Despite Persecution, Two Teachers Remain Highly Regarded by University Administration and Students
(Minghui.org) Since 1999, when the Chinese Communist Party's (CCP) brutal persecution of Falun Gong (also known as Falun Dafa) began, Falun Gong practitioners have lost their jobs, been demoted, and disqualified from receiving job promotions or awards.
However, at a university in northeastern China, one Falun Gong practitioner has earned the title of “Outstanding Teacher.” He achieved this due to his noble demeanor, excellent professional skills, and by following Falun Gong's principles of Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance.
The story goes back to July 18, 1999, two days before the official persecution began in China. On that day, city police departments informed Falun Gong coordinators in their respective regions that the government was going to ban the practice.
The next day, 26-year-old Mr. Zhang and his fiancee, along with other Dafa practitioners from the university, went to Beijing to appeal for Falun Gong. Shortly after, they were illegally arrested and detained for a week.
In October 2000, after they got married, Mr. and Mrs. Zhang's postgraduate exam applications were rejected on the grounds that they still practiced Falun Gong.
The couple were arrested in November of that year, and were later sentenced to one year of forced labor. The university where they worked placed them on disciplinary probation for two years, and Mrs. Zhang was expelled from the CCP.
In addition, the couple was not allowed to take postgraduate exams, receive awards and promotions, or intern students in Changchun City.
In 2003, the heads of the university were tasked with choosing six “Outstanding Teacher Award” candidates. However, they could only come up with five. Thus, the Dean spoke to the Chief Academic Officer (CAO) and recommended Mr. Zhang based on his outstanding professional skills. Even though he was not allowed to be recognized for his contributions, the dean strongly suggested that Mr. Zhang's name be submitted for the award.
A few days into the new semester, Mr. Zhang was called to the university's main office to collect his “2002-2003 Outstanding Teacher Award” certificate.
In addition, a group of university professors submitted several proposals to upper management to allow Mr. Zhang and his wife take the postgraduate exams. The couple's applications were finally approved in 2009, and they both passed the exams and became postgraduates of the university.
Turning Down Bribes
Corruption runs rampart in China and social morality has rapidly declined. Students have even tried to bribe Mr. and Mrs. Zhang into giving them passing grades on their exams.
One afternoon, a student asked Mr. Zhang if he could speak to him in private. He hinted to Mr. Zhang that the notebook he was holding contained money, and that he wanted to give it to him. Mr. Zhang firmly refused, telling the student, “I think it's better if you give the money to your parents, to show your filial piety.” The student said, “Thank you, Mr. Zhang,” and then left.
One day, Mrs. Zhang's class was about to start an exam. She suddenly realized that someone had topped up her cellphone account with 200 yuan credit (approx. US $30). In the transaction comments section of the receipt, a student's name and ID appeared.
Mrs. Zhang called the student out of the classroom, returned the 200 yuan to him, and firmly told him not do it again. The student returned to the classroom and loudly announced, “The teacher refused to take it!”
A Student Learns the Truth about Falun Gong
When a student learned that Mr. Zhang was practicing Falun Gong, she was curious to know if he was a normal person, since the CCP had portrayed practitioners as crazed individuals. So she decided to attend Mr. Zhang's class, to find out for herself.
She found everything normal during the first class, and that Mr. Zhang was quite good. When the second class concluded, she was convinced that nothing was untoward, and that the teacher was excellent. She addended two additional classes and ended up taking the course as an elective.
In the last semester of this student's senior year, she applied for Mr. Zhang's graduate design class. When Mr. and Mrs. Zhang clarified the facts about Falun Gong to the project team, she exclaimed: “This is incredible! It turns out that Falun Gong is really good!” She then gladly quit the Party and its affiliated youth organizations.
Driving an Injured Student to Hospital
A student became injured during athletics practice one day. As Mr. Zhang was pulling out of the university parking lot on his lunch break, he saw several students running towards the main gate trying to hail a taxi. Mr. Zhang picked them up and drove them to the hospital.
The students were very touched and thanked Mr. Zhang profusely. The matter was talked about throughout the whole university.
Nicknamed “The Condor Heroes” by Students
One student has remarked, “Mr. Zhang is kindhearted, humorous, knowledgeable, and fun to be around.” In a university-wide essay competition, a lot of students titled their essays “My Teacher Mr. Zhang.”
Another student has said, “Mrs. Zhang is gentle, amiable, responsible, and broad-minded towards others.” Her students have also said that they like it when she talks about how to properly conduct oneself in society.
Students tend to give their teachers nicknames on school websites. Mr. Zhang and his wife were nicknamed “The Condor Heroes” (characters in a beloved series of martial arts novels).