Three Families Shattered by the Persecution of Falun Gong
(Minghui.org) Because of the persecution of their shared faith in Falun Gong, Ms. Feng Xiaomei lost her father, husband, and sister within three years. Her brother-in-law was imprisoned shortly after eight years of moving frequently to avoid being persecuted. Xiaomei and her elderly mother were the only two left to take care of her son, Wang Boru, who lost his father at 13, and her nephew, Wang Tianxing, who lost his mother when he was less than two. When Xiaomei was arrested again in 2009, her mother lost all her hair in one night. Boru had to quit school and do odd jobs to support the family. Tianxing was almost sent to an orphanage.
Ms. Feng Xiaomei said, “I often think about how it doesn’t bother anyone that we practice Falun Gong and follow the principles of Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance. Isn’t it a waste of state resources to persecute us? Because of the persecution, we have lost three people in our extended family. My life is half over, and I’m just a weak woman. When will this persecution end? If, one day, when justice is served, how will the Chinese people face this period of history? What about those countless families that have endured similar tragedies?”
Three Happy Families
Ms. Feng Xiaomei and her husband Mr. Wang Hongbin graduated from the Telecommunications Engineering Department, Changchun Institute of Posts and Telecommunications, in 1987. They both worked in the Hebei Telephone Equipment Factory in Shijiazhuang City, Hebei Province, after graduating and were important technical engineers in the factory. They had a son, Wang Boru. They were a happy family.
Ms. Feng Xiaomei was born in the northeastern countryside and is the eldest daughter in the family. She was the deputy chief engineer at the factory. She worked hard and cared little for personal gain. She got along well with her colleagues and her supervisor trusted her. Her husband Wang Hongbin was a humble man and never had any conflicts with anyone at the factory all the time he worked there. He was diligent in his research and worked hard. For years he was recognized as a “model worker.” His story was included in the Hebei Telephone Equipment Factory Records.
Before practicing Falun Gong in 1994, Mr. Wang Hongbin had many physical issues and took medications regularly. In March 1994, he got a flyer about Falun Gong from the Hebei Province Qigong Association and was interested in it.
He went to the park every morning to do the exercises with other practitioners, and he always felt refreshed, clear-headed, and efficient for an entire day. Soon, he was fully recovered. He lived by Falun Gong’s principles of Truthfulness, Compassion, and Forbearance and became more considerate. When his employer assigned welfare apartments, he gave the opportunity to those in greater need.
Ms. Feng Xiaomei and their son Wang Boru, a smart and lovely boy, also started to practice Falun Gong after witnessing the changes in Mr. Wang. Every evening, the three read Falun Gong’s teachings together.
Ms. Feng Xiaomin was Ms. Feng Xiaomei’s younger sister. After she graduated from Qiqihar Normal University in Heilongjiang Province, she moved back to Shijiazhuang City and worked at the No.6 National Cotton Factory. Seeing her sister’s family practicing Falun Gong, she decided to give it a try to improve her poor health in 1996.
Later she met another Falun Gong practitioner, Mr. Wang Xiaofeng, who’d graduated from Chongqing University. They fell in love and married. Every morning, the couple did the exercises together before going to work. In the evening, they studied the teachings together.
The two families sometimes got together or visited their parents on the weekends. Their lives were happy and serene.
Arrests and Detention When the Persecution Began
July 19, 1999, was the 10th birthday of Wang Boru, the son of Ms. Feng Xiaomei and Mr. Wang Hongbin. The whole family got together for a party. Feng Xiaomei prepared a big dinner. Wang Hongbin bought a birthday cake. The sister Feng Xiaomin and brother-in-law Wang Xiaofeng bought peaches and a watermelon. They lit the birthday candles, sang the birthday song, and took photos. They enjoyed a happy day together, without realizing it might be their last family dinner.
On the morning of July 20, 1999, more than 20 police officers broke into Ms. Feng Xiaomei’s home. They searched it and arrested Ms. Feng and her husband. Their son was left on his own in the ransacked home with leftover birthday cake and a watermelon.
The younger sister, Ms. Feng Xiaomin, had to quit her job. She took her nephew Boru to different government offices to look for his parents and seek their release. They were told that only the State Appeals Office in Beijing had the authority to order the couple’s release. They decided to go to Beijing. With police everywhere to prevent people from going to Beijing, Xiaomin and Boru had to walk, sometimes through cornfields, to avoid being intercepted. Their feet blistered and their clothes were dirty. They were tired and hungry.
