The Awakening of a Soul
(Minghui.org) In July 1999, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and its then-leader Jiang Zemin launched its persecution of Falun Dafa. In October 1999, my husband went to Beijing to appeal for the right to practice Falun Dafa, but the CCP arrested him and illegally sentenced him to prison. In 2001, he was sent to a prison in our province.
The prison my husband was sent to was originally for felons, and a well-known dissident during the Cultural Revolution was once incarcerated there. Over the decades, many brutal and insidious methods of torture were crafted at this facility. The prisoners included all kinds of characters. It is not an exaggeration to say it was a devils’ den.
After my husband and other Falun Dafa practitioners were imprisoned, their high moral standards and selflessness awakened kindness in the prisoners, and the entire environment underwent great changes. Some of the criminal inmates admired the practitioners' courage and determination after seeing how they conducted themselves in their daily interactions and witnessing their courageous actions to counter the persecution.
Some of the prisoners secretly fought for justice for Falun Dafa, while some sympathized with practitioners and spoke up for them. Others also helped practitioners pass along Master Li Hongzhi's articles and delivered messages to other practitioners.
I personally know one such inmate, a man named Yicheng. He was sentenced to life in prison for a robbery he committed before the age of 20. His term was later reduced to 19 years. When I met him, he had served more than 10 years in the same prison my husband was in.
The persecution was at its worst between 2000 and 2003. All detention centers, forced labor camps, prisons, and brainwashing centers that incarcerated Falun Dafa practitioners were committing evil, and the prison my husband was in was no exception. Almost every steadfast practitioner suffered severe mental and physical torture. A male practitioner was tortured to death there in early 2003.
My husband never accepted the charges imposed on him. He insisted on doing the Falun Dafa exercises, studying the Fa teachings, and resisting the persecution. He was tortured on many occasions. Team head Tan once blatantly threatened him, “Nobody can do anything to us if you die—we can falsify paperwork.”
In March 2003, guard Wu shocked my husband with a high-voltage electric baton for more than half an hour. My husband’s head, neck, and other areas were injured. In May, guard Qiu kicked him from behind, causing him to fall face down, knocking out two teeth; my husband had a mouthful of blood.
My parents-in-law and I had no idea of the treacherous situation my husband was in because the prison tightly sealed off communications with the outside.
Yicheng was released from the prison around this time. He was housed in the same team as my husband. Having been incarcerated for so many years, he knew exactly what the guards and CCP officials did there. Like other inmates, he had to swallow his anger and dared not speak up about it.
But seeing that Falun Dafa practitioners held fast to their belief despite such intense pressure and how they expressed their demands in an upright manner without fear, he admired them. He told my husband he was willing to help him deliver messages to his family, so my husband gave him my home phone number.
After getting out of the prison, Yicheng did not head straight home. Instead, he came to my city and contacted me.
I went to meet Yicheng at a snack bar next to the train station. He was about 5’8” tall, and although he had been imprisoned for more than 10 years, he was still unpretentious. He spoke in a straightforward way, without beating around the bush, and his eyes were kind. He told me the details of my husband’s suffering in prison. Even though he was a stranger and had such an unusual background, my intuition told me I could trust him. I thanked him sincerely and gave him my cell number.
I realized I had to act quickly to keep my husband from being tortured. I began by writing a letter of complaint. In the letter, I quoted relevant provisions of Criminal Law and Police Law and pointed out how the actions of the guards constituted crimes of “ill-treatment of the detainee.” I also added an appendix with a media report about a young Wuhan man named Sun Zhigang who died in a shelter in Guangzhou. In the letter, I used facts and appealed with reason. My fellow practitioners liked the letter, and the woman at the print shop even sympathized with my husband and supported my effort.
In May 2003, I took my letter of complaint to the prison and demanded that the prison authorities immediately assess my husband's injuries and punish the guards who abused him. This was during the SARS prevention and control period, and outsiders were not allowed to enter the prison office area. A prison staff member accepted my letter, but there was no reply.
I knew I couldn’t wait and that I must speak to their superiors, so I went to the provincial Prison Administration Bureau. I successfully met with the deputy director in charge of prison reform and told him what the guards had done. The deputy director, in his early 50s, looked rather gentle. He listened to my case and read my letter. He told me he would deal with it if the allegations were true.
