(Minghui.org) (Continued from Part 1)

Among the hundreds of thousands of Falun Dafa practitioners worldwide, several generations in the same family took up the practice at around the same time. That is the case for me—my maternal grandmother, my mother, and I all practice Dafa.

Arrested with My Mother

During my four years of college, my schedule was flexible, and I had more time to study the Fa and do the exercises with my mother. We made and distributed lots of truth-clarification flyers and booklets.

In my senior year, I applied to a graduate program abroad and was accepted. After I finished my thesis defense, I began to prepare in earnest all the documents I needed for graduate school.

It started out as an ordinary day that day as my mother and I went to a residential community to distribute truth-clarification flyers. A security person spotted us and reported us to the police. My mother and I were both arrested and taken to the police station. The police ransacked our home and confiscated all our Dafa materials and books, two computers, two cellphones, and an external hard drive. Mother and I were transferred to a detention center where I was held for a month. All my plans regarding graduation and studying abroad came to halt.

In the Detention Center

I shared a cell with inmates who’d committed offenses like fraud, gambling, theft, and prostitution. I still remember the incredulous looks on their faces as I walked into that cell the first night. By the next morning, everyone was speculating as to how I ended up there. When I told them what happened, nobody found fault with law enforcement or the communist regime for punishing innocent citizens for their belief—all criticism focused on my mother for being irresponsible and ruining my future.

I couldn’t be my cheerful and outgoing self in the detention center. Instead, I was aloof and kept mostly to myself. Scenes from the arrest played in my head over and over—I still couldn’t believe it had actually happened. I was supposed to be part of the annual graduation art exhibition and creating lasting memories with my friends during the last month of college. Instead of going to my own graduation, I was locked up behind bars for practicing Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance.

However, I quickly snapped out of it as the interrogations began. I reminded myself that I needed to be strong. Every day before lunch, a guard took me to the interrogation room located in an old, dark building. I was asked questions like what my name was, how old I was, where I went to school, why I distributed Dafa flyers that day, where I got the flyers, and if we’d made them ourselves. I was not nervous and was quite clearheaded—I knew they were collecting evidence against us.

When they asked if I knew that my mother was giving out Dafa flyers and if I participated, I told them that I distributed them with her. I told them the same thing each time I was asked. I tried at first to explain what Dafa really is and hoped they’d change their minds about the practice, but no matter what I said, they insisted that I had broken the law.

Unable to get the information they wanted out of me, the officers changed their tactics. They pretended to be friendly and acted concerned about my future to get me to let down my guard and cooperate with them. When that didn’t work, they were infuriated and called me a “scumbag.” They told me I had betrayed the country and what it had invested in me and threatened to get me sentenced to up to five years.

At one point, they tried to get my fingerprints for my case file. When I refused, they told me, “You’ll be released as soon as you give your fingerprints.” I didn’t fall for it—I hadn’t done anything wrong and I was not going to comply and give my fingerprints. Another practitioner who had given her fingerprints said to me, “You’re doing great. You’re doing the right thing. I regret giving them my fingerprints.”

Though I felt tremendous pressure every day I was detained, my heart was calm and I remained clearheaded. The officers interrogating me were unreasonable and had no moral bottom line—they didn’t seem to know the difference between right and wrong, good and evil. They insulted me and shouted profanity at me that often caused me to lose sleep and my appetite. However, when my heart was unmoved, I truly felt sorry for them.

I would be lying if I said I was not afraid of being sentenced to prison given the situation I was in, but I did not waver. I was willing to give up everything to uphold the truth. I could not let Master down and I could not let Mother down. Even though I was under a lot of mental pressure, in a very bad situation, and had to deal with a harsh environment, my heart was light and unburdened. I didn’t belong in a prison and I should have not have been detained in the first place. I lost over 20 pounds in the month I was there.

Besides being interrogated, I was assigned chores such as cleaning the bathrooms and mopping the floor. The guards also made me sit on a wooden board to watch the CCP’s propaganda programs that slandered Dafa. I was not allowed to move around.

My cellmates had different personalities and came from different backgrounds, but they all liked me. During the little bit of yard time we had each day, we talked. We talked about the places we’d been and people we’d met and our experiences. I talked to them about Dafa. Some of them told me to memorize their contact information so we could keep in touch after we were released. I also helped a few quit the CCP and its youth organizations.

While I was detained, my father and fellow practitioners hired defense lawyers who were able to get me released on bail in a month. I was on a one-year probation during which I was not allowed to leave the city and had to be available for a summons at all times.

I remember to this day the emotions I felt the moment I walked out of the detention center gate. Would I be behind that gate again? Would I be harassed by the local 610 Office? How long would that gate separate my mother and me? When would we see each other again?

