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My conscience forbids me to keep silent any longer
About four years ago, I often ate out with the deputy head of a state-run enterprise, who was in charge of Party affairs. There were over 1,000 staff members in his business, and among them were three Falun Gong practitioners. He was assigned to take care of the Falun Gong “issue” at his business and to communicate directly with the "610 Office."* One of his main responsibilities was to stop three Falun Gong practitioners from going out to appeal in public.
Should they manage to appeal somewhere in a public place, his job required him to stop them and properly "take care" of them. At the beginning, he did not take this seriously, and because he did not want to offend others, so he mainly “educated them with a thorough scolding” and used his best persuasive techniques. The three Falun Gong practitioners managed to get out twice. For this, he was severely criticized and was given stern warnings. At a meeting, the head of the municipal Party committee warned him that if the Falun Gong practitioners managed to go out one more time, even if only one of them did, he would be immediately removed from his position.
As this deputy head was still young, he did not want to hinder his career by looking bad at his workplace. But how could he make sure that they would not sneak out again?
He said to us, “I've made up my mind. I told them and my subordinates very clearly that if they get out, no matter who, I would nail his feet onto a wooden board.”
This comment made my hair stand on end.
I asked him, "Is this really the right way to handle it? That’s against the law."
He said, "Who cares?"
Because we used to be classmates, I knew him quite well. He came from a rural background and was relatively kind and honest. I went on to ask him why he would treat people this way.
He said, "I don’t see any alternatives. I'm forced to do it."
About three years ago when the Spring Festival was approaching, the persecution of Falun Gong intensified nationwide. From talking to him and a few others, I got to know that departments at various places adopted a policy of tight control to prevent Falun Gong practitioners from going out to appeal during the festival period. At that time he was in a critical moment for promotion, and if something went wrong, more than ten years of hard work would amount to nothing. For instance, once I recall that when we were eating out, someone suggested that we have a game of Mahjong, he declined the invitation with the excuse that he had to be on duty at work to keep control of Falun Gong practitioners.
I was concerned that those Falun Gong practitioners would be treated unlawfully, but found it hard to openly voice my concern.
So I asked him in a roundabout way, "Are you allowed to kill them?"
"No! As long as they don’t run away."
Then, I asked him, "Are they afraid of death?"
"They are so stubborn, that they are not afraid of death," he replied.
Finally, I couldn’t restrain myself, "That's right. They’re not even afraid of death, what else are they afraid of? You know, to those who are not afraid of death, even gods or ghosts would leave them alone. Your work place is not a political organization, so you should not be too harsh on them. You should be careful—what if the tables turn later on and Falun Gong becomes acceptable again in our society? I wouldn’t take any chances. If the situation changes, and you have to “settle accounts,” you will be the “fall guy.” I don’t think it’s smart to just obey the higher authorities because you’re afraid of losing your job. Who will look out for you when things change? So, listen to me, have mercy on people when you can, and don't make them suffer too much."
He was silent for a long time after hearing what I said. I don't know if what I said to him had some effect, but after that the Falun Gong issue was never mentioned again.
I would never have believed it possible for a person with a kind and honest nature to be forced to use cruel torture on people who simply wanted to go out to appeal, had I not heard it with my own ears. It is because of this personal experience and because I have heard and seen so much darkness in the judicial system, that when I read the following material I could only believe it was all but too true:
"It's not an exaggeration to say that the "610 Office" has murdered numerous people. Up until now, 754 practitioners have been verified as being tortured to death, and many of them died from the brutal killing in labor camps and prisons. Due to the tight blockade on information by Jiang Zemin's regime, these cases are only the tip of the iceberg. One of the victims is a woman farmer Ms. Zhao Jinhua, who is known as a very kind person in her village. Ms. Zhao was taken away by the Zhangxing County police while she was working in the farm fields. The police asked her if she would continue to practice Falun Gong. She said "yes," and they started to torture with electric and rubber police clubs, and some old, metal rotary telephones. The police tortured her for an entire week, which led to Ms. Zhao's death.
Another victim Zhao Xin, a lecturer at the Business and Economics College of Beijing Industry & Commerce University (formerly Beijing Business College), was detained by police while practicing Falun Gong exercises at a public park. Her neck had been seriously injured from the torture, with the vertebrae at the fourth, fifth, and sixth joints of her neck fractured. She passed away after suffering six months of excruciating pain. Many practitioners lives are taken away through torture, while tens of thousands of other practitioners are still suffering inhuman torture in labor concentration camps throughout China.
At Masanjia Labor Camp, the Falun Gong practitioners are stripped of their clothes in the winter season and are then cuffed to a basketball stand. They are cuffed there until they pass out and their faces are covered with numerous frost-bitten blisters. In the dark of the night, the practitioners are dragged to the restroom and brutally beaten for a 12 days at a time, until the flesh on their legs swells by almost an inch and pus leaks from their wounds.
The Tuanhe Labor Camp is notorious for its brutal persecution of Falun Gong practitioners. Early in 2001, they beat up Heilongjiang Province Dafa practitioner Lu Changjun and broke his spine, which resulted in paralysis; a Chinese student Zhao Ming who studied in Ireland was shocked with six electric batons, each carrying more than 20,000 volts; they brutally tortured Lin Chengtao, an assistant researcher in China Xiehe Medical University and Zhu Zhiliang, who graduated from Beijing University of Aviation and Spaceflight with a Master's Degree was persecuted so badly that he suffered a mental breakdown.
