(Minghui.org) As Mother's Day was approaching, I was deeply moved by those gorgeous bouquets of carnations, roses, and gypsophila on the streets of New York City. My heart was filled with the beautiful image of my mother, Ms. Dong Baoxin. I was eager to pick a beautiful bouquet and give it to her, but she is far away, in Heaven.

Mother's Day is celebrated throughout the world. To me, it has become a day of emptiness and mourning. My mother passed away in 2004. She lost her life to the persecution of her faith – Falun Dafa, a spiritual discipline based on the principles of Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance. The practice has been banned in China since 1999.

On this 17th Mother's Day since losing my mother, I said to her, “Mom, do not worry. I am on the other side of the Pacific Ocean in the free world. I can freely practice Falun Dafa without worry of being arrested. I’m carrying on your mission of letting more people know about the beauty of Dafa and about the persecution it faces.”

My Regret

When my mother died, I was in displacement myself to avoid being arrested by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) for distributing Falun Dafa informational materials. Due to the regime’s close telephone surveillance of my family members, I could not contact my mother and thus did not know anything about her situation. I have felt regret for not being able to talk with her at the end of her life.

On the first day I returned home to Dalian (a city in Liaoning Province) from displacement, I was devastated to hear that my mother had passed away a few months before.

My older sister said to me, “Sister, mother has been gone for a few months. You went into hiding at that time and we could not reach you. Later, Dad was afraid you’d be too sad, and thus did not want to tell you.” 

“Mom looked peaceful when she left,” my sister said, trying to comfort me. Nevertheless, my tears could not stop flowing.

Blessings from Falun Dafa

My mother started practicing Falun Dafa in May 1999. She had suffered from a dozen diseases, including diabetes, heart disease, arthritis, and peripheral neuralgia. The physical suffering made her irritable, which made it difficult for us to bond.

In an attempt to cure the pain, my mother learned a dozen qigong schools, but none eased her condition. Her diabetes worsened, causing her to almost become incapacitated. Her life was miserable until she encountered Dafa.

My mother cherished this unprecedented opportunity to cultivate according the Falun Dafa. She did the Dafa exercises and sincerely read Zhuan Falun, the main book of Falun Dafa, every day. She required herself to strictly follow the principles of Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance to improve her character.

At our strong encouragement, my mother had a comprehensive physical examination at the hospital three weeks after she started the practice. Miraculously, her diabetes was gone, and her heart disease was also relieved. 

After she began practicing Falun Dafa, she no longer got angry at anything. She stopped scolding people or throwing things around to blow off steam. She became gentle, considerate and cheerful. Our family’s long-lost happiness returned.

My father was very happy for Mom’s great changes. He had been tolerant of my ill mother, but was very depressed in those years. 

For my sister and me, my mother was no longer the “tyrant” we knew, whom we always tried to stay away from in our childhood. To our surprise, she became a true mother.

Yet the happy times are always so short. After the CCP launched the persecution against Falun Dafa on July 20, 1999, many practitioners' families were broken up and destroyed. We lost our regained happiness. Our family was torn apart and destroyed by the persecution. 

Persecution in Wujiabao Forced Labor Camp

In 2001, my sister and I produced and disseminated Dafa informational materials in Dalian. Both of us, and our mother, were arrested. Our mother was taken to Wujiabao Forced Labor Camp, where she was forced to undergo stringent brainwashing for not renouncing Falun Dafa.

During the brainwashing sessions, my mother suffered numerous torture methods, which took a hard toll on her health. 

Sleep Deprivation

One of the most common torture method was sleep deprivation. Constantly monitored by two inmates, my mother was not allowed to sleep or even close her eyes. She would be poked with toothpicks by the inmates if she closed her eyes. 

Physical Abuse

My mother was physically abused for long hours every day. In the torture method called “flying an airplane,” the guards pressed her head down, pulled her two hands up in the back and pushed her against the wall. She would be verbally abused and beaten if her posture was not to their satisfaction.

Torture illustration: “Flying an airplane”

Some brainwashing center staff members also poked my mother’s ribs and hit her hands and feet with a wood plank. They also tormented her by tickling the center of her feet with their fingers, a metal wire, or a brush. 

Because of the torture, my mother became very skinny and weak.

Food Poisoning 

Despite all the physical torture means, my mother was still steadfast in her belief. She refused to slander Dafa and Master Li, Dafa’s founder. During the Lantern Festival (last day of the Chinese New Year holiday season), the guards provided chicken to her for their so-called celebration. But after having the chicken, my mother had severe vomiting, difficulty breathing and dilated pupils, before she passed out. Although she was rushed to the hospital for gastric lavage, her life was still in danger.

While my mother was on the verge of death, the labor camp notified my father and released her on medical parole after my father paid the bail bond.

Further Sufferings

My mother resumed practicing Dafa at home and soon recovered. She then went to Beijing with local fellow practitioners to appeal for the right to practice Falun Dafa. At Tiananmen Square, my mother held a Dafa banner over her head and loudly shouted “Falun Dafa is good” to visitors from all over the world.

My mother and other practitioners were arrested at Tiananmen Square that day. She refused to tell the police her address and went on a hunger strike to protest the illegal arrest. Due to her weak physical condition, she was released that evening. 

Later, my sister and I were repeatedly arrested for our faith. When we were serving two-year terms at the notorious Masanjia Labor Camp, my mother was worried about our safety and the mental distress caused her health to deteriorate.

At the same time, she was frequently harassed by the local police, eventually forcing her to live away from home to hide from the police. The hardship she suffered during displacement made it difficult for her to recover her health.

At the end of our jail term, my mother went to pick us up from the prison, full of hope. What greeted her was the grim news that we could not be released. My detention was extended for four months and my sister’s for six months. This was a big blow to her, causing her health to further deteriorate.

When my sister was finally released, my mother was already bedridden. I was released from prison at that time, but the local police often harassed me at my home. I could not help but leave my mother and go into hiding to avoid the harassment. The separation grieved my mother greatly and caused her to become extremely sick.

When my mother passed away, I was far afield without knowing that the closest person to me in the world had left me forever. 

My Wish

Like my own mother, many kind-hearted mothers have been killed because of their faith in Dafa. 

I am the only survivor of our family of four, after both my sister Yang Chunling and my father Yang Zonghui died in 2014. 

It is my dream that I can brush the dust off my mother's tombstone and conduct a memorial service with a bouquet of carnations on the Qingming Festival (Chinese Memorial Day). But, this is just a dream, as the persecution is still going on in China.

On this Mother's Day, I wish for my mother to be happy in Heaven forever. May all the children of the world enjoy maternal love, and may every mother celebrate this warm and beautiful day with her family!

Chinese version available

Category: Accounts of Persecution