On the 12th Anniversary of Tapping into State Television to Broadcast the Truth about Falun Gong: Remembering the Heroes (Part 3 of 3)
History Will Remember Them
Tortures in Prison
Liu Chengjun was thrown into the first brigade of Jilin Province Second Prison (also called Jilin Prison). Warden Li Qiang, Assistant Warden Liu Changjiang, head of the first brigade Zhao Jing, and his assistant Wang Jiankong instigated inmates to torture Liu Chengjun.
Liu was dragged into the water heater room. He was beaten so hard that the wooden sticks and boards that the guards used were broken. His buttocks were severely swollen and his wounds festered and oozed so badly that it was impossible to remove his undergarments. Guards slapped his face, especially his eyes, with belts so hard that it shattered one of the belt buckles. One of the inmates who witnessed the torture said in admiration, “Liu Chengjun is a tough man. He made no sound when he was beaten.”
Liu was transferred to the fifth brigade in late August 2003. Zhao Jing was repositioned to work as the head of the fifth brigade. His assistant head was Lin Zhibin. They worked together with inmate Guo Shutie to abuse Falun Gong practitioners. Liu always refused to do slave labor in any detention center, labor camp or prison. He received the most punishment in his brigade. He launched a hunger strike to protest.
He gave his prison purchase card to other Falun Gong practitioners to use. He told them to buy something nutritious for those practitioners in most need of nutrition and those in solitary confinement. He even helped a fellow practitioner mend a hole in his shirt, while singing a song called “Blessing.” It is a song written by Falun Gong practitioners in prison, encouraging each other remain steadfast on the path of Fa-rectification.
For ten days, Liu didn't eat or drink anything. He looked emaciated and could hardly talk. He was sent to the prison hospital and was diagnosed with uremia. He was transferred to the police hospital and later Jilin Central Hospital. Both hospitals declared that his life was in danger.
The prison notified Liu's family on October 21. It happened to be the day after Liu's older sister Liu Lin was released from a labor camp. His family members hurried to Jilin Central Hospital and found Liu at the brink of death. He was nothing but skin and bones. Wounds covered his whole body. His eyes had sunk into the sockets. He had blurry vision, severe throat infection (from force-feeding), and serious heart and kidney failure.
Liu Lin held Liu Chengjun's hands in tears, and said, “I will bail you out for medical treatment. We will take you home soon.” Liu Chengjun replied painstakingly, “Don't have any attachment.” Seeing how sad his sister was, Liu Chengjun tried to encourage her as a fellow practitioner. He recited Master Li's poem word by word,
“A Great Enlightened One fears no hardship Having forged an adamantine will Free of attachment to living or dying He walks the path of Fa-rectification confident and poised.” (Hong Yin II - Righteous Thoughts and Righteous Actions)
Liu Chengjun's family wept.
Departure of a Noble Spirit
The prison agreed to Mr. Liu's family bailing him out for medical treatment. However, the “610 Office” of Nong'an County, Chengjun's hometown, denied the request. Liu Chengjun was sent back to solitary confinement in prison in early December. He was in such poor condition that he couldn't stand by himself and had lost bowel control.
Liu was sent to China-Japan Union Hospital on December 24, 2003. It was Christmas Eve and most of the outside world was immersed in a holiday atmosphere. Liu Chengjun asked for a pen and a piece of paper, and wrote his last words: “Falun Dafa is great!”
When his family arrived the next day, they were shocked by his condition. He bled from his mouth, nose, and ears. Blood vessels on his legs seemed to be cut open. He had blood all over his body. With all his organs failing and wounds all over, Liu could hardly speak. But he mustered his strength to speak as he pointed at the inmate who took care of him in the hospital, saying, “He...helped me...clean urine...and feces...You have...to...take care...him...after... I die. Offer...salvation...to him.” Everyone who heard it broke into tears.
After twenty-one months of suffering, Liu Chengjun left us around 4:00 a.m. on December 26, 2003. He was only 32. On the same day, the prison gathered a large number of policemen, disregarded his family's objection, and forcibly sent Liu's body for cremation without autopsy.
