A “Falun Dafa Is Good” Banner Flew in Masanjia Forced Labor Camp on July 20, 2009
(Minghui.org) I feel very sad every year on July 20 because on this day 14 years ago, Jiang’s regime launched its persecution of Falun Gong practitioners. With mixed emotions, I attended the candlelight vigil on July 20, 2013, in Washington, DC, commemorating those Falun Gong practitioners who have been persecuted to death. In this article, I would like to share my experience of how I successfully made and hung a two-meter-long banner with “Falun Dafa Is Good” four years ago in Masanjia. That experience helped me witness and validate the mighty virtue of Master and the Fa.
Why I wanted to make the banner
I had been arrested in China five times simply because of my faith in Falun Gong. I was incarcerated in Masanjia Forced Labor Camp twice for a total of five years and three months. I was subjected to brainwashing for a month and brutally beaten. I was tortured in many ways: the guards sealed my mouth with tape; I was deprived of sleep; I was force-fed unknown drugs; I was forced to sit on small stools for a long period of time; I was forced to do hard physical labor; and I was forced to have my blood drawn. I was tied up in between two beds with one hand up and the one down and was also hung (the “big hang-up” torture - handcuffed behind my back and hung from a hook high above the ground), etc.
I spent five July 20's in Masanjia. The practitioners incarcerated there have all been brutally tortured and persecuted, but every year on April 25 (over 100,00 Falun Gong practitioners went to Beijing to appeal on April 25, 1999), May 13 (Falun Dafa Day), and July 20, we always seize every possible opportunity to express our thoughts by shouting: “Falun Dafa is good!” “Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance is good!” and “Falun Dafa is the righteous Fa!”
These cries from the bottom of our hearts shock heaven and earth. Our cries are flashes of lightning that pierce through the darkness of the hellish Masanjia and terrify the evil forces. On these special days every year, Masanjia becomes a den of horror--large number of guards search practitioners and their beds. If we shout our thoughts, we are shocked with electric batons, locked up in solitary confinement, and our terms are extended.
In 2009, I had a very strong thought – I would make a banner and hang it up! I would be released in November 2009, and July 20, 2009, would be the last July 20 I would spend in Masanjia. I believed that the reason I was incarcerated there was not for me to endure torture; I had to tell people that no matter how brutally Masanjia tortures Falun Gong practitioners, the truth cannot be covered up, and practitioners will not be forced to give up their faith in Falun Gong. I wanted to use the banner to tell the guards who participated in the persecution that persecuting us will ultimately end in failure, and that oppression cannot force us to change our hearts. After I made that decision, I began to carry out my plan inside the heavily guarded Masanjia.
Careful preparations began two months in advance
In May 2009, I discussed my plan with a fellow practitioner, who agreed to help hang the banner after I finished making it. To make the banner, I needed a brush, some materials for the banner itself, and ink. I planned to make a long banner that would have a huge deterrent effect on the evil forces. I decided that a bed sheet would be the best material. I chose to use a newer, light-colored bed sheet and cut it into a two-meter by one-foot long banner.
Without a brush, I wrapped some cotton strips onto the tip of a wooden stick. There's a blackboard in the camp, and every month the guards make the inmates write monthly updates and announcements on the board. The inmates have colored ink. I knew one of those inmates, so I asked her for some ink. She asked me why I needed it, and I replied that I wanted to draw something. Although she hesitated, she gave me three tubes of the different colored inks and two brushes. I immediately hid them. I could hardly believe that inside such a miserable place, I could get almost everything I needed. I thanked Master for strengthening me.
I squeezed the ink into a small plastic medicine bottle to reduce the chance of the guards noticing it when they checked the cell. When I was doing that, an inmate suddenly came in and stood right behind me. I did not see her since I had my back to the door. She asked me, “What are you doing?” I perspired out of shock, but quickly and with all my strength, I eliminated all the fear. I told myself that I was not doing anything bad, so I should not have fear. Calmly I asked her, “What do you want?” She said, “Give me some toilet paper.” Since I had ink in my hand, I told her, “It’s in my pocket. Please take it.” She took the paper and left as if she did not see anything. I thanked Master for helping me pass that difficult test.
