(Minghui.org) I began to practice Falun Dafa (also called Falun Gong) in 1997, and have been tortured many times since the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) initiated its persecution of Falun Gong in 1999. However, given Master’s protection, I survived. Looking back on my cultivation journey, there was joy when I came to understand Fa principles, and sadness during the darkest days.

I was reported for clarifying the truth in 2016, and was unjustly sentenced to four years in prison. The guards told everyone to make a choice when arriving at the prison – either be “transformed” or suffer the consequences.

If a Dafa practitioner can keep a clear mind and not accept their brainwashing, the guards cannot do anything. However, if practitioners don’t have strong faith, they can easily be interfered with, succumb to the guards’ demands, be “transformed,” and possibly go down a wicked path.

I kept the words of Master Li (the founder of Falun Dafa) in mind:

“... by staying unmoved you would be able to handle all situations ...” (“Fa Teaching Given at the 2014 San Francisco Fa Conference,” Collected Fa Teaching, Vol. XIII)

“...Looking, but caring not to see-Free of delusion and doubt.Listening, but caring not to hear-A mind so hard to disturb.…” (“Abiding in the Dao,” Hong Yin)

I rejected all the guards’ demands such as wearing the prison badge, participating in roll call, doing forced labor, signing documents, and memorizing the prison rules. These rules were made for criminals, and have nothing to do with Falun Dafa practitioners. If I followed the prison rules, it would be an insult to Falun Dafa.

The guards punished me by restricting my use of the toilet, depriving me of sleep, not allowing me to buy daily necessities, and they withheld my right of visitation from family and friends. They punished everyone in the cell when I refused to cooperate. Inciting hatred against Dafa practitioners is a tactic often used by guards, to break practitioners’ will.

Seeing I was not moved, they confined me to a small isolation cell for 35 days. I was given very little food and water, deprived of sleep, and forced to stand at attention for long periods of time. If they saw me doing the slightest movement, they punched, kicked, and cursed me. Hunger, coldness, and exhaustion made my hands and legs swell, turning a purplish color.

However, I never slacked off in reciting the Fa and sending forth righteous thoughts during the heart-wrenching ordeal. I recited as much as I could remember, especially the auspicious phrases “Falun Dafa is good, Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance is good.”

The prison authorities required everyone to memorize the 38 prison rules, but I ignored it, and continued to recite the Fa every day. On “exam day,” I told a guard that I wouldn’t recite the prison rules. When she asked why, I replied, “I practice Falun Dafa and follow the principles of Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance.” She didn’t say anything and moved on. No one ever told me to memorize the prison rules from then on.

When I was released from the small cell, a guard said I had been deducted 15 points for being put in solitary confinement, 15 points for not wearing a badge, and 15 points for not participating in roll call. She passed me the note and wanted me to sign it. I responded, “Do what you like, I don’t want any of your points. Criminals take your points seriously. I am not a criminal, and I am not here to earn points. I’m not going to sign it.”

The guard simply said, “Alright! You can go.”

I was transferred to a cell with three other practitioners, who also refused to be “transformed.” There was also a person who’s job was to keep notes for the guards, several “helpers” (who were assigned to monitor practitioners), and the leader of the Inmate Rehabilitation Committee. The latter often did chores in the office, such as cleaning and getting food for the officers. She brought back leftovers to share every day, including eggs, steamed buns, soup and other different dishes, and sometimes fruit. I never ate her food.

A “helper” was transferred to the cell at the same time as I. I had clarified the truth to her before. When I was released from the small cell, I could not walk steadily. She offered to help me with laundry and getting food, but I declined. She whispered to me, “This is what I signed up for. I am blessed to have followed you here.”

The three practitioners and I memorized the Fa together and exchanged understandings from the Fa. We had to be careful because there was a camera in the cell. The guards did not allow us to go out, in order to prevent others from following our example of not wearing a prison badge. We were confined to the cell at all times, as there was a faucet and toilet in there.

