Stories About the Early Days of the Minghui Website – Part 2
(Clearwisdom.net) Editor's Note: Master said in “Fa Teaching at the 2009 Greater New York International Fa Conference:”
“Only if one can persevere and continually forge ahead does it amount to true diligence. It's easy to talk about, but putting it into action is tremendously difficult. That is why it's said that always cultivating as if you were just starting will surely result in achieving your ultimate rank.”
The following is taken from a group sharing article at the 10th anniversary of the Minghui Website in 2009. Many of the practitioners involved in Minghui/Clearwisdom website work cannot share their cultivation experiences in the same way as other practitioners outside of China. To address this issue, a group of practitioners co-authored this article for the purpose of sharing and mutual encouragement among Minghui website project team members at the Fa Conference marking the 10th anniversary of the Minghui Website’s founding. The article has been edited for publishing.
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The Minghui website completed the first ten years of its journey on June 25, 2009. It has evolved from a very simple website to a large group of websites with original content in multiple columns, issues, media forms, sub-domains, and languages. How have the practitioners who have been working on the Minghui website been doing during these 10 years? This article will share with you some of the early times of the Minghui website.
Continued from Part 1
Part 1: http://clearwisdom.net/html/articles/2011/8/13/127445.html
Part 3: http://clearwisdom.net/html/articles/2011/8/21/127598.html
Part 4: http://clearwisdom.net/html/articles/2011/8/22/127618.html
Part 5: http://clearwisdom.net/html/articles/2011/8/24/127651.html
A Simple Beginning
When the Minghui website started, its structure and components were very simple. The editors at that time weren't very familiar with the technical aspects of emailing or maintaining a website. The computer we used was an old 486 computer. We accessed the Internet over low speed dialup connections. Our technical staff had only basic knowledge about Internet technology.
One week after the Minghui website was launched, we started getting first-hand information and articles non-stop. We received more than 500 emails every day, many of them about urgent situations. We held meetings every day to discuss the incoming emails, but there were many issues that were difficult for us to handle.
Nonetheless, everyone was determined to do it well. Because we knew that what we did was not for ourselves but to safeguard Dafa and to protect and stabilize the cultivation environment in China, which was being increasingly damaged every day, as, in reality, the Communist regime had already been applying pressure for several years before the widely publicized persecution began. We also intended for this website to provide the facts about Falun Gong to practitioners at home and abroad, as well as to the general public.
The design of the very first version of the Minghui website was very simple. Several or a dozen articles and notices were uploaded every now and then. Shortly after that, to better adapt to the fast changing situation, the website was changed to a format for daily publication.
To date, many of the staff at the Minghui website have cultivated for the past ten years. For a young practitioner, ten years is not a short amount of time. Facing the huge amount of pressure from other dimensions and the main battlefield in mainland China, all kinds of pressure for our practitioners, the unusual work load, etc., all the staff at the website were tempered in a special environment. Meanwhile, we also deeply understood that, although our sufferings were unusual, it was nothing compared to the intense, real pressure and harm that Master bore for us; it's not comparable at all. Without Master, none of us could have survived the first few years; without the Fa, none of us could have lasted to today.
Dark Clouds Bearing Down
July 20, 1999, was a dark day. That morning, police arrested Falun Dafa coordinators across China, and the media controlled by the Communist regime started to broadcast the slanderous propaganda about Dafa.
Many practitioners in China went to their local governments or Beijing to appeal for Dafa after they learned the news. Many practitioners in North America also went to Washington, DC, to hold rallies in front of the Chinese consulate and on Capital Hill, calling for public attention to stop the persecution. The situation changed very rapidly, and the Minghui website had to report the news in mainland China and overseas around the clock. The editors and technical practitioners at the website could no longer follow their normal daily schedules; instead, they had to spend their days and nights working on selecting, editing, and updating the articles. After they finished processing the large number of articles submitted by overseas practitioners during the day, articles from China came in waves in the evening. Round after round, they had very little time to sleep.
