NEWS - Feb. 13, 2003 Falun Dafa Information Center
[ http://www.faluninfo.net/ ]
One Woman's Personal Account of China's Notorious Wanjia Labour Camp and the Extraordinary Resolve that Won Her Freedom
TORONTO (FDI) -- The following story is true and every name is real. It is a story about a successful businesswoman who was illegally imprisoned for nine months in one of China's most brutal labour camps -- Wanjia. It is a story of beatings and torture; of survival and perseverance: And it is a testament to the power of her beliefs.
The woman's name is Yuzhi Wang. She is 47 years old. This is Ms. Wang's story...
The Early Years
I used to take meals to my father in prison, and can still remember seeing him behind bars -- dark and gaunt, but always passionate and positive. In spite of the extreme difficulties in my life, I was always encouraged by my father's attitude.
In 1976 the "Gang of Four" was removed from power and life began to change. My father was released from prison, and my two older boys were admitted to university, along with my younger sister. I was left to provide for the rest of the family, including my sick parents. I got a job making towel tassels, and was so efficient at my work that I could earn 200 -- 300 Yuan a month. This was enough money to provide food for the whole family, and tuition for my younger brothers and sister.
My Life Improves
In 1979, life slowly started to change for me. I was working in an electronics company, and the company decided to send me to university. After I graduated, I went back to the factory to work as an engineer. In 1989 the company went bankrupt and so my husband (who I'd met at university) and I started up our own business importing office supplies. The business went so well that the company profits continually doubled. My hardships were finally over -- I had a house, a car, a great business and a happy marriage.
I also had a beautiful son.
By this time, my family was doing well financially. My father had started his own factory and went on to become one of China's first millionaires. Two of my brothers left China -- one went to Philadelphia, and the other to the Middle East. My mother moved to the United Arab Emirates with my two younger sisters. All my brothers and sisters had prosperous businesses.
My life underwent another incredible change in 1998 when one of my customers handed me a copy of China Falun Gong -- the introductory text of Falun Gong (website). When I first took the book, I had no idea how dramatically it would change my life.
I began practicing Falun Gong and started to notice huge changes in my life. For years I had suffered from a debilitating illness that would occasionally cause me to suddenly lose control in my legs, and make walking impossible. I had visited countless doctors, both Chinese and western, but none of them could pinpoint the cause of the illness. Three months after starting Falun Gong, my illness totally disappeared.
I began diligently studying the Falun Gong books, and did the Falun Gong exercises with friends at a local park. In the process of practicing Falun Gong I felt cleansed of many negative thoughts and emotions that I had collected throughout my life. I felt my body and soul gradually become healthy and harmonious like never before. My tiring life became happier and I was finally at peace. I felt so lucky to be able to learn a Chinese exercise and meditation practice that originated in the ancient traditions of my country. In Chinese history every dynasty was built on and governed by virtue and morality. The main focus in life was to think of others first and always look inside to see where you could do better. The main goal in life was to strengthen the spirit, to enlighten to truth and return the body and mind to the original true essence. The profound principles in Falun Gong empowered me to make purer choices in my life and helped me to bring the principles of Truth Compassion and Tolerance into my family. I feel I have truly found the meaning of my life and the answers to life's mysteries by practicing Falun Gong. For me, it brought together all of the pieces of the puzzle.
Crackdown on Falun Gong
Falun Gong spread rapidly in China, and by 1999 statistics from China's Physical Education Bureau showed that there were over 70 million people practicing Falun Gong. Jiang Zemin, the leader of the Communist Party at that time, was threatened by both the sheer numbers of people and their allegiance to something other than Communist Party idealology. On July 20, 1999 he ordered a brutal crackdown on Falun Gong (report). Overnight, those 70 million people, including myself, became the "enemy of the people" and "followers of an evil religion".
My life was about to take another dramatic turn -- full of incredible hardships that I could never have imagined.
As the crackdown on Falun Gong continued, the media was saturated with lies and propaganda. In order to justify the persecution, all kinds of bloody crimes (immolation, suicide, homicide) were used to frame up Falun Gong practitioners. The sensational propaganda demonizing Falun Gong permeated the entire country. It was like reliving the Great Cultural Revolution -- only worse.
