“My Wife is a Good Person, Not a Criminal”
(Minghui.org) The gate of Helongjiang Women's Prison opened. A snowstorm had just swept through the region, leaving many roads impassable. Ms. Sun Fengjie slowly walked across the prison courtyard toward the gate and was met by a guard.
“What is your name?” the guard asked, following protocol.
“No crime. I practice Falun Gong.”
With that, Ms. Sun left the prison where she had spent the last 13 years. She knew her family was waiting for her. They had stood by her from the beginning...
It was Chinese New Year's Eve of 2000. Everyone in China seemed to be celebrating the new year and the new millennium. Mr. Li Gang prepared filling for dumplings and dough for dumpling skins for a traditional New Year' Eve dinner.
Instead of making the dumplings at home as his family had always done, he packed the food up and set off with his 13-year-old daughter and 8-year-old son to the least likely place to celebrate—a detention center.
He wanted to see his wife on this day and needed permission. Mr. Li asked for help from friends, co-workers, old classmates—anyone he could think of. He went to the police department, then the 610 Office. Eventually, he got a special permission from the Secretary of the Municipal Committee of the Chinese Communist Party of Shuangyashan City.
It was no small accomplishment. Such a privilege is usually not granted to anyone, let alone the family of a Falun Gong practitioner. Although Li Gang himself does not practice Falun Gong, he was familiar with Falun Gong practitioners. He told everyone, “My wife just wants to be a good person. She did not break any laws.”
That New Year’s Eve, Mr. Li Gang, Ms. Sun Fengjie and their two children made dumplings and had an unusual dinner in a detention cell. Another elderly Falun Gong practitioner detained there celebrated with them.
Ms. Sun did not know what would happen to her as she sat in the detention cell. She had gone to Beijing for the third time in six months to appeal for the right to practice Falun Gong. For a third time, she was rounded up by police and sent home.
She first went on July 20, 1999 when she heard that the government had publicly banned Falun Gong. When she returned home, police came to her home and took her away. She was detained for more than three months.
The second time, she went to Beijing with her seven-year-old son. They were to be sent to Harbin but were able to escape during transit.
Ms. Sun did not understand why the government banned a practice that teaches truthfulness, compassion and tolerance. She volunteered to coordinate activities for practitioners in Shuangyashan City, wasn’t paid, and had no authority. Her responsibilities were to teach new practitioners the exercises and to provide help to those in need.
Ever since she started the practice, her health has improved. She had been trying to be a better person at home and at work. She wondered how this could be wrong.
The head of the police department's 610 Office and the captain of the Domestic Security Unit came to see her at the detention center. They told her to write statements repenting for practicing Falun Gong and guaranteeing that she would not practice it again.
A director from the police department had just visited her. “I am an elementary school classmate of your husband,” he said. “All you need to do is to write a statement guaranteeing that you will not practice Falun Gong anymore, and I can let you go home today.”
Two days after the New Year's Eve dinner with her family at the detention center, on February 6, she was sent to a forced labor camp to serve a one-year term.
Toward the end of 2001, Mr. Li and Ms. Sun were busy at their family-owned convenience store. Ms. Sun had been released from the labor camp for almost a year. The textile store she had owned and operated had been forced to close when she was sent to the labor camp.
In order to make a living, the couple opened a convenience store selling vegetables, fruits, and household items. They soon built a reputation of being honest and fair with their customers. Their children helped out after school. Life was getting back to normal even though officers from the neighborhood police station often checked on them.
Then, on December 28, over a dozen officers in several police vehicles descended on their store.
“What right do you have to be here?” demanded Li Gang.
One policeman pulled out a piece of paper. Mr. Li's daughter grabbed and tore it apart. The police moved toward her for an arrest.
Mr. Li stepped forward. “Arrest me instead.”
One policeman grabbed Ms. Sun’s arms and twisted them behind her, pushing her toward the door. Li rushed forward and punched the policeman. The two grappled as the police looked on.
Finally, Li was overpowered by several officers. They dragged him and his wife to the waiting vehicles as Li struggled and shouted, “Falun Dafa is good! Falun Dafa is indeed good!”
In detention, Ms. Sun went on a hunger strike for nine days and was finally carried back home on a stretcher. As soon as she was able, she went to the police department every day to demand her husband’s release.
Li Gang spent one month and two days at the detention center. He remembered eating dried steam buns every day.
Ms. Sun was arrested once again, this time for handing out flyers on the street with another Falun Gong practitioner. The police grilled her for the names of other practitioners. As the local volunteer coordinator, she was a primary target for persecution and a source of information.