Writing the banner in ten minutes
I planned the size of the 14 characters I wanted to write in my head ahead of time, and how big a space each character would need. Now that I had all the tools I needed, how could I write on the banner? The cell was full of people, and the inmates and guards walked back and forth in the hallway. I decided to write on the banner inside the cell.
There were eight bunk beds and 16 of us in the cell. There was a window at the end of the room, and between the window and beds was a small aisle. I decided that that was the best spot for me. When I worked on the banner, on my left would be the window and on my right would be a fellow practitioner's bed. The fellow practitioner agreed to protect me while I worked on the banner. She would tell me if the guards entered the cell, and she could also block people’s view by sitting on her bed.
About two weeks before July 20, I was ready, but I struggled mentally. I couldn't decide when I should start writing on the banner; if I started too early, there was a better chance for the guards to find it, but if I waited too long, I was afraid that I might lose the chance forever. Finally I decided to start ten days in advance. At 9:00 p.m. on July 10, I began to work on the most important part of the banner – writing the characters. While people were chatting inside the cell, I knelt down in the aisle, laying some toilet paper on the floor first, and then put the bed sheet on top of it to avoid leaving any stains on the floor. I had rolled up the bed sheet, leaving enough space for me to write the characters one by one. After writing each one, I used some toilet paper to cover it, then I rolled up the part of the sheet to cover the character, and opened up some more space to write the next character. I held the sheet rolled up inside my hand leaving only a 12-cm-wide space of the sheet on the floor for me to write character by character. Nobody noticed me while I worked.
I concentrated on writing “Falun Dafa Is Good; Heaven Is Annihilating the CCP; Quit the CCP for Your Own Safety.” At first I was afraid people would see me, so I thought it would be good enough for me to just finish writing one character that day. However, after the first character, the fear disappeared, and I finished writing all of the messages all at once. I quickly rolled up the entire sheet. When everyone was asleep, I spread open the banner and lay it underneath my bed to dry. Early the next morning, I was the first one to get up. I rolled up the banner and hid it in the factory, where we were forced to work during the day.
After writing the characters, I wanted to attach the sheet with some bulletin board paper so that the banner would be displayed well. However, inside the closely monitored environment, I was not sure if I could find any opportunity to make the banner that way. A few days later, there was a power outage in the factory, and the guards loosened up a little. Seizing the opportunity, I quickly cut a 2 by 30-cm piece of cardboard from a box, then sewed the board inside the bed sheet. I also sewed two strips of cloth to each end to tie it up. Nobody saw me do any of this.
I was excited, thrilled, and nervous. From then until it was time to hang it up, I would have to avoid numerous inspections, and this would be the biggest challenge. If they found the banner, all of my efforts would have been wasted, and whoever participated in making the banner would be severely tortured.
The “Falun Dafa Is Good” banner flies in Masanjia
When it was time to hand the banner over to the practitioner who had promised to hang it, she told me that she didn't want to do it anymore. At that moment, I realized that I was the one who should carry out the entire task alone. All of a sudden, I could feel the tremendous pressure, and a kind of terror surrounded me. What should I do? I was not mentally prepared. For 30 minutes I tried to calm down and eliminate the chaos of thoughts with righteous thoughts.
I asked myself repeatedly if I could endure the pressure and hang the banner up. Meanwhile, in my head, the battle between righteous thoughts and fear went on. The “fear” said that it would be too dangerous. I was going to be released in three months. If the guards found out, I would be punished, handcuffed, shocked with electric batons, hung up, and my term would surely be extended.
I also thought about my daughter. Since I was incarcerated, she had registered to marry, but postponed the wedding because she did not want my seat to be empty. She was already in her sixth month of pregnancy. If they found out it was me who hung up the banner, I would not be able to take care of her or my grandchild.
However, my righteous thoughts told me, “I must hang it up. Master gave me this opportunity, which I would not have been given in thousands of years, to rectify the Fa. I must use this opportunity!” As I thought this, a flow of righteous energy arose in me, and I felt full of energy. I had but one thought only then: I must hang the banner up! I knew that I was not doing it for me, but for all the practitioners who were detained in Masanjia also wanted me to do this. The banner would shock the evil forces, particularly on July 20.
