The Spread of Falun Dafa in Shuangcheng City (Part 2)
4. Experience sharing, painting, and calligraphy exhibition
After studying the Fa and doing the exercises, some of us got together in small groups to talk about our cultivation experiences—how we eliminated our sicknesses, saw improvements in our health, and improved our character, and how we also sometimes became too focused on sentimentality. We had a great exchange of cultivation experiences.
Historic photos: Dafa cultivation experience sharing conference in Shuangcheng City before July 20, 1999
During the Fa conference, a practitioner who was also a good photographer took pictures, many of which we later saw had a Falun symbol on them.
At one time we had more pictures like this, but after the Chinese Communist Party started persecuting Falun Gong on July 20, 1999, many of the pictures were taken from our homes when they were ransacked, leaving us with only a handful today.
To thank Master for his compassionate salvation, we organized many activities, including the most popular ones at the time such as calligraphy, painting, embroidery, and photography.
In the fall of 1996, Shuangcheng City practitioners hosted their first exhibition of practitioners' poetry, calligraphy, and paintings. It was the third such exhibition in the country. The most outstanding exhibit on display was a Falun made by a Dafa practitioner. The Falun would continually rotate clockwise nine times, then rotate counterclockwise nine times.
Historic photos: In the fall of 1996, Shuangcheng practitioners held the first exhibition of poetry, calligraphy, and paintings inspired by Falun Dafa.
Photos were taken of the exhibition, but most of them were destroyed sometime after July 20, 1999, and now there are fewer than ten left.
In May 1998, Shuangcheng practitioners held their second exhibition of Dafa practitioners' calligraphy, painting, and embroidery. It was staged on the third floor of the Technical College of Agriculture.
Even more Shuangcheng residents came to see the show the second year. Seeing the art created by Dafa practitioners, people felt admiration for Master and practitioners. Many were encouraged to take up cultivation in Dafa.
There were over 300 works of poetry, painting, and embroidery on display. Also on display were words that summarized the feelings behind the exhibit: “... Each stroke, stitch, or word conveys the greatest respect for Dafa's Teacher and Buddha......” Many practitioners managed to take pictures that are now highly treasured.
After the events of April 25, and under pressure from the persecution organized by the CCP, practitioners were unable to host the third Falun Dafa exhibition.
(Picture: The remaining items that were to be displayed at the third Falun Dafa exhibit originally planned for 1999)
5. From Legal Petition to Saving Sentient Beings
On May 13, 1992, Falun Gong (Falun Dafa) went public in the city of Changchun. The practice went on to be taught in over two thousand cities and counties, with more than a hundred million practitioners in mainland China alone. In Shuangcheng, with a population of nearly 800,000, there were around 10,000 practitioners. That number is consistent with the results of the survey, “Physical and Mental Condition Survey of 100 Dafa Practitioners.”
Shuangcheng practitioners heard about the protest that was to be held on Fuyou Street in Beijing after talking with fellow practitioners from out of town on April 25, 1999. That night, 33 Shuangcheng practitioners took the train to Beijing. They went only to spread the word that Falun Dafa was good. When the train reached Tieling City in Liaoning Province, it suddenly stopped and didn't move for three hours. Suspicious, some practitioners on the train got in touch with fellow practitioners in Beijing and were informed that the stop possibly had something to do with the protest. They also learned that Premier Zhu had talked to Dafa representatives and that the Tianjing incident was resolved and practitioners had withdrawn. Hearing this, the Shuangcheng practitioners returned home.
Although it was true that Premier Zhu had peacefully resolved the April 25th protest, the former head of the CCP, Jiang Zemin, insisted on persecuting Falun Gong due to his jealous nature. On April 25, Jiang Zemin secretly wrote a letter to the CCP's Central Political Standing Committee, as well as other levels of the organization.
Although the leaders of Shuangcheng's political committee knew that Dafa practitioners were a group of good and morally upright people, under pressure from powerful members of the CCP and a desire to keep their positions, they committed bad deeds.