The doctors at Xuzhou Mental Hospital forcefully tied practitioners to beds; they give practitioners injections and force-fed them medicines. Medical staff members injected practitioners with large dosages of unknown drugs. Right after the injections, they lost consciousness. When the drugs took effect, it was so painful that it felt as if their internal organs were being torn apart.
They would roll on the floor screaming with pain. After they regained consciousness, they questioned the medical staff, "Why did you give drugs to people who are not sick?"
The staff answered, "It is not up to us; people at the top instructed us to do so. We don't want to treat you like this but we don't want to lose our jobs either."
They also said, "You will not die from these drugs but they will cause you great pain. If you stop practicing Falun Gong, we’ll stop giving you the drugs. Don’t leave the hospital on your own. If we don't gradually reduce the dosage you will either go crazy or die. Even if you run away, people would treat you as an insane person and send you back here. The pain from the reaction of the drug is very scary and hard to imagine.
One day, a practitioner put her legs in full-lotus position while sitting on a chair. The head of the hospital came over and said viciously, "Are you still practicing? We will increase the dosage until you will not know whether you are dead or alive. We’ll see if you still practice then?"
"The day before Chen Zixiu died, her captors again demanded that she renounce her faith in Falun Dafa. Barely conscious after repeated jolts from a cattle prod, the 58-year-old stubbornly shook her head. Enraged, the local officials ordered Ms. Chen to run barefoot in the snow. Two days of torture had left her legs bruised and her short black hair matted with pus and blood, said cellmates and other prisoners who witnessed the incident. She crawled outside, vomited and collapsed. She never regained consciousness, and died on Feb. 21." [Wall Street Journal April 20, 2000 issue].
The "610 Office," which specializes in persecution, has branch offices throughout the country. Its other activity is to hold countless brainwashing classes, glorified as 'study sessions' or ‘re-education schools.’ There, they arbitrarily abduct Falun Gong practitioners, deprive them of sleep and with threats of violence, force them to write statements guaranteeing that they will not practice Falun Gong.. This kind of brainwashing, forces peopleto go against their own consciences and is the equivalent of robbing them of their souls. It's even crueler than physical torture and destruction.
I believe after reading these stories, every reader has the feeling: “How inhuman! Falun Gong practitioners are our fellow countrymen; they are also citizens of the People's Republic of China. They suffered bestial torture in their own country, and this has exceeded the boundary of conscience!”
What shames me is that this stunning and shocking persecution is taking place right in front of us! They die right in front of our eyes like Sun Zhigang [a college student who was beaten to death by police because he failed to present identification]! All of this is happening in our time! It's happening in our country!
At midnight on July 20, 1999, a nationwide arrest of Falun Gong practitioners began, and now, 754 practitioners have been verified as being tortured to death. Many of them died from the brutal killing in labor camps and prisons. Due to the tight blockade of information by Jiang Zemin's regime, these cases are only the tip of the iceberg. Jiang Zemin employed the army and the police to beat up Falun Gong practitioners in broad daylight, including elderly people, women, pregnant women and children...according to “unofficial,” but reliable accounts. Falun Gong practitioners who suffered persecution at the time (including being dispersed by police force, beaten, illegally detained, interrogated, etc) amounted nationwide to more than 300,000 people.
These innocent practitioners suffered brutality on the same scale as the Jewish people in the Nazi concentration camps, as the Chinese people who were tortured by the Japanese army during World War II, and as the people who were persecuted during the Cultural Revolution!
Did the 754 people commit any true offense? Even if they did, should they have been treated in such an inhuman way? I can say for sure that they were innocent, and they were victims of a political plot. The "610 Office" cannot escape the responsibility for the fact that these people died such tragic deaths right under our noses, like that of Sun Zhigang.
According to the same unofficial source of information: The "610 Office" carries out this policy of persecuting Falun Gong by defaming their reputations, bankrupting them financially, and destroying them physically. Later, they added more specific instructions: "no law regulates the treatment of Falun Gong practitioners," and "death of Falun Gong practitioners from beating is nothing and shall be counted as suicide; the body shall be directly cremated without investigating the person's identification."
People like us who are familiar with what happened during the "Cultural Revolution" and the inhuman treatment people experienced in the birth-control movement such as "if you see a person drinking poison to commit suicide, do not wrestle the bottle from him; if you see a person hanging himself to commit suicide, do not help untie the rope."
In the last four years, I once believed the government's propaganda attacking Falun Gong. I took an unconcerned attitude towards the Falun Gong issue and did not pay much attention to the inhuman suffering they were experiencing. I kept silent while they were being persecuted— which meant that I indirectly chose to conspire with the autocratic regime. Today, all of a sudden, I woke up to their tragic situation. I see that an enormous evil has been released and is still expanding. I feel shocked, and my heart and conscience are filled with guilt.
I feel I must break my silence and I want to loudly appeal to the intellectual circles and people who are on the Internet:
Kind-hearted Chinese people who are still silent, wake up! While you are keeping silent, the spirit of the Nazis has returned and usurped the power of our government, killing your countrymen with the most inhuman means. It is time we take action! It is time we offered the victims our helping hands! Voice your support to those unfortunate people who have the same civil rights as us! Say "No" to that huge beast. It is high time we ended this miscarriage of justice.
EDITORS NOTE - Du Daobin is a writer from Hubei Province, China who has published numerous articles overseas in recent years commenting on China's current political issues.
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