January 01, 2013 | By Guo Jufeng, a Falun Gong practitioner in Germany
(Minghui.org) From the Editor: Guo Jufeng went to Germany in 2008. He used to be an engineer in Dalian City, Liaoning Province. He was arrested four times in China because he practiced Falun Gong. During his most recent detention, he was transferred to three labor camps, and he was subjected to more than 30 types of mental and physical torture.
Twelve practitioners he knew had lost their lives during the persecution. Among them, seven were from Dalian City and five were under the age of 18. Ms. Wang Qiuxia, Mr. Wang Zhehao, and Mr. Guo frequented the same Falun Gong exercise site in the Shahekou District of Dalian City. Before the persecution began in 1999, there were more than 300 practitioners who frequented the same site. Ms. Wang was beaten to death in the Dalian Labor Camp because she refused to abandon her belief in Truth-Compassion-Tolerance. Mr. Wang was beaten so badly at the Huludao Labor Camp that his face was covered in blood. He died as a result of persecution after being transferred to two labor camps. Mr. Wang was only 27 years old.
Mr. Cao Yuqiang and Mr. Guo were transferred between three labor camps together. They obtained freedom after holding a hunger strike together. Mr. Cao was later arrested again and persecuted to death.
After I read the article “A Plea for Help from a Slave Labor Camp in China Spurs U.S. Government Investigation” (http://en.minghui.org/html/articles/2012/12/28/136806.html ) on Minghui, I was both shocked and touched. I was moved by the courage of the writer and by the fact that this letter had traveled through so many iron gates and checkpoints before finally reaching a kind person. What if this letter had gotten lost during the shipping? What if this letter had not been discovered by the purchaser? What if this letter was discovered by a person who did not care? However, none of the above happened. The letter was really blessed by Buddhas and gods!
Now, other than from reading the letter, we cannot imagine how the writer could have written the letter and what his or her surroundings were like. What can we do for this precious truth-clarification letter? It makes me think back to when I was detained in a labor camp and also successfully managed to send a truth-clarification letter out of the labor camp. Maybe my personal experience will help Ms. Julie Keith and other concerned people to better understand the environments inside the labor camps and the difficulty of sending any truth-clarification letters out. I hope that my personal experience can supplement the context of the discovered letter.
Difficult to Exchange and Organize Information
I came from the same province as the author: Liaoning. Twelve years ago, I was sentenced to two-and-a-half-years of forced labor without due process or legal representation. I was illegally detained at the Huludao City Labor Camp in Liaoning Province. This was my third labor camp detainment. My cellmate was Mr. Cao Yuqiang, who was later persecuted to death.
We remained locked in a cell every day. Other local Falun Gong practitioners were detained on the same floor, but we were isolated from them. Two prisoners monitored us 24 hours a day. I stayed in the first room on the right side of the building. I had to walk the entire hallway to go to the restroom. There were surveillance cameras on the ceilings of the hallway. We were watched even when brushing our teeth, washing our faces, and using the toilet. Prisoners followed us closely. We were not allowed to interact with other Falun Gong practitioners, including conversations or visits to other cells. We had to have our meals in our own cells.
Upon arrival, I exchanged information with Mr. Cao. Under strict surveillance, we were not allowed to talk freely even though we stayed in the same room. Any conversations regarding Falun Gong were absolutely forbidden. The information exchange took a long time and we did it little by little.
Some of the information we shared was about the persecution we experienced at a previous labor camp that we had both been detained at: the Guanshanzi Labor Camp in Liaoning Province. There are two province-level labor camps in Liaoning Province. One is the Masanjia Labor Camp, which is mentioned in the truth-clarification letter. It mainly detains female Falun Gong practitioners. The other is the Guanshanzi Labor Camp, which mainly detains male Falun Gong practitioners. The common characteristic of these two labor camps is that guards torture Falun Gong practitioners and force them to perform salve labor.
In the beginning of August 2001, 20 Falun Gong practitioners, including Mr. Cao and myself, were secretly transferred to the Guanshanzi Labor Camp from the Dalian City Labor Camp. From the fourth day on, we were tortured in turns. We were locked in small cells and forced to perform slave labor at a stone or brick field.
