Sept. 25, 2021 | By a Minghui correspondent in Heilongjiang Province, China
Ms. Li Zhuhua, 69, started practicing Falun Gong, a spiritual discipline also known as Falun Dafa, on April 22, 1996. She has been repeatedly arrested and tortured for her belief after the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) launched a nationwide campaign against Falun Gong on July 20, 1999. She was sentenced to three years in prison. Her son Mr. Zhang Ce, also a practitioner, was given ten years and expelled from college.
The persecution separated Ms. Li and her son for more than ten years. Her younger brother and his family also lived in fear and distress due to the persecution.
Blessings from Practicing Falun Gong
Ms. Li, of Harbin City, Heilongjiang Province, was diagnosed with uterine cancer in 1996. An operation would require at least 7,000 yuan, which she couldn’t afford.
A few days after her diagnosis, she decided to practice Falun Gong. Three months later, Ms. Li found that her cancer was gone when she returned to the hospital for another checkup. Her other diseases including rheumatism, lower back pain, sinusitis, and nephritis, also disappeared. She has not taken any medicine since then and enjoys the joy of being illness-free.
Not only physically, Ms. Li also had great changes mentally. She was happy every day, feeling that her life was plentiful and fulfilling. She used to take kickbacks because of her job in the procurement of materials and delivery of products for a pharmaceutical factory. Living by Falun Gong’s principles of Truthfulness, Compassion, Forbearance, she no longer kept the money for herself and handed it over to the company. The factory manager was very touched, saying that his job would be very easy if everyone in the factory practiced Falun Gong.
Ms. Li also became kind and considerate to everyone around her. She was the only one of the three daughters-in-law to take care of their father-in-law during his stay in the hospital before his passing away.
Seeing his mother in good spirits, her son Mr. Zhang felt inspired and he took up Falun Gong as well. His academic performance improved.
Arrested and Tortured for Clarifying the Truth
The mother and son’s peaceful life was disrupted in April 1999, when local authorities tried to shut down their Falun Gong practice site. After the persecution started on July 20 that year, the police came to local practitioners’ homes and forced them to hand over their Falun Gong books and related materials. They also followed practitioners and monitored their activities.
One day in May 2000, Ms. Li told people the facts about Falun Gong in her aunt’s hometown in Shulan City, Jilin Province and was arrested. She was taken to Tiecheng Police Station for interrogation. She was handcuffed and hung up for 11 hours, with her toes barely touching the floor. The 300 yuan she had was taken away by the police.
In order to force Ms. Li to reveal the sources of the Falun Gong materials she gave out, deputy chief Du Yude and three officers hit her all over her body. They also poured three bottles of mustard oil into her mouth, nostrils, and eyes. Ms. Li almost choked and she felt her face was burning with unimaginable pain.
Ms. Li was taken to Nanshan Detention Centre in Jilin at around 11 p.m. Upon her arrival, several inmates were scared to see her swollen face and the bruises on her arms and legs.
Twenty-five days later, Ms. Li was brought back to Harbin and held at the Harbin No. 2 Detention Centre for another 20 days. Her younger brother was forced to pay for the police’s travel expenses and another local practitioner paid the police 3,000 yuan before she was released.
Three Years in Heilongjiang Women’s Prison
On December 8, 2000, Ms. Li took a trip to visit her aunt in Cangzhou City, Hebei Province. She stayed overnight in Beijing for a bus transfer, only to be arrested in the evening and held at the Tongzhou District Detention Centre, until she was transferred to the Seventh Division of Beijing Public Security Bureau at the end of February 2001.
In late May 2001, Ms. Li was taken back to Harbin and sentenced to three years in the Heilongjiang Women’s Prison. Because she refused to renounce Falun Gong, she was tightly handcuffed in the back, forced to sit from morning to evening and tied to the bed when sleeping at night. The torture lasted for one month.
Ms. Li was assigned to the No. 9 Team. As she and other practitioners protested the persecution by refusing to do the forced labor, they were forced to sit on icy cold cement ground during the day. Sometimes the guards forced them to sit on small stools without moving. They were fed poor quality food, prohibited from buying daily necessities and denied family visits. Instigated by the guards, the inmates often beat and verbally abused them.
The prison employed different ways to torture the practitioners. For the entire winter of 2002, the practitioners in the No. 9 Team were ordered to walk all day around the prison yard. All of them were extremely tired. On one occasion, practitioner Ms. Wang Wanzhen passed out from fatigue, but she was told to resume the walk only after a short rest.
On December 7, 2003, Ms. Li was finally released. She was told by her neighbor that her home was broken into and searched by two plainclothes officers after her arrest. They also installed surveillance software on her phone.
Son Sentenced to Ten Years
When Ms. Li returned home after serving three years, her son had been arrested in 2002 for going to Beijing to appeal for the right to practice Falun Gong. He was expelled from college and sentenced to 10 years in prison.
The authorities at Hulan Prison barred Ms. Li from visiting Mr. Zhang or making a cash deposit for him. One day in the summer of 2006, Ms. Li received a call from a prison guard named Li Gang, who blamed Mr. Zhang for not renouncing Falun Gong. As they were talking, Ms. Li heard Mr. Zhang shouting that he was beaten by a group of guards. Ms. Li protested to the guard, but to no avail.
After the mother and son finally reunited ten years later, they still had to face tremendous financial hardship as a result of the persecution. Both of them did odd jobs with very low pay to get by.
Plight of Brother’s Family
Ms. Li’s younger brother and his family used to practice Falun Gong. Her nephew Li He was in high school when the persecution started in 1999. One day in class, a teacher slandered Falun Gong. Li He refuted, “Falun Gong is not a cult. It is a profound practice and there is nothing wrong with it. Every Falun Gong practitioner is a good person.”
The teacher and all his classmates were stunned by his talk. The teacher was very angry and brought him to the principal’s office. His father was then called to the school from work.
The teacher said to the father, “Do you also practice Falun Gong? Why did you educate your son against the government?”
Seeing his son nervous and painful, Ms. Li’s brother was very sad. He apologised to the teacher and the principal against his will. He said that he and his son would not practice Falun Gong since the government did not allow it.
Since that day, Li He became afraid of seeing his teachers and thus decided not go back to the school. He became withdrawn and low-spirited. He suffered depression and mild psychosis.
Then, because of fear of persecution, Li He’s parents also stopped practicing Falun Gong. They constantly worried about their son and some of their health problems recurred. Li He’s mother died of blood cancer in November 2014 at the age of 55. Having turned 32 in 2015, Li He could not work like a normal person and still heavily relied on his father’s care.
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