The Reflections of a Prison Supervisory Section Chief

I am a section chief of the supervisory department in a Chinese prison. Since the beginning of this year, several groups of Falun Gong practitioners were locked up in our prison. I felt exhausted because the higher authorities had allowed us such latitude in brainwashing Falun Gong practitioners (force them to give up their belief). In order to meet our quota of brainwashed practitioners, we resorted to all kinds of measures, regardless of whether they were gentle or cruel, as long as they were effective in brainwashing. The chief warden of our prison said, "I don't care if they are wrongly accused; they are still our prisoners, as long as they are held here. Force-feed all those who try to go on a hunger strike. I will take full responsibility for anything that happens." Some police officers are in the vanguard unit and serve as little more than hatchet men.

In the beginning, I too was supportive of the warden's objectives. I believed that those people should be punished because they were anti-government. Later, however, after a period of observing and coming to understand them, I found that Falun Gong practitioners were a special group of people. While chatting together, we police officers generally agreed that these were good people in every aspect except that they refused to admit they were anti-government dissidents. Why wouldn't they admit to being dissidents? I thought I should research this question, so I started with a university student, whose wife was also a university student. When he was sent here, his wife was still being held in a forced labor camp, so their child was left alone at home. I asked him why a university student would also practice Falun Gong. He said, "In this group, there are many university students, and also many people with Masters or Doctorate degrees. The people who genuinely study science would never deny the truth that they have not discovered yet, unless they had an ulterior motive. Throughout Isaac Newton's life, most of his works were about theology, but can you say that Newton was not a great scientist? Since the government didn't initially sponsor Falun Gong, how did the group become so large? It was only because so many people were practicing Falun Gong that some people in the government felt threatened. Does the society really fear having such a large number of good people? Whoever attacks virtue must be evil. This is the truth." I had nothing to say in reply.

Since I could not match the university student's eloquence, I found an illiterate person, but this man was more honest and frank:
"Originally, I was a scoundrel and chronic invalid in my area. The money that I spent for medicine was more than what I spent for food. I was unable to turn in any load fees or agricultural taxes. If the village cadres came to collect them, I would let loose a stream of abuse against them. To the villagers, our family had become like a thorn in their side. At that time I was sick and occasionally went to a doctor. Somebody said that Falun Gong could cure illnesses, so I began to practice along with other people. Although it was not really expected, my illness was magically cured. Later on, I learned that practicing Falun Gong means reading the book and studying the Fa to improve xinxing [moral character] and thus, to improve as a person. I realized that I had been committing offenses against my village for all these years, so I turned in the agricultural back taxes and load fees on my own initiative, and voluntarily went back to work. The village cadres were amazed and exclaimed, 'The Sun rises in the west!' [meaning that the impossible had happened.] In 1999, the Jiang regime began to persecute Falun Gong. What I don't understand is why such a good Teacher and such good teachings are said to be dissident. Therefore, I went to Beijing to request justice, but instead received several years of imprisonment. Our village cadres even tried to bail me out, but in vain. Well, this society will soon be finished because it can no longer distinguish good from evil."

I found several more practitioners who all told me some moving stories. Into what are we trying to "transform" these people? A scoundrel becomes a good person through practicing Falun Gong. Will we "transform" him back into a scoundrel again? Or, will we brainwash him to go wining, dining, whoring and gambling; or brainwash him into becoming a person whose speech may be full of virtuous phrases, but in whose heart is nothing but lust and desire? Otherwise, into what will we brainwash him?

A kindly group of practitioners who act according to "truthfulness-compassion-forbearance" is now said to be dissident. Exactly what is right? I am very perplexed.

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