A 13-Year-Old Girl's Heartbreaking Story: Interview With Li Ying, Daughter of Ms. Chen Shulan

Li Ying, 13 years old, is the daughter of Falun Dafa practitioner Ms. Chen Shulan from Zhangjiakou City, Hebei Province. Li Ying's mother, grandfather and grandmother are being illegally detained for practising Falun Gong. Her two uncles and one aunt died from the persecution. Two years ago, the Changping County 610 Office put Li Ying into a nursing home. For the last two years she has been the only child living there. Moreover, while she is in the nursing home she has no personal freedom.

Li Ying's uncle Chen Aizhong was sent to the Tangshan No. 1 Labour Camp on September 12, 2001. Eight days later, he died from torture. Li Ying's aunt, Chen Hongping, was arrested and severely beaten by police at Donghuayuan Police Station of Huailai County. Both her legs were broken from the beating. Later she was sent to Gangyang Labour Camp for further persecution. She passed away on March 5, 2003. Li Ying's other uncle, Chen Aili, suffered severely from persecution, and he died on November 5, 2004.

Right before the 2005 Chinese New Year, we met with Li Ying. Although she is only 13 years old, her eyes showed early maturity and were filled with sadness. It is apparent that the hardships and adversity of life have left many scars on her heart.

Since her mother was kidnapped, Li Ying has lost her home. For the past 25 months (Jan. 9, 2003 - Feb. 4, 2005), she has been living here at the nursing home Outside of Chaofengan Brainwashing Centre. (This brainwashing centre is concealed without any sign outside)

Li Ying spent a lonely period of over 3 months here. Li Ying's recent picture Li Ying went to school here from 1998 to 2004

Minghui Reporter: What's your name, and how old are you?

Li Ying: My name is Li Ying, and I'm 13 years old.

Reporter: I have heard you have been living at a nursing home in Changping, is that right? How come you are living in a nursing home at your age? Where is your mother?

Li Ying: The "610 Office" and the police forcefully split up my mom and I. They sent me to the nursing home, and they took my mom away.

Reporter: When was that? Can you remember what happened?

Li Ying: It was the morning of September 17, 2002. I was at school (Chengbei Sixth Street Elementary School, Changping, Beijing) taking the third class of the day. A teacher (surname Wang) from the Teaching Office took me outside of the classroom.

He said to me, "You need to go study something."

I asked, "Why me? Is any other student going?"

"You just go study some," he replied without answering my question. He then pulled me into a waiting black car that was parked on campus. There were four adults in the car. I did not know any of them. I was very afraid at that time. I didn't know who they were and where they were going to take me. None of them spoke to me.

Fifteen minutes later, we stopped at an unfamiliar place. There were two police officers guarding the door.

I followed them as they walked ahead. Suddenly I heard my mom's voice. I ran toward the voice and saw my mom standing in a room. Her clothes were untidy and she was still wearing slippers. After a while, I was left with my mom and a policeman from Changping National Security named Wang Yue (also called Wang Jiecheng, they all have 2 names) who recorded my mom's words in the room.

At that time, I found out that I was at a vacation house in Chaofengan of Changping County. This place is in fact used as a brainwashing centre for Falun Gong practitioners.

Around eight o'clock that evening, they were going to take my mom away. I grabbed my mom's arm and wouldn't let go. I tried to keep anyone from getting close to my mom. I kicked and screamed, fighting with them whenever they got close. I did not want them to take my mom away. They couldn't get their way, so they went outside to talk. Some people were left in the room trying to persuade me, but I refused to listen to them. I didn't know where they would take my mom. I knew they beat my uncle to death. Would my mom be beaten to death? I thought if I let go of her I might never see her again. I was so afraid that I firmly grabbed my mom's hands and refused to let go. I could not be without a mother.

After half an hour, they started to negotiate with me. They said they would let me see my mom once a month. I did not agree. Then they said they would let me see her once a week. Eventually they took her. My heart was aching as I watched my mom being taken away by force.

Reporter: Do you know where your mother was arrested?

Li Ying: I don't know all the details. I heard from my grandmother later that it was at our home. When we were at the brainwashing centre, mom didn't have a chance to tell me anything.

