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From China to Saipan: The Experiences of a Young Practitioner Growing Up During the Persecution in China (Photos)

September 12, 2011 |   By a Falun Dafa practitioner outside of China

(Clearwisdom.net) One September day in 2010 an airplane took off from Pudong International Airport in Shanghai and landed at Saipan International Airport about four hours later. Among the passengers was a young man named Zhang Lianpeng whose story follows.

Born in the 1980s in Dalian City, Liaoning Province, Lianpeng had a difficult childhood. When he was just five years old, his father was sentenced to six years in prison. His mother, Wang Qiuxia, had to visit her husband in prison regularly and also take care of her little boy. Laughter was heard again in the family when Lianpeng’s father was finally released.

Lianpeng’s parents started their own business, but unfortunately it never took off. The couple eventually divorced due to irreconcilable differences, and Lianpeng’s mother was given full custody for him. She became depressed because of her hard life and later developed arthritis. Her body ached whenever it rained.


Zhang Lianpeng and his mother, Wang Qiuxia, in front of Tangwang Pavilion in Jinzhou County, Dalian City

Lianpeng and his mother began to practice Falun Gong at a friend’s recommendation. Ms. Wang was able to get rid of her quick temper and arthritis not long after reading Zhuan Falun. The mother and son practiced the Falun Gong exercises at Zhongshan Park every morning around five and welcomed local practitioners to their home to study the teachings of Falun Gong at night.

Back then Falun Gong was well known in Dalian, and there were at least 234 group exercise sites. According to one Falun Gong practitioner, everybody, from mid-level to high-level managers, had a copy of Zhuan Falun at his or her workplace.

Lianpeng Twice Escaped Death

Two miraculous things happened to Lianpeng not long after he took up the practice at the age of 15. He recalled:

“The first one happened about a year into my practice. One day I crossed the road on my bike (running a red light) when a mini-van ran into me, knocking me off my bike and more than ten meters into the air before landing on the hood of a car parked across the road. The mini-van's windshield was shattered, and there was a big dent on the bumper. Remembering the story Master mentioned about a practitioner who also got knocked down by a car but was not injured at all, I knew I’d be ok, too. As it turned out, I was indeed fine, except for a little scrape on my head. When the driver scolded me for running the red light, I kept apologizing.

“I experienced another miracle when one day I was trying to rinse the inside of a beer can with boiling water. No one knew the water heater valve was broken. Everyone was stunned to see the entire tank of hot water shoot out and drench me from head to toe. Miraculously, I sustained no injuries except for a little bit of wrinkled skin behind my ears.”

Lianpeng and His Mother, Wang Qiuxia, Stand Up for Their Belief

The communist regime started its systematic persecution of Falun Gong openly on July 20, 1999. During the wee hours of July 21, under the directive of the Dalian 610 Office, police arrested around eight local Falun Gong coordinators. Later that morning, about 1,000 local practitioners, including Lianpeng and his mother, went to City Hall to seek the release of the coordinators.

Around 1 p.m. on July 21, more than two dozen police officers dispersed the practitioners. One male practitioner refused to leave and held on tightly to the City Hall courtyard fence. Several officers grabbed his collar and hair and whacked his hands with police batons. Many other practitioners also were severely beaten and had blood on their faces. One female practitioner’s arms were covered with bruises. Even some onlookers were not spared the beatings.

Lianpeng’s mother was taken away from home in October 1999. Lianpeng recalled, “At that time many practitioners who went to Beijing to appeal for justice were arrested. Even those who didn’t go to Beijing were harassed and threatened, in an attempt to make them give up their belief in Falun Gong. Not long after my mom returned from Beijing, she was arrested again and sent to the Yaojia Detention Center, where she was held for more than a month.”

Lianpeng and his mother planned to go to Beijing again to appeal for Falun Gong at the end of September 2000. Shortly after they boarded the bus, police officers showed up to check everyone’s identification card.

Lianpeng said, “There were more than 20 passengers on the bus, most of them Falun Gong practitioners. I was sitting in the back with Practitioner A. As soon as we saw the police coming we opened the window and jumped out. The rest of the practitioners were arrested. My mom was sent to the Dalian City Drug Rehabilitation Center and my aunt, a disabled person with only one hand, was sent to the Yaojia Detention Center. Practitioner A and I later managed to take a train to Beijing. We arrived around October 1. When we went to Tiananmen Square, we saw many practitioners there. One moment a group of practitioners shouted, “Falun Dafa is good,” and the next moment another group of practitioners unfurled banners. Many plainclothes and uniformed police beat and arrested them. Group after group of practitioners were taken to the 60 or 70 buses parked nearby.”