In Beijing, there were plainclothes officers everywhere arresting people. A policeman on Tiananmen Square hit Xiaomin on her neck and put her on a bus. Boru was separated from her and got lost in the big city.
Xiaomin was escorted back to Shijiazhuang and released a day later. She still didn’t know where her older sister and brother-in-law were detained. Meanwhile, her husband and nephew were missing. It turned out that her husband, Wang Xiaofeng, had also been arrested.
After Xiaomin managed to secure her husband’s release, they found their nephew Boru at a former neighbor’s home. By that time, the 10-year-old had lost his innocence and liveliness. His eyes were dull. No one knows what he went through during that time and how he managed to get back to Shijiazhuang from Beijing, which is about 180 miles away.
At the same time, the elder sister Feng Xiaomei and her husband Wang Hongbin were secretly detained and being abused.
Mr. Wang Hongbin was detained in a small room in Shigangdajie Police Station. There was no air conditioning and it was very humid. The detainees had to share a chamber pot as there was no toilet. The police often interrogated the other detainees at night, so Mr. Wang couldn't sleep. He himself was interrogated during the day. After 50 miserable days there, Mr. Wang was released. He was fined 200 yuan on a charge of “disrupting social order.”
Ms. Feng Xiaomei was first detained in Zhaolingpu Police Station for four days in a small room alone. The room had no window and was very hot. She was not given any soap or a toothbrush and had no change of clothes. On the fourth day, acquiescing to her employer’s demand, the police transferred her to a hotel room but she was still interrogated constantly. She was also released after 50 days and returned home around the same time as her husband.
After that, the couple became very cautious about contacting their relatives, friends, and colleagues, fearing they might become implicated in the persecution. Once in a while, the police and residential committee staff harassed them and warned them not to go out of town on holidays, not even to visit their parents in their hometown or take their child for a vacation.
At the end of June 2000, with the one-year anniversary of persecution approaching, the couple was ordered to report their daily activities to the factory's security department. Several factory managers talked to them and attempted to pressure them to renounce their practice. Facing the endless harassment, the couple decided to go to Beijing to appeal for Falun Gong.
In Beijing, they saw plainclothes officers arresting and beating Falun Gong practitioners everywhere near the State Appeals Office and on Tiananmen Square. With no hope of having their voices heard, they returned home disappointed, only to face escalated pressure from their employer to renounce their faith. They had no other choice but to resign from their jobs.
At about 11 p.m. on July 19, 2000, the police ransacked the couple’s home and arrested Ms. Feng Xiaomei for “disturbing social order.” Ms. Feng asked, “How do I disturb the social order while I am at home?” One officer answered, “Anyone who practices Falun Gong is disrupting social order.”
Although Ms. Feng was released after nine days of detention, she was placed under surveillance by the local residential office. She had to report to the residential office whenever she had to leave home, including when she went out for groceries. She was not allowed to leave town or the police would put her on the wanted list.
The local police also made a rule: “If three Falun Gong practitioners are seen together, it will be considered an illegal gathering.” Since both Ms. Feng and her husband practiced Falun Gong, they were in danger of being arrested even when Ms. Feng’s sister came to visit them.
In September 2000, Mr. Wang Hongbin went on a business trip after he found a new job. He was arrested on the train for reading a Falun Gong book. This time, he was detained for four days and his home was ransacked after train security officers informed the local police of his arrest.
During the Chinese Communist Party’s anniversary celebrations beginning October 1, 2000, the police made another sweep of Falun Gong practitioners. To avoid being arrested, the couple and their son lived away from home for several weeks.
Mr. Wang was arrested again at home on December 5, 2000. Ms. Feng Xiaomei managed to escape. As Ms. Feng’s mother had already moved in with them, the elderly woman was terrified by the police raid and she kept shaking. She took to her bed and was unable to move. After this incident, she had palpitations and her legs got weak whenever she heard a knock on the door.