Watching him pass away, his mother cried so hard that she fainted. His father Liu Changtai immediately had an egg-size lump in his throat and almost died from suffocation. He said, “I have to seek justice for my son. It would be a waste of my life if I don't. I can't understand why a person pursuing compassion could be killed like this. Where are the laws and truth? Where is righteousness in the world? How did they torture my poor son? His nose, ears and legs were all bleeding. Why?”
Following Liu's death, the local “610 Office” continued to harass his family and monitor them. Liu Lin was arrested again on December 17, 2004 and thrown into detention center for a year. Liu's father was overwhelmed with grief and passed away on March 28, 2005.
A Loyal Heart That Shines in the Pages of History
On the afternoon of September 5, 2007, the Asia Pacific Human Rights Foundation in Australia held the 2007 Human Rights Awards Ceremony in the Parliament House of New South Wales. Mr. Liu Chengjun, a Falun Gong practitioner killed by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) for tapping into the cable network to broadcast the facts about Falun Gong, was the recipient of the Fidelity Vindicator Award.
The Chinese name of the award, translated directly, means “A Loyal Heart That Shines in the Pages of History.” It came from the famous poem of a Chinese national hero Wen Tianxiang. The poem says, “Everyone must die. Let me but leave a loyal heart shining in the pages of history.”
The Asia Pacific Human Rights Foundation honored Mr. Liu Chengjun for revealing the truth to millions of TV viewers and setting a great example for non-governmental right-safeguarding movements. He deserves the Fidelity Vindicator Award. His deed of safeguarding human rights will go down in history. In his speech, Member of Legislative Council Gordon Moyes called the award to Liu Chengjun a testimony of history.
Mr. Zhang Erping, spokesperson for Falun Gong, said he was honored to receive this award on Liu Chengjun's behalf. He said that the heroic undertaking of Mr. Liu and his fellow Falun Gong practitioners shook the conscience of the world, and because of their tenacious efforts the truth was brought to more and more Chinese people. Mr. Zhang said that the award reminded people of the appalling crimes against humanity still going on behind the guise of a prospering Chinese economy. He called for all to stand together in safeguarding justice and ending the persecution for own selves as well as for the bright future of the nation.
Deaths of the Innovators
More than five thousand Falun Gong practitioners in Changchun were arrested during the massive arrest following the TV broadcast. Fifteen were sentenced to prison terms. More were thrown into labor camps. Among them seven were tortured to death. Yun Qingbin had a mental breakdown due to torture. Sun Changjun was beaten until his ribs were broken. He suffered pulmonary cavities, parapneumonic effusions, and pleural effusions. His life was in danger. However, the authorities' retaliation did not stop there, and the abuse continued to escalate.
Lei Ming Passed Away After Medical Release
Lei Ming was sentenced to seventeen years in prison. Just like Liu Chengjun, he was subjected to various forms of torture in Jilin Prison, including severe beating, punched in the eye balls, testicles pinched, stretching bed torture, and the death bed torture. His life was in danger after two years of relentless torture. He was bailed out for medical treatment in 2004.
By the time Lei Ming was bailed out, he had been disabled and his life hung by a thread. He used to weigh 65 kg (140 lbs). Now he was only 35 kg (77 lbs). His parents don't have a regular income. Their savings was barely enough to buy some nutritious food for their son. The prison, police station and local residential committee continued to pressure Lei Ming's parents, telling them Lei Ming would be returned to the prison as soon as he got better. To avoid being sent back to prison, Lei Ming had to leave his home as soon as he could walk.
Due to serious injuries from torture, Lei Ming passed away while in hiding on August 6, 2006, at age 30. His parents were devastated.
Wei Xiushan Sent to Prison and Went Missing
Wei Xiushan, one of the members of the intercept team, had been thrown into a labor camp for one year for appealing for Falun Gong in 1999. In Weigouzi Labor Camp, he refused to confess to a crime or even wear the camp uniform. Guards shocked him with electric batons, but he still refused to cooperate. Other inmates admired him for being so steadfast. Wei Xiushan told inmates the true story of Falun Gong. After learning about the CCP's lies and Falun Gong's innocence, several inmates said they would learn Falun Gong after they were released.
