PureInsight | September 22, 2003
[PureInsight.org] 1. My Education
I was born in the middle of the Cultural Revolution in China, and I started school toward the end of it.
I remember a banner hanging on a state-run food store near my home saying, "Move our concentration to economic development." I was young at that time and I didn't know that it marked a huge step in the history of the People's Republic of China. The Communist Party's policies slowly became little more practical and the party officials gave up fighting along political lines. Young students no longer had to work in the countryside as teenagers and they could go to school with peace of mind. My parents said my generation of young people who grew up under China's "Open Door Policy" was lucky, because our quality of life was better than that of the prior generations. For example, we could go to school, make money based on our own abilities, go abroad and the policies were a little bit looser. I also felt our generation was most fortunate.
Both my parents and siblings are science majors like me. I finished in the best high school in my province and was admitted to the best university in science and engineering in China, Tsinghua University. After graduation I obtained a job in a high-tech company. Lessons from the Cultural Revolution made Chinese people extremely fed up with politics. All of us who were students after the Cultural Revolution wanted to be knowledgeable, make good money and enjoy our lives. I do not care about politics at all.
My parents are both professionals. My father was a college professor and my mother is a senior engineer. My parents' generation in China was also lucky; they were younger than those who were persecuted in the Cultural Revolution, so they did not experience persecution; they were older than those who were exiled from cities and wasted their adolescence in the Cultural Revolution, so they were not sent off to work and live in the countryside. All they needed to do was to dutifully attend lectures that exalted the virtue of Communism. From my point of view, my parents' biggest achievement was to have raised my siblings and me.
After China began its "Open Door Policy" in the early 1980s, our lives did get better. My parents became satisfied with their lives and were very grateful to the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). But I felt sorry for them. They had never had a chance to think independently and to select their own beliefs. They had been so brainwashed that they no longer could realize they had lost the ability to think for themselves. In China, if one wants to live free of trouble, one has to absolutely embrace all propaganda, policies and political lines of the CCP, as did my parents.
I was a model student in the CCP's educational system. I joined the Communist Youth League very early, and I was the General Secretary of the League in my class in high school. After graduation, I worked hard in a state-run company for five years. At least prior to 1989, I was a religious follower of communism and I really did believe that communism was the highest level in human society.
As I recall, I took a class called Chinese Revolutionary History in my first year of college. It required both an exam and essay writing. In my essay I talked about my understanding why I thought socialism was an advanced social form, and I obtained the only A+ in my class. Now I realize that for a student in China, all one learned, including any scope of knowledge, world-view and philosophy was from within the system of the CCP. During the Cultural Revolution all other thinking and cultures were eliminated. One could not get even an inkling of other ideas. After the foundation of the People's Republic of China, several generations of Chinese were educated with strict propaganda regulations from the CCP. Even if one did not want to participate in politics, one really was a political tool of the CCP. The latent thinking of Chinese people, therefore, is to meet the political needs of the CCP.
I knew Chinese people suffered much during the Cultural Revolution. In the 1980s, literature that exposed the darkness of the Cultural Revolution was popular. But I thought for our generation after the Cultural Revolution, bygones are bygones. The official party line is that the Cultural Revolution was the fault of just four individuals (Chairman Mao's wife and three of her followers) and the CCP finally corrected the mistake they made. I believed then that the party was still "great, glorious and correct."
Our generation did not like politics and wanted to keep away from it, but the persecution that begun in 1999 affected me. Because I practice Falun Gong, I had been persecuted in a labor camp for nearly two years. I never thought of going against the CCP. I only selected my own path of life. After I went back to the free world, Westerners always asked me why on earth the Chinese government persecuted Falun Gong. It forced me to think carefully about this question. I looked back on my life, on my parents' lives and pondered Chinese history. During this process I gradually figured out what the CCP really is.
I do not have any political intention when talking about this. I am not against anyone and I do not want to overthrow the CCP government. Nobody believes in the ideology of the CCP any more, including the top leaders of the CCP. I talk about what I've realized, because I see that the CCP propaganda has distorted people's thinking, which makes people think and treat each other in an inhumane way. People take advantage of and hurt each other.
2. The "6.4" Massacre, which refers to the events at Tiananmen Square on June 4, 1989, the student democratic uprising and subsequent massacre.
According to my own experience, before Falun Gong practitioners were persecuted, there was a time when the CCP government massively persecuted other Chinese people. It was the "6.4" Massacre.
I was in my first year in Tsinghua University during that time. Before I practiced Falun Gong, I used to be ill frequently. I took good care of myself, but my ailments never ceased. At the end of my first semester in Tsinghua I suffered from acute hepatitis and was sent to hospital. When the second semester started I was permitted to skip physical training and fitness class. My health was so poor that I could hardly keep up with other classes.
Before long Hu Yaobang, a former CCP Chairman who had been forced to resign his post due to his more liberal views, passed away. The commemorating activities soon turned into massive protest to go against those CCP officials who made profits from corruption. More and more students participated in protests and staff members in colleges and universities joined them. Classes were cancelled and more than half of students got involved in the protest. I also took part in the demonstration and went to Tiananmen Square. I was in poor health and therefore did not attend many activities. I was part participant and part onlooker.
I believe that the intentions of the student were good. Of course, all Beijing residents who hated corruption understood what the students did was good and they hoped that students would prevail. The students were by no means used by any political fraction. The protest received support from all strata in society and all Beijing citizens. They donated money and materials to students and the protest was peaceful from the beginning to the end. Once I attended a march on the East 2nd Loop in Beijing. I could not keep up with the pace and got left behind with a few others. Many people from communities near the Loop came out and observed our march. Some of them applauded us, while others nodded in approval.
