After a month of preparation, the 610 Office was ready to start the nightmare for millions of Chinese people. On July 20, 1999 at midnight, Falun Gong’s voluntary coordinators in various parts of China were arrested simultaneously. Huang remember that the coordinators in Tsinghua were monitored. Policemen stood outside their homes, keeping watch on them. Their phones were tapped, and even their Internet activities were spied on.
In the next two days, Huang, along with many others, went to the State Council Appeal Office once again to petition. This time, no government official talked to them. It was the police who was waiting for them. They used violence to force the Falun Gong practitioners to get into trucks. They were taken to Shi Jing Shan Stadium and Feng Tai Stadium, where they were beaten and met by the police from their hometown, then taken away. Huang, who was taken to Shi Jing Shan Stadium, witnessed over a dozen of policemen beating a practitioner who refused to get into the car. Another practitioner was beaten with a baton so severely that his t-shirt was broken into strings. Soon Huang was taken back to school by Tsinghua officials.
On the 22nd, the CCP’s mouthpiece CCTV started broadcasting programs that slander Falun Gong. All over China, work units requested the workers to stop their work and watch CCTV. At about 3pm, Huang and his classmates were told to go out to the hallway of their department building. A big television stood there, informing the students that the Falun Dafa Association was banned, and that CCP members were not allowed to practice Falun Gong.
Huang told me that he was originally accepted as a PhD student in Tsinghua, but that fall he was forbidden to register for classes. Later he was interviewed by Information Center for Human Rights & Democracy founder Frank Liu Siqing. In October, he accepted another interview from an Australian reporter, and as soon as he stepped out of the reporter’s apartment, he was arrested by the Ministry of State Security and was interrogated.
After that Huang had to go into hiding because the police was constantly looking for him. He could not go back to school, and no company would employ him because of his belief.
In light of the government-controlled media fabricating incidents of deaths and suicides to demonize Falun Gong so as to justify the persecution, Huang and ten other Falun Gong practitioners started The Epoch Times to clarify the truth and to report on all kinds of human rights abuses in China, since the victims of these issues had no means to voice their opinion.
They rented an apartment in the Guangdong province, thinking that the police wouldn’t know where they were. But on December 16, 2000, more than ten policemen broke into the apartment, arrested everyone and took all the equipment. The chief editor of The Epoch Times was a Macau resident, but he was sentenced to ten years imprisonment and is still in jail.
Without any legal process, Huang was put in the Zhuhai 2nd Detention Center, where he faced interrogation every day. Meanwhile he was put to work for 16-20 hours per day, making export goods in the prison cell. He once went on a hunger strike to protest, and after five days without food or water, the prison guards chained him to a cross made of wooden planks. They pried his teeth and held his throat open with chopsticks, then force-fed him with rice porridge.
After ten months he was finally tried, and another year later, charged with “subverting the political power of the state”, he was sentenced to another 3 years in Sihui Prison. On top of slave laboring, he was given brainwash sessions there. He painfully recollected the memories of being forced to read books and watch videos that traduce Falun Gong, while prison guards would talk to him to convince him to give up his faith. At one point he was brainwashed for a whole month non-stop. Three prison guards, each working eight hours a day, made sure that he couldn’t sleep at all. Another practitioner, Tantai Dongdong, was beaten so severely that three of his ribs were broken.
One day the guards organized a denunciation meeting for Huang and Fan Chenyu, another steadfast Falun Gong practitioner. There were anti-Falun Gong slogans and banners on the walls, and in front of hundreds of prisoners, they were forced to kneel. Huang refused to do it, so the prison guards kicked him to the ground. Then more than ten prison guards shocked each of them with high-voltage electric batons. The worst part, Huang said, was that they shocked him in sensitive parts like his palms and ears.
That, however, is just a small part of the violence imposed on Falun Gong practitioners. The United Nation’s Special Rapporteur on Torture, Manfred Nowak, has reported that “Falun Gong practitioners made up the vast majority of torture victims in China, who experienced beatings, electric shocks, painful shackling of limbs, denial of medical treatment and medication and hard labor.” As quoted in an article in 2002 in the Guardian, Chinese dissidents have been locked up in mental hospitals and labeled as “political maniacs”. Recently an old woman in the Hubei Province died after being forced fed harmful drugs and injected with toxic medication.
What’s more, living Falun Gong practitioners in labor camps have had their organs harvested for the organ transplant industry. In 2006, human rights lawyer David Matas and Canada’s former Secretary of State for Asian Pacific Matters David Kilgour conducted an investigation on the matter and confirmed the allegations. They reported an interview with an accountant and ex-wife of a surgeon of a hospital in China. She mentioned that in 2001, she noticed a sharp increase in the hospital’s purchase of food and surgical equipment, and later her former husband told her that he had to remove the corneas from Falun Gong practitioners. In some phone calls made by people pretending to be interested in purchasing an organ, Chinese doctors have also admitted that healthy Falun Gong practitioners are the sources of the organs.
Some detained Falun Gong practitioners’ families have received their corpse after they were persecuted to death, and their organs are missing. Moreover, practitioners who have escaped being killed have reported that they were given intensive medical tests.
But Huang and his fellow practitioners wouldn’t give in, because they know that Falun Gong is a practice that truly guides people to righteousness, and it also brings good health. Falun Gong can solve the conflicts between people and bring good effects to the society, Huang said. “The persecution is wrong;” he added, “it is based on lies.”
Many may remember the so-called self-immolation of five Falun Gong practitioners in the Tiananmen Square on 23rd January, 2001. The television in Sihui Prison was always turned off, but on that day, the prison guards turned it on and Huang saw that fabricated news. As a scientist, it was very obvious to him that it wasn’t real. If it was real, he said, how come Wang Jindong’s hair didn’t catch on fire? How come the plastic bottle between his legs didn’t burn? When someone sets themselves on fire, the surrounding air would become so hot that it hurts the throat when they breathe. However, the little girl Liu Siying could yell loudly for her mother. Could all that be true? This is why the brainwashing and torture could not change Huang’s mind.
In December 2005, Huang was released. The police escorted him back to Tsinghua and had him report to the 610 Office there. He was monitored by the school’s secretary of the Central Committee of the Chinese Communist Party, and a year later, some police talked to him to know how strong his faith was. Because of these pressures, he decided to go to another country so that he could have an unrestrained cultivation environment, and that he could tell other people about his experience and expose the CCP’s persecution. He arrived in the United States in March, 2008, after receiving a scholarship.
When he goes to the grocery stores there, he would often see the products that he had once processed. On top of feeling sympathetic for the customers who buy these products without knowing about the poor environment that they were made in, he would recall the days when he was in Cell No. 27 building the smile on the nuts with his own tears, and wonder how his friends who are still imprisoned are. In order to help the people who are still suffering, he has written articles and accepted interviews in the United States to let the world know what is happening in China.
When asked if he wants to go back to China, he said sadly, “I can’t anymore.” But if the persecution ends, he would love to go back, because “after all, I am still a Chinese. That land is still my motherland.”
Now, perhaps because it reminds him most of his beloved motherland, we can see Huang promoting the Divine Performing Arts’ Chinese New Year Spectacular in grocery stores. As he hands out the flyers, his heart is with his family and friends in China. He calls on the people in the free world to pay attention to the events happening in China, and to write to their governments and International organizations asking for the resistance of such persecution, so that the “happy nuts” on the shelf next to him would once again be a symbol of happiness, not oppression.
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