Because of Wei Xiushan's determination to uphold his belief, the camp extended his term by eleven months. Upon his release, Mr. Wei wrote on the release forms, “I will continue to practice and validate Falun Dafa after my release. Falun Dafa is an extraordinary science and a great cultivation practice that offers salvation to people.”
Wei Xiushan was sentenced to twelve years in prison for tapping into the TV network in October 2002. He was on the verge of death due to torture and sent to hospital in October 2003. He has been missing since then.
Liang Zhenxing Tortured in Four Prisons Before His Death
As covered in part 1 of this report, Mr. Liang Zhenxing, the main leader of the intercept team, was arrested a few days before they tapped into the TV network to broadcast the truth about Falun Gong. He endured torturous interrogations and refused to give in. His suffering won precious time for his team. After the broadcast, the police realized Mr. Liang had been hiding important information from them, and interrogated him extensively. After each round, he would be carried back to his cell, covered with new wounds.
He finally saw his team members at the trial. They exchanged encouraging looks with each other. He was overjoyed to find out from the court arguments that their mission was successfully accomplished. When Liang Zhenxing and Liu Chengjun exposed the lies of the government during the trial, the officer standing behind Mr. Liang grabbed him by the throat. Liang struggled to get free and the officer became so exhausted that another policeman had to take over. Liang was beaten up and shocked with electric baton after the trial. He had to be carried back to the detention center.
Liang Zhenxing was sentenced to nineteen years in prison and thrown into Jilin Province Second Prison in November 2002. The prison was notorious for persecuting Falun Gong practitioners. At least twenty practitioners were killed in the prison. Dozens were disabled or suffered mental collapse. Warden Wei Xianghui ordered, “We must not go easy on Falun Gong.”
Beating, shocking with electric baton, stretching bed, death bed, solitary confinement, jabbing between ribs, beating the eye balls, pinching the testicles, piercing fingers with thumbtacks, burning with a hot iron...all torture methods were exhausted. When everything failed to force him renounce Falun Gong, and Liang was near death, he was transferred to another prison for further abuse.
On March 29, 2005, Liang was transferred to Changchun Tiebei Prison. He was subjected to such appalling tortures that all Falun Gong practitioners in the prison collectively launched a hunger strike. The prison hurried to send Liang to another prison to shift responsibility.
No matter where he went, no matter how he was tortured, he never gave up clarifying truth about Falun Gong. Inmates sympathized with him and admired him. The prisons had to assign the most inhuman inmates to torture him.
Liang Zhenxing was transferred again to the notorious Shiling Prison in Siping in August 2005. Warden Yin Shoudong, jailers Yang Tiejun, Wu Tie, Zhang Yejun and some inmates shocked him with eight electric batons at one time. Burn marks covered his body. They even burned his nipples and genitals. One of his nipples fell off. When his family visited him on June 5, 2006, they found him wearing a cotton-padded coat, but still feeling cold. There was a force-feeding tube inserted into his nose. Liang's older brother wanted to take off his coat to check, but guards hurried to carry him away. On the verge of death, he was transferred again. Before he left, Liang told the inmates who used to torture him, “Remember, Falun Dafa is great. I hope you will have a bright future.”
Liang was transferred to Gongzhuling Prison around New Year of 2010. When his family visited him on April 12, they found him emaciated, had difficulty walking, and his voice was hoarse. His family was notified to visit him in Gongzhuling City Central Hospital on April 25. Liang was in the emergency room. He was nothing but skin and bones. He almost completely lost vision in his right eye. His lungs were seriously infected. His feet were terribly swollen. Sharp pain made him grit his teeth. On the morning of May 1, the amazingly steadfast Falun Gong practitioner, Mr. Liang Zhenxing, passed away at age 46.
Western media reported: “The man whose ingenuity had spurred the group’s work on Internet freedom died in China.” Like other Falun Gong practitioners, Liang Zhenxing's story shines in Chinese history.
In his last years of life, Liang Zhenxing was imprisoned and isolated from the world. It's a shame he didn't know that he and his team had pioneered a brand new era of spreading information about Falun Gong. Their successful tapping into the state's TV network had broken the iron curtain of the CCP's propaganda. More broadcasts via cable network tapping happened in other cities of China. In the meantime, its powerful effect eventually led to a breakthrough in Internet anti-blockade software, which rendered the CCP's censorship and surveillance project “Golden Shield” a lost cause.
