Upholding Dafa in a Forced Labor Camp
(Minghui.org) Less than two years after the persecution began, I organized an experience-sharing meeting in April 2001. About 50 local practitioners attended it. The news was somehow reported to the police, and dozens of officers from the city’s Domestic Security Division surrounded the building.
I asked that all practitioners be released and took full responsibility myself (it seemed to be the right thing to do at the time given my cultivation level). I didn't reveal any meeting details to the police and only told them that Dafa is good and that practitioners are innocent.
I was taken into custody that night and quickly transferred to a detention center. I was taken to a labor camp for three years. While incarcerated, Master and Dafa gave me tremendous strength and courage to face the mistreatment and to uphold the Fa.
Arriving at the Labor Camp
I was assigned to the first cell in the south ward for the first couple of weeks. Five young women occupied that cell, and all five were serving time for prostitution and drug crimes. As the occupants of the first cell, they were to welcome and help newcomers as they arrived.
The five of them wore heavy makeup. Each smoked a cigarette and blew the smoke at me as I walked in. They carried themselves as if they were still selling their bodies and showed no self-worth or shame. I felt I was with demons in hell.
Stopping People from Slandering Dafa
A few detainees there soon found out that I was a Dafa practitioner, and they started slandering Dafa. I told them, “Stop! You’ll incur karmic retribution for maligning the Buddha Fa.” The very next day, one of them had a swollen face, which quickly put a stop to the slander by all the others.
This incident impacted the way the guards and other inmates treated me throughout my term. They were usually respectful toward me. Even when I didn't cooperate with the guards at times, I was never beaten.
Long Working Days
I was transferred to the No. 3 Division after three weeks. There were 270 inmates in this division, and most were sentenced for prostitution, drug abuse, and assault. There were also three Dafa practitioners.
We were made to work for more than 15 hours a day at the workshop, making light bulbs. To meet the daily quota, the inmates often worked until 2 or 3 o'clock in the morning. If someone was unable to meet the quota, her term would be extended. The guards took turns to monitor us.
Besides the more than 15 hours of physical labor each day, the practitioners were also subjected to physical and verbal abuse by the guards and inmates assigned to monitor us. We were also not allowed to do the Dafa exercises. I got up to meditate on my first night there and was found out. More than a dozen guards and inmates tried to forcibly uncross my legs but couldn’t.
When the four of us practitioners protested the mistreatment, the guards believed it was my idea, and they put me in a solitary confinement cell. It was an evening in July. I was taken to a small stone building on the top of a hill surrounded by a graveyard that used to be the city cemetery. There was a crematorium on the other side of the hill.
The cell had not been used for eight months and was dark and damp. It was a tight space—only 40 square feet—with a two-foot-wide raised concrete slab in it. One of the walls had a small hole for a window. All along the walls were cobwebs, centipedes, and other bugs and critters.
I used the only two pieces of toilet paper to wipe down the cement bed. As soon as I sat down, mosquitoes showed up all around me, as if they were going to eat me alive. At first I tried to drive them away, but then I felt sorry for them.
I quieted my mind and started to meditate on the bed. When I opened my eyes, I saw a large python on the floor that was coming right at me, with its forked tongue sticking out. I had always been afraid of snakes since I was little, and I was really scared. Then, I thought of Master, who is always watching over me, and calmed down.
I said, “All beings here, listen up. I am doing the Dafa exercises. Do not disturb me. If you are predestined, you will reincarnate into a human in your next life, and you will be able to obtain the Fa as well.”
The snake went under the bed, but as I got down on the floor and checked under the bed, there was nothing. The mosquitoes didn't bother me anymore either. The next morning I checked under the bed again and saw a big hole. I dumped a few buckets of water in there but never saw the snake again.
I was in solitary confinement for eight days, and my term was extended for a month.
A Kind Deed of a Dafa Practitioner
I was put in a cell next to the bathrooms. The faucets in the bathroom were always turned on even when nobody was using them. It was such a waste of water. I turned them off whenever I could, sometimes even in the middle of the night.
I found that some faucets were broken and couldn't be turned off, but even the ones that worked were always left on. The entire bathroom was always flooded with a few inches of water on the floor.
