I Was Unaffected by Brainwashing Tactics
Even though the forced labor system in China has been shut down, brainwashing sessions continue. The brainwashing facilities are often referred to as “Law Enhancement Centers” or “Law Education Schools.”
The brainwashing centers operate as extrajudicial prisons, where prisoners of conscience, such as Falun Gong practitioners, dissidents, religious followers, and anyone else the Chinese communist regime deems a threat, are supposed to be "reformed."
This “brainwashing industry” in China is policy-driven and state-run and involve officials at each governmental branch, all the way to the lowest level in counties and villages.
Brainwashing Center Employees Also Brainwashed
The authorities want to destroy practitioners' faith in Falun Gong, so they re-implemented the brainwashing system prevalent during the Cultural Revolution. That means that those who work in the brainwashing centers have to be brainwashed first.
“Those who do the so-called ‘reform’ work, too, are people who have been deceived. Why not turn the tables and expose the evil and clarify the truth to them? I suggest that all students who they are trying to forcefully reform (this excludes those who haven’t been taken away for reform) expose the evil and clarify the truth to those people who are doing the reform work, and tell them about the cause and effect relationship of ‘good and evil always have consequences.’” (“A Suggestion” in Essentials for Further Advancement II)
The brainwashed employees pressure practitioners into “transforming,” into giving up Falun Gong's principles of Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance.
That means we should still talk about Falun Gong, even when those people use violence in trying to “transform” us. They should still be told the facts about Falun Gong. They were also brainwashed by the CCP throughout their lives and can no longer distinguish right from wrong.
Do Not Be Afraid
When I was arrested for practicing Falun Gong in April 2014, a thought came to my mind: “They are inviting me to tell them about Falun Gong.”
When the 610 Office personnel and police officers took me to the brainwashing center, I told them that the Tiananmen Square self-immolation was a hoax and that Falun Gong is practiced legally worldwide—only in China is it banned.
At the brainwashing center, I said, “This facility is illegal. If you are a police officer, you are violating existing Chinese law, and if you are not, you are an accomplice. I practice Falun Gong and follow the principles of Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance. Why is it wrong for a person to pursue truth and compassion?”
Sending Righteous Thoughts
At the brainwashing center, besides reciting the Fa, I sent righteous thoughts. For example, when they thought I was watching television, I was actually sending righteous thought.
I stood in front of the television and kept reciting Master Li Hongzhi's teachings in my mind. If anyone tried to interfere, I looked them in the eye until they could not stand it anymore and left. This stopped the interference.
When the television was loud, however, it sometimes disturbed me. I then kept reciting Master's article “Righteous Thoughts,” and sometimes I also recited Master’s poem “Abiding in the Dao:”
“Present, but the heart elsewhere—Perfectly reconciled with the world.Looking, but caring not to see—Free of delusion and doubt.Listening, but caring not to hear—A mind so hard to disturb.Eating, but caring not to taste—The palate’s attachments severed.Doing, but without pursuit—So constant, abiding in the Dao.Calm, but without strain of thought—The truly wondrous can be seen.”(from Hong Yin)
Gradually, the noise from the television subsided, and I entered into tranquility. However, after some time I got drawn into watching the programs, a state I rejected the minute I realized it. I continued to recite Zhuan Falun, lecture by lecture, which let me return to tranquility
Singing When Forbidden to Talk
The brainwashing center personnel had been brainwashed and single-mindedly followed the communist ideals. They were like puppets, and they beat people as soon as they got the order to do so.
These people were not allowed to talk to practitioners, which made it difficult to talk about Falun Gong. I found ways to bypass this with songs from Shen Yun performances. They did not expect me to sing and said that the law forbade me to sing such things. I said, “Which law? This song is popular in China and around the world.” The minute I started singing, they took off.
Rejecting Brainwashing with Righteous Thoughts
There was a story on the Minghui website that was rather telling. It was about a practitioner who was taken to a police station. She was without fear and did whatever she was told to do. She even turned around when asked to, thinking that they could not do anything to her: “I have Master. I am not afraid.”
The officer used an electric baton trying to shock her and it backfired—he was shocked instead. The same happened to another officer as well as to the chief of the police station. They were all frightened and told her to leave the station.
This story was very inspiring. It was her calm and peaceful mental state that deterred the violence. I basically used the same approach in the brainwashing center to mitigate any possible torture.
The brainwashing center used religious indoctrination to try to destroy practitioners' faith in the practice. They told me to read the book The Basics for Buddhism, which I refused to do. They used different tactics but did not make a dent in my determination to practice Falun Gong. I just kept sending righteous thoughts.
They wanted me to watch a video. I tried to send righteous thoughts, but the loud sound disturbed me. I finally realized that practitioners who cultivate forbearance have the power to stop anything disturbing their mind. I kept adjusting my mind to calm down, continued reciting the Fa, and kept sending righteous thoughts.
The brainwashing lasted for more than a month, and I was still as steadfast as the day I arrived at the brainwashing center. The volume of the video could not interfere with my sending righteous thoughts. I told them, “When you watch television, you should turn down the volume a little, otherwise it will damage your ears.”
I added, “Falun Gong is a cultivation practice of the Buddha School and it is my choice to practice it. I believe in the existence of Buddhas. I also believe that good people will be rewarded, and wicked people will suffer. The Tiananmen Square self-immolation was staged. Slandering Falun Gong is an enormous sin.” I asked them to stop persecuting practitioners, but they just stared at me and said nothing.
The brainwashing center staff began to realize that their brainwashing tactics were ineffective, so they put on different television programs that developed attachments to everyday life all day long.
In response, I chose the following approaches: I would only adhere to the Falun Gong cultivation standards. I kept a check on my eating habits and refused to eat snacks. I ignored the television programs, because they showed things that ordinary people live for. I kept busy reciting the Fa, sending righteous thoughts, and talking about Falun Gong whenever I had an opportunity.
They left me alone when I was like this, and the guards finally told me, “Get your stuff. You can go home.” I was escorted out of the center by a single person.
Evaluating the Brainwashing Centers
The brainwashing centers play an important and often devastating role in the persecution of practitioners. The centers try to “transform” practitioners and attack their belief.
To shut down the brainwashing centers, one needs to do more than just report on how practitioners are being persecuted. The perpetrators have said, “So I'm a scoundrel. What of it? I am not afraid of anyone. I am persecuting you, so what are you going to do about it?”
Actually, it is because of us that this system still exists. Practitioners as a whole have not done well enough. For example, when taken to brainwashing centers, some still fear being persecuted, fear being brainwashed, and fear not passing the test.
After reading Master’s “Fa Teaching Given at the 2014 San Francisco Fa Conference,” I realized that the CCP has brainwashed the Chinese people, making them unable to think like a normal person. It shapes the way they do things and the way they think. This has estranged them from traditional Chinese culture and created obstacles for cultivation.