A woman with her daughter of four or five years brought a pot of water and a bowl. She put water in the bowl and was ready to pass the bowl to anyone of the marching students who was thirsty. She didn't say a single word, but I could read her support and blessing on her face. On Tiananmen Square, many Beijing citizens sent soda pop out to students and they were all united. Then students from outside Beijing joined us. They lived on the square, setting up many tents that covered the square. There were probably a hundred thousand people.
The government kept silent after Zhao Ziyang, who was the CCP Party Chairman at that time and sympathetic with the students, and even visited the students on the square. The students remained on the square and nobody knew what would happen. Protesting was energy consuming and I could not stand it. In early June, I had a fever and felt bad. I decided to go home. My parents were very happy when I came back home. They said I had not recovered very well from hepatitis, and I should have a good rest at home.
A few days after I went home, my father told me the Chinese military shot at students on the square in a morning. I turned on the radio immediately, and from "Voice Of America" I heard the firing sound of automatic weapons! I was shocked. I was not sure if I would have survived if I was still in Beijing. CCTV claimed that there was rioting in Beijing. But all students and residents in Beijing knew we were peaceful! CCTV lied! Tanks went into the square. All the tragedies during the history of the Republic of China printed in our history textbooks looked so naïve if compared to this one.
Until now I still could not understand the Chinese rulers who decided to handle things this way. There are many, many ways to solve problems. Why did they resort to tanks? This indicated that they had no idea how to get along with people, and they did not hide their cruelty. The students hoped China would be better and stronger. What did they end up with? A massacre.
From the time of the "6.4" Massacre, virtually all the Chinese people lost confidence in the Chinese government. At Tsinghua University, students focused on learning English, taking the GRE test and going to graduate schools overseas. Those who did not want to go abroad concentrated on how to make money. Tsinghua University was established in 1911, and used to be a preparatory school to go to the USA. At the end of the 20th century its heritage matched reality–half of my classmates are in the USA right now. All the talented elite among the young generation after the Cultural Revolution went to the USA.
Those who say we are not patriotic because we went abroad must be people who did not experience the events of "6.4" Massacre or those who were brainwashed by the CCP and know nothing about Chinese history. Those who participated in the democratic activities in 1989 went abroad because they are patriotic. But some people did not allow us to love our country. If we were allowed to love our country in the way that we should, their dirty deeds would be exposed, and there would be no place for them.
3. Starting to practice Falun Gong
I wanted to go abroad, too. My studies at Tsinghua University occupied all my time, so I was not able to prepare for the GRE. Even if I could go abroad I didn't feel I could handle it because I would be under pressure and my health would be undermined. Therefore, I did not prepare for the GRE at all.
After graduation, I worked in a high-tech company in Beijing where during my first year I was a programmer. I could not sleep well as I suffered from insomnia. I would be wide-awake several hours after I first went to bed. My appetite was poor and my body was weak. I always felt weak and tired. I paid a lot of attention to my life habits, such as the scheduling of my meals, sleeping and seasonal changes in relationship to nutrition. Even with all this and some moderate exercises, my physical health still did not improve.
After I had worked for about one year, I was told that Mr. Li Hongzhi, the founder of Falun Gong, was giving lectures around Mainland China and the healing power of this practice is remarkable. I took several days off and went to Dalian to attend his lectures. I remember that Mr. Li told us again and again in his lectures he will not heal anybody's illness, but he only cleanses their bodies for practitioners. I was very impressed by this one sentence. He said, "Many people don't know what it feels like to be without any sicknesses. You would know after your bodies are purified." That was true. After returning from the lectures in Dalian, I had a totally different feeling about my body. The feeling my body being heavy and easily tired disappeared. I felt my body light and energized. My sleep became good and my stomach problems disappeared. I no longer needed to worry about my weak physical condition, sickness, catching cold and getting tired.
My life changed and became simple. I became very energized. I walked fast and ate fast. The same thing happened to many other Falun Gong practitioners. I felt a sense of happiness that is totally from the bottom of the heart and a perfect state of both mind and body. It is peace, rationality, wisdom and health, rather than enjoyment of material things from the outside. Nevertheless, this is only one of the effects from practicing Falun Gong. For me, Falun Gong is the real scientific truth that explains everything in my life.
I practiced the exercises every morning on the campus of Tsinghua University. I went to work after breakfast. I liked my job and I was making more money than I could spend. During holidays I went home to see my parents or went on trips. I went to Russia and Tibet for sightseeing. If I were not a practitioner Falun Gong, taking those trips would have been impossible. Due to my poor health, I had been very afraid of leaving home. I would worry about lodging and meals, and I would feel weak all the time. There were many young practitioners at the exercise site. We were very healthy, happy and felt fulfilled. These several years after I began practicing Falun Gong were the happiest times in my life.
In late 1998, my five-year contract with the company I worked for was up. At that time, the government's policy was that once a college graduate worked in China for five years, he would be allowed to go abroad without having to pay back the college tuition fees and other educational expenses. I found I was now free to go abroad. I didn't have the GRE scores, so I could not get into any university in North America. So I applied for graduate schools in Europe. Ireland's Trinity College agreed to provide me a scholarship.
I became a student again at the age of 28. I went to Ireland to pursue my Master's degree in computer sciences. The college is the oldest university in Ireland. The buildings on campus are in the style of classical architecture and the environment is beautiful. I did not need to work because I had enough scholarship money. In my spare time I volunteered to teach Irish people to practice Falun Gong and also traveled in Europe to sightsee.
But in July 1999, the Chinese government started to persecute Falun Gong. The campaign shattered the peaceful and happy lives of my fellow practitioners and I.
(To be continued)
Translated from: http://www.zhengjian.org/zj/articles/2003/9/8/23364.html