(Minghui.org) When he was 16, Mr. Meng Xiangqi of Siping City, Jilin Province, was tortured in a forced labor camp for two years and forced out of school. He was imprisoned for 6 years when he was 21. All because he is a steadfast practitioner of Falun Gong, a spiritual meditation practice that has been persecuted in China since 1999.
Mr. Meng’s most recent arrest took place on August 15, 2019, when he was 35. That day, eight of his relatives, including his parents and in-laws, were also arrested for their shared faith. He was tried on September 28, 2020, after one year of detention and is now awaiting the verdict.
Below is a detailed account of the persecution he has been subjected to.
Mr. Meng took up Falun Gong in 1998 when he was a 14-year-old middle school student. By following the principles of Truthfulness, Compassion, and Forbearance, he got along with his classmates and made outstanding grades. His teacher praised him in front of other parents at the parent-teacher conferences. He was considerate of everyone and fixed broken furniture and windows in the classroom.
When the persecution of Falun Gong started in July 1999, Mr. Meng, then 15, went to the Jilin Provincial office to speak up for Falun Gong and explain why the persecution was wrong. The police put him in a truck and locked him in an elementary school. He was beaten and released that night.
He went with his parents, who are also practitioners, to Tiananmen Square in Beijing to protest the persecution on October 20, 1999, and were arrested. Mr. Meng was confined in a metal cage with his mother for 12 hours before being picked up by the police from Lish County. The police beat his mother on their way home and later extorted cash from them as fines and compensation for transportation.
Mr. Meng returned to school and for a year he was monitored by school authorities, who tried to force him to turn in his Falun Gong books and give up the practice.
Several Kangping Police Station officers broke into Mr. Meng’s home in February 2000. They arrested his parents and a visiting practitioner, Ms. Li Li, who died in February 2002 after being tortured and force-fed in Fangshan Detention Center. Mr. Meng’s father was put in a forced labor camp for a year and his mother in a detention center for a month. While his parents were both incarcerated Mr. Meng suffered tremendous financial and psychological stress.
Mr. Meng went to Tiananmen Square on December 16, 2000, with over a hundred Falun Gong fliers. He threw the fliers up into the air and shouted, “Falun Dafa is good!” Some officers rushed over and pinned him down while others scrambled to gather up the flyers. He was confined in a metal cage in the Tiananmen Police Department. He refused to answer any questions and was transferred to a remote place where officers took turns interrogating him from 6 a.m. to midnight with no food or water. One officer got so infuriated at not getting any information out of him that he started to kick and slap him.
Mr. Meng was transferred to Daxing County Detention Center at 2 a.m. The guards took his cash and forced him to buy bedsheets and necessities for less than one day of detention.
The Jilin Province police picked Mr. Meng up in Beijing and took him back on a train in handcuffs. At Kangping Police Station, an officer told him, “If you continue to practice, we’ll send you to a forced labor camp. If you stop, you can go back to school. I’ll give you a few minutes to think about it.” Mr. Meng responded immediately that he’d continue to practice Falun Gong. On December 20, 2020, he was taken to Lishu County Detention Center, where he had to make paper flowers every day.
One day a guard stripped Mr. Meng and poured buckets of cold water on him when the temperature was below freezing. The guards took all the cash he had and the clothes his family sent him.
Mr. Meng had to sit still and memorize the rules every day. If he moved or said anything else, the guards punched and kicked him. He was given only a small slice of cornbread with watered-down soup at each meal. He was constantly hungry. The sanitary conditions were awful.
Mr. Meng was given a year of forced labor on January 15, 2001, at the age of 16 and sent to Siping City Forced Labor Camp.
To force Mr. Meng to give up his faith, a collaborator kept Mr. Meng awake at night and had him watch videos and read books that defamed Falun Gong.
In April 2001, a high-level provincial official visited the camp and gave orders that Falun Gong practitioners were to be hung up on the wall if they refused to renounce their faith. After that, the practitioners were sent to do heavy construction work in the summer of 2001.
By the end of July, Mr. Meng was transferred to Liaoyuan City Forced Labor Camp. It was remarkably insanitary and Mr. Meng was given only sandy soup with a small slice of cornbread for each meal.
In September, Mr. Meng escaped from the labor camp. He was too weak to run far before the guards caught him. They hit his face until he bled profusely. His shirt was soaked with blood. He had to walk back on a sandy road for miles barefoot.
To punish him for running away, two officials and several guards took turns beating him. One official beat him with the handle of a shovel. They put him in a cage in an isolated room on the 4th floor. The four cages in the room were 1.8 m (71 in) long, 0.6 m (24 in) wide and 1 m (39 in) tall, which only allowed a person to sit up or lay down. He could only see outside from one side of the cage. A guard watched him around the clock so that he couldn’t talk or meditate. He was given only a little food twice a day. He could use the toilet once a day but wasn’t allowed to wash or see his family.
The next day, a guard took Mr. Meng to an isolated room and repeatedly banged his head against the ground. They wrapped a rope tightly around his shoulders, arms, and hands and then lifted up his arms as far away from his body as possible. The rope cut into his skin and caused excruciating pain.
One time a guard grabbed his neck while pinching and pushing his Adam’s Apple. He did this repeatedly until the flesh around his Adam’s Apple was ruptured.
Mr. Meng’s sentence was arbitrarily extended for another year on September 22, 2001.
In November 2001, the authorities forced Mr. Meng and 40 other practitioners to be examined in a local hospital. They were not given breakfast that morning and Mr. Meng, after his blood was drawn, fainted and bruised his head.
Mr. Meng was transferred to Chaoyanggou Forced Labor Camp in December. A guard kicked him to the ground to intimidate him when he arrived and assigned two prisoners to watch him closely.
The camp started an “educational warfare” campaign to force practitioners to give up their practice in April 2002. During those days, the detainees often heard yelling and screaming from the practitioners’ cells. Five prisoners jumped on Mr. Meng and held him down. They removed his pants and jammed a towel into his mouth before bashing his buttocks and back with metal rods. He was unable to sit or lie down for a long time after that.
After Mr. Meng served the additional year in the labor camp, officers from Kangping Police Station picked him up on October 30. Instead of taking him home, they put him in a brainwashing center for two weeks. The police continued to harass him after he was released.
Mr. Meng was arrested again a few years later, on September 8, 2006. The police raided his home and confiscated his cash and personal belongings. He was taken to Lishu County Detention Center that night. The officers harassed his parents and forced them to close down their booming business. The parents had to leave their hometown and move repeatedly to avoid arrest.
Mr. Meng’s grandmother went to the police station to tell them why the persecution was wrong. An officer slapped the 78-year-old and she fell down the stairs. The officer then pointed a gun at her and threatened to kill her if she came back. She was bedridden for several days afterward.
Mr. Meng was sentenced to six years in a secret trial on October 12, 2006, and was transferred to Jilin Prison on December 19. In the prison, he was forced to give a blood sample and constantly subjected to brainwashing. Sometimes he was forced to sit on his bed facing a wall for days on end.
Two dozen officers from local domestic security brigades and police stations and local officials broke into Mr. Meng’s home early in the morning on August 15, 2019. They arrested him and his parents-in-law, leaving behind his wife and their two-month-old infant. Seven other members of Mr. Meng’s family, including his parents, in-laws, his wife’s sister, her husband, and the husband’s parents, were arrested that same day.
Except for Mr. Meng’s mother and father-in-law, who were released 15 days later, the rest of them were detained in Siping City Detention Center for over a year. They appeared in Lishu County Court on September 28. The court prevented their lawyers from entering not guilty pleas on their behalf.