Freedom Is Not Free
Light of Truth Forever Bright
The overwhelming success of tapping into the TV network in Changchun proved that lies and information blockage cannot stop truth from spreading, and the brave won't yield to violent persecution. It inspired people in other cities to follow its example. Instance of TV tapping occurred one after another in China since then.
According to a RFA report, “Falun Gong followers have again hijacked a local Chinese television station with broadcasts aimed at countering negative official reports on the banned spiritual movement on Aug. 17, 2002. For 10 to 20 minutes, according to residents of Baiyin City in China's northwestern Gansu Province, Channel 5 of official CCTV aired Falun Gong images to local viewers. About one hundred thousand people were able to watch the program through Baiyin cable TV station.”
On October 19, two hours of Falun Gong programs were broadcast in a city in southwest China.
On January 23, 2003, a residential area in a northeast Chinese city received TV program about staged Self-immolation on Tiananmen Square for more than a half hour.
In August 2003, hundreds of thousands of TV viewers in southern China watched Falun Gong information programs for more than a half hour with antennas.
In a speech in January 2010, U.S. Secretary of State Clinton said the United States would push to preserve the ability of anyone to connect and freely transfer information over the Internet. She promised $50 million to groups developing “new tools that enable citizens to exercise their rights of free expression by circumventing politically motivated censorship.”
On November 27 of the same year, The Weekly Standard report titled “Into Thin Airwaves” said, “The only group that has actually pulled this off is named Falun Gong.” “It is also a fact that the State Department reads the New York Times, which credited the Global Internet Freedom Consortium—essentially a group of Falun Gong computer engineers—with the creation of revolutionary web systems that not only have enabled millions of Chinese citizens to surf beyond the Great Firewall, but also provided the platform for the vast majority of the citizen reportage that reached the West during the aborted Green Revolution in Iran.”
The idea of breaking through the Internet was spurred by Liang Zhenxing and his intercept team, who tapped into cable network to break through the information blockade in Changchun on March 5, 2002. Its huge success inspired the Falun Gong group to develop a new way to reach more Chinese people through the Internet.
The Right to Know
American reporter Ethan Gutmann wrote, “It took Chinese practitioners in the West—elite, highly educated, cool—to realize that Chinese television, and indeed propaganda and counter propaganda, were mere foothills. The mountain had moved. With names like FreeGate, UltraSurf, and Dynaweb, small cells of practitioners, operating out of offices in northern California and living rooms in North Carolina, began the process of climbing over the great Chinese firewall and forging a permanent Internet connection to China from the West...it all started in the city of Changchun with a man named Liang Zhenxing...But although he never won a Nobel Prize, the man who died was real.”
Lies have distorted the Chinese people's conscience and sense of justice, and incited hatred toward a group of people who pursue Truthfulness-Compassion-Tolerance. However, the truth dissolves it all, and puts the right to know back in people's hands. Many who found out the truth chose to stand on the side of the righteous. The day after the truth about Falun Gong was aired in Changchun, local citizens took the initiative to go to the court to condemn the CCP and show support for Falun Gong.
Thanks to the pioneers and their followers, the true story of Falun Gong has spread worldwide. People in more than one hundred countries are practicing Falun Gong. More than one hundred million Chinese people have quit the CCP and its affiliated organizations.
Mr. Zhang Zhongyu, former deputy Chief Editor of Jilin Provincial-level Lantaineiwai magazine, escaped China due to the persecution of Falun Gong. He told a reporter, “Terror and high-handed policy cannot stop people from longing for truth. Lies and violence cannot change people's hearts. Fourteen years of bloody persecution has destroyed countless people, and broken thousands and thousands of families. But persecution of righteous belief has never succeeded in history. While the CCP heads for its doom, Falun Dafa has spread to more than one hundred countries, and brought hope and brightness to the world.”
The bravery and sacrifice of the intercept team in Changchun lit up hope in the dark period of China under CCP. Falun Gong practitioners in China and around the world paid a high price for the sake of freedom of press, speech and belief.