Falun Gong practice sites in front of different corporate offices were harassed, and security personnel were ordered to disperse practitioners who were just doing their morning exercises. Bookstores were ordered to stop selling Falun Gong books; some were even penalized if they didn't obey. Some high-ranking corporate executives attempted to influence their Falun Gong employees to stop practicing, and would no longer allow morning practice in front of their buildings. Post offices and railroad companies were required to watch for and report on any Dafa group activities.
Because of this unjust situation and to clarify the truth of Dafa, some practitioners went to Shuangcheng's appeals office, while others sent letters to the CCP appeals office and the Department of State. But practitioners' honest and sincere appeals were used against them. Their appeals landed them on a blacklist and were saved as “evidence” for the persecution after July 20, 1999.
The CCP's bullying tactics were covert at first. In public, they would talk about people having the right to believe or disbelieve in whatever kind of qigong practice they choose, and said that claims they were persecuting Falun Gong were just rumors. But behind the scenes, they were gearing up for the now-infamous target date of July 20.
Some retired state security bureau personnel even went so far as to covertly gather information from Falun Gong practice sites, posing as people who were interested in learning the exercises.
On July 21, 1999, four practitioners from Harbin practice sites were taken away by the local public security bureau. Some of us heard about it later. We had no idea where they had been taken. Thinking back on the rumors that had been circulating in recent months, especially about Shuangcheng City officials interfering with local practitioners, most of us felt that it was necessary for us to petition the Heilongjiang provincial government for our rights and to complain about the unjust treatment. Even without intentionally organizing people, on the night of July 21, 1999, everyone was spontaneously getting ready to go petition the Heilongjiang provincial government. It poured rain that night.
For a small city with about ten thousand practitioners, given a little momentum in a certain direction, things will naturally progress and become an organized movement. As soon as the Shuangcheng train station had sold roughly 30 tickets, they immediately stopped selling tickets because they suspected something was afoot. Undeterred, practitioners rented minivans. On July 22, 1999, at 3:30 a.m., Falun Gong practitioners from all parts of Heilongjiang Province stood quietly and orderly in front of the Heilongjiang provincial offices.
Practitioners' requests were to release the arrested Harbin practitioners, give Falun Gong practitioners a free environment in which to practice unmolested, and allow the publication of Falun Gong books. In response, provincial officials not only ignored the requests, but also dispatched armed riot police to confront practitioners.
Loudspeakers on propaganda trucks kept announcing over and over again, “You must leave this area in 15 minutes. If you do not, we are not responsible for the consequences!” The CCP's Central Television taped practitioners who had lined up on both sides of the street, and security cameras on the rooftops of provincial buildings kept filming the peaceful practitioners down below. Finally, armed police forced practitioners into buses, and took them to Harbin Power Stadium.
At the stadium, practitioners were again herded into big buses that carried them off to different schools. There, they were individually asked to fill out a form. The information given in the forms was used to call their local police stations, who were then ordered to come pick up the practitioners. Practitioners were then bused back to various Shuangcheng police stations, where photographs were taken. Afterward, employers, street offices, community leaders, and the local CCP village committees were enlisted to aid in the persecution.
On July 22 at 3:00 p.m., major media outlets throughout China started a comprehensive smear campaign against Falun Gong. At the same time, police throughout China had orders to stop and search vehicles for practitioners. If any were found, they were to be arrested and detained. Eventually, three of Shuangcheng's elementary schools—the 2nd, the 3rd, and the 8th—were full of detained practitioners who had been involved in the petition.
On July 22, 1999, two heads of the Shuancheng City Falun Dafa Center were arrested and taken to the detention center. One practitioner was sentenced to two years of forced labor. The other was released on bail, but later was arrested again and taken to the detention center because he went to Beijing to appeal for Falun Gong. He was persecuted to death in Shuangcheng City Detention Center. He was Zhou Zhichang, the Armed Forces Department Head from Handian Town, Shuangcheng City.(http://clearwisdom.net/html/articles/2007/5/5/85258.html)
On July 22, 1999, many practitioners went to Heilongjiang Provincial Government to appeal for Falun Gong. After that, all those registered Falun Gong practitioners from Shuangcheng City were harassed, arrested, and severely persecuted in different ways.
