(Minghui.org) Greetings, Master! Greetings, fellow practitioners!
Since 2020, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has been carrying out a “zero-out” campaign aimed to force every Falun Dafa practitioner on the government’s blacklist to renounce their faith. Local authorities across China have been using various tactics to try to make their local practitioners give in. As a result, practitioners have experienced a test of their spirituality and determination in Falun Dafa. Here I would like to share how I passed the test and improved myself in this process.
First Round: Not Yielding to the CCP’s Intimidation
I am a 73-year-old retired middle school accountant. I started to practice Falun Dafa in April 1999.
On February 13, 2021, the day after the Chinese New Year, 7 people suddenly showed up at my home uninvited. They said they were from the local police station and the local community offices.
“Are you still practicing Falun Dafa? Do you still go out to distribute Falun Dafa information materials?” one of them asked.
“Why not?” I replied, “All my diseases were gone after practicing Falun Dafa, I have no reason to stop practicing it.”
“If you are sick, you can go to the hospital or practice something else,” one of them continued.
“You think I didn’t try? I went to many hospitals, big and small, and took Chinese medicine and Western medicine for a long time. I even tried folk remedies,” I explained. In fact, a folk doctor charged me more than 700 yuan for one treatment, which was a lot of money for my family at that time. But nothing worked at all. I spent so much money yet I was still suffering. On the other hand, after I practiced Falun Dafa, I did not spend a penny on medical treatment. Simply by following the principles of Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance and doing the exercises, all my illnesses were gone.”
“The government has banned the practice. How about you write a statement promising not to practice Falun Dafa any more? You can still practice it at home, and no one would bother you,” said an officer.
“I have benefited from practicing Falun Dafa and I cannot go against my conscience. All I told you are facts. When I was suffering from incurable diseases, every day was like a year, and I felt I had reached the end of my life,” I added, “My daughter even told her mother-in-law that I would not live much longer. Falun Dafa gave me a second life.” I also told them that freedom of belief is protected by the Chinese Constitution and that the persecution launched by Jiang Zemin has no legal basis.
“This is not the Jiang Zemin era any more. If you don’t write the statement, your grandchildren will be affected when they apply for college or look for a job – they will not pass the political background checks,” one officer said.
“I’m solely responsible for what I did. Why do you have to implicate my family members?” I asked.
The police officer replied, “Actually, the political background checks cover both the applicants and three generations older than them and three generations younger than them [whenever applicable].”
Another four people came to harass me in early March. One of them said, “We have already drafted the statement for you [to renounce Falun Dafa] – just sign it!”
I told them, “You young people should have much better things to do than going after an old woman like me.”
One of them replied, “We just follow the orders from above.”
“But what if the order is wrong?” I asked. Then I told them my personal experience during the Cultural Revolution.
I was a teacher at that time. My superior gave me a hard task – openly criticize a physics teacher who was a good person. I did not know what to do because the teacher was talented and was good at teaching. But at that time, no one dared to resist political orders. I dug up the idea that this teacher had embroidered a flower on my child’s new clothes. I used it to criticize him for corrupting my family with bourgeois ideology. When the teacher heard my ridiculous criticism in public, he could only show a helpless, bitter smile.
“I regret what I did. How stupid it was to hurt a good person simply because I was told to do so! I will never forgive myself,” I explained, “We should never follow the party blindly. Falun Dafa practitioners are following the principles of Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance to be good person. You will regret it if you follow the party and participate in the persecution.”
This was my first time directly confronting the CCP’s intimidation and threats. I think I did what I was supposed to do as a practitioner.
I shared my experience with fellow practitioners during group Fa study. Everyone encouraged me and said I did a good job. After all, every one of us benefited from practicing Falun Dafa, physically and mentally. And our experience showed how great Falun Dafa is. With so many benefits brought by Falun Dafa to society, we practitioners should always follow our conscience by upholding our faith. How can we write the statement to renounce our faith?
