Falun Dafa practitioners Ms. Ma Yanfang, Ms. Meng Qingbo, Ms. Yang Yonglan, and Ms. Liu Guichun are hardworking, outstanding teachers. Yet their homes were ransacked and they were detained, tortured, and sent to labour camps for persisting in their belief in Truth, Compassion, and Tolerance. Their salaries were reduced and they were deprived of their right to work and were eventually fired. Ms. Yang Yonglan and her husband were forced to divorce, and she went into exile.
Ms. Ma Yanfang
Ms. Ma Yanfang was once widely known for suffering from illness in the No. 52 Middle School, her place of employment. Medical treatment could not cure her, but she completely recovered through Falun Gong practice. After the persecution started, two residential Party officials went to Ma Yanfang's home and ransacked it. They found several Falun Gong books, an audio cassette, and two cassette players, one of which was broken. These individuals claimed that Ms. Ma had hung a cassette player from a tree and used it as broadcast equipment. They took her and her husband to the police station, where they handcuffed Ma Yanfang to the head of a metal bed and her husband to the leg of a table.
Six officers from Erdao Police Department arrived at 10 o'clock. One of them made Ms. Ma stand in front of him and asked, "Who else do you know that practises Falun Gong?" Ma Yanfang said she didn't know anyone.
After Falun Gong practitioners broadcast the video, "Self-Immolation or Staged Act?" on the Changchun Cable TV network, Jiang Zemin issued an arrest quota for 6,000 Falun Gong practitioners. He said that law administrators would be demoted or fired if they didn't finish their "assignment." The police tortured every arrested practitioner to get more names. When the police officer interrogating Ma Yanfang heard she didn't know anyone, he struck her in the temple. She took a few steps back and nearly fell down, could not stand steadily, and her body shook. The police officer forced her to kneel and then kicked her until he grew tired. He handcuffed her with her arms behind her back to the metal bed at midnight.
They also interrogated Ma Yanfang's husband, who tried to reason with them. He confronted the police for arresting and interrogating people. The police remained silent. A few more officers arrived from Erdao Police Department at around 3:00 p.m. the next day. One officer named Ma Jun picked up a wooden stool from the floor and hit Ms. Ma Yanfang with it. She was handcuffed to the bed, so she tried to shield herself with her left foot. She missed and the stool hit her forehead and face. The officer hit her repeatedly. Ms. Ma's face swelled instantly, and officer Ma Jun claimed that Ma Yanfang had kicked him. He put the stool down and kicked her leg, from the thigh to the ankle, and said he would break her leg. Tears and sweat rolled down Ma Yanfang's face. When she was eventually taken to a detention centre and examined, her left leg was purple and swollen. Ma Jun also tightened the handcuffs to the maximum setting until they cut into her wrists. Her hands swelled instantly. Her hands were still numb a year later, and she lost feeling in her thumbs. Ma Jun hit Ma Yanfang in the head with a pillow until the pillow burst and the stuffing spilled all over her and the floor. Ma Jun then hit Ms. Ma Yanfang in the face over and over.
After the beating, Ma Jun said to another officer, "That's just how she is," meaning he could not get any information from her. He then said he would humiliate her so she that could not return to work. Ma Jun and another officer paraded Ms. Ma Yanfang through the No. 52 Middle School during recess. Two students greeted her and asked, "Ms. Ma, what's wrong?" The police told them to go away. They went to the south building, but the school principal was not there. They then went to the Education Administration Division. Many teachers saw Ma Yanfang in handcuffs. They asked her, "Did they hit you?" The police also went to Ms. Ma Yanfang's office in the north building. Officer Ma Jun turned Ma Yanfang's desk upside down and ordered someone to bring her daughter from her class. The daughter started crying when she saw her mother had been beaten and was handcuffed. Ma Jun took the daughter aside and asked, "Do your parents practise Falun Gong?"
After parading Ms. Ma Yanfang around the school, the agents took her back to the police station. They released her husband, whom they had handcuffed to a table leg for one day and night. They photographed Ma Yanfang, put her in a police car, and drove her to the No. 3 Detention Centre in Changchun City. They withheld all of her salary after the arrest. Her paralysed mother-in-law and her daughter were left home with no one to take care of them, as her husband often leaves the city for work reasons. The entire family was devastated by her detention.
