforms to show they were on duty. The other team was dressed casually, so they could seize the opportunity to mix in the crowd, and, when the time was right, create negative effects.
At the same time, the authorities required us to be strictly disciplined and secretive. We were ordered to completely distance ourselves from the Falun Gong practitioners. At eight o'clock, many practitioners arrived at the Communist Party Committee and the Municipal Government. They lined up in two lines and waited to appeal. They asked why the city government banned Falun Gong. A leader from the appealing office of the Party Committee came out and told the policeman in charge, Mr. Zhou Lanshan, that they would not communicate with the practitioners. The committee member said to Zhou, first, try to persuade the practitioners to leave. If they still would not leave, then use force.
I didn't execute the orders. Instead, I talked to a few practitioners who had come to appeal but had been forcibly taken to the Party Committee backyard. We chatted for a while. Our conversation topics ranged from human life, reality and society to health problems. That was the first impression I had about Falun Gong. On that day, several dozens of trucks carried away Falun Gong practitioners and dispersed them. We punished the main "leaders" of the group for disturbing social security.
The period after July 20 involved both public and underground registration and investigation in the city. The authority required every police station to register and report on Falun Gong practitioners (with emphasis on collecting data on participants in the events on April 25, July 20 and July 22). The authorities also demanded Falun Gong practitioners write a "guarantee letter" saying they would never practice Falun Gong again. Anyone who refused to write the letter would either be sent to education classes that were established by local governments, or be punished for disturbing social stability.
The Falun Gong practitioners who were registered or family members of the practitioners registered would have their rights deprived in many aspects, including university entrance, employment, children's military assignments and pension, etc. They were put under great hardship. Some work units would even fire anybody who had been categorized as a Falun Gong practitioner.
After July 20, to ensure the celebration of the 50th anniversary of the People's Republic of China would be safe and stable, Tianjin City launched a mass arrest of Falun Gong practitioners. This action was plotted by the first sector of the Tianjin Public Security Bureau (the political and security sector). A few days before the National Day, many Falun Gong practitioners across the country voluntarily went to Beijing to appeal, but were repatriated on a large scale. At that time, because the arrested Falun Gong practitioners refused to reveal their names and where they came from, the Central 610 Office was furious.
The Central 610 Office ordered local 610 Offices to allocate Falun Gong practitioners to each district according to population size. Several hundreds of practitioners were allocated to the Tianjin Public Security Bureau. The Public Security Bureau then allocated practitioners to each district station. Each district station then allocated practitioners to each local police station for investigation. Each local police station sent over somebody to claim practitioners as if claiming cattle. Whichever police station the practitioners were allocated to, the police station officers would collar practitioners with hemp ropes and force them to kneel down.
There were three female practitioners brought back to my police station. They were in their forties and fifties. All three were interrogated by our criminal investigation team. In the next couple of days of interrogation, I could hear extremely tragic crying and screaming every time I went to work. I later heard from a colleague that they received orders to use all means to force Falun Gong practitioners to reveal their names and family addresses.
During the period of Chinese New Year of 2000, in order to strengthen control over Falun Gong practitioners and prevent them from appealing to Beijing, work units, neighborhoods and police stations were ordered to set up brainwashing sessions and open "education classes." Falun Gong practitioners were forced to listen to brainwashing materials together at one place. They must also pay a "study fee." I expressed my dissatisfaction to some governmental officials. I said outlawing Falun Gong was a waste of manpower, material resources and financial resources. They only wanted to be healthy and good people. Why couldn't you let them practice?
To be continued...