Persecution and Retribution

Zhang Tianliang

PureInsight | June 7, 2004

[Note: Please be advised the article contains graphic descriptions of torture.]

[] On May 27, 2004, the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals in downtown Chicago held a hearing of Falun Gong practitioners' class-action lawsuit against former Chinese leader Jiang Zemin. Since May 22, Falun Gong practitioners from around the world have gathered in Chicago. In addition to peacefully appealing in front of the Chinese Consulate, handing out truth-clarification flyers, and parading in Chicago's Chinatown and downtown to raise the awareness of the persecution, they also held a public exhibition at the Federal Plaza in downtown Chicago. In this exhibition they re-created the conditions of the Chinese forced labor camps and torture chambers by reenacting torture methods used in China against Falun Gong practitioners. Actors donned sunglasses and posed as the policemen who abuse practitioners. The props replicated the actual torture devices, such as the cages with spiked nails, the bamboo sticks that are shoved under fingernails, and the thick rubber tubing used for punitive force-feeding. The cruelty of the abuses against Falun Gong practitioners brought many in the audience to tears.

It was on July 20, 2001 when I burst into tears for the first time while watching a Falun Gong parade in the United States. Nearly 3,000 Falun Gong practitioners from around the world gathered at the foot of the Washing Monument in Washington D.C. to practice the Falun Gong exercises together. After the exercises, they paraded to the lawn in front of Capitol Hill. At the front of the parade was a Falun Gong practitioner carrying a sign that bore the large-sized Chinese character for "Mourning." It was solemn and heartrending . As I watched the female practitioners attired in long, snow-white dresses, holding photos of the Falun Gong practitioners that had been tortured to death by the police in China, tears welled up in my eyes. All the people in the pictures were beaming with a glow of kindness. You could tell that they were not only innocent and law-abiding civilians, but also honest and trustworthy people. It is sad that we won't ever be able to see their smiles again except in those photos. These people that have already been forced out of this world were healthy, kind, and vibrant souls. Many of them were young people in the prime of life, tragically put to the most painful deaths.

The tortures that Falun Gong practitioners face in China have revealed to the world the horrific nature of the persecution. The tortures are so incredibly appalling that I have been asked, "Is it possible that such brutal torture exists in the civilized world of today?" The answer is yes. When I read the descriptions of the tortures, I often feel that I can not bear to read them any more, because it is very a disturbing and even traumatizing experience just to read them. However, when I see the actual photographs of dead or surviving Falun Gong practitioners bearing the horrible evidence of torture on their bodies, I have no choice but to admit that such an abysmal tragedy is taking place in today's world.

I have seen two photographs on The person in the pictures [see below] was Mr. Ma Xuejun. He used to be a co-worker and friend of my parents'. The picture on the left was taken when Mr. Ma was in good health and spirits after he started practicing Falun Gong. He had a broad, infectious smile on his face and was full of energy. The picture on the right was taken Mr. Ma had suffered the persecution and became a barely breathing skeleton. He could not stretch out his legs and could only keep them bent. For several consecutive days, he was subjected to many different tortures, including being shocked by electric batons and the electric chair, being brutally kicked in the waist and ribs with boots, and being hammered on the toes using the legs of a chair. As a result, his ribs and vertebrae were fractured, his toenail beds were severely bruised and the toenails even fell off, and his right ring finger became unusable. Later, the Chinese police fabricated charges and evidence that caused Mr. Ma to be sentenced to 12 years in prison. The savage torture did not stop at the prison. The prison police damaged his esophagus during the torture of punitive force-feeding. It was only after he could not eat or drink for a long period of time, lost the ability of speech, and was hardly breathing, that he was released home. The prison police carried him home on a stretcher, dumped him in front of his house, and took off immediately. The Chinese government subjected Mr. Ma Xuejun to all of these tortures only because he did not want to give up his faith in Falun Gong, and he wanted to share the facts about Falun Gong with the Chinese people.

Joyful and healthy Mr. Ma Xuejun after he started to cultivate in Falun Dafa

Mr. Ma Xuejun after a year of persecution

This is just a tip of the iceberg of the atrocities against Falun Gong practitioners in China. Each and every day there are a large number of facts of the persecution [that Chinese practitioners risk their own safety relaying to overseas.] I once read a story of the persecution against a non-practitioner, Ms. Zhen Mingfang, at an overseas Chinese website. Ms. Zhen was framed, thrown into detention center and later escaped. She revealed the facts of the persecution against Falun Gong practitioners that she had heard straight from the prison guards. "At the detention center, we were each given nothing more than two 3-oz partially baked pieces of corn bread each day. The pieces of corn bread had fungi growing on them. They contained rats' feces and other filthy stuff. I refused to eat them to protest the diet. Then the head of the detention center, as well as the prison guards, started to threaten me: 'We are especially easy on you because your husband has connections. We used to detain hundreds and thousands of Falun Gong practitioners here. They tried to have hunger strike protests like you. You can ask around to learn how we treated them. Do you know that the butcher fills pigs with water before he slaughters them? We inserted two-inch thick hard rubber tubes into those Falun Gong practitioners on hunger strike protest, and then connected the hard rubber tubes to the water faucets. We turned on the faucets to the maximum just like the way butchers will bloat up pigs like balloons. Those Falun Gong practitioners who were bloated with water ended up bleeding from their eyes, noses, ears and mouths because the excessive water in the bodies had pressured their lungs to pop. We would also poke Falun Gong practitioners' genitals hard with cattle prods and burn their genitals.'"