Ma Yanfang was held in a cell with 70 other people in the detention centre. For meals, they provided her only with plain turnip soup and half-cooked buns made of corn flour that is usually used as pig feed. She was given two such meals a day. More than ten people slept in their clothes in a 21.5 sq. ft area with curtains serving as quilts. Several people had to share one curtain. The Falun Gong practitioners were forced to sit in rows on wooden planks during the day and be prepared for interrogation at any time. Ms. Ma was interrogated twice and held in the cell the rest of the time. The head inmate and guards swore constantly. Ma Yanfang went on a hunger strike after more than 20 days of illegal detention. The guards took her to a hospital and force-fed her. They inserted a tube into her nose and fed her milk, which she vomited. The guards used her clothing to wipe away the milk and blamed her for "throwing up too much." After the force-feeding, Section Head Su ordered the inmates to put Ms. Ma in handcuffs and shackles and connect them together so that she could not straighten her body. They then put her in a solitary confinement cell.
The school authorities incited hatred among the students and staff toward Ma Yanfang following her arrest. School Party Secretary Sun Guizhen spread a rumour that lots of Falun Gong flyers were found in Ma Yanfang's home. Sun Guizhen helped the police to sentence Ma Yanfang to three years of forced labour. Ms. Ma Yanfang's family had her released on bail more than one month later with tens of thousands of yuan1 they had borrowed.
After her release, Ms. Ma petitioned the school officials many times to have her job reinstated, but the officials gave her the runaround. One month later, school principal Liu told her that she could resume her work only if she wrote a guarantee statement. Ma Yanfang said, "I didn't violate any laws. I was arrested at home. I have the right to believe in Dafa. The whole school knows that I was cured of illness through Dafa practice." Ms. Ma was then fired, and her life became very difficult. Officers from the police station and the street Party Committee frequently harassed her at her home and kicked her door. They went to her home several times a day and often took her away to fulfil arrest quotas so they could earn bonus money from the ruling regime. The head of the street Party Committee said, "I simply don't believe that I can't open her door." He sent people on a stakeout outside Ma Yanfang's home. They watched the family's every move, which severely disrupted the family's normal life. The entire family eventually went into exile to avoid further persecution.
During the large-scale arrests in Changchun in 2002, more than 5,000 Falun Gong practitioners were arrested within ten days. Even Ms. Liu, who was in her 70s then and hospitalised at the time, was arrested. At least eight practitioners were tortured to death. some practitioners were sentenced to forced labour and prison, and numerous practitioners are detained to this day.
Ma Yanfang and her family have moved many times in the last four years. They never talk to their neighbours or open their door, fearing arrest. They are afraid of acquaintances and of stalking police officers. They don't even dare to turn on the light at night or speak loudly. They are even more afraid when someone knocks on the door. The school security officers and police station regard Ma Yanfang as a "major target." They persecuted her whenever they received a secret order from above. The police also followed her daughter, who was then attending high school. They tried to arrest her and also went to her former home many times and harassed the neighbours.
Party Secretary Lu from the No. 52 Middle School headed a group of people that drove to Ma Yanfang's home in August 2003. They told her colleagues that they were bringing her back to work, but they were actually trying to arrest her. Ma Yanfang was living in exile. The police obtained the mobile phone number for Ma Yanfang's husband. They called him and demanded that Ms. Ma report to the police station. The school officials also repeatedly reported her to the police.
When Ma Yanfang was still working, the school officials initially didn't know that she practised Falun Gong, so they didn't report her to the police. A colleague eventually reported her, and the officials began harassing her. They demoted her from teaching advanced classes to teaching average classes and they added several other classes to her workload. In the end they claimed that they would not let her teach any class if that was necessary to force her to stop practising Dafa. Ma Yanfang went home each day at noon to cook for her mother-in-law, and the school officials claimed she did the Falun Gong exercises every day at noon. They sent people to watch and follow her. After her arrest, her students cried and boycotted the class. Some students went to her daughter and requested that she return to teach them. One boy who dislikes studying said to Ma Yanfang's daughter, "If your mother comes back to teach us, I promise I will study hard." Some students said at the beginning of the school year that they could accept a change in any other teacher except Ms. Ma. They were not aware that Ma Yanfang was suffering cruel persecution.
