Amy Minghui Yu is not an orphan but she fears she could become one at any time.
Her father, mother, and an aunt are prisoners in China. They have committed no crime, done no wrong, they simply adhere to truthfulness, compassion, and tolerance in their daily lives, as Amy does.
Twenty-six years old and living in London, Amy chose her middle name, Minghui, soon after her father was arrested nearly ten years ago.
“Ming Hui” is a Chinese term that may be translated as “Clear Wisdom.”
In pre-communist China, when spiritual concepts flowed through everyday affairs, ideas of being clear and wise would have been used often. Yet, Amy named herself after a website.
Ming Hui is an international, multi-language website reporting on how practitioners of Falun Gong live their lives. Since 1999, when Falun Gong was banned in China, it has focused on how people in China live with and circumvent the national persecution of the estimated one hundred million Chinese Falun Gong practitioners.
Five entries on the website relate to Amy’s father, Mr. Yu Zonghai. In one it says of Mudanjiang Prison, where he is being kept:
“Mudanjiang Prison is nicknamed the ‘death concentration camp.’ … The medical and sanitation facilities are extremely bad. The guards force prisoners to labour over 11 hours daily, including holidays and weekends. In order to achieve economic goals, the prison allocates prisoners to each ward chief, and makes each ward chief responsible for submitting a predetermined profit to the prison. Each ward chief is pressured into achieving the assigned economic profit, and also making some income for himself. This way, without any constraints, they try to extract the maximum amount of labour from the prisoners and yet don’t pay them a cent of compensation. The Party also assigns operation of the prison’s meal hall to the prison guards, contracting those responsible to submit a profit of 1.5 million yuan [160,000 pounds] annually.”
Amy tries to publicise that her father is physically deteriorating. She has designed postcards for people to sign and send to the prison to call for his release.
A photograph on the postcard taken of her father by a family member shows her father sitting behind thick glass talking through a telephone: his head shaved with stubble growing back, eyes hollowed and face bruised with possible scars. He has the neglected beginnings of a beard.
Together with his hands, that is all that is visible of his body but visitors have reported that Mr. Yu “was brutally beaten. His leg was broken and his breastbone extruded from his chest. He still suffers dizziness, cannot see clearly and has problems when walking.”
Of her last visit to him several years ago Amy said; “I am afraid he may not be able hold on till he returns home … I found him very tired. He is actually a person who is very strong mentally; I had never seen that look before on his face. I fear his hope for life has been torn away.”
To spread her campaign she reads to small groups from a script. It becomes obvious that she uses a script in order not to lose track through remembered grief. When Amy’s mother was arrested, she pushed Amy, then 16, away from her to keep Amy from also getting arrested. Sometimes Amy’s voice quakes as she retells what happened and only hints at the devastation her family situation has brought her.
Collegues of her father were also taken and some have been killed. They were people Amy knew well.
Though relatively safe, when she first came to stay in the UK she still found it hard to trust people, not wanting to tell her story to Amnesty International, for instance. Amy has only seen her parents for eight hours in ten years – without touch, behind glass, on a telephone line, and being watched What will happen to her parents remains unknown.
Amy is emotionally tortured by her family’s imprisonment. In spite of not having been physically beaten or imprisoned by the CCP, she is, nevertheless, persecuted and restrained by the mix of negative emotions caused by its destruction of her family.
“I changed my name,” she said, “to remember what had happened, to remind myself to never forget it wherever I may go, whoever I may become.”
With encouragement from friends, she has approached local politicians, telling them about her parents and persuading them to put pressure on the CCP for their release.
At the end of her script she reads, “in the face of being tortured and even being killed, they still stand up for their right of belief, by doing so they show the whole world what true human beings should be like.”
Amy respects her parents, and yearns for their advice, but can only use her memory of them as guidance. And to help her memory, she has changed her name.
Link to the English MingHui website
Articles on the MingHui site related to Yu Zonghai