On July 29, 1999, the editor's computer completely crashed. At that critical juncture, all the staff members of Minghui website lost contact with each other and with the outside world. Then a practitioner asked the staff if we wanted to go to Washington. Right after we arrived in DC, we learned that our Master was on the regime's “Wanted List." This was the most evil turn of events imaginable in the universe. We realized that there was something extremely unusual happening in the universe. Although we didn't understand why those things were happening, we immediately found paper and pen and, with the help from fellow practitioners, began to expose the persecution to the entire world. We knew that, regardless of what was going to happen, we must stand by Master. As long as Master was there, the sky wouldn't fall.
One of our technical practitioners drove a long way to DC to attend the practitioners' appeal to resist the persecution. After he received a notice from the main editor, however, he didn't go to the event; he instead found a place to resume working on the website.
At that time, all the practitioners wished the persecution could be immediately stopped, and everyone was contributing his or her best to achieve this end. Many practitioners from North America went to DC spontaneously. Some sat out in the scorching sun to protest the persecution. Some went to the government offices to explain the situation and hoped that mainstream society in the US could understand the truth very quickly and help stop the persecution. For the Minghui website, the timely reports not only exposed the evil persecution, but also encouraged Mainland practitioners who were directly facing danger. Meanwhile, the reports also clarified the truth about the slanderous broadcasts by the regime.
One practitioner with a PhD told a Minghui reporter: “I had read Zhuan Falun on the Internet as early as 1996, but because there weren't any practitioners in my area, I didn't truly cultivate until the beginning of 1999. When the regime first published so many articles defaming Mr. Li Hongzhi, I was very confused. However, after I read articles on the Minghui website that explained the facts about Falun Gong, all of my concerns disappeared. Because the regime blocked the Internet, and it was very difficult for people inside Mainland China to read the Minghui website, I built a mirror-website and shared the information with my friends in the Mainland.”
Another practitioner from China said in an interview: “After July 20, 1999, the regime censored the Internet and I couldn't go to the Minghui website anymore. One day I found the Minghui website through a mirror-website, and I can now still remember the address of that mirror website. Later on, I went to Hong Kong and got the software written by overseas practitioners to break through the Internet censorship. After I went back to the Mainland, I shared the software with many people. From then on, we visited the Minghui website through the anti-censorship software.”
At the beginning of the persecution, the situation was perilous. A practitioner in Canada said: “At first, the Minghui website operated on a computer provided by a web-service company. The regime constantly had web agents attack and interfere with our site. The manager of that company helped us all the time and tried his best to maintain the computer. But one day, I couldn't get in touch with him at all. After I called his home number, I learned that he had died in a car accident.”
The creation of the Minghui articles depended on both overseas and mainland practitioners; the latter especially had done a great job in circulating the articles.
During the process of learning how to correctly understand the role of the Minghui website in Fa-rectification cultivation, practitioners set up material production sites in Mainland China—coordinating Mainland practitioners to collect information, send out notices, write articles, and work as Minghui editors. Mainland practitioners also worked to print out in a timely manner all the cultivation experience-sharing articles published on Minghui and distribute them to the Dafa disciples in different cities in China. And many practitioners collected and printed the persecution articles and other materials published on Minghui on a large scale and distributed them to the public in different cities. There are so many unknown stories.
The practitioners in the Mainland have quietly created, maintained, and increased their information channels. Here, we would like to re-introduce, from a new angle, three practitioners you may have already heard of.
Mr. Yuan Jiang, who graduated from Tsinghua University, was a teacher. His father was a professor at Northwest Normal University, and his mother was a senior teacher in a middle school. After the regime started the persecution in 1999, Mr. Yuan volunteered to lead the local practitioners in Gansu Province to start Fa-rectification cultivation. He became the local coordinator for Minghui and had a huge impact in the local area.
When he was arrested on September 30, 2001, Gansu Police Department officers got together very quickly two carloads of torture instruments to interrogate Mr. Yuan. As the main coordinator in Gansu Province and the local Minghui contributor, Mr. Yuan knew a lot of information. We can't even imagine what kind of cruel torture he suffered during the interrogation.