Ms. Liu Guichun
Ms. Liu Guichun believes in Truth-Compassion-Tolerance and in being a good person. She has been brutally persecuted over the past seven years and is closely watched at work. The door guard makes daily reports to school officials of the time she enters and leaves the school. Three school officials watch and follow her during lunch and forbid anyone to have contact with her. The principal scolded one teacher many times, saying to her, "If you talk to Ms. Liu one more time, we'll reduce your salary and lay you off." He made the same threat to seasonal workers. In this way, they completely isolated her.
No. 52 Middle School Party Secretary Sun Guizhen often phoned Liu Guichun's husband saying, "Your wife is going to Beijing. Falun Gong has scheduled activities and they are trying to stir up trouble." Sun Guizhen also went to Ms. Liu's husband's workplace and harassed him. He could no longer take it and retired early to monitor his wife at home. He was willing to take the several hundred yuan a month pay cut in exchange for some peace. Each time Sun Guizhen calls or harasses him, he beats his wife.
The school forced Liu Guichun to leave her teaching position at the beginning of school in August 2000, but they allowed her to work in the laboratory. They cut her salary by 30 per cent. Liu Guichun's husband was furious when he learned this and screamed at her and their daughter to get out of the home. Ms. Liu nearly suffered a nervous breakdown. She took her daughter and rented a home. Her husband went to her temporary residence and was verbally abusive toward her. The landlord was scared and evicted Liu Guichun and her daughter later that night. Liu Guichun and her daughter wandered the streets. She was so devastated she thought of committing suicide, but she immediately thought, "We believe in Truth-Compassion-Tolerance. We must not kill, and suicide is a sin, too. I must live, no matter how difficult it is." Her husband was tormented by regret during his wife's absence. He calmed down and looked for her everywhere. He was worried about his wife and daughter's safety, saying that his wife was an extraordinary and wonderful person. He found them after a month. They were emaciated.
In 2002, Party Secretary Sun and the president of the Workers' Union and Party secretary from the Education Bureau Yang went together with numerous police officers to Liu Guichun's home in August in an attempt to arrest her. Her husband confronted them saying, "Ms. Liu can no longer come home due to your pressure and harassment. What did she do that is against the law? Why are you arresting her? Show me the evidence. Officials such as you are very good at lying and persecuting people. It'd be great if you could act like my wife."
The officials left without achieving their goal. Liu Guichun's husband originally thought that if he retired and supervised his wife at home he would be spared further coercion, but he was proven wrong. After his wife went into exile, her salary was completely withheld, and her husband suffered a nervous breakdown. He decided to divorce her. Liu Guichun was also stifled under psychological and financial pressure. She said to him, "I agree [to the divorce], but you must understand that we are both victims and that Falun Gong is being persecuted. The authorities are causing our pain. There is nothing wrong in me speaking the truth, and there is nothing wrong with being a good person. I won't force you to suffer with me." Her husband eventually changed his mind, and there was no divorce.
Party Secretary Lu led a group of people who drove to Liu Guichun's home in August 2003. No one was home, so they called her husband, saying they wanted to talk to Ms. Liu and would not make her write anything. Her husband said, "I don't trust you! You are so good at lying." Lu said, "School principal Liu and I swear on our reputations. Just ask Ms. Liu to come talk to the principal at school, or you can decide on a location. We will pay her salary after the meeting."
He said many other too-good-to-be-true things. Liu Guichun's husband later went to school and Lu said, "We'll pay her after Ms. Liu writes a guarantee statement." The husband asked, "Didn't you say that she didn't have to write anything? Why are you saying this now? Your words are unreliable. You didn't want to pay her but in fact you want to score political points by making her write a guarantee statement2 before the Communist Party's conference." He left and went home.
Party Secretary Lu called him later and asked him to go to school again. Lu and Education Bureau Party Secretary Yao both said, "If you could only ask Ms. Liu to write a guarantee statement, we will process her retirement one year early." They gave the husband a form to fill out. When he went home he tried to coerce his wife into writing a guarantee statement. She told him, "It's a trap," but he didn't believe her. He even hit her. She said to him, "Read the form." He took a close look and saw that it was a "Voluntary Resignation Form." He called and confronted the two school officials who said, "Oops, we gave you the wrong form. Come back [and we'll give you the correct one]." He went back but the officials again changed their words. He asked to speak with principal Liu, but was turned away. He eventually learned that they simply wanted to arrest his wife. Liu Guichun's husband experienced the officials' hypocrisy firsthand.