Ms. Feng Xiaomei went to Beijing again to appeal for Falun Gong. She was brutally beaten by the Beijing police. Half of her body was bruised. She vomited blood and had blood in her stool for over three weeks. She was swollen all over. Her face was a mess and her feet couldn’t fit into her shoes. She was detained in a Beijing police station and not allowed to go to the restroom for two days. She was fed unknown drugs when she was later transferred to the Chongwen District Detention Center. Now in serious condition, she was sent back to Shijiazhuang and held at Luancheng Detention Center for one day before being released.
After she was recovered a little, she put a great deal of effort into appealing for her husband’s release, only to be threatened that she herself and her son would both arrested. Fearful of being arrested again, she took a leave from work and moved away from home with her son.
Before going to bed, the boy always held his mother tightly. He often had trouble falling asleep and the slight noise would wake him. He was fearful of his mother being arrested and taken away again.
The Death of Mr. Wang Hongbin
After Mr. Wang Hongbin was arrested in December 2000, he was interrogated in a hotel. The police attempted to force him to sign a prepared statement, which said that he gave three Falun Gong CDs in September 2000 to another Falun Gong practitioner. He refused to comply, as it was fabricated by the police to frame the other practitioner.
The police were infuriated. They forced him to stand on the floor, barefooted. Then they cuffed his hands behind his back, with one hand over his shoulder and the other hand against his lower back. Other officers beat him from time to time and verbally abused him. They didn’t give him anything to eat and then accused him of being on a hunger strike, so they force-fed him.
Several practitioners who were arrested at the same time as Wang Hongbin were also severely beaten. The wife of Mr. Lu Xinshu lost her hearing and she shivered constantly. Ms. Yang Jianmei’s face was bruised. Mr. Lu Xinshu was heard screaming.
Mr. Lu and Ms. Yang were later sentenced to 8 and 12 years in prison respectively. Mr. Lu became skinny with swollen feet and a big belly as a result of torture. He was unable to eat or lay down to sleep. He passed away on May 23, 2009.
Mr. Wang Hongbin was given three years in Shijiazhuang Forced Labor Camp. Ma Wensheng of the 610 Office, an extralegal agency created to persecute Falun Gong, received a bonus of 50,000 yuan after Mr. Wang’s case was closed.
Mr. Wang was tortured mentally and physically in the forced labor camp. He was deprived of sleep for refusing to give up his belief. Once when he fell asleep, the guard ordered an inmate to burn his nail with a lighter. On another occasion, he was hung up on the window with his feet barely touching the ground for three days.
The inmates followed and monitored him around the clock, including when he used the restroom. Both the physical abuse and mental pressure took a toll on his health.
For two years, the labor camp authorities didn’t allow Mr. Wang to meet with his family, nor did they informed his family when he became ill. A guard once threatened to arrest Ms. Feng when she came to the labor camp to visit Mr. Wang.
The labor camp finally allowed Boru to visit his father by himself. Before Boru was allowed to enter the visitation room, the guard kept asking whether he practiced Falun Gong, too. The enormous mental pressure of the visit left Boru’s face pale, and he kept vomiting on the way home.
Mr. Wang’s condition later became critical and he was released in November 2002, one year before the end of his term. His hair had turned completely gray. He sweated profusely, couldn’t stop coughing, and was unable to sleep. He didn’t dare to look at himself in the mirror. In the following days, he often stayed by himself and refused to see anyone. He became thinner and thinner and his cough got worse. He lived in fear and was always very nervous when anyone knocked on the door.
On October 9, 2003, about a year after he was released, Mr. Wang passed away at the age of 39.
The Death of Ms. Feng Xiaomin
On May 1, 2001, Ms. Feng Xiaomin was arrested for putting up stickers that said “Falun Dafa is good.” As a result of being beaten and interrogated in the police station, she lost consciousness and was resuscitated several times. Despite her condition, the police still took her to the No.1 Detention Center of Shijiazhuang City.
In the detention center, Ms. Feng Xiaomin was slapped in the face dozens of times and almost passed out. She went on a hunger strike for more than 20 days. She was extremely weak and was on the verge of death. After the detention center and the labor camp refused to accept her due to her condition, the police released her.
Before Ms. Feng Xiaomin fully recovered, she and her husband, who had quit his job as a sales representative for a pharmaceutical company after being harassed by the police, decided to live away from home to avoid being arrested again, only to be put on the police wanted list shortly after.
