(Minghui.org) What you are about to read is not fiction; it is from 85 miserable years of my life. For other people, 85 may be just a number—but for me, it was the number of years it took me to recognize the true nature of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).

I was born in 1938 in Changchun City, Jilin Province. I was unjustly imprisoned five times due to the CCP’s ever-changing policies and brutality. During nearly 20 years in prison, I suffered endless pain.

Horrors in Childhood: The Siege of Changchun

Two months and six days after I was born, my father died of an illness. My widowed mother had to raise three sons by herself. She made a living selling pancakes and jellied tofu.

I witnessed a horrific event in 1948 when I was ten years old. There were 100,000 Kuomintang soldiers stationed in Changchun. To isolate them, the CCP army kept the city under siege for months. No food was allowed in, and starving civilians who fled the city were either forced back or killed on the spot by CCP soldiers. When the CCP’s propaganda later celebrated the victory as a war “without killing [with guns],” it didn’t mention more than 100,000 civilians who were starved to death.

Fortunately, with help from neighbors and by eating a large jar of pigswill, I managed to survive. As a ten year-old, I watched with my own eyes as starving people ate wild plants and peeled bark from the trees to eat. One of our neighbor’s entire family starved to death. Ditches on the roadside were filled with dead children and dying babies. We heard that if anyone tried flee the city, the CCP army would shoot at any sound. Many parents had no choice but to leave their crying children behind when they fled.

The horrific scenes of starvation and dead bodies were burned into my childhood memories.

The Darkness of the Cultural Revolution

Because of our family poverty, I worked as an apprentice in a factory in Changchun when I was 18. Two years later, I was certified as an entry level electric welder. After the Great Leap Forward movement started in 1958, I moved to a remote area of Xinjiang and was certified as a senior electric welder. I was thus able to earn enough money to reduce the financial pressure for my mother. I thought the situation would improve as long as I kept working hard. Then in 1961, Xinjiang residents began to rebel against the CCP brutality. So I returned to my hometown, and that was the time of the Great Famine.

Seeing no food for my family, I bought two pair of truck tires from a factory and re-sold them to make some profit. But later that day, the police arrested and detained me. I tried to argue with them, saying that first of all, my family was starving, and secondly, I paid for the tires and didn’t steal them. They accused me of having a bad attitude and sentenced me to four years for the crime of “speculation and profiteering.”

When I was released four years later, this popular crime term was no longer being used, because the CCP policies kept changing and were sometimes contradictory. But no officials cared that I had been wrongfully imprisoned for four years.

By this point, the CCP was encouraging people to run their own businesses. I still believed that by working hard, I could improve my life. So I started several teams to do welding, assemble electrical appliances, repair cars, and process machinery. The profit from the first two teams alone that year was 40,000 yuan. Just as my business was booming, the dark chapter of the Cultural Revolution arrived.

When this political campaign started, most businesses stopped for the so-called revolution. Because I was a factory director, I became a standing member of the revolutionary forces in Changchun. At that time, we had a so-called revolution every day. We picked on any well educated intellectuals and publicly attacked them. In the beginning, I didn’t realize this was wrong. But when attacking then-China chairman Liu Shaoqi, I pointed out that Mao Zedong had made a mistake about Liu. Because of this, I was treated as a counter-revolutionary and given a 20-year prison term.

About a month after I went to prison, my wife’s employer told her to divorce me, otherwise she would be fired. My son was also bullied at school because of me. Due to this situation, my wife divorced me four months later. All our belongings went to her and she was given custody of our two children. My daughter wasn’t even a year old. Because of this heavy blow, my mother was in despair and passed away shortly after. She was calling out my name right up to her last breath.

I often wrote letters to appeal my sentence, but the prison officials didn’t submit them to the higher administration, and instead openly denounced me. They put me in solitary confinement three times and forced me to wear 14 kilogram (31 pound) shackles for over three years, becoming a “prisoner among prisoners.” I was badly beaten and nearly died several times. I still have many physical scars, even now.