In the past several years the school officials had demoted Ms. Liu from the classroom to the laboratory. One official then spread the rumour that she was trying to blow up the building, so they changed her work assignment again. They made her work full time but only paid her a mere 200 yuan a month. Party Secretary Sun Guizhen once said, "Because you practise Falun Gong, our school didn't win the title 'Advanced Party Division' at the end of the year, so we didn't get the 800-yuan bonus."
Ms. Meng Qingbo
In the past few years, teacher Ms. Meng Qingbo, who follows Truth-Compassion-Tolerance, has endured severe psychological and financial persecution.
She was walking in a park one weekend in mid-April 2000 when the police took her away. They claimed she was disrupting the social order and held her for 15 days. Her daughter was 12 years old then, and no one was there to sew her school uniform. When Meng Qingbo's husband worked night shifts, her 70-year-old father had to come over and stay with the young girl to calm her fears. After Meng Qingbo was released, her daughter said to her, "Dad and I went to the custody centre several times but we couldn't get inside. We walked around the walls and we always left disappointed. Dad and I cried on our way home." Meng Qingbo's mother, who was in her 70s, was sick and collapsed when Ms. Meng was taken away. After her release, the school no longer permitted Meng Qingbo to teach. The officials made her work at other duties full time but paid her only 200 yuan a month.
At the end of 2001, school Party Secretary Sun Guizhen and principal Song went to Meng Qingbo's home and tried to take her to a brainwashing centre. They said to her, "The brainwashing centre is great! You'll change your ways within two months." She said, "It's a prison! If you think it's a great place, then you should go there. Don't back people into a corner."
Meng Qingbo had to continue doing odd jobs at the school. Sun Guizhen fabricated many accusations against her and reported that she was an "important target." She was harassed whenever the government felt threatened. Sun Guizhen and the police went to Ms. Meng's home twice to arrest her. She could no longer work due to the harassment. Her family went into exile. Her salary was withheld. Sun Guizhen went to the home of Meng Qingbo's mother-in-law trying to arrest Meng Qingbo, but she was not there. Sun also tried to go to Meng Qingbo's mother's home but he didn't know the location. He then harassed Meng Qingbo's husband at work and pressured him to stop working and look for his wife.
After the family left home, Meng Qingbo's young daughter could not take the pressure and said, "Mum, I would rather die than go to school." She dropped out of middle school.
The family spent each day in fear. When they visited Meng Qingbo's mother-in-law, the old woman feared police arrest and wouldn't let them stay long. Meng Qingbo's family never turns on the light at night and trembles when someone knocks on the door.
Lu, the newly appointed school Party secretary, went to Ms. Meng's husband at the end of September 2003 and promised, "on his honour," that they would not arrest her and that she should return to work. Her husband thought, "How can a Party secretary lie?" He believed Lu and tried to convince his wife to go back to school. She told him that it was a trap but he refused to believe her. He threatened to divorce her, and Meng Qingbo had no choice but to leave the home of her mother-in-law (they lived with her mother-in-law). Her husband was completely shocked when he found out later that the school officials were in fact working with the 610 Office3 to arrest his wife. He realised his mistake and didn't go through with the divorce.
Ms. Yang Yonglan
Ms. Yang Yonglan used to suffer from heart disease, a duodenal ulcer, ulcerative colitis, rheumatoid arthritis, Meniere's disease, and many other conditions. Medications did not help her, but Dafa practice completely cured her and gave her abundant energy. She could handle the heavy workload associated with teaching a graduating ninth grade class. Ms. Yang was a department head and a leading professional in certain subjects in Changchun City.