Reporter: Do you have any other family members? Where is your father?

Li Ying: I don't have a father. At the time, my grandmother was detained at Huailai County Detention Centre; my uncle Chen Aizhong died from the persecution; my grandfather was imprisoned at Beijiao Prison in Shijiazhuang City, Hebei Province; my other uncle Chen Aili was imprisoned at Jidong Prison in Hebei Province; and my aunt was imprisoned at Gaoyang Women's Prison in Hebei. I didn't know where they had taken my mom, Chen Shulan.


Although they took away all my family and I had no home to go to, I still wanted to get out. I was the only child at the brainwashing centre. I was really scared.

That evening, they took turns trying to indoctrinate me using the propaganda that defames Falun Gong. They threatened that I would not able to go to school if I refused to "transform". It was past 10 o'clock before they let me rest. That place was filled with terror. I was really afraid there. They did not let me go home, and forced me to live there.

I told them, "Either you let me out, or have my teacher come here." I wanted to make it hard on them. I didn't expect they would bring my elementary school teacher, Hu Jingzhi. They arranged to have her, me, and another person who was in charge of brainwashing me, in one room. I am very grateful to my teacher for spending that terrible and unforgettable night with me.

The next morning, they forced me to watch videos that slander Falun Gong. These people were so awful. They took my mom away and did not let me go home. They didn't let me go to school the next day, and then they wanted me to watch slanderous videos. I said I was tired and refused to watch. A woman, who's surnamed Gao, played audiotapes and forced me to listen. I didn't want to listen so I started a fuss with her. She blocked me from turning off the recorder and threatened, "If you don't transform and sign the paper, we cannot let you go back to school." Later she falsely accused me of trying to smash the tape recorder.

There was a man in his 40s named Ren Jiajie or Ren Jiahuai at the brainwashing centre. He used to be a practitioner and later was "transformed." He was there to help in transforming others. He told me to write a statement denouncing Falun Gong and I refused. So he wrote one himself and asked me to copy it down. And I refused again. I said to him, "My uncle died before he wrote it. I am not going to do it either ."

They kept me from sleeping until 1 or 2 o'clock in the morning. They also threatened that I would not be able to go back to school if I refused to write a denouncing statement or sign one. All those adults surrounded me, a fifth grader, acting ominously. I lost my personal freedom and right to go to school.

One afternoon, they locked me in a room with 4 or 5 adults. They surrounded me, trying to tell me their twisted understanding. So I told them how my uncle died from the persecution. I could not win the argument with them so I tried to leave, but the door was locked from outside. They didn't let me out until dinnertime. And wherever I went, there were 2 or 3 people following me, restricting my personal freedom.

Eight days later, I was forced to sign the statement in order to go back to school. But they did not let me go back home even after I signed their statement. I was forced to live at Chaofengan Brainwashing Centre. Everyday, a school bus took me to school and sent me back. I did not have any freedom.

Those people were so bad. They imprisoned my whole family; even a kid like me cannot escape. These people killed my uncle. I feel sad whenever I think about him and how he was brutally persecuted. He was imprisoned several times for speaking the truth. I saw with my own eyes how ruthlessly he had been beaten.

It was New Year's Day of 2001. The seven people from my family went to Tiananmen Square to validate the Fa. That was the last time my whole family was together. There was a light snow that day. Around 8 o'clock in the morning, we opened up a handmade banner on Tiananmen Square. The banner was 2 meters long, with red characters on a yellow background. It read, "Falun Dafa is Good." The entire family shouted, "Falun Dafa is Good!" Suddenly a group of plainclothes police officers appeared from nowhere. They pushed us to the ground and snatched away our banner. I was on the bottom of the pile. I turned my head and saw a man punching my grandfather on his back. Another man stepped on my uncle's head with his leather boots and rolled back and forth like he was grinding out a cigarette butt. Blood came out my uncle's ears right away. But my uncle was strong; he still shouted, "Falun Dafa is Good!" There were many people surrounding us and watching.

Later, they put us on a bus. There were over sixty practitioners on that bus. I took the lead to shout, "Falun Dafa is Good! Falun Dafa is the Righteous Fa!" I shouted once, everyone followed once. Just like that, we shouted all the way.

