A Death Row Inmate Treasures Falun Gong
(Minghui.org) I was arrested many years ago for browsing the official website of Falun Gong (also known as Falun Dafa), a spiritual practice persecuted in China since 1999.
The authorities put me in a detention center and later in a forced labor camp for two years. When I was in the detention center, I met a death-row inmate. His superb understanding of Falun Gong amazed me.
I arrived at the detention center late in the day. In the cell, everyone was laying down quietly except for three people. Two were inmates in charge of the cell. The third appeared to have the same status as them but was handcuffed and shackled like a felon.
After learning that I was a Falun Gong practitioner, the one in shackles asked me why Falun Gong practitioners set themselves on fire at Tiananmen Square in 2001.
I didn't want to disturb others from their rest and just told him to think carefully who could have filmed the incident and repeatedly played it on all state media.
Early the next morning, an inmate in charge had me work with the rest of the inmates to make paper money for the deceased. I refused because I committed no crime and wasn't supposed to be there.
This inmate immediately began shouting at me. Several others surrounded me. I realized that everyone, including the inmates in charge, were waiting for the shackled man to respond.
As he looked at me and said nothing, they left me alone and went back to work.
Debunking a Hoax
I sat in a corner and meditated while the shackled man began to smoke. I wondered how he could act like the boss here while the inmates in charge had to work. This ward was known to be the strictest in the detention center and held the felons.
The next day after breakfast, the shackled man said to me, “You asked me to think carefully about the video of the self-immolation at Tiananmen. I did all last night and still haven't a clue. Explain it to me.”
I told him the incident took place at a time when former Chinese dictator Jiang Zemin came across so much resistance that he almost could not continue the persecution. Jiang needed something to paint Falun Gong practitioners as the most unforgivable criminals so that he could justify and continue his campaign.
He and his regime then staged this self-immolation incident to incite public hatred against Falun Gong practitioners. The video was then played around the clock, and the practice was heavily criticized by all major (state-controlled) media outlets.
I pointed out the suspicious footage in the video. “Tiananmen is a large place. How did the police produce so many fire extinguishers almost immediately if it was a random incident?”
“The man who set himself on fire–his clothes were badly burned, but his hair and the gasoline bottle remained untouched. As he shouting things about Falun Gong, a policeman with a fire blanket waited for him to finish before putting the blanket on him, by which time the fire was out.”
“With so many close-ups, it is hard to imagine that there wasn't already a cameraman standing by, waiting for the fire to start.”
“The little girl was reported to have inhaled so much smoke that she needed surgery on her windpipe. How could she possibly sing for a reporter only four days later?”
He sighed and laid back on his bed, “The Communist Party is indeed despicable. It even had me fooled. Imagine how many Chinese people were deceived.”
We talked for a while. He said, “You're a good man, and Falun Gong is a good practice. There isn't much I can do for you, but I guarantee that you will be safe in this detention center, even if you were transferred to another cell. I'll put in a good word for you, and everyone will do what I say,” he said.
Many people heard me tell him about the self-immolation incident. The shackled man asked everyone to treat me with respect.
Finding a Cure
One inmate asked me if Falun Gong could cure his stomach pain. I told him that Falun Gong is too profound and that I couldn't explain it in a few words.
Instead, I asked him to remember, “Falun Dafa is good. Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance is good.” Everyone laughed as if they believed it could not possibly be so simple.
That day, I had a runny nose. I didn't want to appear sick, because if I did, I wouldn't be able to show others the health benefits of Falun Gong.
I asked in my heart for Teacher Li Hongzhi (the founder of Falun Gong) to help me. The next day, I was fine and energetic. The shackled man pointed at me and said to everyone, “Look at him. He was coughing with a runny nose yesterday like some of you. Now he's fine. Do you still question the healing power of Falun Gong?”
Those with a cold agreed. The person with stomach pain thanked me. “I began to recite the phrase yesterday and it worked! My stomach feels so much better today.” I told him to thank Teacher.
The shackled man later talked to me in private and showed me his wrists. “Look at them,” he said. “With such heavy handcuffs, they were terribly red and swollen. The doctor told me it was because of the rust. None of the medicines I applied have worked. I've been reciting the phrase you mentioned and, look, my wrists are much better now.”
Paying for Past Debts
He then told me what he did before he got there. His name is Qi Jie, and he was given the death penalty because he kidnapped the richest person in town and murdered another person. His family filed an appeal for him, hoping that he could be reprieved.
He felt that he deserved the death penalty for what he did and said that he wasn't afraid. Death was only a matter of time.
He then told me about a strange dream he had. He saw a dozen Buddhas in the sky, and their eyes were closed. He tried to tickle one of them, and the Buddha grabbed his arm and spun him around.
I laughed and told him that he was very fortunate to have a dream with Buddhas in it. “It means that you are in luck and have a good foundation for cultivation. Maybe you should practice Falun Gong. As long as you are determined, Teacher will help you to change your life,” I said.
I really hoped that a miracle would happen and that his life could be spared.
He came to me the next day and told me that he had dreams being chased by strange things trying to kill him.
“The strange creatures said I have to give back what I owe before I learn Falun Gong. I probably owe them a lot and may not be able to practice,” he said.
I told him that any person, no matter what crimes he committed–as long as he hasn't committed crimes against Falun Gong–would be able to practice. “Falun Gong's Teacher will help you as long as you want to become a better person,” I encouraged him.
The next day, he came and asked me to teach him Falun Gong. He didn't care that he might be executed at any moment. “Being able to know you in the last days of my life is an honor. You came for me. It was Teacher who wanted you to introduce me to Falun Gong,” he said.
I began to tell him what Teacher says in Zhuan Falun, the main book of Falun Gong. For the words I could remember, I told him they were Teacher's exact words. For those I couldn’t remember exactly, I would tell him the general meaning of the text and that it was just my understanding at my level.
I explained to him that he could have different understandings as he continued cultivation and reached different levels.
After I finished telling him the content of Zhuan Falun, he told me that he had always known that he was waiting for someone and something. That feeling didn't go away even at the moment he was sentenced to death. “I know now that the person I waited for is Master Li Hongzhi, and the thing I waited for was Falun Gong,” he said.
He was very determined and diligent in practicing. He told me that he didn't really mean it when he said he wasn't afraid of death. He was just accepting his fate. “Now that I've started to practice, I see how precious a man's life is. If I am not executed, I will certainly practice cultivation for the rest of my life,” he said.
Every now and then, he asked me questions. Through his questions, I knew that he wanted to win a reprieve for his death sentence through practicing Falun Gong.
I didn't have a very clear understanding of this issue at the time. I really wanted him to be successful in his appeal, but I also had doubts. Looking back, I should have pointed out his attachment to him.
Qi slept better each day. One day, he even told me that he woke up in the middle of the night and saw celestial maidens scattering flowers. “It was absolutely stunning,” he said.
A person from our cell was being transferred to another cell. Qi told him that he must remember that “Falun Dafa is good” and make sure to help Falun Gong practitioners there.
As the weather got colder, Qi said to me in front of everyone in the cell that it would snow really hard the day I left the detention center.
He said that it was because gods knew that I had been wronged and wanted to redress me. The day the authorities were about to transfer me to a forced labor camp, the wind was so gusty that it shook the car and a lot of snow came down. I hoped my cell mates would remember what Qi said and realize that Falun Gong is truly being wronged.
Two years later, I was released from the forced labor camp. The first thing I did after I got home was to visit Qi's home. His wife told me that Qi was executed over a year ago without any notice.
I felt sad on my way home, but I was also happy for Qi. I knew that he had earned himself a good future through practicing Falun Gong.