Yang Yonglan went to Beijing at the end of 1999 to appeal for justice for Falun Gong after Jiang's group began persecuting Falun Gong. She tried to defend Falun Gong through her firsthand experience. She asked a police officer in Tiananmen Square for the location of the Bureau of Letters and Appeals. The officer called for a police car and arrested her. He sent Ms. Yang to a detention centre and took her back to Changchun nine days later. The police took her money and claimed to use it to buy sleeper seats on the train, but Yang Yonglan ended up being handcuffed next to a seat on the train and was detained for 15 days in Changchun. The city police department agents interrogated Yang Yonglan. The officers made her squat, with her arms stretched out in front of her, until she was shaking and sweating. After her release, Party Secretary Sun Guizhen went to Ms. Yang's home and demanded to know if she would continue to practise Dafa. He threatened to fire her if she persisted.
Yang Yonglan went back to Beijing to appeal again in April 2000 and was arrested in Tiananmen Square. She was taken back to Changchun and held at a custody centre.
Ms. Yang held a hunger strike to protest the persecution. She was sentenced to one year of forced labour on the ninth day, when she was extremely weak. She was sent to the Heizuizi Forced Labour Camp of Changchun City. Camp Division Head Zhu shocked Ms. Yang with electric baton(s) soon after she entered the Division Six office. He sent her to a group, where a female inmate kicked her and told her not to look at or speak to anyone. Three months later Yang Yonglan was sent to Division 2, where she was forced to do slave labour from 4:30 a.m. until past 10:00 p.m. each day. People in their 50s and 60s were made to carry and collate book pages and were assigned quotas which they had to fulfil. They had to constantly move their arms. Their fingers bled, their arms swelled, and their chests hurt. The guards attacked people verbally and physically if they paused even briefly.
Yang Yonglan endured abuse at the labour camp for one year. After her release she tried to return to work but Education Bureau officials refused to arrange work for her. They made her stay at the Education Administration Division where everyone could watch her. They also didn't pay her a single penny for the first four months of work. She could not afford to take the bus to work. The school is quite a distance from her home, so she had to ride a bike. Some workplaces have policies whereby they pay their employees a basic salary during the time that they are held at labour camps, but the No. 52 Middle School and the Education Bureau didn't follow the policy and didn't even pay Yang Yonglan for the work she did after she was released.
Yang Yonglan was arrested again on March 11th, 2002, during the large-scale arrests in Changchun. She was tortured at the Changchun Criminal Police Division. She was bound to a metal chair. The police put bullets between her fingers, handcuffed her arms behind her back, beat and kicked her, blindfolded her, wrapped her head, and dragged her to a basement at Jingyuetan. There, Ms. Yang was immobilised in a metal chair: her legs and feet were affixed to the chair, and the police yanked her arms, which were handcuffed behind her back, downwards. She felt as if her arms were being torn out of their sockets. They also shocked various parts of her body with electric batons. Her neck and face were covered in blisters. Ms. Yang was tortured for a whole night. Her clothes were soaked with tears and sweat and she was incontinent. The burn scars on her chest finally healed one year later. On another occasion, Ms. Yang was interrogated in the middle of the night and was tortured again in the same basement. She was shocked once more with electric batons.
The slave labour was lengthy and onerous in the labour camp. Sometimes the detainees were assigned to make miniature dolls that were sent out for export every 15 days. It was assembly-line work. People who dress the dolls had to stretch their fingers from morning until night. After a while their thumbs swelled and hurt so much that they could not be touched and could not bend. The work each person completed was written on the wall. The guards beat and insulted those who didn't finish on time. When there was less work, or when Jiang Zemin issued a secret order, the guards would try to force the practitioners to write guarantee statements. Threats, sentence extensions, verbal and physical assaults, and brainwashing were all part of the persecution. The guards made practitioners watch TV programmes and read false information that slandered Dafa.
Guard Liu Lianying once tried to force Ms. Yang Yonglan to write a guarantee statement by shocking her with electric batons. When she collapsed on the floor he ordered her to take some nitroglycerin tablets and continued to shock her. Ms. Yang faced the daily possibility of being tortured to death.
Falun Gong practitioners were brought together on holidays. Inmates assigned to watch the practitioners followed them all the time. The practitioners were made to sit for a whole day with their necks straight. They had to sit like that the entire length of the holiday. The guards supported the inmates, who refused to let the practitioners speak without permission. The practitioners were not allowed to use the toilets, which caused some of them to soil their garments. The group head reported any practitioners that looked at other people.
