Weathering the Storm, Chapter 1 of Part Three

Zhong Fangqiong

PureInsight | October 11, 2004


Part III. Detained Eleven Times

Coming Through the Ordeals of Repeated Detention and Torture

Chapter 1. The Early Stage of the Persecution

a) Massive Arrests on July 20th

On July 20, 1999, the Chinese government banned the practice of Falun Gong and arrested the chief volunteer assistants of a number of Dafa Assistance Stations. I remembered the words of "True Nature Revealed" by Master Li, "Steadfastly cultivate Dafa, the will unflinching, The raising of cultivation levels is what's fundamental, In the face of tests one's true nature is revealed, Achieve Consummation, becoming a Buddha, Dao, or God (Essentials for Further Advancement II)." I was determined to steadfastly cultivate Dafa with an unflinching will.

I felt I had deeply benefited from Falun Dafa. I thought [the reason why the Chinese government decided to ban Falun Gong] must be some kind of temporary misunderstandings on the part of the government. Therefore, I drove my whole family and other fellow practitioners to lawfully appeal to the provincial government. We went to urge the government to unconditionally release all illegally arrested Dafa disciples. We also wanted to tell the government officials our personal experiences of receiving tremendous benefits through practicing Falun Gong. When we arrived at the thoroughfare outside the Sichuan Provincial Government Complex, we saw many fellow practitioners. We stood in a line on the sidewalk outside the front gate. I saw fully armed policemen lined up in square formation marching in quickly from every direction. Many police vehicles hurriedly drove toward us with loud sirens on. All kinds of police sirens were blasting in the air. The whole scene was terrifying. The air felt almost frozen. It seemed that we were all holding our breath in. We stood there solemnly waiting for the government officials to come out and give us a reasonable explanation [about why Falun Gong was banned]. Many policemen had camcorders to record the scene and take face shots of individual practitioners. Without any expressions on their faces, the fully armed policemen walked up and down through the crowd of practitioners. About 2 PM, a policeman called out orders with a big bullhorn, "All of you, get on the bus!" The policemen pulled us into the buses without letting us say a single word. They took us first to the Chengdu Olympic Stadium and then transferred us to Liang Zhung Hotel. They searched us illegally and took away many Dafa books that practitioners were carrying with them. Finally, they took us to the Xinhong Road Police Station for illegal interrogations that lasted until late in the night before allowing us to go home.

After I went home, I couldn't sleep all night. I could not understand what was happening. Before the sudden crackdown, many newspapers and TV stations in China reported how Falun Gong has the miraculous power to cure diseases and keep people fit. Right at the end of May of 1999, hadn't the largest Chinese newspaper published an article about not believing in rumors and not propagating rumors concerning Falun Gong? The article said clearly, "It was an unfounded rumor that Party members and military personnel are not allowed to practice Falun Gong." Didn't it say that the government had never banned the practice of Falun Gong? How could it change overnight? What happened to the government?

In the following days, in every corner of China, every newspaper, every radio station, and every TV station began to viciously slander Dafa and Master Li. Big lies covered all of China. Dark clouds pushed down on the earth and seemed to have the strength to topple everything. My heart was crying. I couldn't understand why such a great practice was being oppressed for no reason. Why do the long-suffering Chinese people have to endure so much political persecution? Why have ordinary people like us been deprived of the freedom and right to cultivate ourselves to be good people?

b) Buying a Condo for Group Fa-study and Exercises

What should we do after we lost the environment of outdoors group exercise as established by Master Li? After considering the issue for a long time and consulting my good friend who had introduced me to Falun Gong, I decided to purchase a condo with a big living room for group Fa-study and exercises. I wanted us to have a quiet, peaceful practice environment, where we could freely follow the principle of "Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance" like before. How wonderful that would be! I went to many places and checked out countless number of condos. Finally on August 8th, 1999, I purchased a condo in Renheyuan Subdivision with a 33 square meter living room.

I spent 200,000 yuan purchasing and renovating the condo. Even though buying the condo had used up all my savings from many years of hard work, I felt very happy. I thought to myself, "As long as we have the environment for group Fa-study and exercise, we won't have to worry about anything." I thought I could always earn more money in the future. Who would have guessed that, on October 1st, while my house was still under renovation and we were planning to move to the new place the following month, because I spoke up to defend Falun Gong, I was arrested by police from the Dongtongxun Police Substation and detained in an unimaginable living hell, the Jiurucun Detention Center in Chengdu City?

c) The Incident at the Business Daily Office

On October 1, 1999, during the festive occasion of the 50th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China, Chengdu City's Business Daily not only listed Falun Gong as one of the top ten major criminal activities in the nation, it also called Falun Gong an evil cult. The report completely distorted the truth and misled its readers. It was clearly the work of a political thug. After reading the article, I drove to the Business Daily with five other practitioners. We wanted to talk to the chief editor of the newspaper. Because the chief editor wasn't in his office, other staff members at the newspaper met with us. After we conveyed the intention of our visit, a reporter talked to us and also took some pictures of us. We were very happy. We thought the newspaper was going to publish a positive report on Falun Gong. We told the reporter how we had all benefited both mentally and physically from practicing Falun Gong. In the meantime, the newspaper contacted the Dongtongshun Police Station. We were arrested and illegally questioned until five o'clock the next morning. Each of us was then sent to the Jiurucun Detention Center and detained there for fifteen days. (The Business Daily did receive its due retribution. It was later shut down after inadvertently offending an important Party official).