July 20 is the most sensitive day for the guards at Masanjia. To prevent practitioners from shouting and validating the Fa, the guards “talked” to us individually a week ahead of time to pressure us. They searched our bags and our beds every day. They tore apart our comforters and bed covers, and the filling all came out. Since we were prohibited from use sewing needles, at night we had to cover ourselves with the stuffing.
I befriended an inmate who abhorred the CCP. We had lots of common topics to talk about. I hid the banner beneath the pile of her semi-finished clothes. One day, two guards stopped by the pile of clothes searching the tool boxes. My heart was about to jump out of my chest, and I screamed in my head, “Master, help me! Master, help me!” They picked up the clothes and threw them aside piece by piece, but about two to three shirts away from finding the banner, they quit searching and took off. They left without finding the banner.
I knew it was no longer safe to hide the banner there, and I had move it and hide it in a safer place until July 20. Where would be a safe spot? I took the banner back to the cell. There were two wash basins the same color. If I piled them up together, there was some room in between them. However, it was hard to tell there were actually two basins since they were identical. I put the banner between the two basins and then begged Master to help strengthen my power so that nobody could touch my banner.
The atmosphere in the camp became increasingly intense as July 20 approached. The guards searched the cells more frequently, and I lost count of how many times they searched our cell. I begged Master to help prevent them from seeing the banner so that I could hang it up. Beginning on July 16, the guards searched our bodies, the cells, and the factories every day, and they also added more guards to guard the field outside.
They searched three times on July 19. At 8:30 in the morning, they searched our bodies, the cells, and the tool boxes. At noon, they searched our bodies in front of the cafeteria, and at around 2 to 3 in the afternoon, they searched us and tool boxes again. No matter how they searched, the banner stayed there sound and safe. I knew it was a miracle.
It began to rain in the morning on July 20, so I could not hang the banner. Later that day at dusk, I stretched my hand outside the window, and a ray of sunset landed on my palm. At that moment, my heart was peaceful and calm; I had no fear. I knew that the next day would be a good day, and I must hang the banner!
At dawn around 4 o’clock on July 21, I heard a voice calling above my head. When I opened my eyes, no one was there. I knew that Master woke me up. However, the inmate on duty was standing right outside the window spying on all the practitioners. I sent forth a thought: You leave this area immediately! She actually left after I sent that thought. Holding the basins, I went to the bathroom. There was another inmate watching practitioners. I sent forth another thought to make her leave, so she left, too.
There was no one in the bathroom except me. I had only one thought: With Master’s support, I can do it. Quickly I opened the window and hung the banner on the iron bar outside the window. Then I opened the two-meter long banner, “Falun Dafa Is Good! Heaven Is Annihilating the CCP; Quit the CCP for Your Safety.”
I felt solemn and noble, as if I was opening up a “Falun Dafa Is Good” banner on Tiananmen Square. I felt that the instant I hung up the banner, many of the evil forces were destroyed.
The banner hung there for 30 minutes before the guards noticed it. The entire labor camp, the guards, the head of the division, as well as the head of Masanjia, were all shocked. For seven days, they stayed at the camp and investigated. They could not imagine how, in such a closely watched labor camp, after countless body searches, and cell searches, under the close watch of the guards and inmates, this two-meter-long, well-made banner could still be made and hung up. The labor camp dared not notify anyone else to investigate, so seven days later, they decided not to do anything about it and stopped investigating.
After one guard participated in persecuting me, I told her the facts of Falun Gong without any feelings of resentment. On the day I was to go home, she finally understood the truth and quit CCP. She chose a bright future for herself.
Now I have escaped the hellish Masanjia completely. Recalling the time when I successfully made the banner under that kind of environment, I am full of gratitude for Master.
While writing this article, my eyes are filled with tears. Fellow practitioners who were incarcerated with me, how are you doing now? The days we spent together were full of misery and difficulties. I will never forget those days. As the CCP’s 14-year-long persecution accelerated, today Falun Gong has spread all over the world. On July 20, this special day, I sincerely hope that you can follow your faith in Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance freely and continue cultivating.
Please allow me, from America, the land of freedom, to tell the world what all Falun Gong practitioners want to say from the bottom of our hearts, “Falun Dafa is good!”