After her three-year term expired, Yang Yonglan's sister and her sister's husband arrived in a car to pick her up. Right after she had finished the dismissal procedure and stepped out of the front gate, officials from the Erdao District 610 Office, the district police department, and from the Education Bureau and the No. 52 Middle School were waiting outside. They took Ms. Yang to the Xinglongshan Brainwashing Centre.
Since the Party began persecuting Falun Gong, Ms. Yang Yonglan had spent five New Years in detention.
Yang Yonglan's parents, both in their 80s, waited anxiously for their daughter's return home. They became bedridden from worry and anguish. Her mother got up ten days later and insisted on visiting her daughter at the brainwashing centre. She cried and said, "If I don't see her now, I probably will never see her again."
Dafa practitioners are individually detained at the brainwashing centre. There is a one-way glass partition on the door that allows guards to look inside but the practitioners cannot look out. Strict physical constraints are placed on the practitioners, who are forced to sit for a whole day with their legs stretched out straight. Yang Yonglan crossed her legs once to take a break. The guards entered the room and said she was doing a Falun Gong exercise and told her to straighten her legs. She said, "It's in people's nature to change positions. Is it against the law to cross my legs?"
Yang Yonglan's husband was devastated by her repeated detentions. He worried about their daughter studying in another province and also about his wife in the brainwashing class. He couldn't eat or sleep well. When he went home, he turned on all the lights and the TV [to help dispel the frustration]. He suffers from severe stomach disease but can't afford surgery. He is also afflicted with increasingly severe insomnia. When he couldn't fall asleep he wandered the streets and went home when he was exhausted. He suffered a near nervous breakdown and had proposed divorce. Yang Yonglan agreed to relieve his suffering. She left him and their daughter, leaving them all of their worldly goods. One time during winter break, her husband took their daughter and visited Yang Yonglan. They bought a 60-yuan meal, but soon after they started eating, several police officers approached them and began insulting Ms. Yang. Her husband and daughter ran away in fear.
Yang Yonglan received only a few months' pay between 2000 and 2005. She was also frequently detained. Her husband became the major breadwinner. He had to pay for their daughter's tuition in high school and in college. He also bought many things when he went to visit her. At first he could not afford the 10,000-yuan tuition for his daughter. He was 50 years old and suffering from a severe stomach ulcer, but he sold his blood twice and received 1,000 yuan in compensation, which he used to pay for part of the tuition.
Sun Guizhen said to practitioners Ms. Liu Guichun and Ms. Meng Qingbo, "All teachers in the Erdo District who practise Falun Gong must travel to Sijiazi." But when Ms. Liu and Ms. Meng arrived at Sijiazi they were the only teachers there and were held there indefinitely. Several days later, Education Bureau Party Secretary Zhou Chengchun went to Sijiazi. Liu Guichun and Meng Qingbo asked to talk to him. He refused, and insulted them. The two practitioners said, "It's illegal to detain people without evidence. We want to go back!" Zhou Chengchun said, "If you leave, we'll fire you." Zhou Chengchun and Sun Guizhen pulled the practitioners back. After pulling on the two practitioners, Sun Guizhen could not lift her arm(s). Her health deteriorated and she is now bedridden. During the time she worked as Party secretary, she actively followed Jiang's group in persecuting faculty members who practise Falun Gong. She has now received karmic retribution. Ms. Liu Guichun and Ms. Meng Qingbo were denied their titles as senior advanced teachers after school officials were pressured by the Education Bureau officials.
In the past several years, these four teachers had large portions of their salaries withheld. The Education Bureau and school officials conspired to withhold at least four years' worth of these teachers' salaries. The practitioners have lived under tremendous pressure, both financially and psychologically.
1. "Yuan" is the Chinese currency; 500 yuan is equal to the average monthly income of an urban worker in China.
2. "Guarantee Statement": A statement to declare that one is remorseful for practising Falun Gong and guarantees not to practise Falun Gong again, not to go to Beijing to appeal for Falun Gong, and never again associate with any Falun Dafa practitioners.
3. "The 610 office" is an agency specifically created to persecute Falun Gong, with absolute power over each level of administration in the Party and all other political and judiciary systems.
Chinese version available at http://minghui.ca/mh/articles/2006/10/13/140051.html
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