Many families suffered like me during that time. Quite a few counter-revolutionaries I met in prison were wrongfully jailed, including one called Guo. He had been putting up Mao’s portrait for Chinese New Year, when he accidentally dropped it and stepped on it without noticing. Two of his daughter’s classmates saw this and reported it to the Red Guard headquarters at the school. As a result, he was condemned publicly on the street, wearing a pointy hat. He was branded a counter-revolutionary and jailed for 15 years. He kept appealing from prison. He was put into solitary confinement and later executed. When we saw these people who dared to speak up being killed one after another, we submitted to the Party’s propaganda. After Guo’s death, I stopped my own appeals.

When I was released in 1979, I had spent 11 years in prison. My wife had married someone else and my two children had changed their last name. Our happy family had been ripped apart. I couldn’t understand it. I just wanted to live a good life, so why did I have to suffer so much hardship?

Jailed Three More Times

At that time, I didn’t even recognize the paper money we had, because all of it had changed during those eleven years. But I quickly found a way to make a living and remarried.

Without a clear understanding of the CCP’s ever-changing policies, however, I became a victim over and over again. When my second daughter was less than one month old, the district industrial and commercial bureau detained me on the charge of “accepting bribery.” It stemmed from an incident in 1981, when I helped two factories sell their backlog of steel rims and motors. To thank me, the factories awarded me more than 10,000 yuan.

What I did was legitimate according to the economic reform launched in December 1978. But the policy started late in Changchun and I was detained for six months.

I helped a department store in Changchun buy three wool blankets early in the winter of 1985 and received an award of 3,000 yuan. Because it was still a planned economy at the time, a local procuratorial officer named Hou took me from my home for an investigation. Because his father was president of the local court, I was given a three-year prison term without trial. Fortunately, someone helped me and I was released on medical parole.

These incidents did not defeat me, and instead I thought, “The more you persecute me, the stronger I will become.” I vowed that as long as I was free, I would work hard and prove myself. In the 1990s, I not only become rich by doing business, but I also became a member of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference and a special representative of the National People’s Congress.

By then I thought the CCP had changed and that society would be stable. But after the suppression of Falun Gong started in 1999, I knew I was wrong again.

Back in the early 1990s, I once went with my cousins and their children to a workshop session given by Master Li (the founder of Falun Gong). One of my cousins had been paralyzed for six years and was carried there on a stretcher. I witnessed myself that Master Li cured my cousin within a few minutes and she was able to sit up and then walk. Impressed by the miracle, I knew that Falun Gong was great. But because I was busy with my businesses, I didn’t learn the practice.

Although the CCP mobilized news media to defame Falun Gong every day during the persecution, I never believed it. Plus, my own experiences told me that the Party always stirred up hatred against certain groups, in order to scare and silence the rest of the public. It was just like what had happened during the Cultural Revolution. I felt bad seeing many Falun Gong practitioners being arrested and sentenced for their belief. Even though I couldn’t help, I was willing to tell everyone that Falun Gong practitioners are good people. The CCP has harmed too many innocent people.

Awakening at an Elderly Age

Under the so-called financial inclusion system in China, I lent essentially all my money to a financial loan service sponsored by a well-known enterprise, and I received some interest. But once again, the CCP changed direction and claimed it was an illegal fundraising platform, even though it was supported by all major government agencies back then. All our money was gone. When we went to appeal, we were met with armed police and brutality.

Looking back on these past over 80 years, I regret that after being bullied by the CCP so many times, I still had hopes that things would get better due to its brainwashing propaganda. Not until I read the Nine Commentaries on the Communist Party did I completely awaken and see the CCP’s true nature. The regime has never cared about the people, and it keeps changing history to deceive people and glorify itself.

Someone has already helped me quit the CCP organizations. But here, I want to solemnly declare that I not only renounce my memberships of the regime’s organizations, but also pray for it to end soon. The Party has made up so many lies to deceive people, such as so-called counter-revolutionaries, rightists, capitalists, or anti-China forces.

With all these lies, the CCP has been persecuting one group of Chinese people after another. I hope more people will see through the regime’s plots, sever ties with it, and embrace a better future.

As an elderly man, I also hope to go to a country with freedom of speech. Through my own experience, I can tell others how the CCP has been destroying mankind and endangering the world. My children said my story could help awaken more people and that’s why I wrote it down. I sincerely hope for a free China without communism, and I sincerely hope all Falun Gong practitioners can freely practice their belief.