“As a Dafa disciple, everything of yours is formed by Dafa and is the most righteous, and it can only be that [you] rectify everything that is not righteous. How could you bow to the evil? How could you promise something to the evil? Even if it doesn’t truly come from your heart, it’s still giving in to the evil. This is bad conduct for humans, too, and Gods absolutely would not do such a thing.”(“Dafa is Indestructible” Essentials for Further Advancement II)
We encouraged each other that no matter how much pressure there is, we should never write or sign statements to renounce our faith.
After sharing with fellow practitioners, I was more clear about what I should do in facing the “zero-out” campaign. However, the persecution was escalated and the test was getting more severe.
Driving a Wedge Between Me and My Loved Ones
At first, the local authorities called my husband to their office and threatened him, ordering him to help them “transform” me. After that, every time before they came to my home, they notified my husband in advance and forced him to open the door and work with them to try to convince me to give up my faith.
My husband was a political cadre of the Party’s discipline inspection department and he knew very well all the methods the regime uses to persecute people. In the past political movements, anyone who stood up to the Party did not have a good end. He worried about me and always persuaded me to write the statement. The continuous harassment worsened his heart condition and caused him tremendous mental stress too. He could not take it anymore. When those people came, he opened the door for them and then left immediately, as he could not face the harassment.
Seeing that my husband refused to work with them, these officials targeted my two daughters and threatened them, “If your mother refuses to write the statement, your child’s future will be affected because they won’t pass the political background checks. Your mother will also be sent to education classes [namely, brainwashing centers].” They would come to my home once a week. Each time they forced my elder daughter to lead the way to my home and open the door for them. She was also forced to join them in trying to persuade me to write the statement.
My elder daughter is a community cadre in another county, so they took her for granted as a member of their system and forced her to be part of the “zero-out” campaign. They monitored her position, how she behaved, and how strongly she persuaded me. It was quite cruel for a family to be persecuted like this.
At that time my elder daughter’s son was preparing to take the entrance examination as part of his application for a position in the provincial organization department. If he got admitted and graduated from their program, he would become a government employee. My younger daughter’s son was preparing for the college entrance examination. Both of my daughters had high expectations for their children’s future. When hearing that their future would be affected by my refusal to give up my faith, my daughters felt as if the sky was falling.
Under the huge pressure, my elder daughter could not help but yell at me, “Please sign the statement! We have no choice. We really have no other way out!”
My younger daughter kept crying, “How can you only consider yourself? How can you make us all sacrifice for you? If my father died due to the pressure, you would be all alone. You are so selfish.”
My heart was broken.
Because of the increasing harassment, my husband was getting more and more anxious, and he could not eat or sleep well. He said to me, “If our grandchildren’s future was affected by you, you would regret it for the rest of your life.” To avoid the harassment, he went out after 2 p.m. and came back worriedly around 6 p.m. every day.
My younger daughter also said, “Even if you do not care about us, you should think of yourself. If they send you to a brainwashing center and torture you every day, you cannot read Dafa books or do the exercises, what will you do?”
Since my family members could not sway me, officials intensified the persecution and attempted to illegally arrest me and detain me.
On March 15, seven people came to my home and tried to force me to sign the statement. They tried very hard to persuade me. Finally they said if I did not sign the statement before the deadline, they would send me to a brainwashing center, followed by jail. Every time they came, my elder daughter would lead the way and open the door without knocking (she had a spare key to my home). Sometimes I was reading the book Zhuan Falun when they came and I barely had time to put the book away. I worried that one day they might confiscate my book.
One day at the end of April, suddenly my elder daughter opened the door and officials from the street agency, community, and police station came in. I hurriedly hid my copy of Zhuan Falun. One police officer went directly to my bedroom and took my MP3 player. I could not lose the MP3 player because it had audio files of the Falun Dafa teachings. I tried my best to take the MP3 player back but the memory card fell out. Several of them reached out to grab the card. All I thought was that I must stop them from committing crimes against Dafa, so I fought hard to grab the card. They videotaped the whole thing and took it as evidence of me “obstructing the execution of official duties.” They planned to call the police and tried to get someone to take me away, but my daughter stopped them.