Arrested three times
On July 16, 2001 I went to the bank to withdraw my money and was arrested for the third time. The police confiscated US $50,000 from my savings and froze my bank accounts. Memories of my father's time in prison came back to me like a bad dream. Here I was, 46 years old, being jailed for my beliefs, just as he had been.
Wanjia Forced Labour Camp
In November 2001, I was transferred from the Second Detention Centre to the Wanjia Forced Labour Camp of Harbin -- infamous for its brutality towards Falun Gong practitioners. All practitioners detained in the detention centre or the forced labour camp had to endure brainwashing. Every day, we had to sit in one position and watch anti-Falun Gong propaganda on TV or listen to the guards for over 8 hours. No one was allowed to move. Sometimes, a brainwashing session would last for days and we weren't allowed to sleep the entire time. Often, we were not even allowed to use the toilet. In addition to the intense brainwashing and sleep deprivation, Falun Gong practitioners were routinely beaten or whipped, tied with ropes and hanged from the ceiling, given electric shocks, forced to sit naked on iron chairs, or raped by male criminals
Most Falun Gong practitioners refused to give up their beliefs. Some of them, including me, went on hunger strikes to protest our unlawful arrests and the inhumane torture and persecution.
Before force-feeding me for the first time, I saw them grab a female Falun Gong practitioner named Shang by the hair and knock her head against the wall and floor. When she was finally unconscious, they forced the tube into her nose to force-feed her. There was no sterilization -- they simply brushed the tube around in a basin then forced it through her nose and down into her stomach. Then they injected ground corn grain mixed with cold water.
After they'd finished with her, the two prison doctors turned around and looked at me. They stood there with their forceps and tools in their hands and said, "You see that? You're next." After that, I was subjected to this kind of force-feeding every day in jail.
They would beat us to the point where we were almost unconscious before tying our arms and legs down and forcing the tubes through our noses and down into our stomachs. We were tied up to prevent us from pulling the tubes out because of the excruciating pain.
On one occasion I witnessed a female practitioner named Minxia Guo being force-fed. The nurses grabbed Minxia's hair and pinched her face and body. She was black and blue everywhere. Her whole body began to twitch. When I condemned the guards and doctors for what they were doing, they turned on me and beat me up as well.
One day I heard the desperate cry of a man in the woman's ward. It was the husband of a Falun Gong practitioner named Yanhong Ding. He had begged to be able to visit her, and when he finally was allowed to come in, they force-fed her right in front of him. This man cried terribly while his wife struggled in pain.
Torture at the Labour Camp Hospital
Due to the filthy conditions in the labour camp, many practitioners developed purulent scabies. They had pus cysts and blood all over their skin. The worst ones were as big as a peach. During the day the sores were continually discharging pus and mucus. During the night they became so itchy that it was impossible to fall asleep.
Every practitioner that developed scabies would be sent to the hospital run by the forced labour camp -- but it wasn't for medical treatment. When practitioners arrived at the hospital, they were dragged into a small closed room, and forced onto the ground. The doctors would violently remove their clothes, and use sharp steel knives or metal spoons to scratch the pus cysts. They would scrape the spoons back and forth through the flesh and blood, while the practitioner on the ground would be screaming in pain. When they finished with the digging, they would force the practitioner to stand against the wall so that they could clean the blood from their bodies. The water from the faucets was not normal tap water; it was filthy, freezing cold and full of rust.
This kind of murderous "medical treatment" would be repeated every few days along with daily beatings and force-feeding through the nose.
Any Practitioner Tortured to Death will be Counted as a Suicide
After enduring such torture, many practitioners ended up on the verge of death. I know of at least 8 Falun Gong practitioners who have been tortured to death in Wanjia Forced Labour Camp since the persecution began. The guards told all the practitioners that if they were beaten to death, it would be counted as a suicide and their bodies would be cremated immediately -- before informing the families, so there would be no evidence of any torture.
Although I lived in this extreme horror every day, I was determined to survive without compromising my beliefs.
A Struggle to Let the Outside World Know About the Persecution
My husband and children cried and begged the guards to be allowed to visit me on many occasions, but to no avail. Family members of Falun Gong practitioners were not allowed any visitation rights.
