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Middle School Teacher Sentenced and Fired from Her Job for Practicing Falun Gong

Dec. 7, 2021 |   By a Minghui correspondent in Jiangxi Province, China

(Minghui.org) A middle school teacher has suffered 22 years of persecution, simply for upholding her faith in Falun Gong.

Ms. Liu Taoying, 59, lives in Nanchang City, Jiangxi Province. She started to practice Falun Gong, an ancient spiritual and meditation discipline, in 1997. Since the Chinese Communist Party launched the persecution in 1999 due to Falun Gong’s immense popularity and revival of traditional values, her life has since been turned upside down.

Between 1999 and 2015, the police ransacked Ms. Liu’s home multiple times without a search warrant. She lost much of her personal freedom to constant harassment and surveillance. She was also given three years of forced labor and two prison terms of 5 and 2.5 years, respectively. She was interrogated, tortured and dismissed from her job as a result.

Taking Up Falun Gong

Ms. Liu used to suffer from multiple diseases, including lumbar spondyloisthesis (a condition involving spine instability), ureteral stones and rheumatoid arthritis. She fell critically ill in 1997. Her weight dropped to 66 pounds in half a month and she was on the verge of death. While she was bedridden, she started to read Zhuan Falun, the main book of Falun Gong that her friend gave her a long time ago. Unexpectedly, her thyroid tumor was gone.

She quickly recovered and resumed work. With all of her diseases gone, she took on more assignments at work. She joined many other local practitioners in doing the Falun Gong exercises in the Xinyu Steel Wire Factory that her school was associated with.

Detained for Having Falun Gong Books

In April 1999, a security guard came to the group exercise site and asked for personal information of the practitioners. Thinking that the steel wire factory wanted to promote Falun Gong, they all filled out the forms, only to face frequent harassment from then on.

Three months later, on July 20, 1999, the Chinese Communist Party launched the nationwide persecution. Many practitioners were arrested, and group exercises were not allowed anymore. With the name list collected at the factory’s exercise site, authorities went after each practitioner and ordered them to hand over their Falun Gong books.

Ms. Liu was ordered to fill out a survey on the health improvement results of Falun Gong practice in March 2000. She answered the questions honestly and said that she benefitted from it physically and mentally.

Shortly after, the police came to her school to interrogate her about the survey. “Do you know how serious it is? We put off murder cases for your case. You’d better cooperate with us.”

Ms. Liu replied, “I filled the survey honestly. What else do you want from me?” They said they were simply carrying out their duties.

For the next few months, the police ransacked Ms. Liu’s apartment several times, never presenting a search warrant. When the police ransacked her home again on October 2000, she asked for a search warrant. They replied, “We can get a search warrant at any time,” and confiscated Ms. Liu’s Falun Gong books.

Eager to protect the books, she jumped onto the police car to stop them, only to be laughed at by the locals, who commented that she had gone insane and tried to commit suicide.

For telling a colleague her frustration after the police confiscated her Falun Gong books, the police arrested her colleague (likely through monitoring her phone call) and held him as a hostage in order to arrest her. She showed up at the police station and was directly given 15 days of administration detention.

When she was released from the detention center, she saw that her colleague was released from the same place at the same time.

Detention in Brainwashing Center

At the beginning of 2001, the Party secretary of the steel wire factory asked Ms. Liu, “How are you now? You don’t practice [Falun Gong] anymore, right?”

For saying “People have their own choice,” Ms. Liu was reported and taken to a brainwashing center in a rural place.

The brainwashing session was hosted by the city Political and Legal Affairs Committee, an extrajudiciary agency tasked with persecuting Falun Gong. Each session was about a month long.

In order to get the “graduation certificate” from the brainwashing session, each practitioner had to sign a statement criticizing Falun Gong and promising never to practice it again.

As Ms. Liu stayed firm in her faith, the authorities humiliated and laughed at her. They also tried to use her family ties to shake her willpower and threatened her with terms in a forced labor camp.

In addition to detaining Ms. Liu, the authorities also forced a colleague of hers to stay in the brainwashing center as a “companion.” As the colleague’s husband worked out of town, their 11-year-old son was left at home alone.

