(Minghui.org) I am Li Shuzhen, a 75-year-old resident in Shenyang City, Liaoning Province. My pension was stopped recently simply because I persevere in my faith in Falun Gong, a spiritual discipline that has been persecuted by the Chinese communist regime since 1999.

I retired from Shenyang Chemical Fertilizer General Factory in 1996 after more than thirty years of diligent service. By 2020, my pension had grown to more than 2,500 yuan per month, which covered the basic living expenses for my husband and me.

I have been brutally persecuted during the past twenty some years for upholding my faith in Falun Gong, including two detentions and nine years of imprisonment. I was also subjected to financial persecution recently – deprivation of my pension. My family is in a desperate situation now.

Falun Gong Saves My Life

I led a tiring and difficult life in my earlier years. By the time I was in my 40s, I was full of ailments. To make it worse, I got hepatitis B at the age of 45. After being hospitalized for more than a month, the doctor told me that there was no cure for me and sent me home.

Not long after that, I got cysticercosis. Bumps grew all over my body and I became weak. The doctor told me that it was a chronic disease and prescribed me Chinese medicine. He said that if the bumps spread to the brain, my body would convulse, and if the bumps spread to the heart, I would die. There was no improvement after two years of treatment.

I got a duodenal ulcer at the age of 50. I often had bad stomach pain and could not eat much. I slimmed down and became weaker. The stomach trouble also brought about heart problems and myocardial ischemia.

I fell down from my bicycle in 1985, causing a fracture in my lower back and osteophytes. I had difficulty walking afterward.

While I was physically and mentally exhausted every day, a kind-hearted neighbor introduced Falun Gong to me in March 1996, a practice that could improve my health and teaches people to be good, she explained. I liked it right away and took up the practice. I began to join the group exercise sessions in the park every morning.

I was full of energy after a month of practice. My body felt light and comfortable. I rode my bike like being pushed forward and easily went up stairs or carried groceries. I believed my ailments were cured, so I went to the hospital for a checkup and the results confirmed it. These kind of miracles happened to many practitioners.

My outlook on life changed completely as well. I strictly follow the principles of Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance to guard my speech and actions. I look within during conflicts, consider others in everything, let go of fame and personal interests, and try my best to help others.

I voluntarily looked after my neighbor's child after school every afternoon at my home. The father said he felt assured to leave the child with me. My friends and relatives saw my transformation and some of them started practicing Falun Gong, too.

Falun Gong gave me a new life. My body was purified, free of illnesses. I experienced the beauty of cultivating myself and the joy of being a good person with high morals. Without a penny spent, I found the joy of life, which no money in this world can buy. 

Nine Years of Imprisonment

But my happiness lasted only three years, as the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) began the brutal persecution of Falun Gong in July 1999. As a beneficiary of Falun Gong, I persisted in my belief and conscience in the face of the overwhelming suppression, and chose not to give up the practice. As a result, I was repeatedly arrested, detained, and sentenced to a nine-year prison term.

During the Chinese New Year holiday in 2000, the 610 Office members took me away from my home and detained me at Yuhong District Welfare Center. I was ordered to renounce my faith and write pledge statement, but I refused to do so. I was released after five months of detention. However, three months later, I was arrested again and detained for three weeks.

The police from Tiexi District Domestic Security Division of Shenyang Police Department broke into my home on January 15, 2004. They ransacked my place and arrested me. They held me at Tiexi District Domestic Security Division. Officer Liu Bo shocked my head and my hands with an electric baton; a chief officer slapped me; officer Liu Qing handcuffed me to the sofa and I had to crouch halfway; officer Yang Hai kicked me. After 48 hours of torture, I was transferred to Shenyang City First Detention Center. 

Shenyang Tiexi District Court sentenced me to nine years in prison on May 31, 2004, with false charges. I was incarcerated in Liaoning Province Women's Prison.

In order to force me to renounce Falun Gong, the guards and inmates used various methods to torture and abuse me. I was tortured with long-term standing and squatting, and deprived of sleep. Once I was tortured to the point that I couldn't walk by myself.

I had asked the prison officials while they tried to coerce me into giving up my faith: {I am becoming a good person by following Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance, how do you want to covert me? To become a bad person following falsehood, evilness, and struggle?”

Since I upheld my belief, my family was denied visitation many times. My husband and children went back in tears every time they were not allowed to see me.

I was forced to do labor work from 6:00 a.m. for more than 10 hours every day. The work load was so heavy that my back was extremely painful and my right index finger eventually deformed, which is still like that now.

I was lucky because I got out of prison alive on January 15, 2013. Many Falun Gong practitioners were tortured to death in the Liaoning Province Women's Prison. 

Pensions Suspended

Nine years of imprisonment has caused irreparable damage to my family. My husband only had one meal a day because he missed me so much that he lost his appetite. He was so lonely that he went out to chat with an old bike repair man. He told me that he had a hard time on rain and snow days because he could not go out to chat with the old man.

My youngest son got divorced during my jail time since I was not around to help resolve his family conflict.

After I returned home from prison, my family was still unable to live in peace. The police and the community center staff members still harassed us from time to time. My family always worries about my safety.

My husband, now 76, was diagnosed with bladder cancer last year. He cannot take care of himself after surgery and depends on my care. Despite the difficult situation, my pension was suspended. The financial and mental pressure put my family in a desperate situation. 

I hope that the staff of Yuhong District Social Security Center and Shenyang Social Security Center will not blindly implement the unlawful orders of depriving my pensions. This is a violation of the law and all perpetrators will surely bear responsibility for their actions in the future. 

Chinese version available

Category: Accounts of Persecution