Stories from a Labor Camp: Guards and Inmates Admire Falun Gong Practitioners
(Minghui.org) I was given a three-year sentence in a labor camp in 2002 for distributing Falun Gong fliers.
Since the persecution began, I have encountered all kinds of people as I tried to explain facts--from the extremely vicious ones who've been thoroughly brainwashed by the communist regime, to the more kind-hearted and openminded individuals who saw the real situation and became supportive.
Although the kind-hearted ones have been harder to come by in China's prison system, a kind act 10 years ago by a guard and a monitor in a labor camp is still imprinted in my mind.
A Clearheaded Guard Who Admires Faithfulness
While detained, I went on many hunger strikes, refused to wear the camp uniform, or perform any labor so as to protest my unjust imprisonment.
Once, a guard took me aside in the exercise courtyard and said, “You have been here for a long time. I haven't talked to you. I'll be straightforward. I have read your Master's book, Zhuan Falun. The camp authorities require us to read this book three times to look for ways to raise doubts in practitioners' minds. However, after I read it, I can't understand the government's logic. If everyone were to follow your Master's words, there won't be any need for public security forces, procuratorate organizations or people's courts. It would bring about world peace!”
I explained that the suppression began because the number of Falun Gong practitioners had increased quickly, and Jiang Zemin, the former head of the communist regime, was jealous of the Falun Gong Master.
“That makes sense,” he responded. “The 'self-immolation' was clearly a hoax. I don't believe those people were Falun Gong practitioners. I still have a question on my mind, though. Your Master is abroad, but you are suffering here. Your parents have raised you, and now they have to worry about your life. If you have to give up either your Master or your parents, which one do you give up?”
“I refuse to give up either,” I replied. “Even if someone is your Master for only a day, you should regard him like your father for the rest of your life.”
He told me that he had asked this question of many practitioners and some said they would give up their parents, while some said the opposite.
“They thought they had to choose one of the two,” he said. “Anyone can say Falun Gong is good when there is no pressure. Once the suppression starts, who dares to take a stand? I look down upon those who betray their Master. How can these people could cultivate to higher levels? How would gods view them? I like your answer. You will be successful in your cultivation, but do not become a zealot.”
Encouraging Me and Seeking My Release
When I went on a hunger strike, I was taken to an isolated room, stripped naked, and shocked with four electric batons. My body was burned all over. My wounds gave off a terrible odor. I was taken to the labor camp clinic on the third day and kept there until my wounds looked less noticeable.
A few days later, this guard said, “Remarkable! You made it! You are great! The next time you go on a hunger strike, continue until I get approval to send you home. You won't die. Keep up with it! This isn't a place for good people. You should be released and do what you are supposed to do. I have written a report trying to get release approval this time, but you started eating already. I was thinking of bringing you some food or your Master's new scriptures, but I didn't want to ruin the plan. You will be able to read them after you are released anyway.”
Three days after this conversation, I suddenly felt I didn't want to eat.
“If you start another hunger strike,” said the head guard, “you will be taken to the isolated room tomorrow, and shocked with eight electric batons. Every time you start a new hunger strike, we will double the number of batons. Let's see if you can stand them.”
I ignored him. I knew a verbal threat was merely a verbal threat. They would not have said anything if that was their actual plan. During the past hunger strikes, I was isolated and shocked without a word of warning. Just as I figured, they did not take me to the isolation room this time, but to the camp clinic for force feeding.
After 58 days of my hunger strike, the guard who had talked to me stopped by. He asked the two monitors to leave, and then told me, “Make sure to hold on this time. Don't eat anything. The approval will arrive soon. If you start eating, all our efforts will be in vain, and you will have to stay here for the full term. I'm worried about you, so I came to tell you the progress. I hope I'm the one on duty on the day of your release. I'll try to take you to the gate.”
He continued, “After you are released, be careful when you talk to people about the persecution and don't get arrested again!”
After I thanked him he said, “Don't thank me. Thank your Master. It's his teaching that made me supportive of practitioners!”
On return of the monitors, he told them, “If he wants to do his exercises, let him go ahead. He will be released soon anyway.”
I pressed my hands together in front of my chest, and said, “Thank you! How can I contact you after I get released?” He replied, “You don't need to contact me. Just do whatever you are supposed to.” He left.
Inmate Inspired to Want to Learn Falun Gong
Inmate Yan Shuzheng, one of the two monitors assigned to me, actually had asked me if I wanted to do my exercises as early as a year before this. Every time I did the exercises, he would stand watch at the door. As soon as he saw a guard, he would signal to Xiao Jiang, the other monitor, who would tell me to lie down.
When I was tortured last with electric batons, Shuzheng could not watch and left the room. When he returned and saw my terrible condition, he said with a trembling voice and tears in his eyes, “They are inhumane! I will always remember what you have told me, and never commit any wrongdoing!”
There are other kind people in the labor camp. I did not get a chance to talk to them about Falun Gong, but they have learned Falun Gong is great through practitioners' behavior.
I overheard a conversation in the workshop between two inmates, “Falun Gong must be good. The government is the one that has problems. Look at the three people here who practice Falun Gong. They never cuss or even raise their voice. Look at so-and-so--he was on hunger strike for so long and was shocked with electric batons, but he is still in good health. He isn't young, but none of us look better than him. I should practice Falun Gong when I'm released!”
When warned that he might be arrested he said, “I'm not afraid, because I will be a Falun Gong practitioner by then!”