Reporter: How long did you live at Chaofengan Brainwashing Centre?

Li Ying: About three weeks. They tormented me every day. Eight days later, I was forced to sign their statement. The next day, they let me go back to school. But I still did not have any personal freedom. I was watched every day. At night, I had to go back to that horrible place. I was disgusted with that place. I didn't want to live there. After two or three weeks, I proposed to them to let me live at a private boarding home. (It is a business that takes care of children's meals and lodging when their parents are too busy.) The day before my mother was arrested, she arranged a private boarding home for me.

The night before I left the brainwashing centre, a man and a woman summoned me into a room. They wanted me to give them an oral guarantee [to not practise Falun Gong.] The woman sat there with her eyes narrowed as if she was waiting for me to say something. Judging by her expression, I was not going to get any sleep or go to school unless I complied. I stalled for a long time. It was the latter half of the night and I was so tired. Finally, I gave them an "oral guarantee" against my own will before she let me leave. Thinking back, I really regret what I said about Falun Dafa at that time. But they forced me and I was afraid. All I wanted was to get out of there.

After that, they sent me to the private boarding home that was run by a lady named Zhang. From Monday to Friday, I stayed there. But the boarding home is closed for Saturday and Sunday because all the kids would go home to spend time with their parents on the weekend. And I had no place to go on those days. After some discussion at the school, it was decided that several teachers would take turns taking me in on weekends. Some of the teachers I did not even know. They all treated me very well, but I felt really uncomfortable because it seemed I was just an extra in this world.

At the end of every day, the other kids are picked up from school by their parents. But I was orphaned and helpless with no place to go. Especially on weekends, there were always people asking me why there was no one coming for me. I really didn't know how to reply. I would remember my mom. There is no one that can love me like my mom. I felt sorry for myself. I wanted to cry but dared not to. So I kept it all inside.

Reporter: How long did you live at the boarding home? Who paid for it?

Li Ying: It was around three months. It cost 500 yuan a month. My mom paid for half a month the day before she was arrested. Later, the school paid for it.

On January 9, 2003, the "610 Office" sent me to Changping Nursing Home without my consent. The nursing home is located in a remote area in the foothills of a mountain. It is very far from school. I had to walk to school every day, and in the winter it was always dark when I walked back from school. There are no street lamps along the way. There are few people, and houses are scarce. I often trembled with fear when I walked on that road. Sometimes, there was no one on the road with me. When the wind blew, the trees moved like ghosts, and my heart felt timid. [Note: according to the writer's research, it is about 1.8 miles from Li Ying's school to the nursing home that she lives in. Every day, Li Ying makes two round trips.]

Reporter: Have you told them about this?

Li Ying: I told them many times, I told Ling Guojun, the deputy director of the nursing home and Kang Li, deputy head of the 610 Office. I said, "I'm scared. Can I go to school on a bike or on a bus?" They said no and completely ignored me. I really missed mom because no one else in the world would pay attention to me, or care for me.

So I had to walk that path every day with my heart in my throat the whole time. I felt an inexplicable fear after school in the winter, when it was dark. I didn't know how much longer I'd have to walk that path. (She shakes her head while saying this)

Reporter: How many times have you seen your mother since you arrived at the nursing home? Did you see her once a week?

Li Ying: They completely lied to me. I saw mom only once in more than two years, and it was when my uncle Aili was alive. He took me to see mom. They are so crooked; they told me so many lies.

At the nursing home I didn't receive love and care as is normal for young girls of my age. I lived worse than a beggar in the street. A beggar has freedom and I didn't. All the other people at the nursing home had their families visit them regardless of their length of stay. As for me, the officials from 610 Office dropped me off and left me alone. They didn't approve when I asked to see my mom or go to my grandmother's home.

Reporter: Where did you see your mother? What year was it? Do you remember?

Li Ying: It was on February 16, 2004. I saw her at Tiantanghe Female Prison in Beijing. Mom was sentenced to seven-and-a-half years in prison. She was almost unrecognisable because of the torture. Her hair was more than half white, and she looked so much older than her age. She was a mere shadow of herself, the young and beautiful woman. I wanted to cry but I didn't want to upset her, so I choked back my tears.