I wrote to the camp authorities about the problem. I reasoned in my letter that the inmates there were forced to work long hours in violation of labor laws, but the profit they generated was all going down the drain. I pointed out that wasted resources increased overhead and in turn lowered the camp's revenue.
I explained that although it had nothing to do with my personal cultivation, I thought that letting the authorities know was the right thing to do. If it could be resolved, it would be beneficial for everybody.
The faucets were fixed within two days. After a week or so, a guard asked me in private, “What did you do? The camp director said at our all-hands meeting that you're more capable than all of us put together.”
Any kind gesture of a practitioner can prove to people that Dafa is good.
The No. 7 Division
The new No. 7 Division was set up in August 2001 specifically for the purpose of “transforming” Dafa practitioners. I was the first one to be placed there and was later joined by 26 more practitioners.
We were taken to the meeting room as soon as all 27 of us got there. The deputy director slandered Dafa and Master. I protested right away but in a calm voice. After the meeting, the deputy director called me over. Before he started, I said, “You can curse me, but not Dafa or Master. It's not good for you.”
He sneered, “You’re pretty loyal to your master. It’s your first day here, I’ll let this one slide. But you can’t be doing this all the time, setting a bad example for the rest.” This deputy director was diagnosed with liver cancer three months later and died in excruciating pain the following year.
With ample government funding allotted to “eradicate” Falun Gong, the guards of the No. 7 Division were assigned newer and bigger apartment units and awarded bonuses. They were awarded as much as 1,000 yuan for each practitioner they “transformed.” The inmates assigned to monitor practitioners also had their terms reduced. With such incentives, the guards and inmates who have lost their morality used all means against practitioners without holding back.
An unyielding elderly practitioner was taken away from the division, and announced three days later as being insane. She was said to have been diagnosed with schizophrenia and was taken to a mental hospital.
We didn’t believe it at all—she seemed mentally stable only three days ago. The division head was upset and said, “What do you all know? You think the doctors don’t know what they are talking about?” Since then, there were often cases of practitioners being tortured to death and mental or physical disability.
However, bad deeds are bound to receive karmic retribution. Guards who tortured and mistreated Dafa practitioners were often diagnosed with cancer, killed in car accidents, or gave birth to disabled babies. Even their relatives were getting serious illnesses. The guards were frightened, but driven by the prospect of promotions and big bonuses, they didn’t let up on the practitioners.
Upholding the Fa with Our Lives
I was transferred again during Chinese New Year to the No. 5 Division. A few practitioners in that division had been on a hunger strike. In the afternoon on the third day of the Chinese New Year, almost the entire division gathered on the third floor during break, chit-chatting and knitting in small groups.
The practitioners on hunger strike came looking for me—the guards had told them that if they still refused to eat, they would write Master's name on pieces of paper and stomp on them.
Such a thing must be stopped. I immediately told the guards, “If any of you do such a thing, I will jump out of this window right away!” The practitioners on hunger strike said in unison that they would do the same. The lead guard on duty came quickly.
He dragged me from third floor to the first floor when the captain came. They said, “Nobody said we would do such a thing. Why would anybody in their right mind want to cause trouble during Chinese New Year? You started it by going on a hunger strike in the first place.”
I told him, “That would be the best, and everyone will be safe. If anyone does such a thing, he will receive karmic retribution.” A detainee later said, “The practitioners who haven’t given up on the practice would not let anybody disrespect their master. It’s smart not to cause conflicts.”
The practitioners’ righteous actions stopped the guards from committing unpardonable crimes against Dafa. Such things never happened again at this forced labor camp.
Remaining Firm in My Belief
The camp authorities asked leaders from my workplace to visit and convince me to renounce Dafa. I told them, “I can’t give up the practice. Master saved my life. The CCP wanting me to give it up is asking me to die.”
I told my visitors that a practitioner was beaten to death just a few days ago. A guard quickly said, “Don’t listen to her. Nobody listens to her. She’s a liar.” I said, “Dafa practitioners always tell the truth. How about whichever one of us just told a lie will have bad luck? Do you want to bet?” She hesitated but didn’t want to admit that she had told a lie, so she just quietly said, “Okay.”
The guard found me the next day and told me in private that her son had had a high fever since the prior afternoon and she was worried. She also had a nightmare in which she was chased by Dafa practitioners on a mountain.