On another occasion, my two younger sisters came from overseas to visit me. They stood at the door, crying and begging to be let in, and they refused to leave. Suddenly it started raining. They covered their faces with their raincoats and went straight past the security guard, and quickly ran inside the hospital. By then I had been on hunger strike for over 50 days.
When I saw them I somehow found the strength to get out of bed. I got outside the door and grabbed the guardrail in the corridor with all my strength. I stared at my two younger sisters. When my sisters saw how emaciated I was, they began crying loudly in the corridor. I was crying too. I told them, "You need to contact international organizations and let the world know what is happening to me!"
In March, 2002, I started writing letters on tissue paper within the Labour Camp to the Harbin Justice Bureau, the Harbin Public Security Department and to the Province's Public Security Ministry. The letters I wrote were each five feet long. On several occasions they were almost taken away by the warden.
The day after I finished the letters some people from the Justice Bureau came to inspect the labour camp. When they came to my ward I personally handed the letters to them.
After nine months in prison, my health had deteriorated so much that I couldn't even stand up. My eyes and nose were festering with blood and pus from the force feedings and my eyesight was almost gone. My hunger strike lasted more than 100 days. Towards the end of it, my nose was so swollen that the doctors could no longer force a tube into it. I was on the verge of death, and the doctors knew it. They called my relatives and gave them the responsibility of nursing me back to health.
When I was finally released in May 2002, I had been in jail for nine months. Nine months that seemed like an eternity...I felt as though I had just emerged from hell.
After my release, I immediately began practicing the Falun Gong exercises again. My body and eyes quickly recovered. When the police realized I was healthy once again, they wanted to send my back to the labour camp.
In June 2002, to avoid further persecution, I went to visit my family in the United Arab Emirates. On the way, I used every opportunity to tell the Chinese people at the airports the truth about the persecution. Eventually, someone from the Chinese Embassy saw me and persuaded the local police to arrest me, telling them that I was a dangerous criminal. The Chinese Embassy asked the United Arab Emirates to deport me back to China. Miraculously, through around-the-clock efforts by Canadian Falun Gong practitioners and the Canadian Government, I was given special permission to move to Vancouver, Canada in November 2002, to be with my son.
The rescue efforts of the Canadians probably saved my life.
What I have been through in the past three years is a nightmare. Although the nightmare is over for me, there are still hundreds of thousands of bloody nightmares like mine on-going in China. I hope that by publishing my story, I can help end these nightmares as well.
I attribute my ability to survive the horrific torture to the principles of Falun Gong: �Truthfulness-Compassion-Tolerance' exist deep in my heart, far beyond the reach of any electric baton, far beyond the reach of a prison guard's fist. Lies and slanderous propaganda dissolve when faced with the truth. Brutality and torture is no match for compassion. Violence and hatred cannot penetrate tolerance.
For nine months, they tried to make me believe these principles are not true.
I feel real freedom is not obtained externally, but internally within the realm of �Truthfulness-Compassion-Tolerance.' Even when faced with extreme torture and persecution, true Falun Gong practitioners can withstand the unimaginable -- even to the end of their life -- in order to defend a common good greater than ourselves: the universal principles of �Truthfulness-Compassion-Tolerance.'
Yuzhi Wang is currently living with her son in Vancouver with a Minister's Permit for Canada. She spends her time letting people know about the persecution of Falun Gong in China.
At the time of Ms. Wang's release from Wanjia Labour Camp in May 2002, reports had been verified by the Falun Dafa Information Center of eight Falun Gong practitioners who had died inside the labour camp from severe torture. Since her release, six more have been reported dead inside Wanjia Labour Camp.
To arrange an interview with Ms. Wang, please contact in Canada Cindy Gu +1 647-999-8530 or Joel Chipkar +1 416-709-8678.
NEWS - Feb. 13, 2003
Falun Dafa Information Center, www.faluninfo.net
FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE CONTACT THE FALUN DAFA INFORMATION CENTER- Contacts: Gail Rachlin 917-501-4441, Erping Zhang 646-533-6147, Levi Browde 914-720-0963, or Feng Yuan 917-941-1097. Email: [email protected], Website: http://www.faluninfo.net/