Lianpeng and Practitioner A decided they didn’t want to risk arrest, so they contacted a Beijing practitioner, who immediately rented an apartment for the seven out-of-town practitioners who sought his help.

These practitioners went out every day to distribute truth-clarification materials and to hang up banners, despite the fact that numerous police vehicles were patrolling the streets to apprehend practitioners who had come to Beijing to appeal. Seven days later, however, these practitioners were arrested.

Lianpeng still remembers clearly what happened that day: “Because a neighbor tipped off the police, all seven of us were taken to a police station before being transferred to the Chaoyang District Detention Center the next day. During interrogation that night, one policeman caught me exchanging glances with an out-of-town girl. He came slapped me in the face six times. Agents from Dalian City were called to Beijing to pick us up. Practitioner A and I were driven to a hotel where other Dalian practitioners were later brought in. The following day we were handcuffed and taken to a train bound for Dalian. All of us were taken to the Dalian City Drug Rehabilitation Center where I saw my mom.”

Every morning the police gathered all detained practitioners in a conference hall and forced them to listen to audiotapes slandering Falun Gong for the whole day. They also burned practitioners’ faces with cigarette butts and lighters. Deemed an organizer, Lianpeng’s mother, Ms. Wang Qiuxia, was sentenced to three years of forced labor. Lianpeng was sentenced to two years of forced labor. Both were sent to Dalian Labor Camp on November 21, 2000.

Lianpeng said, “At the time of the forced labor sentence I was only 20 and the youngest practitioner in the group. The guards ordered me to memorize prison rules and abused me at will whenever I failed to recite the rules. They beat me and did not let me brush my teeth or wash myself for a whole month. Moreover, they only gave me half a minute for toilet breaks. At night many practitioners had to share very tight quarters. Due to the harsh conditions, up to 80% of the practitioners had fleas and developed scabies.”

The Brutal “March 19 Incident”

In March 2001 Dalian Labor Camp officials plotted an extremely brutal “reformation” campaign for detained practitioners. This culminated in an event that was later referred as the “March 19 Incident.” There were more than 100 male practitioners, and about 200 female practitioners who were detained in two separate buildings. The labor camp installed a loudspeaker in every cell to broadcast slanderous information about Falun Gong. They also placed a television in each room to play presentations made by former practitioners who had given up their belief in Falun Gong due to pressure and brainwashing. Moreover, each cell had a surveillance camera to keep track of every practitioner’s movements. Despite these efforts, camp officials still failed to “reform” practitioners. The camp's supervising agency issued an order to “do whatever it takes to reach the 'reformation' quota.” What unfolded in the camp on March 19, 2001, was brutal.

Around noon that day, in the building where the male practitioners were incarcerated, team head Qiao We and, guards Wang Jun and Sun Jian directed inmates Che Xin, Yu Shiwei, and others to go through every cell with electric batons and handcuffs in their hands. They dragged to the office whomever they deemed disobedient and brutalized them there. Some practitioners’ legs were almost broken as a result of the beatings and they could not walk. Others had their clothes stripped off and were shocked with electric batons everywhere, including their genitals and the soles of their feet. Unable to endure the torture, against their will, some practitioners wrote statements to give up their belief in Falun Gong.

Lianpeng was one such practitioner, and he said the psychological torment was tremendous.

Female practitioners suffered similarly that same day. Dalian Judicial Bureau associate head Hao Kun personally led a group of thugs to enforce the so-called “reformation” efforts. That night they forced all practitioners to bend over at a 90-degree angle, with their hands stretched backward and kept straight. They dubbed this torture, “Flying an Airplane.” They also wrote Master’s name on a piece of paper and tried to force every practitioner to step on it. Each of the women was then taken separately to the hallway to sign the “'reformation' statement.” The whole ordeal continued until the next morning. By then every woman had had clumps of hair pulled out, was soaked in sweat, and was left with a swollen face.