I told her, “If you swear that you won't do anything against Dafa practitioners, your son will soon be better. There are countless higher beings watching just inches above one's head.” Since then, I had never heard of this person mistreating Dafa practitioners.
Of course, there were guards who came to learn that Dafa is good and helped Dafa practitioners in the camp. Some guards even started practicing Dafa themselves.
A Cold Shower
We had a half day off on New Year's Day in 2001. My body had been aching for a while, and I had an itchy, scaly rash that quickly festered. I had not had a shower in two weeks. I asked the inmate in charge of the water heater to save two buckets of hot water for me so I could wash myself. The inmate assigned to monitor me helped me carry the hot water.
On our way to the bathroom, the captain stopped us and said, “Wow, what a great help! I need a bath too.” I didn't want the inmate to get in trouble, so I said the hot water was for me. “So what?” said the captain, “Dump the hot water!” The inmate took the buckets to the courtyard, covered them up instead, and came back in. The captain knew somehow—she quickly found the buckets and dumped the hot water.
What to do? I was already getting ready to take a bath. All of a sudden I realized, “I am a Dafa practitioner, and I should not be afraid of being cold.” I went into the bathroom, turned on the faucet, and took a cold shower. I didn’t feel cold but instead felt refreshed and clean afterward. I started taking cold showers ever since, and the pain in my body gradually went away.
My Feet Were Turning in My Sleep
The mistreatment and torture of Dafa practitioners at the camp escalated. Those who refused to renounce their faith had a few inmates monitoring them around the clock, making sure they were not doing the exercises. They were made to sit on small stools for long periods of time without moving.
I was transferred back to the No. 7 Division. My bed was on the lower level of a bunk and right in front of the door. It was summertime, and I slept with my feet toward the door.
During afternoon nap one day, a “transformed” practitioner who was on duty monitoring us walked by and saw through the open door that my feet were turning–nine times to the left, then nine times to the right, and so on. Curious, she checked the other practitioners, and nobody's feet turned like that during sleep.
The word spread, and the camp guards all believed that I was special and let me get away with more than other practitioners could. I didn't know about this until many years later, and to this day I have no clue how my feet were turning.
Sneaking New Lectures into the Labor Camp
My term ended in April 2003, and I have since joined efforts with other practitioners in helping Master rectify the Fa.
I learned after returning home that the Minghui website had published quite a few new lectures of Master that the detained practitioners didn’t have access to in the forced labor camp. I know how badly they wanted to read Master’s new lectures and decided to find a way to sneak them in. I asked Master to strengthen me.
A few days later, I ran into a camp staff member at the market. I didn’t know that person well but knew I couldn’t miss this opportunity. I had copied the new lectures on pieces of silk and sewn them into a heavy jacket that I happened to have with me that day. I approached the staff member and asked her to give the jacket to an inmate working at the camp cafeteria. She hesitated, took the jacket into her hands, studied it for a while, but eventually agreed.
A few months later, I ran into a newly released practitioner who actually had two pieces of the silk I had snuck in. She told me, “After we received the new lectures, we each got a copy. But one ended up in the guards’ hands, so I hid these two pieces of silk so they wouldn't be taken away.”
This practitioner exhibited symptoms of a heart problem and was taken to the camp clinic and released from there on medical parole. She said when the camp director saw the dates on the new lectures, he went ballistic: “The entire camp has been locked down because of SARS. How did these copies get in?” The director searched the entire camp to find the source and locked down the stairs on one side of the building. The entire forced labor camp was impacted.
A Solid Foundation
Looking back, I think the reason I was able to get through those days at the forced labor camp and earn respect from guards and inmates was all because of the strength I gained from the Fa.
Since I started practicing in August 1996, I hardly left my home in three years and used all my free time to study the Fa and do the exercises. I had recited Zhuan Falun twice before the persecution started.
This solid foundation gave me righteous thoughts and courage to uphold Dafa at the forced labor camp. It has been 16 years since I was released. I have placed the three things as the highest priority in my life during the past 16 years, and I have diligently fulfilled my vows and carried out my duty as a Dafa practitioner.
It doesn't matter how things will change in the future; I will follow Master closely and stay surefooted on my cultivation path.