On July 31, 2002, Ms. Feng Xiaomin gave birth to her baby boy, Wang Tianxing. The police never gave up searching for them and often harassed their family members. The young couple had to move from place to place to hide from the police.
After the SARS epidemic broke out in 2003, most places began to check people’s IDs. Because they were destitute, they could only buy two ribs at a time to supplement nutrition for their year-old baby. As it became harder and harder for the young couple to wander about with their baby, Xiaomin sent him to her sister, Xiaomei, and she went back into hiding, separated from her husband.
On May 26, 2004, Xiaomin was taken to Xiaomei’s home, unconscious. They took her straight to the hospital, where she was diagnosed with purulent encephalitis. The doctor suspected that someone had hit her on the head, which resulted in a severe brain injury. After she woke up, she was unable to recognize any family members. She remained in a delirious state and thought everyone around her was a police officer about to harm her. By the time her husband heard about her situation and rushed to the hospital, she had already fallen into a coma.
Days later, Ms. Feng Xiaomin died on June 1, 2004, leaving behind her son who was less than two years old. She was 34.
Death of the Sisters’ Father
Xiaomin’s death dealt a heavy blow to her elderly father, a retired teacher who had survived multiple political movements under the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). He began to worry whether his younger son-in-law Wang Xiaofeng, who was still on the run after Xiaomin died, would be arrested. He also worried about whether Xiaomei, who had lost her husband, could raise her own child and Xiaomin’s child by herself. Meanwhile, the police still came frequently to harass the family.
In October 2004, only four months after Xiaomin’s death, the elderly father was diagnosed with terminal cancer. He passed away on March 1, 2005.
To support the family, Ms. Feng Xiaomei found a job in a foreign company as the chief engineer. She worked hard and contributed greatly to the company. She was respected by her colleagues and unconcerned with personal gains.
She said it was her faith in Falun Gong that helped her get through the dark days when she lost her loved ones. She worked hard to provide the two children with a good life and comfort her elderly mother. But that was far from the end of the family’s suffering.
Xiaomei’s Arrest and Forced Labor Term
On April 27, 2009, about four years after her father’s death, Ms. Feng Xiaomei was arrested again at work. She was detained in a brainwashing center for 20 days, before being given 1.5 years in the Hebei Women’s Forced Labor Camp.
Xiaomei was put solitary confinement as soon as she was admitted to the labor camp on May 16, 2009. The confinement was like a prison within a prison. It was completely isolated and anyone who was detained there wasn’t allowed to have any outside contact.
Xiaomei’s daily activities were strictly controlled and restricted. She was given very limited access to the restroom and wasn’t allowed to wash, take a shower, do laundry, or purchase toilet paper. The inmates on duty watching her beat and verbally abused her at will. The guards found all kinds of excuses to berate her, such as she was too slow to stand up or her voice was too low during roll call.
“I was put under strict control in the labor camp for more than 100 days. I was closely monitored 24 hours a day by the assigned inmates. When I was not allowed to go to the restroom all day long, I had to relieve myself in my washbasin. The inmates would then force me to dump the urine using my water cup. I was not allowed to wash my face, brush my teeth, or take a shower.
“The worst was that I was only allowed to have a bowel movement every few days. That meant I usually had a hard time going. The inmates would pull me up if I took a little longer time in the restroom. I had to dig it out with my hands. Since I was not allowed to purchase toilet paper, I had to use the water in the toilet to do a simple wash.” Xiaomei recalled.
The guards often slandered Falun Gong in front of Xiaomei and attempted to force her to write statements to give up Falun Gong. A guard once said to her, “Alright, we have all kinds of ways to torture you if you don’t renounce Falun Gong.”
Beginning on June 5, 2009, the guards started a brainwashing campaign targeting Ms. Feng. They first said things to humiliate her and to remind her of her deceased family members. When she remained unmoved, they ordered her to stand day and night without sleep. During the day, the guards read her slanderous articles demonizing Falun Gong.
When Ms. Feng was exhausted and couldn’t stand any longer, the guard tied her up with her legs crossed. One inmate placed her knee against Ms. Feng’s lower back and pulled her hands back and up. Two other inmates stood on each side of Ms. Feng and pressed against her legs.