Lianpeng’s Mother Beaten to Death

During the night of June 10, 2001, the guards took Lianpeng to the office in the women practitioners’ building, where he saw his aunt crying and learned that his mother had been beaten to death. When he saw his mother’s body in the hospital the next day, he noticed her legs, arms, and face were purple and black. The guards didn’t answer directly when he asked who had killed his mother. Instead, the labor camp offered to compensate his family with 70,000 yuan and “promised” to look for the killers. Then they asked to have the body cremated right away.

One witness described the last moments of Ms. Wang’s life. According to this practitioner: “That day I saw seven or eight people dragging Wang Qiuxia to the warehouse and then heard the sounds of severe beating. It was obvious that many people were beating her at the same time. The whole time I saw through my cell's peephole that once in a while someone would come out of the warehouse and go to the washroom to wipe his sweat and cool down before going back inside. They beat Wang Qiuxia to death just like that. Not long after, team head Ma led the labor camp doctor to the warehouse. Then I saw several people carrying out a body wrapped in a blanket. I noticed her legs were purple. I didn’t hear any screams from her during the whole torture session, which was not surprising, given that the guards usually gag the victim and then lift her shirt to cover her head before starting any torture. I once went through this myself.”

Lianpeng’s mother died the age of 48. The day after her death, Lianpeng and his aunt were released.

Following his release, Lianpeng lived with his father for more than a year, until the elder Mr. Zhang died of a heart attack in mid-September 2002. Lianpeng was working in a hotel then, so he didn’t even get a chance to see his father before his sudden death.

What words could describe the pain of a young man losing both parents? Earlier in his young life, at the age of 16, he did odd jobs, once working as a restaurant and bar server, as well as a driver. Without his parents’ support and under pressure, he stopped practicing Falun Gong. The only thing that offered him fleeting comfort was his eventual marriage, which, however, only lasted eight months.

Lianpeng Faces Tribulation again for Helping Gao Rongrong

On July 7, 2004, Ms. Gao Rongrong, a fellow practitioner and a now-deceased former employee of the Luxun Institute of Fine Arts Finance Institute in Shenyang City, was shocked on the face for seven hours straight by captain Jiang Zhaohua in Longshan Forced Labor Camp. Her face was severely disfigured. With the help of other practitioners, she successfully escaped from the camp on October 5, 2004, and subsequently showed the world how her face had been disfigured by the electric shock baton torture.

Ms. Gao Rongrong before persecution
Ms. Gao Rongrong after being tortured for seven hours with electric batons

According to insiders within the regime's judicial system, Luo Gan, then head of the central 610 Office, personally arranged that Gao Rongrong be retaliated against, claiming, “This incident has caused too much of a stir in the international community.” He ordered his subordinates to “take good care of her case.” The Ministry of Public Security listed her escape as Top Priority Case No. 26. A Special Cases Group was established at the Shenyang City State Security Bureau. The Shenyang City Judicial Bureau issued a “Notice for Assistance in Investigation.” They set up an office in the Zhangshi Building of the Zhangshi Labor Camp Brainwashing Center (whose public name is Shenyang City Legal Education School). They arrested anyone they suspected was related to Gao Rongrong’s case and interrogated them under torture in the office. They also reported, shadowed, and arrested anyone they suspected might have been involved in her rescue.

Zhangshi Building where the “Special Cases Group” interrogated practitioners related to Gao Rongrong’s rescue

When the practitioners who were helping Ms. Gao tried to find a safe place for her to recover from her injuries after her escape, they got in touch with Lianpeng, who at the time worked as a driver.

Lianpeng recalled, “One day I met a practitioner who asked if I could drive Gao Rongrong around and I said, “Sure.” Not long after, I was arrested on my way to work. Four policemen interrogated me for a whole night in the Tiexi District Police Department Detention Center. Later they took me to the Zhangshi Building ,where three criminals watched over me and tried to force me to write 'reformation' statements. Three people bombard me daily with warped theories [trying to brainwash me]. Since I really didn’t know anything else about Gao Rongrong, they released me 15 days later.”

Returning to Cultivation


Mr. Zhang Lianpeng participating in Falun Gong activities in Saipan

Lianpeng resumed cultivation after he arrived in Saipan in September 2010 and began to live a fulfilling life again. Every day he goes to tourist resorts with other practitioners to clarify the facts of Falun Gong to visitors.

Lianpeng is free now, but so many other young people and children in China are still suffering as a result the brutal persecution, their parents imprisoned, disabled, or dead.