The guards saw that I was sad, so they lied to me and said, "Your mom is happy here." Who could believe that? Who could spend a happy time in prison? Seven-and-a-half years are not short!

Mom cried a lot when she learned my aunt and her sister were tortured to death. Aunt died in a miserable state. They brought my aunt back here from Gaoyang Female Prison in Hebei Province. She had a mental breakdown and could not even recognise her parents. She was in rags.

Reporter: In what year did your aunt pass away?

Li Ying: March 5, 2003. My aunt was very pretty; I still have her picture.

Reporter: How long did your visit with your mom last?

Li Ying: Only 30 minutes. I spoke to her on a telephone through a glass partition. I could not say a lot of the things I wanted to say, because a guard was hovering close by and was watching me. I wanted so much to hug and kiss mom but I couldn't.

Reporter: What happened then?

Li Ying: Uncle and I left the Tiantanghe Female Prison. I had to try really hard not to cry when saying goodbye to mom. I could only wave to her.

At that time I didn't know that was the last time I would see my uncle Aili. I regret not taking a better look at him.

On November 5, 2004 uncle Aili was tortured to death. My grandparents had four children; three have been killed. My mom is the only one still alive, and she was sentenced to seven-and-a-half years in prison. I can't imagine how they are taking it. My two uncles and aunt were tortured to death before they even had a chance to be married, and my grandparents have no source of income right now. (Sigh)

Reporter: What about you? What is your source of income?

Li Ying: As I was told, the Beijing city government provides about 300 yuan a month, for the lowest living expenses. The 610 Office and the Education Bureau together provides another 300 yuan a month, so totally about 600 yuan a month. [Note: She does not actually receive the money; it is under the perpetrators' control]

Reporter: What if you need to buy something for personal use or school supplies?

Li Ying: I have to ask for permission before I can buy anything. Ling Guojun, the deputy director of the nursing home, has to approve it first. Then they would take me out and buy it for me. I don't know if 600 yuan covers all my expenses, but I know they always buy the cheapest things for me.

I don't have any pocket change, as they give me only 1.5 yuan every morning for breakfast. I never get any snacks. I really miss the times when mom bought me lots of my favourite food. Now I have nothing and can only daydream.

I often think: mom, fly out of the prison! If you come out I will not have to stay in this terrible place, and I won't be treated differently at school. It's really hard to live a life on my own. Now I dislike police and police cars the most because they took away mom and forced me to live without my parents. My family suffered so much under them and my grandparents are living alone and uncared for.

Reporter: What do you mean by "different treatment" you receive at school?

Li Ying: At parent-teacher meetings, all the students in my class except for me have their parents attend the meeting. When I need a parent's signature, I could only get it stamped at the nursing home office. When other students ask me, "Where is your mom?" I can't answer them. There are many other things I can't face, because I know the other students look down on me.

Reporter: How long have you been living here? Who is taking care of you here?

Li Ying: If you count the last Chinese New Year, I spent three Chinese New Years over here already. I feel lonely, hopeless and uncomfortable being surrounded by elderly. I am the only child in this nursing home and haven't had a visitor for two years. In contrast, old people have visitors on a regular basis. I feel like someone who has been totally forgotten by the world. Sometimes if I come back from school late, I have to eat a cold food and no one cares to heat the food for me. I used to ask for a container to keep the food warm, but nobody cared. Not having enough food, I have to suffer hunger. Not having enough vegetables, I have to eat rice with hot water. Sometimes they forget to pick up food for me and then I end up starving. Sometimes the service lady screams at me and I have to listen. No one knows what I am thinking, and I guess no one really cares about it.

I basically don't have any freedom in the nursing home, except when I go to school. I need to have permission to go out. Ling Guojun, the deputy director of the nursing home, arranges my daily living schedule; however, my care is not one of his priorities. There are many things that he needs to take care of, but he chooses not to unless I keep constantly reminding him and reminding him so many times. As a result he will reluctantly get a few things done. For certain things he has to get permission from Kang Li, the head of the Changping County 610 Office.