Some were forced to “admit their mistake” on TV, or else they would be fired and lose their jobs.
Some were ordered to write a statement giving up practicing Falun Gong in public where they worked. It was all very reminiscent of what happened during the Cultural Revolution.
The persons in charge at the practice sites were constantly harassed by the police and were removed from their residences to force them to admit their “problems.” They were also monitored all the time.
What's more, all Falun Gong practitioners were forced to watch the videos that defamed the founder of Falun Dafa and were forced to hand in all their Falun Gong books.
People who were seriously poisoned by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) media took Falun Gong practitioners as odd people. And people who were not clear about the truth looked down on Falun Dafa.
In the face of so much unfairness, some gave up practicing. However, many practitioners in Shuangcheng City stepped forward, risked their lives, and went to Beijing to appeal for Falun Gong.
At that time, many people believed that the central government leaders initiated the persecution of Falun Gong because they were confused and didn't know the truth about Falun Gong. In July 1999, among the practitioners in Shuangcheng City who went to Beijing to appeal for Falun Gong, there was almost no awareness of the fact that the greatness of Falun Gong revealed the CCP's falsehoods and how evil and violent it was, which was why the CCP could not tolerate Falun Gong.
Practitioners who went to Beijing to appeal for Falun Gong were arrested and taken back to Shuangcheng City one batch after another. They were fined heavily and then detained in the detention center or sentenced to forced labor. They were treated like this just for saying, “Falun Dafa is good” to the Appeals Office or for just shouting “Falun Dafa is good” on Tiananmen Square! However, practitioners kept on going to Beijing to appeal for Falun Dafa. They just wanted to clarify the truth to the government, but were sentenced to forced labor or a prison terms or persecuted to death.
(Historic picture: The banner that Falun Gong practitioners in Shuangcheng City used when they went to Beijing to appeal for Falun Gong after July 20, 1999)
After serious reflection, practitioners realized that appealing didn't work because the Appeals Office existed in name only. They became more mature than ever and started the journey of clarifying the truth to their fellow citizens through a variety of ways. They just wanted to tell those who were not clear about the truth: “Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance is good. Our Teacher is innocent! Falun Dafa is good.”
Chengxumen (commonly know in Shuangcheng as the East Gate) witnessed the voyage of Falun Dafa in Shuangcheng City. Before July 20, 1999, numerous group practices and activities to spread the Fa took place there. After July 20, 1999, the first Falun Dafa truth clarification banner was hung up at a local station. The banner, which read “Falun Dafa Is Good” in red characters with a yellow background, drew many people to stop by. People talked about it for a long time.
(Historic photos: Practitioners in villages and towns of Shuangcheng City practicing the exercises and spreading the Fa in front of Chengxumen before July 20, 1999)
(Banners that read “Falun Dafa Is Good” hung up by Falun Gong practitioners in Shuangcheng City)
On October 21, 2000, some practitioners in Shuangcheng Town gathered together to discuss how to tell people the truth about the persecution of Falun Gong. Overnight, posters and flyers that exposed the evil persecution of Falun Gong initiated by the Communist Party's then leader Jiang Zemin were put up everywhere in Shuangcheng. The following morning, everyone in Shuangcheng was anxious to read Falun Gong flyers.
From then on, those who lived in Shuangcheng could reach the truth by a variety of means. They often saw banners flying in the wind in high places. Vendors at booths often found flyers on their doors. People who rode bicycles were often surprised to find truth clarification DVDs in their baskets when they turned away for a second. Residents found materials about Falun Gong at their door.
In just one day, those who carried Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance in their hearts changed completely in what they did and in the results they achieved.