Tortured in the Police Department

One day in spring of 2001, a local practitioner took a floppy disk to Ms. Liu and asked her to help check what was inside it. As Ms. Liu didn’t know how to use a computer, she said she would ask for help from others.

Days later, Ms. Liu was arrested in a police sweep and taken to the police department for interrogation. The police turned her apartment upside down and confiscated a photo of Falun Gong’s founder and a piece of paper on which Ms. Liu hand-copied an article of Falun Gong teachings.

The police handcuffed Ms. Liu with one hand over the shoulder to meet with the other hand pulled up from behind her back. At the same time, she was forced to kneel and keep her back straight. They forced her to hold the position for an extended period of time and kicked her back when she moved. The police also forced her to step on a photo of the founder of Falun Gong and tried to intimidate her by having her listen to the screams of other practitioners next door. The torture went on for six days.

Torture reenactment: handcuffed behind one’s back

The police later found the floppy disk at Ms. Liu’s home, only to realize it didn’t have any Falun Gong-related materials they were looking for.

Three Years of Forced Labor

Ms. Liu was taken to the brainwashing center again. When the one-month session was over, she was directly taken to a detention center and put on criminal detention. The police gave her three years of forced labor two months later.

With efforts from her supervisor to rescue her, the police allowed her to serve time at home.

The supervisor said to Ms. Liu, “It was hard to get you out of the detention center. If anything goes wrong, all of us would be in trouble. Please follow the police’s orders.” Ms. Liu didn’t think she did anything wrong, but she didn’t want to let her supervisor down, so she said, “I know. I know what to do.”

Ms. Liu resumed her work as a teacher. She continued following the principles of “Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance” in her life and work and was recognized for her good work.

Sentenced to Five Years

Ms. Liu later learned from a colleague that the authorities broadcast to the public that she had given up practicing Falun Gong and used it to demonize the practice. She published a declaration on Minghui.org announcing that she remains firm in her faith and the statement that she had given it up was invalid.

Ms. Liu was grading a test in her office on May 9, 2004, when a colleague asked her to step out. She went out, only to be taken away by a security guard and police officers waiting in the hallway.

On the same day, the police ransacked Ms. Liu’s apartment and confiscated her computer, printer and other personal belongings. They brought Ms. Liu to a hotel room and asked, “Did you publish the statement on Minghui?”

Ms. Liu replied yes and was taken to the police department. She refused to sign the criminal detention document, saying “There is nothing wrong in practicing Falun Gong to be a good person. What you are doing is wrong.”

One officer said, “I don’t care if you are a good person. The Communist Party pays my salary and I work for it.”

After six months of detention, Ms. Liu was brought to the court for trial. She was kept in a metal cage outside the court for half a day, only for the judge to cancel the hearing and for the guards to bring her back to the detention center.

Although her family hired a lawyer for her, the lawyer told her that he could do nothing about her case because the authorities had determined that the case was serious and that she had to receive a heavy sentence.

Ms. Liu was later sentenced to five years in Jiangxi Province Women’s Prison, shortly after her three-year labor camp term expired.

In the prison, the guards were reluctant to torture Falun Gong practitioners themselves but instead instigated inmates to do it.

Some guards said that practitioners are kind people, but they were under pressure to follow the persecution policy in order to keep their jobs.

Ms. Liu was fired after she was released from the prison. She started a private after-school tutoring class to teach writing. Just as her business started to pick up, the city 610 Office, an extralegal agency created specifically to persecute Falun Gong, ordered the local education department to close it.

Second Prison Term

Ms. Liu was arrested again on July 27, 2018. Police ransacked her apartment and confiscated her Falun Gong books and materials, cellphone, computer, printer and other personal belongings. The next day she was taken to Gaoxin Detention Center. Her family was not allowed to see her because she refused to wear the inmate uniform. She was released on bail on August 15, only to be taken back into custody five days later. She was sentenced to two and a half years in 2019 and incarcerated in Jiangxi Province Women’s Prison.