Once I inadvertently found a notebook laying around on the reception desk. It contained a list of people who had earned honours for being heavily involved in the Falun Gong persecution. Ling Guojun was one of them, as well as the government head of the Changping County.

Reporter: Do you miss your mom?

Li Ying: Yes, but there is nothing I can do. Nevertheless, I still keep and read the letters that my mom wrote to me long ago.

Reporter: Would you like to share those letters with me?

Li Ying: Sure! I also kept the letter that my aunt wrote to us (my mom and me) before she died.

(The following is the letter that Chen Shulan wrote to her daughter on March 2003 from the Changping Detention Centre. The letter was excerpted and edited.)

"Li Ying, How are you?

Time has gone so quickly and it has been a year and half. How is your life? Did you go to grandma's house for Chinese New Year? If your aunt wrote a letter to you, you should respond to her in time. You should study hard and read books. The more you read, the better you will be able to do things. You have to learn how to take care of yourself. Don't worry about me. In your next letter, tell me more about your grandma and the second uncle's health. Send your aunt and me a picture of you, respectively, when you have time.

Take care. If you are short of money, ask uncle Liu for some. Mom will return the money to him after I am released.

Cheer up and be happy!"

(The following is the letter Chen Shulan wrote to her daughter on May 26, 2004 from the Tiantanghe Female Prison; the letter was shortened.)


"The June 1 Children's Day is coming. I wish that you had a happy holiday. I haven't talked to you for a long time. I tried several times at night to call home, but no one picked up the phone. How are you doing? Do you have money? A certified letter is expensive; you can send me a regular letter and I can still get it. Don't use the breakfast money to send a letter to me. Remember to eat a good breakfast and keep healthy so that mom would not worry about you. You looked skinny from the picture compared to the past; try to eat more. Mom cannot take care of you now, which makes you suffer. You have to learn how to take care of yourself and learn to wash your clothes; and don't forget to brush your teeth before going to bed.

My health is getting better compared to the last time you saw me. I am able to do some chores. Do not worry; we can communicate on the phone. Help the elderly in the nursing home."

(The following is the last letter that Chen Hongping wrote to her sister Chen Shulan, dated on September 23, 2002 at the Gaoyang Female Prison in Hebei Province before she was grossly abused from torture, which resulted in her death. Unfortunately, Chen Shulan did not have a chance to read this letter because she was arrested on September 17, 2002 and is still incarcerated at the Tiantanghe Female Prison)

"Dear Sister (Chen Shulan); don't worry about me. Your situation could be very difficult although you did not mention it in the letter. I can imagine the family situation. It must be very difficult; however, I believe that you are a strong person and you have the ability to get over such hard task. You are stronger than me. If it were me, I would have collapsed already. You must overcome this difficult time. I think that it will not take too long."

Reporter: Ying, what do you wish for?

Li Ying: (silent for a while) I miss my mom and wish to end this persecution of good people. I am afraid that mom will be persecuted so severely she will die, just like my aunt and two uncles.


The reporter's comments:

At the end of the interview, my mind was filled with bitterness and sadness.

The Jiang regime and the Chinese Communist Party have ruthlessly persecuted Li Ying's family. This has so severely hurt the thirteen-year-old girl's physical and mental health, it cannot be described in words. This tragic experience is typical of thousands of such persecution incidents that have happened to Falun Gong practitioners and their families in the past six years. (More detailed information of Li Ying and her family was posted on http://www.clearwisdom.net/emh/articles/2005/2/18/57662.html)

We urge the United Nations, countries, organisations and individuals around the world to lend support to these kind Chinese people and to bring about an end to the already six-year-old, CCP-driven genocidal persecution.

Contact information:

Wang Shuhe, in charge of the persecution, Deputy Party Secretary and Secretary of the Political and Legal Committee in the Changping County, 86-10-89703046 (Office)

Liang Shiqang, head of the Changping County "610 Office," 86-10-89741645 (Office)
Kang Li, deputy head of the Changping County "610 Office," 86-10-89741539 (Office)
Changping County Chenbeijie Nursing Home in Beijing
#2A Zhongshan Street, Changping County, Beijing 102200
Duty Office, 86-10-69708904
Ling Guojun, 86-10-69741263 (Office)

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