That night, it rained the whole night. I was cold, hungry, and tired. I collapsed on a wooden bed board as soon as I entered the dark holding cell of the detention center. I wasn't given either a pillow or a blanket. I managed to sleep for less than an hour before I was awakened by the boisterous morning calls of the prison guards. For a moment, I forgot where I was. I got myself a bowl of rice soup. It was too hot to eat, so I put it down to let it cool. A prisoner told me, "Come on, hurry up and eat it. In a few minutes, they'll come and tell us it's time to wash the dishes. If we aren't finished, we'll get scolded for that. The guards here are very vicious." Upon hearing this, I couldn't stop my tears. I couldn't understand how I wounded up being imprisoned here just because I said a few honest words about Falun Gong. I've always taught my son that one should be a good person. I couldn't understand why we were put in prison for being good people.
What kind of people does the government want to turn us into?

d) Policemen - "We Are Hired Guns"

When we were in the detention center, we weren't allowed to read any Falun Gong books or to do any Falun Gong exercises. Instead, we were forced to read books by Chairman Mao. We told the police, "According to Chairman Mao, real personal experience is the only way to test whether something is good or not. Chairman Mao also said that when people say it's good, we'll do what they say. We have all personally benefited from Falun Gong. Faun Gong has proven to improve both one's mental and physical health. Why is it that, after tens of thousand Falun Gong practitioners went to Beijing to appeal for Falun Gong and to tell the truth about Falun Gong, not only wouldn't our government listen to us, it also put us in prison? Why has the country' Appeal Bureau turned into the Public Security Bureau? Why does the road to file an appeal become the road to prison?"

The deputy head of the detention center with the surname of Xiong said, "There is nothing we can do. We are hired guns. We've taken money from someone (meaning the dictator Jiang Zemin) and we must do what he has told us to do."

We were imprisoned inside a dark room all day. We were deprived of the basic rights of a detainee, and were not allowed to receive visitors or use the telephone. We were totally isolated from the outside world. For lunch, we often were given only a small amount of unwashed, overcooked potato with mud on top of it. Dinner was usually a thin rice soup made from a mixture of leftover food from breakfast and lunch. Sometimes it even contained leftovers that others had dumped into the garbage can. That was taking place at a time that Jiang's gang claimed this was the time "when the human rights situation in China is at its best." After half a month of mistreatment in the detention center, I had lost a tremendous amount of weight. Upon witnessing my condition, my family members were so sad they couldn't help crying.

e) Being Forced to Lose My Job

After I was released from the detention center, I felt that I shouldn't hold the stocks that I had purchased as an investment anymore. I planed to sell all my stocks. At that time, the total value of the stocks was around 300,000 Yuan. My friend's uncle advised me, "Don't sell them now. The price is too low and it is hard to find a buyer right now. If you need money to remodel your house, I'll lend you some money. Leave your stocks with me and I'll find a buyer for you." So I gave him all the stocks I had.

Over the next several months, all the newspapers and TV stations continued to make slanderous remarks about Falun Gong.

In November 1999, I went to the City's Road Construction Headquarter to do my regular business. Ms. Li came to speak to me, "If they find out that there is even one Falun Gong practitioner in our unit, we will be fined ten thousand yuan. Although you aren't one of our employees, you have done business with us for a long time. We all have families to take care of and they all depend on our incomes from work. You should be considerate to our situation and do not practice Falun Gong anymore. If you insist on practicing Falun Gong, we won't dare to do business with you anymore. Please try to understand our situation. The evening news really has nothing worthwhile to watch anymore; it talks nothing other than the two Li's, One is Li Denghui, the President of Republic of China in Taiwan, and the other is your Teacher Li Hongzhi." Finally, she said, "All you need to do is to say you won't practice Falun Gong anymore."

I replied, "Ms. Li, all of you are aware of the fact that both my body and mind have benefited so much from practicing Falun Gong. You should know in your heart whether the news media is speaking the truth or not. I cultivate Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance and will not tell a single lie. How could I go against my own conscience to slander Dafa and Teacher Li just for the sake of earning money? Please understand why I won't lie to you and say I won't practice Falun Gong anymore. (In Zhuan Falun our Teacher said, "Daoists cultivate True, Good, Endure with an emphasis on being True. That's why Daoists strive to, 'cultivate truth and nourish inborn nature, say true words, do true things, be a truthful person, return to your original, true self, and ultimately cultivate into a True Person.' But they also have Endure, and they also have Good, it's just that the emphasis is on cultivating the True part. Buddhists emphasize the Good of True, Good, Endure, in their cultivation. Cultivation of Good can develop a heart of great compassion, and once this heart of great compassion comes out you can see that all sentient beings are suffering, so you'll be filled with one wish, to save all sentient beings. But they also have True, and they also have Endure, it's just that the emphasis is on cultivating Good. Our Falun Dafa discipline, the Law Wheel Great Way, goes by the highest standard of the universe, to be True, Good, and Endure, and we cultivate these all together. So what we cultivate is huge. (Zhuan Falun, First Talk, One Standard Alone Determines if Someone is Good or Bad: Whether He is Able to be True, Good, and Endure)"

Under pressure and the directive from the government, I was forced to give up the trucking business I had been doing for the past 9 years. My monthly income of over ten thousand yuan suddenly disappeared. What was my family going to live on? Where could I find the money to I send my kid to school? I knew Jiang's regime was trying to use economic means to force Falun Gong practitioners to give up their faith. However, I would never give up my cultivation and I was determined to walk the path of universal truth forever.

Translated from part 1 of:

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