The prison authorities transferred all practitioners who refused to be “transformed” to the same squadron as mine six months later, fearing that these practitioners would make their job of “transforming” others more difficult. They transferred me to the “elderly squadron” where no practitioner was wearing a badge or had been “transformed.”

The elderly practitioners refused to participate in the forced labor, and could still go to the shop and do the exercises at night. The environment was relatively relaxed. A practitioner told me that the head of that squadron understood the truth about Dafa and had received blessings.

The “elderly squadron” had a requirement that anyone who could walk must go to work, and everyone had to stand in line to be searched with their hands on their heads before and after work each day. However, no Falun Dafa practitioners did this because we were not criminals.

A guard came to search me on my first day there. She was about to get angry seeing that I was not putting my hands on my head. She then noticed that I was not wearing a badge either, and passed me by without making a fuss. She knew that only Dafa practitioners would do that.

Practitioners refused to work in the workshop. We just recited the Fa and sent forth righteous thoughts. We took every opportunity to clarify the truth and help people quit the CCP and its affiliated youth organizations.

I clarified the truth to an inmate who was in there for murder and taught her some poems from Hong Yin. She was enthusiastic to learn, and recited “Falun Dafa is good, Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance is good” every day.

The prison went through a reorganization process. The squadron head retired, and most of the guards were replaced. The new guards targeted practitioners for brutal persecution. They forbade anyone to do the exercises, and put a set of restraint clothes by each practitioner’s bed. The inmates would put the restraint clothes on anyone who was seen doing the Dafa exercises.

We still refused to wear the prison badge, so the guards sewed a piece of white cloth on our jacket and wrote the so-called charges next to our names. They sewed it in the morning, and we took it off at night. We were determined not to wear it because we are Falun Dafa practitioners – not criminals.

I was once confined to a small cell. Each meal was a cold steamed corn bread bun the size of an egg, and three to five slices of cucumber. We were not given any soup or water at any time. The guards forced me to stand at attention, but I did the exercises instead. They put the restraining clothes on me, and tied my feet and hands.

When I shouted, “Falun Dafa is good! Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance is good!” they put a hood over my head with only my eyes and nostrils showing. The inmates later removed the hood, verbally abused me, and twisted the flesh on my body when they fed me.

When they put the restraining clothes on me, they first tied my waist tightly with a large belt, then folded my hands behind my back and tied my wrists to the buckles and pulled tight. A rope was added to pull and tie my upper arms together. The pain was indescribable; only those who have suffered it would know. They then tied my calves together with three ropes, so I couldn’t sit or stand without feeling the pain.

They removed the hood from my head at 10 p.m., and removed all of the ropes. They moved the buckle of the restraint belt to the front so I could rest a little. I could only stay in one position all night. They kept the restraint belt on me all day and night, and only allowed me to use the toilet once in the morning and once at night.

I asked myself: why are these tribulations recurring? I looked inward and found that I unknowingly developed complacency after moving from a wicked environment to the more relaxed “elderly squadron.” My attachment had been exploited by the old forces.

I said in my heart: “Master, I am in the wrong. All these troubles were incurred because of my complacency.” I sent forth righteous thoughts to clear away the attachment and all the corrupt elements behind it, and seized every opportunity to recite the Fa.

I didn’t feel much suffering after understanding the Fa principles behind this tribulation. Under Master’s merciful protection and with righteous faith in Dafa, I broke through another ordeal. The restraint clothes were removed after eight days, and I was out of confinement after 21 days. No one got on me for not wearing a badge from then on.

If we can break through the temptations of reputation, self-interest and sentiment, the old forces will have no more tricks to use on us. If we can see through the deception and all the temptations, we will leave no regrets on our path of cultivation.

I have many shortcomings such as fear, selfishness, resentment toward the persecutors, and I did not always look inward. I must study the Fa more, look inward conscientiously, remove my human notions, and hurry up in saving sentient beings during this limited time left for cultivation.