Soon afterward, the Prison Administration Bureau sent a team to the prison to investigate. As a result of the “investigation,” only four points were taken off guard Wu’s evaluation that month for torturing my husband with an electric baton. It was only a nominal sanction, and the so-called “investigation” was nothing more than a formality. However, it shocked the lawless guards and prison thugs. Everyone in the prison wondered how I knew my husband was tortured and who delivered the message to me.
No one ever imagined that I would go to the Prison Administration Bureau and demand payment for my husband’s medical expenses and psychological damage. This was unprecedented! That had a big impact at the prison. Guard Wu was terrified by what I’d done and restrained himself a lot. Another guard told my husband, “Your wife is really tough!”
From then on, my husband did not suffer any major incidents of torture in prison, and the environment for Fa-study and doing the exercises became more relaxed. My husband was released in September 2003. He had gained weight and was full of energy. One family member even said he looked younger.
During such a period of darkness, it took a lot of courage for Yicheng to withstand the pressure and risk delivering a message to me.
In fact, inspired by Dafa’s mighty virtue, many inmates like Yicheng came to understand the truth about Dafa in prison. Some learned Hong Yin and tried to conduct themselves according to Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance by consciously restraining their bad habits and modeling Dafa disciples’ behavior. All these occurrences and changes in people validated Dafa’s mighty power to right all human hearts.
Yicheng also gained a new lease on life from all this. Soon after he visited his hometown, Yicheng returned to the provincial capital and told me he wanted to make a living here. At that time, I was also persecuted for practicing Falun Dafa and was in financial difficulties. But I saw a small ad in the newspaper and found him a job washing cars at a small auto repair shop. The job was hard labor with long hours and low wages, about 300 yuan (US$45) a month, but he got free room and board. Surprisingly, Yicheng worked there for nearly two years.
When I visited him one day, he showed me his hands; they were very rough and had blisters on them. When I asked him if he planned to stay at the job, without hesitation, he said yes. I was happy that he could endure such hardships. I knew he had really changed.
Later on, Yicheng’s gangster boss also got out of jail. He somehow got in touch with Yicheng and wanted to recruit him for an underground casino. At the time, Yicheng had already started a new job working at the book market as a security guard. The job paid a little better—500 to 600 yuan a month.
Having left his past behind, Yicheng did not want to go back to the crime syndicate. But he felt a sense of obligation to his gangster boss and didn’t know how to turn down the offer. He discussed it with me, and we decided he could tactfully reject the offer if it came from his cousin.
In fact, I had never dealt with anyone in the underworld and was a little scared. But as soon as I thought of Yicheng’s kindness and trust in me, I was no longer afraid. Finally, the boss showed up with his girlfriend. It was said she was the daughter of a guard at the prison where the gangster boss was held.
We met at a popular Cantonese restaurant. Unlike in the movies where the gangster boss was some stout man with a lot of tattoos, he was a slightly obese, ordinary-looking, middle-aged man. Perhaps years of incarceration had smoothed out his rough edges. He was very civil, so I was not nervous.
We enjoyed the food and chatted like friends. Yicheng said very little. I politely told the gangster boss that our family hoped Yicheng could do legitimate work in the future and that Yicheng had the same idea. The boss didn’t object or show any disapproval. He agreed with Yicheng’s choice and never bothered him again.
Although Yicheng decided to take the right path, it was not easy. Without a degree or work experience, Yicheng’s road to earning a living was difficult. From car washer at an auto repair shop, to security guard in a book market, to cafeteria worker at a municipal hospital—all those jobs were long hours and low pay. However, Yicheng overcame the difficulties and made it.
Having gone from someone who originally wanted to make an ill-gotten fortune overnight and ended up in prison, to someone who was able to endure hardships to support himself, Yicheng underwent huge changes.
Later on, Yicheng had to return to his hometown to care for his gravely ill father. I gifted him an e-book with Zhuan Falun on it and bid him farewell. I later had to change my phone number and lost contact with him.
More than 10 years have passed, and neither my husband nor I have heard from Yicheng. But we believe that wherever he is, he will remember: “Falun Dafa is good! Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance is good!” and will follow the right path. This is because a person who has seen the light and clear sky will never want to linger in the darkness again!