(Minghui.org) My husband and I lived and worked in Xinjiang, China for over 60 years. In April 2002, we decided to return to our home city. The local security director there–who is a personal friend of ours–came to visit us. We spoke for nearly three and a half hours.

When the topic of the staged Tiananmen self-immolation incident came up, he said, “In the days leading up to the event in 2001, the county's top public security bureau directors were called to Beijing for a meeting. I also participated.

“After the meeting, we all visited the Forbidden City (a palace complex in central Beijing). Suddenly, we were ordered to make our way over to Tiananmen Square, where we witnessed the staged self-immolation.”

Our friend thought that the timing seemed suspicious. It was as if senior officials in Beijing wanted the directors to personally witness this staged event.

He continued: “When Falun Gong made their peaceful protest in Beijing, on April 25, 1999, I discovered that more than 200 people had already taken up the practice in our city.

“I found out that all of these practitioners were good people and that none of them had committed any crimes. Thus, I knew that Falun Gong must be good.

“One administrator I know said, ‘There is nothing wrong with practicing Falun Gong. It also saves the practitioners a lot of unnecessary medical expenses!'”

Many Falun Gong practitioners were arrested in his city after the Chinese Communist Party initiated the persecution back in July 1999. Our director friend warned the local police to “act in accordance with official policy.”

Therefore, many of the practitioners who had been arrested in his area were released after fifteen days of detention. During that time, they were allowed to read Dafa books and practice the five sets of exercises. They were never interrogated or tortured.

In contrast, many detention centers in Xinjiang confiscated the practitioners' personal belongings, required them to perform forced labor, shaved their heads, and did not allow them to practice the exercises.

Each day, the practitioners there had to recite the detention center rules and lived in a small, 10-square-meter cell with 11 or more people.

The guards provided them with only two small meals a day. In the morning, they were given a bowl of gruel and a steamed bun. In the afternoon, they received a bowl of vegetable soup and one bun.

If a practitioner wanted to eat at noon, they had to buy their own food from the detention center's cafeteria, for double the normal price. Family members were not allowed to send household items or food to the practitioners.

When our director friend was promoted to deputy director of a local office of the National People's Congress, in another county, the persecution in his former city greatly intensified.