She now stood on the ice-cold concrete floor in her bare feet. A man lit her hair with a cigarette lighter. She could smell her burning hair and hear the squeaky sound. Another man put a plastic bag over her head to suffocate her. She knew what was coming.
This was another interrogation session. She had been interrogated again and again since her arrest 20 days ago. After each interrogation, she was carried out unconscious. She had been deprived of food, water, and sleep. She was beaten until she started coughing up blood.
Twelve hours later, Ms. Sun was carried to her holding cell barely alive. It was December 30, 2002.
Li Gang had not heard from his wife for 20 days. He was worried. He knew she had left the city to avoid another round of mass arrests. She had rented an apartment in Jixian Township with another Falun Gong practitioner.
Then, he got the news that she had been arrested again. He tried to visit her as often as he could. Each time, he had to see multiple people and reason with them just for permission to see his wife.
On May 8, 2003, five months after her arrest, Li Gang saw his wife in a courtroom. Li and his son were allowed to attend a show trial of his wife and six other Falun practitioners.
His heart sank when he saw his wife being pushed to the defendant chairs. She looked pallid and wore handcuffs. “Our son and I support you forever!” he shouted to her.
Ms. Sun was sentenced to 13 years in prison.
When Li Gang saw his wife again, she showed him the sentencing paper. “You suffer so much because of me,” she said. Ms. Sun suggested that they divorce.
Li Gang would have none of it. “I will wait. The children and I will wait for you. Our family will not be torn apart.”
Li Gang always prepared traditional family meals on New Year's Eves and Autumn festivals even when his wife was imprisoned and could not join them. He would put out four dinner place settings–one for his wife, one for their daughter Xinxin, one for their son Hualin, and one for himself. He was determined to keep this family together.
Ms. Sun was sent to Heilongjiang Women's Prison on September 18, 2003, where she was severely tortured. One time, she sporadically lost vision in one of her eyes.
The prison allowed monthly visitation of about 15 to 30 minutes. To make the journey, Li would take the train from Shuangyashan City the evening before, arriving early morning the next day in Harbin, then take a bus for another hour, followed by a short hike before reaching the prison gate.
Falun Gong practitioners who refused to give up their faith were often deprived of family visits. In order to see his wife, Li Gang often had to ask to see the warden or the prison director for special permission. Each time was a struggle, but Li never backed down.
Li and his children once tried to see Ms. Sun together. When they arrived at the prison, they were told they could not see her because she refused to give up her belief.
“My wife only practices Falun Gong. She did not break any laws. Why can't we see her?” he said.
“You cannot see her because she practices Falun Gong and refuses to transform,” a guard informed him.
Li went to the office and demanded to see the supervisor. In the end, he saw the deputy prison director and got special permission to see Ms. Sun. The family of four had a meal together at the prison cafeteria.
In the 13 years Ms. Sun was incarcerated there, the prison director changed several times. Li Gang knew them all.
Early in 2004, Li filed complaints with the Shuangyashan City Procuratorate, charging police with torturing his wife to extort a confession. Later, he sued the presiding judge and other court officials for Ms. Sun's trial for unjustly sentencing his wife.
When Ms. Sun was tortured at the prison, Li Gang went to see the prison director and showed the director the evidence of torture and demanded an investigation. Many wardens in the prison had received Li Gang's letters. Some received multiple letters on multiple occasions. Li used registered mail to be sure they receive his complaints.
Li also filed complaints against Heilongjiang Women's Prison for persecuting his wife. The complaints were sent to the prison’s administrators, the provincial Justice Bureau, and the provincial High Procuratorate. Each letter clearly listed the incidents, the perpetrators and responsible parties. He held the thought close to his heart: “My wife is a good person, not a criminal!”
In July 2012, the prison started a new round of persecution of Falun Gong practitioners who refused to give up their belief. In less than two months, Ms. Sun lost over 40 pounds. When Li saw his wife, he could hardly recognize her. She could barely walk or stand, and most of her hair had turned gray. Li wrote to the United Nations and other human rights organizations overseas to plead his wife's case.
When Li Gang saw flyers on the streets about criminal complaints being filed against former Chinese leader Jiang Zemin in 2015, he remembered that his wife had sued Jiang in 2003 when she was detained at the Jixian Detention Center.
He found a copy of the complaint letter she had written and added more facts. He signed his name as his wife’s legal representative and sent the criminal complaint to Supreme People's Procuratorate.
Related Articles:Ms. Sun Fengjie Emaciated as a Result of Persecution in Heilongjiang Women's PrisonMs. Sun Fengjie Barbarically Tortured at Heilongjiang Province Women's PrisonThe Persecution of Dafa Practitioners Sun Fengjie and Wang Guanrong at the Jixian County Detention Center