“Carrot and Stick”
Those who carried out the “zero-out” campaign knew very well that their intense harassment could destroy their victims’ willpower and their families. They are paid by the government and work full time to target practitioners. To achieve their goal, they used the “carrot and stick” tactic. Besides exerting pressure on me and my family, they also tried to coerce me into falling into their trap.
For example, one of them told me, “I already wrote the statement for you. All you need to do is sign it. After that we will never bother you again, as long as you practice at home.” My husband also tried to persuade me, “Your Master knows that you do not sign the statement from the bottom of your heart, and he will not blame you. Can you be flexible and be wise?”
I was confused when facing the high pressure, the weeping of my family, and the temptation of avoiding harm. It felt as if there was no end to the persecution. I started to complain about my family for not being strong enough to stand up for me, and I was afraid that I would be forcibly brainwashed or sentenced and my family would fall apart. All kinds of negative thoughts came to my mind like tidal waves. I did not know what to do.
Becoming Clearheaded on My Path
I shared my confusion and stress with fellow practitioners. We revisited Master’s teachings.
“It means that everyone has his own fate. Besides, a cultivator should only put his mind to vigorously moving forward in cultivation.” (“ Teachings at the Conference in Europe”)
Master also said,
“And especially when a person cultivates with things that benefit him in practical ways right around him, that's truly hard. Many chances to gain are right there, tempting cultivators, and when you let down your guard just a little bit, your thinking, your understanding, and even your human thoughts will lead you to drift along with the current. So this form of cultivation is very hard. But because it's hard, seen from a different angle, it shows that the Dafa disciples today are able to cultivate to high levels. If the environment were not so trying, then the direct tests of the cultivator's human surface and of the main body of that person's being would not be so intense.”
“...whereas the person [at the surface] is being directly tested by all the things that could benefit him in a practical way.” (Teaching the Fa at the 2005 Canada Fa Conference, Collected Fa Teachings, Vol. V)
I realized that through years of studying Dafa principles, we all know that we cultivate our main souls. Those who cultivate subordinate souls are avoiding human society. Therefore, they practice in deep mountains or temples, while eliminating karma by suffering in meditation and removing attachments. In contrast, we are practicing in a complex human society, where the temptation of personal interests and the trade-off between gain and loss are the most direct challenges.
One of the reasons that I felt confused and overwhelmed was that I did not have a deep understanding of the form of Falun Dafa cultivation. That is, my main soul was fascinated, entangled and tempted by the practical benefits in the human world.
Master’s words “it’s just a choice”( Teachings Given on Lantern Festival Day, 2003) constantly came to my mind. I believed that this was compassionate Master enlightening me, encouraging me, and reinforcing my righteous thoughts. Since I chose to practice Dafa, I should follow what Dafa requires. In the face of all kinds of personal interests, if I can put it aside and let it go, then I will align myself with the divine, but not the human. Between the personal benefits and safeguarding Dafa, if I choose to safeguard Dafa, then I am doing what a Dafa disciple is supposed to do.
Once clear about the Fa-principles, my righteous thoughts became stronger and I spoke with a much different tone. For example, when officials came to harass me and threaten me with the future of my children and grandchildren again, I told them frankly, “everyone has his own fate”( Teachings at the Conference in Europe) When I viewed things from a practitioner’s perspective, the CCP agents’ threats did not work at all.
I told my crying daughters, “If you want you and your children to have a good future, you should follow your conscience and believe Falun Dafa is good. If you sincerely respect Dafa, you will be blessed and have a bright future. However, if I did what you wished for and signed the statement against my heart, that would mean that I am pushing you to the opposite side of Dafa and ruining your lives forever. In doing so, I am guilty, and you are also guilty. I can’t harm you like that.”
When I treated my family on the basis of Dafa, my heart was open and I was very clear on what I should do. Gradually I got out of the tangle of sentimentality.
A Place Called “Water Divide”
I clearly remembered the dream I had at night on May 12. I was walking to a place named “Water Divide.” There were cliffs on both sides of the road, which was uneven and had sinkholes. I went straight to the place of Water Divide. After I woke up, I couldn’t figure out what Master was hinting me in my dream with the “Water Divide” name.
