Faith Shines Amid Persecution–Anecdotes from Shizishan Forced Labor Camp
(Minghui.org) I was detained at the Shizishan Forced Labor Camp in Wuhan, Hubei Province, between January 2001 and May 2002 for not giving up practicing Falun Gong. The persecution was most severe at this time. All of the Falun Gong practitioners detained there were tortured regularly.
Despite all the torture, many practitioners retained their strong faith in Dafa and resisted the persecution with strength and courage.
Now—17 years later—the memories of that period are still vivid in my mind. I hope that my stories will not only expose the evil persecution but also validate the Fa and express my gratitude towards Master.
Basic Bodily Needs Became Form of Torture
In addition to beatings and other physical torture, the guards tortured us by not allowing us to use restrooms and forcing us to relieve ourselves in our pants. One practitioner said he was not allowed to use the restroom at all for at least ten months a year. Many practitioners became incontinent, including me, as a result of the torture. Even 16 years after I was released, I still have not recovered.
Beatings and Verbal Abuse by Inmates
There was a special rule in the labor camp for detainees: when they spoke to a guard, detainees had to squat and look up at the guard standing in front of them.
A guard looked for excuses to beat me in August 2001. I tried to squat but my legs suddenly began to shake uncontrollably. I explained to him that my heart problems recurred because the two inmates monitoring me beat and verbally abused me every day.
The guard forced the two inmates to squat for two hours as punishment. After that, they treated me much better.
Young Dafa Practitioner Tortured
A 14-year-old Dafa practitioner was thrown into the labor camp in April 2001. A staff often forced her to stand for hours with her head against the wall. If she moved even a little, the guards would beat her. For those who suffered this torture, they might feel dizzy for days.
When I saw a staff member torturing her again, I walked up to him. “She didn't do anything wrong and she is so young. Imagine if someone did that to your child. How would you feel?”
With an embarrassed smile on his face, the man left. After that, he never used this torture against this young practitioner again.
A High School Teacher
Ouyang Ming taught at the nationally renowned Huanggang High School. He was sent to the labor camp for appealing for Falun Gong in Beijing.
His wife was pressured by the authorities to divorce him. His daughter later wrote him a letter in English, asking how he was doing in the labor camp. He replied to his daughter, also in English, that despite the dire living condition there, his faith helped him to be strong. “I'm happy as long as you grow up safe and sound. Don't worry about me,” he said.
In the fall, his family sent him winter clothes, but other inmates took them. I gave him my thick pants to help him get through the winter.
Shortly after he was released from the labor camp in early 2003, the authorities sent him back to the prison. He passed away a few months later as a result of torture. Both of his lungs were damaged and diseased.
Truth-clarification Changes Perpetrators
Despite the brutal torture and persecution, I was still glad to see some guards listening to their conscience and secretly protecting Dafa practitioners.
On the first day after I was taken to the labor camp, the guards took off all my clothes and searched me. The policeman on duty asked me, “What do you have with you?”
I told him that I had an article from Master Li. To my surprise, instead of destroying the article, he read it twice and asked me to give more articles to him if I had any. He told me that one of his relatives practiced Falun Gong. He knew that Falun Gong was good, and he also liked to read Master's articles.
“If anything happens to you, just let me know. I will try my best to protect you,” he said to me.
One guard was in charge of brainwashing us. He held a brainwashing session each week and often talked about defamatory propaganda against Falun Gong. During one brainwashing session in July 2001, he suddenly asked us to talk. “Tell me, what benefits did you get from practicing Falun Gong?”
I thought to myself, “My chance has finally come.” I raised my hand and stood up. “I had rheumatic heart disease before. My bones had inflammation such that I couldn't even hold a bowl with my hands while having meals. After practicing Falun Gong, I recovered fully and I was able to do many things that I couldn't do in the past.”
The guard couldn't help himself and blurted out, “Qigong!” The whole room burst into laughter. After that, he never held any brainwashing sessions.
“When disciples have ample righteous thoughtsMaster has the power to turn back the tide”(“The Master-Disciple Bond,” Hong Yin Vol. II)
Master's protection really helped us to walk through those dark days. It is also very important for practitioners to encourage and support each other amid the persecution.
A practitioner compromised himself and signed statements renouncing Falun Gong due to torture by the guards. I had a chance to talk to him after the inmates monitoring us left us alone.
“We are cultivating Dafa and trying to be better people. Which way would you go if you were to be transformed by the Communist Party?” I said to him.
He told me that he knew he had made a mistake and felt very bad about it. I encouraged him to take his statements back and not acknowledge them.
Taking my suggestion, he took his statement back from the guards and destroyed it. This infuriated the guards and they would not let him sleep for months. He lost half of his body weight and was emaciated when he was released from the labor camp, but he never wavered in his faith again.
There was another practitioner who was forced to stand from 8 am to midnight each day for three consecutive months. His legs were badly swollen. The inmates made fun of him and I saw him crying.
“Don't cry,” I said. “We are cultivators and anything that happens to us is a good thing.”
He stopped crying and became firm in his faith. Shortly after that, his legs returned to normal. The guards also stopped making him stand for long hours.