One-Year Probation

I contacted the university to get my diploma after I was released, but the school administrators refused to give it to me because I was part of “a cult” and that I “undermined law enforcement.” I couldn’t get my graduation certificate and my degree until my probation ended. I tried clarifying the truth to one administrator but was told, “You are very smart and independent-minded. Maybe we can be friends when your probation ends. However, we have to follow protocol as it is not up to me.”

My plan to study abroad was put on hold for a year. I couldn’t find an internship anywhere since I didn’t have a degree. The police never returned my cellphone or computer that they'd confiscated when they ransacked our home.

Community committee officials visited us and tried to get me to attend a brainwashing program hosted by the local 610 Office. They said to my father, “Let her come [to the brainwashing program]. It’s to her benefit.” My dad pushed them out the door and scolded them, “My daughter didn’t do anything wrong. If you have to arrest someone, just arrest me. I may learn a thing or two in your program.”

These so-called brainwashing centers are even worse than detention centers. This network of temporary sites for detaining, brainwashing, and torturing Dafa practitioners is entirely extrajudicial. Their sole purpose is to “transform” Dafa practitioners, that is, force them to renounce their belief. The communist regime puts practitioners through trials for the same reason.

Mother Sentenced to Prison

On the day of my mother’s trial, many practitioners gathered in front of the courthouse to send righteous thoughts. A female practitioner went into the courtroom with me to keep me company. The defense lawyer presented sound arguments and pleaded not guilty on my mother’s behalf. When she defended herself, my mother pointed out that her right to freedom of belief is granted by the Constitution and gave a heartfelt testimony on what a wonderful practice Dafa is. The judge, however, interrupted her repeatedly and, in the end, sentenced my mother to three-and-a-half years in prison.

It was shocking to witness the law enforcement agencies under the communist regime so blatantly ignore and abuse the law. The judge acted thoroughly unprofessional. He casually blurted out remarks such as, “You should be locked up” and “This is considered a light sentence.” The judge cut off Mother’s self-defense statement and had the court marshals forcibly remove her.

As she was being dragged out of the courtroom, she shouted, “I should not be incarcerated. Spiritual belief is not a crime.” The other practitioner and I ran after Mother as the practitioner told her, “What you said is absolutely right.” I shouted, “Mother, I am so proud of you!” The guards stared and pointed at us, signaling us to shut up. “Don’t think we won’t arrest you for acting like this,” they snarled.

My mother developed high blood pressure and heart problems soon after being transferred to prison and the doctor also found a shadow on her lungs. However, the prison authorities refused to grant her medical parole because my mother would not renounce Dafa. She was not allowed to sleep at night and was beaten by inmates assigned to monitor her. The guards tried to keep my father from visiting her and threatened them both. When my mother started to tell my father about the beatings, the guards quickly stepped in and stopped her.

Fleeing China

With Master’s protection, I fled China on Christmas Eve 2015, while my mother was still enduring abuse in prison.

While my mother was being arrested, tried, and incarcerated, my grandmother, who lived in the U.S., seized every opportunity to raise awareness and expose the persecution of Dafa practitioners to people in the free world. She spoke at numerous rallies and was interviewed by different media, giving details about the persecution taking place in China. She went to the Liberty Bell Center in Philadelphia every weekend to give out Dafa flyers to tourists from around the world.

Mother joined us in the United States soon after she was released from prison, thanks to Master. The three generations of Dafa practitioners in our family finally reunited. In this country, we are now able to freely pursue our belief and talk to people about Dafa.

My Gratitude to Master

I have loved to draw since I was a child. My mother said that, as soon as I was able to hold a pen, I started to draw and left my “masterpieces” everywhere in our house. When I went out to play, I did chalk art on the sidewalk. When we had visitors, I invited them to draw with me. As long as I had my drawing pencils and markers, I could sit for hours while the adults visited at gatherings. I often forgot to eat or sleep when I drew.

I have always liked to look at Master’s drawings of Buddhas, Gods, and heavenly maidens in Hong Yin and liked to copy them. Many practitioners have complimented me and said that I do a good job. Master gave me the wisdom to continuously improve my drawing skills.

I studied art in college and have earned a master’s degree in art. Now that I live in the States, I still do what I love, using my skills to help with our media to clarify the truth about Dafa. Whenever people compliment me on my drawings and art, besides being really happy, I also grow increasingly appreciative of what Master has given me. I feel extremely lucky that I can use my artistic skills to help clarify the truth—this has been my dream and my mother’s hope since I was little.

I was born in May of the year Master first introduced Dafa to the public. I came here for Dafa. My entire life was arranged by Master, who has also been compassionately watching over me. My only goal in life is to validate the Fa—“Falun Dafa is good. Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance is good.” My predestined relationship with Dafa is once-in-a-lifetime and the most precious.

As we celebrate the 29th anniversary of Dafa’s introduction to the public and how it has spread around the world since, I want to say loud and proud, “It’s truly great to have Master!”

My deepest gratitude to Master. And I wish him a Happy Birthday!

(The end)

Chinese version available

Category: Young Practitioners' Experiences