My elder daughter called me on May 12, 2021 and told me to wait for her at home the next day. The next morning I went to the Fa study group and fellow practitioners encouraged me to face the upcoming harassment with righteous thoughts.
At 4 p.m., my daughter came with several officials. One of them was a cadre newly transferred to the community to be in charge of the local “zero-out” campaign. He talked a lot, and I just concentrated on sending forth righteous thoughts. “It is not easy to change a person’s belief,” he said in the end, “Actually we are under pressure and do this reluctantly. We have no choice but to get the job done. This is our job, our livelihoods. Please put yourself in our shoes.”
I could tell that they were clear that their “zero-out” campaign had failed. I immediately remembered Master’s words, “every person in the entire world was at one point part of my family”( Teachings Given on Lantern Festival Day, 2003) They are my family too. I knew I had just made a breakthrough in my cultivation.
I understood how hard their job was. My compassion emerged and gone were my resentment and contempt toward them. I told them sincerely, “My Master said ‘every person in the entire world was at one point part of my family’, I understand your situation. But I can’t sign the statement, because doing that is not good for you.”
“If I signed the statement, that would become evidence of your opposing Dafa and persecuting practitioners. How would you pay the price for your crimes in the future? If I signed the statement, then I would not only hurt you, but also hurt my family members,” I explained, “Remember last time when you tried to take away the memory card of my MP3 player, I refused to let go? Because the card held Dafa lectures, and I did not want you to face punishment by the divine. I can tell that you are tired and miserable in carrying out the zero-out harassment campaign.”
Before they left, the cadre said, “You are a good person.” The three months long, zero-out persecution of me thus ended, and my family resumed our normal life.
This made me think again what the “water divide” meant in my dream. My understanding is that it meant choosing between upholding Dafa and succumbing to the evil so as to protect my personal interest. The “water divide” separates human beings and the divine. I am grateful for Master’s compassionate enlightenment and encouragement.
In the next group Fa study, I updated my fellow practitioners on what happened. Some pointed out my shortcomings. For example, I had told the cadre, “I understand your hardship. I won’t sign the statement, but when the inspection team comes, I’ll keep silent.” One practitioner said, “I don’t agree with that. As Dafa disciples, we should speak the facts in an upright manner, validate Dafa and expose the persecution. How can we not speak?”
It sounded reasonable to me. If they slander Dafa because of being deceived by the CCP’s propaganda, should I still keep silent? I shouldn’t cooperate with the vicious persecution in any way.
On the Dragon Boat Festival, my elder daughter came back home. She said her superior still urged her to persuade me to give up my belief. She replied, “It is impossible. We couldn’t even force her to do it with threats of our death.” Then her superior told her to get a “promise” from me to prove that practicing Falun Dafa was my personal choice, which had nothing to do with my children.
I didn’t think I should make any promise, but then I thought, “It is not a big deal as long as I didn’t sign the statement.” I wrote a note and gave it to my daughter so that she would have an explanation to her superior.
However, after I shared my thoughts with other practitioners during group study, I realized that I was wrong again. Master did not acknowledge the persecution, and we must completely negate the persecution arranged by the old forces. But I followed the instructions of the vicious Party and wrote the “promise,” which was kind of acknowledging the persecution. Isn’t it another way of cooperating with the vicious persecution?
I realized that to completely negate the old forces’ arrangement, I must ensure that no thought of mine would comply with the old forces. So I prayed to Master to help me get the “promise” back. And Master did help me – my daughter carried it for several days, and she gave it back to me when I asked her. I burned it immediately.
I am very thankful to Master for offering me the chance to correct the mistake. The “zero-out” persecution of me thus failed completely.
“Whatever you experience during your cultivation—whether good or bad—is good, for it comes about only because you are cultivating.” (“To the Chicago Fa Conference,” The Essentials of Diligent Progress III)
My experience of resisting the “zero-out” harassment means a lot to me. I realized that if I follow Master’s teachings, I can turn bad things into good things, and overcome all kinds of difficulties.
Thanks to Master for allowing me to pass the test and improve myself. Thanks to fellow practitioners’ selfless help and encouragement.
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