Around October 26, 2001, Mr. Yuan freed himself from the handcuffs with his strong righteous thoughts. After he managed to escape from detention with great difficulty, he wasn't able to walk very far because of his very limited physical strength, so he went into a cave. In that cave, he lost consciousness for four days. After he came to, he climbed out of the cave and went to a practitioner's house. He stayed at that practitioner's house until he passed away on November 9, due to his internal injuries. He was only 29 years old at the time. After he died, the police initiated a large scale search. Many practitioners who had helped Mr. Yuan were arrested, and his parents were closely monitored by the police.
Mr. Wang Chan used to work at the headquarters of the People's Bank of China and was known as one of the elite in high-technology. However, he became homeless in 1999 because of the persecution. Later on, he also voluntarily participated in the Minghui work and led practitioners from different cities to join the effort. Within only a few years, Mr. Wang went to several provinces across China and became one of the main coordinators in the Mainland. He played a vital part in blazing and protecting the information channels for the Minghui website, spreading the Minghui articles and materials widely in China. He also influenced many practitioners to improve themselves and become more diligent in Fa-rectification cultivation. However, Mr. Wang was arrested by police in Shandong Province on August 21, 2002. One week later, he was tortured to death during interrogation on August 28, at the age of 39. After he died, the local police immediately cremated his body.
Mr. Li Zhongmin used to work at a foreign company in the development district in Dalian City. He was in his 30s. Mr. Li was very determined in cultivation. At the beginning of the persecution, he was arrested and detained several times. Protected by revered Master, he passed through five security sentries on the morning of December 28, 2000, and walked out of the Dalian Forced Labor Camp, where he had been detained for four-and-a-half months. Later on, he was arrested again several times, but he managed to escape every time he was arrested. Even the police officers were confused about how he escaped. As a Minghui correspondent, Mr. Li had been very diligent in cultivation, as well as maintaining material production sites and clarifying the truth. In order to arrest him, the Zhongshan District Police Department assigned around 180 officers from all the local police stations to arrest him. He was arrested on January 11, 2002. After he was tortured and interrogated, Mr. Li was secretly sentenced to 15 years of imprisonment. He died as a result of torture in prison on March 4, 2003.
Facing this intense situation, all the overseas Dafa disciples who were involved in the Minghui work only had one thought in their hearts: “No matter how dark it is, we must keep on doing this, which is very important to the overall situation.” At the same time, we also realized that, in order to persevere and carry out our missions when things were so tough and grim, we must study the Fa well.
At that time, every key staff member of the Minghui website often had technical problems. In the other dimensions, the evil was constantly interfering: Internet connections were frequently interrupted, and the computers suddenly developed strange problems. We didn't know to send forth righteous thoughts or of the concept of Fa-rectification cultivation then. We didn't know what to do at the beginning. Later on, when we had problems again, we started to recite Lunyu or study the Fa. While we were studying or reciting the Fa, the problems were fixed.
Beyond the pressure from the evil, there were pressures and problems because of fellow cultivators' different understandings. Thus we couldn't do things as one body. At the same time, the persecution was getting worse and worse every day, and mainland practitioners were suffering inhuman and brutal persecution every day and being persecuted to death on a regular basis. Our Minghui staff often had the feeling that they couldn't keep up. There was one young editor whose hair turned half white in a few months. For another editor, each time when he finished his Minghui work, he was exhausted. When he drove home, he had to stop and rest several times during the half-hour trip. Under all kinds of unknown pressures, the main editor often felt his life would be exhausted in two months. But regardless of what happened, we still persevered and tried our best to do our jobs solidly well and to let other practitioners take over the job easily and smoothly.
Under the extremely high pressure, two months passed, then half a year passed, and then five years passed. In the process, we all witnessed the magnificence and mighty virtue of Dafa from our Minghui work.
(To be continued)