Before July 20, 1999, practitioners demonstrated the Falun Gong exercises to applause at parties with colleagues where they worked. After July 20, 1999, a practitioner was sentenced to two years of forced labor just because he sang a song “Coming for You” at a party in his workplace!
Before July 20, 1999, posters introducing Falun Gong could be hung up in public placse in Shuangcheng. After July 20, 1999, a practitioner was sentenced to eight years in prison just because a few bundles of Falun Gong flyers were found at his home.
Before July 20, practitioners in Shuangcheng City wore the Falun emblem openly and read Zhuan Falun anywhere. After July 20, 1999, two practitioners were persecuted to death: one, just because a copy of Zhuan Falun was found at his home, the other, for giving a passenger a card with the words “Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance” on it.
As of May 2011, about 100 Falun Gong practitioners in Shuangcheng City have been persecuted to death directly or indirectly because they held firm belief Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance.
(Photos: Some of the practitioners who were persecuted to death after July 20, 1999)
Some accounts of the persecuted practitioners were published on the Clearwisdom website and other websites. Some were profiled in the Falun Gong truth clarification video “Shuangcheng Blood & Tears.”
(DVD cover for “Shuangcheng Blood & Tears”)
In July 1999, most of the practitioners in Shuangcheng City who went to Beijing to appeal for Falun Gong believed that their central government leaders were being deceived by the few evil officials who initiated the persecution of Falun Gong. Five years later, especially in December 2004 when the Nine Commentaries on the Communist Party was published, the CCP's evil nature was completely disclosed and the obstacles that prevented the people in Shuangcheng from understanding the truth of Falun Gong were eliminated.
After reading the Nine Commentaries, many people in Shuangcheng City started looking for the true Falun Gong activities and agreed to quit the CCP and its affiliated organizations, choosing a bright future for themselves.
(Photos: The truth about the Nine Commentaries on the Communist Party and the Three Withdrawals in the streets of Shuangcheng City)
Twelve years have passed since July 20, 1999. Throughout the past 12 years, practitioners in Shuangcheng City, Heilongjiang Province, experienced the hardships of going to Beijing to appeal for Falun Gong, clarifying the truth, and spreading the Nine Commentaries, while persuading people to quit the CCP and its affiliated organizations.
Thanks to the constant and great efforts of Dafa practitioners during the past years, more and more people in Shuangcheng have learned the truth about Falun Gong, including those government officials who had persecuted Falun Gong practitioners. They repented and started spreading the truth about Falun Gong to compensate for their mistakes.
Here is a story about a secretary of the Political and Judiciary Committee in the township of Shuangcheng City. After July 20, 1999, he followed the Shuangcheng CCP committee closely to persecute practitioners. He beat practitioners who went to Beijing to appeal for Falun Gong. He ransacked the homes of practitioners. He tore apart Dafa books. He cursed and sneered at practitioners.
One time during a move to reform local government, he was laid off. When he was at home, his relatives told him the facts about Falun Gong. He used a software to break the Internet blockage and logged onto the website abroad. After understanding about the facts, he regretted what he had done to practitioners. As compensation, he wrote messages telling the truth about Dafa and posted them in the corridors of the building where he lived. When he had a party with friends and proposed a toast, he said only, “Falun Dafa is good!” Later the local government went through another reform, and he was fortunately promoted to a new position and admired by all his peers. This is exactly in line with the benevolent theory: “Good is awarded with good, and evil is punished with evil.”
Many more government officials protect Falun Gong practitioners to the best of their abilities.
Falun Dafa was spread to Shuangcheng City in May 1994. By July 1999, the number of practitioners surpassed 10,000 from all different walks of life and social classes.
In the past 17 years, this small city has witnessed how widely Falun Dafa has spread and how Dafa practitioners used peaceful and rational means to protest the CCP's shameless lies and persecution. In spite of the hardships, practitioners' righteous and firm belief in Dafa has never wavered, and they will always honor their solemn vows and mission.