Even the greatest writer in the world can hardly do justice to describing the totally insufferable tortures to which Falun Gong practitioners incarcerated in China's detention centers, forced labor camps, and prisons are subjected. Falun Gong practitioners in China suffer from not only extremely humiliating and excruciating physical tortures, but also Chinese police's curses and insults hurled at them, their spiritual beliefs, and their most respected Teacher, Mr. Li Hongzhi. Moreover, they are forced to live in an environment of fear each day, not knowing when the police might drag them from the cells for a brutal beating or electric shock torture, or abduct them from their homes to a secret torture chamber. is now in the process of compiling and illustrating over one hundred types of torture methods used on Falun Gong practitioners in China daily to force them to renounce their belief in Falun Gong. In this persecution the Chinese police have used all the means of persecution there are, from all times and all lands.

The groundbreaking public enactment exhibition in the streets of Chicago was designed to recreate the appalling conditions of Chinese labor camps and torture chambers.

As part of the events to build public understanding of the extensive persecution against Falun Gong in China that lead to the lawsuit in Chicago federal court against former Chinese president Jiang Zemin, Falun Gong practitioners demonstrated methods of torture in the exhibition "Persecution Meets Principle" at Chicago's Federal Plaza to recreate the conditions of Chinese forced labor camps and torture chambers. The public exhibition took place in the populous streets of downtown Chicago on a pleasant sunny day, and some of the volunteer actors who posed as cruel policemen were actually my friends, but the scene wasn't light-hearted. A chill went through my spine when I stood in front of an adult Falun Gong practitioner locked in a small cage spiked with nails. My blood started to boil and I was overcome with rage and heartache. I also knew that they chose to enact only some of the less severe types of torture in this public exhibition because most of the torture methods are even more humiliating, cruel, and shocking, and are inappropriate for showing in public.

I have met many Asian and western Christians in the United States. They would tell me that Christians believe in forgiving others and they believe forgiving is required for them to reach redemption. They can't quite understand why Falun Gong practitioners are trying to bring the Chinese human rights scoundrels to justice. I was unable to help them understand the shocking cruelty of the tortures by enacting the tortures in front of them, so all I could say was, "You don't understand what these tortures are like," and then tried my best to describe the tortures to them.

I don't believe any of these Christians have experienced or witnessed any of the tortures against Falun Gong practitioners in China. I dare say that, if these Christians were to stand in front of Chicago's Federal Plaza watching the torture enactments, they would change their mind and immediately think of a passage in one of books of the Old Testament in the Bible:

"And if any mischief follow, then thou shalt give life for life,
Eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot,
Burning for burning, wound for wound, stripe for stripe."
-- Exodus 21: 23-25 (KJV)

Mencius, an ancient Chinese philosopher, once said, "If an infant were about to fall into a well, anyone would be upset and concerned. They will feel this way not as a basis for gaining the favor of the child's parents, nor as a basis for seeking the praise of their neighbors and friends, nor from wanting to avoid the reputation of having been unmoved by such a thing." "From this point of view, we can say that if you did lack concern for the infant, you would be inhuman." [2]

With that in mind, we can concluded that, when a Chinese policeman brutally tortures a Falun Gong practitioner, he has stopped being a human and is virtually a demon in a human shell because he has proved himself to be devoid of all the reason and compassion a human being should possess. Jiang Zemin, the man who started and keeps rewarding these atrocious tortures against Falun Gong practitioners, as well as his henchmen in different levels of the Chinese government, are even less human than the Chinese police and shall ultimately be punished by God.

[1] ClearWisdom: Mr. Ma Xuejun, an Officer of the Jiamusi Branch Railroad Department, Is Near Death after Suffering Brutal, Long-Term Torture in Jail (Photos)

[2] Mencius offers as proof for his claim that human nature is good the argument that no one is devoid of sensitivity to the suffering or misfortunes of others. Mencius said, "Why do I say compassion is natural to man? If an infant were about to fall into a well, anyone would be upset and concerned. They will feel this way not as a basis for gaining the favor of the child's parents, nor as a basis for seeking the praise of their neighbors and friends, nor from wanting to avoid the reputation of having been unmoved by such a thing." "From this point of view, we can say that if you did lack concern for the infant, you would be inhuman. Also, to lack a sense of shame and disgust would not be human; to lack a feeling of humbleness and respect is to be 'inhuman' and to lack a sense of right and wrong is to be inhuman."

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