“It was a wave of pain and panic. It was so painful that I was screaming terribly and nearly passed out. Guard Qiao Xiaoxia was still not satisfied. She called the doctor to monitor my heartbeat while ordering the ‘helpers’ to continue. They tortured me so brazenly! I resisted for 40 days. My body and mind were on the brink of collapse. Unable to bear it anymore, I was forced to write a statement to renounce Falun Gong against my will.” said Ms. Feng.
As a result of the physical torment and mental pressure, Ms. Feng began to have blood in her stool beginning in August 2009. Three months later, the guards began to force her to do unpaid labor making 500 portfolio envelopes every day. She wasn’t allowed to sleep if she didn’t finish the daily quota.
The intensive labor made Ms. Feng’s bleed even worse. Up to five times a day, each time she used the restroom, she would lose a lot of blood.
By March 2010, she was so weak that she was unable to walk by herself. Her face was pale and she was often short of breath. Yet the guards still forced her to do the unpaid labor.
Ms. Feng Xiaomei was released in December 2010 after 19 months of incarceration. She was extremely weak because of persistent rectal bleeding, unable to do any chores around the house. “Looking at my elderly mother and those young children and thinking about their life when I was away, I was so desolate!” Ms. Feng said.
When Ms. Feng Xiaomei was held in the labor camp, her 70-year-old mother moved from the countryside to take care of her two grandsons. With no source of income, things were desperate. The mother was so distressed that she lost all her hair overnight.
Ms. Feng Xiaomei’s son, Wang Boru, who wasn’t yet 20, had to drop out of school and began to work at a construction site. His cousin Wang Tianxing was almost sent to an orphanage.
Mr. Wang Xiaofeng Sentenced to Three Years after Eight Years of Wandering About
After Ms. Feng Xiaomin passed away, Mr. Wang Xiaofeng, who was still on the wanted list, had to say goodbye to his toddler son and went into hiding again. He could not raise his son by himself or see him more often. He wandered around for eight years, which severely harmed his health.
In October 2011, he had a convulsion and fell unconscious. He was taken to the hospital, where the doctor issued several critical condition notices.
Unable to afford continued medical treatment, Mr. Wang was discharged when his life was out of danger.
Weeks later, the police removed him from the wanted list. He finally returned home in November 2011, after eight years of displacement. Little Tianxing was delighted to reunite with his father. Every day after school, he ran home to get water for his father and help him to use the restroom. He also saved all the good food for his father. For Mr. Wang, he was finally able to visit his parents in his hometown and attend Tianxing’s parent meeting at school and take him out on holidays, fulfilling his responsibility as a father.
Early on November 15, 2013, Mr. Wang was arrested in a police sweep of local Falun Gong practitioners. The police suspected that he’d helped other practitioners make calendars with information about Falun Gong.
The police also attempted to arrest Ms. Feng, but she refused to open the door. The police waited outside of her home for 15 hours.
Hearing about his father’s arrest, Tianxing was afraid to go home after school and wandered outside in the cold. Ms. Feng had to call several of his teachers to help look for him.
In the evening, Ms. Feng’s mother started to run a high fever, after spending that day in a standoff with the police. Only then did the police finally leave.
Ms. Feng was still arrested two days later when she left home to go to work. A black car without a license plate blocked the gate of her residential compound. Several plainclothes officers got out of the car and dragged Ms. Feng to the car.
Ms. Feng’s mother and Tianxing happened to accompany her downstairs, so they shouted for help and tried to stop the police from taking her away. Ms. Feng’s mother held one officer’s foot and Tianxing held Ms. Feng’s leg. Ms. Feng also struggled at the car door and tried not to be pushed inside. No matter how hard they struggled, no local resident stepped up to help them. In no time, the police had pushed Ms. Feng into the car and left.
This time, Ms. Feng was detained for one day, and Mr. Wang for 40 days.
Mr. Wang was arrested again on April 16, 2015, and later sentenced to three years in the No.1 Prison of Hebei Province. For shouting “Falun Dafa is good,” he was cuffed to a metal chair and tied up with a restraint belt, which almost strangled him. The handcuffs were so tight that the nerves in his hands were damaged and he lost sensation in his hands for more than a year.
The guards force-fed Mr. Wang after he started a hunger strike to protest the persecution. They also inserted the tube back and forth into his nose to increase his suffering. Most of his teeth were damaged by the mouth opener.