Woman, 53, Recounts Years of Persecution for Talking to People about Falun Gong
(Minghui.org) A 53-year-old woman quickly recovered from her illnesses after she began to practice Falun Gong in 1997. Her family was also able to enjoy a more harmonious relationship because of her positive changes.
However, Ms. Lan Qiaozhen was puzzled when two years later, the Chinese Communist Party launched its nationwide campaign against the practice that transformed her life. She felt that she just had to keep sharing the practice and tell everyone that it is plain wrong to persecute such a life-changing self-cultivation system.
For her simple act, she was arrested five times, and the local authorities extorted money from her and her family on numerous occasions. The last time she was arrested, in 2006, Ms. Lan was sentenced to three years and six months in prison.
Below, Ms. Lan Qiaozhen recounts her experience.
Grateful to Falun Gong for Curing My Illnesses
My name is Lan Qiaozhen and I am from Gongyi City, Henan Province. Before I took up the practice of Falun Gong in July 1997, I had to take medications and injections all the time to treat my headaches, nausea, stomachache, heart problems and psoriasis. Most of my family's earnings were spent on my medical care.
As if my illnesses were not bad enough, my in-laws kept causing trouble for my husband. I was so depressed that I thought about suicide on several occasions. I didn't go that far after realizing how much pain I would have brought my parents and two young children.
After I began practicing Falun Gong, I became healthy and found meaning in life. Friends and relatives were amazed by the changes in me, and my mother took up the practice, too. I made efforts to improve my relationship with my husband's side of the family. As a result, everyone was very supportive of my practice.
Arrested for Sharing Falun Gong Books
One day in July 2000, another practitioner gave me a copy of Master Li's new lectures. After reading it, I asked my husband to send it to a practitioner who lived in my hometown. This practitioner was subsequently arrested and, under pressure, told the police that my husband had given him the book.
Several officers from the Public Security Bureau broke into my home and turned things upside down. They took away the music tape I used for doing the exercises, as well several hundred yuan in cash. My husband, who does not practice Falun Gong, and I were brought back to the bureau. An officer named Du Jie slapped my husband in the face until he spat out blood. We were interrogated and later released.
The local authorities did not let me off for passing on Master Li's teachings. Police raided my house again later that year. When they could not find anything, they took me to a local hotel, a place used by the local “610 Office” agents to persecute Falun Gong practitioners.
I was locked up alone in a room and interrogated. My family got me out after paying the police 2,000 yuan.
The first two arrests made me a target of persecution, and I was arrested for the third time in 2001, after the staged self-immolation incident at Tiananmen Square in Beijing. I was locked up in a brainwashing center for 50 days and pressured into writing a statement promising not to practice Falun Gong. Upon my release, I read Master Li's new lectures and regretted my actions. I then published a statement affirming my faith in Falun Gong.
Sentenced to Forced Labor and Prison
In 2002, police ransacked my place and arrested me again. I was beaten up, shocked with electric batons, and struck repeatedly with a rubber hose. My face became swollen, and my mouth was bleeding. I was forced to kneel on the ground and was not given any food to eat, nor was I allowed to sleep.
Meanwhile, my family sought my release through various connections. They spent around 30,000 yuan in bribes to the police, only to see me given a year of forced labor.
I was held at the local detention center for 100 days before being sent to the notorious Shibali Women's Labor Camp in Henan Province in January 2003. I was diagnosed with heart problems after a physical examination, and the labor camp refused to admit me.
Police dragged me to another hospital for a second examination. Still the labor camp refused to accept me, and I was sent back to my hometown.
My husband learned that I was at the local police station and rushed to get me out. He had to pay 5,000 yuan in cash, and I was released around midnight.
My fifth arrest was in May 2005, when I was reported for distributing brochures telling people about the persecution of Falun Gong. The police snatched my house key from my teenage son and entered my house. They confiscated my Falun Gong books, brochures, and a portrait of Master Li. I was taken to a local hotel and detained there for 25 days.
Because I refused to give up Falun Gong, I was transferred to a detention center for another 10 months. In April 2006, I was illegally sentenced to three and a half years in prison.
I was taken to Xinxiang Women's Prison in Henan Province. Each day I was forced to watch materials and programs slandering Falun Gong. Guards sent practitioners who had given up the practice to brainwash me. I gave in to the pressure and submitted “thought reports” every month slandering Falun Gong.
As time passed, I saw through the lies and deception. But I was afraid to reaffirm my faith for fear of intensified persecution. After my release, I wrote a solemn declaration, once again affirming my belief in Falun Gong.