Mr. Cao and I were the only two transferred out of the Guanshanzi Labor Camp. We were then detained in the same cell at the Huludao Labor Camp, and he shared with me what he knew. As we shared more and more, he told me about the experiences of other persecuted practitioners. We had a brave idea: We would seek opportunities to spread the truth of the persecution. It seemed like a fairy tale to us at the time.
The first difficulty was that we had no paper or pen. The information that Mr. Cao told me was very important. I could not freely communicate with him due to the monitoring prisoners, so I had to memorize all the information that he shared with me in one shot because any possibility of discussing it again was scarce. When the information he shared with me about others who were persecuted exceeded five Falun Gong practitioners, my brain felt a bit overburdened. I needed to make sure that I did not mix up the victims’ information: When was one locked in a small cell? How many times? For how long?
I repeated the information every day in order to retain it in my memory. I did not think about whether or not our idea would succeed, but I simply focused on what I should do and waited for the opportunity. I held firmly to an ancient Chinese proverb: “Faith will move the mountain.”
A Pen Comes Out of Nowhere
All of sudden, Mr. Cao told me that he had found a pen. I was very happy. I almost cried out. However, I could not show my joy, not even a smile. We called it a pen, but it was really just a pen core. I admired his persistence. I did not have the opportunity to find out how he obtained the pen. Maybe he had acquired an entire pen but had to discard the rest.
With the pen, our plan took another step. Even though the pen core was not that convenient, it was enough. I deeply thanked the gods for this favor. If the ink in the pen core was not enough to sustain the entire writing, it would be such a pity! But this didn’t happen.
I allocated the information and organized a draft in my mind. We had a pen, but what about paper? I suddenly thought of toilet paper. Even though it was very soft, it would do. When should I write? Of course, daytime would not do. The light was always on during the night. Prisoners on duty walked back and forth all night long. The best time would be from midnight to the early morning. Though I would not be able to sleep, the sacrifice was so trivial compared to the reward of spreading the truth!
I encouraged myself and suppressed my fears and worries. Any negative thoughts would lead me to give up: “Will this work? It may not even reach the outside world after I have written it. Can I face the torture once I am discovered? Do any prisoners know my plan? Are they just waiting to catch me as I execute my plan?”
I did not give such negative thoughts any energy. When they emerged in my brain, I did not entertain them and purged them right away.
No Sleep That Night
The scenes that followed were filled with the kinds of conflict and anxiety that most people could only imagine appearing in movies. However, I did not have that kind of ease because this was not a movie. If my plan was found out, electronic batons and other torture would really be used on me.
That night, even though I closed my eyes, I was finalizing the article in my mind. I could not show any difference in my usual behavior. I could not toss in bed. I also had to know the patterns of the prisoners on duty, such as when he would be far or near and how long it would take him to come back to my proximity.
It was very quiet after midnight. I very carefully took out my pen and paper. I first asked for blessings from gods and Buddhas, and then I started writing. I pulled the blanket up over my mouth. The blanket could not cover my eyes because my eyes and ears were needed to observe the prisoners on duty. If I pulled the blanket over my eyes, prisoners would be skeptical. Also, I needed the light in the room so I could write under the blanket.
When the prisoners on duty turned around to walk away from me, I could move a little bit and create a little room under the quilt. I could not even open my eyes when writing. The font size could not be too big. When the prisoners on duty turned and started walking toward me, I had to stop writing so that I would have enough time to react if any of them came at me. For example, I could swallow the paper and transfer the pen core. My mind was highly focused and alert at all times.
In the end, I finished writing the letter. It was over 2,800 Chinese characters in length.
Timing Was Everything
The article was done. However, I could not put it in my pocket. The cells were also subjected to random searches. Therefore, I had to hide the article well.
One day, a prisoner’s family came to visit. This prisoner, who was jailed for theft, asked me a question. I was nervous and had to make a difficult decision in a very short time.
He asked me quietly, “Do you need any help from me?” I wondered: “Is he trying to help or get my letter and report me to the police? How much can I believe a thief? If he does want to help me, does he even have the capability to help me?” His family members were waiting for him in the visiting room. I had to give him my article before he saw his family. I thought momentarily and told him my request: “I have to go to the restroom.”
During our walk to the restroom, I continued to think whether or not I should give him the letter. I thought: “Now that the article had been written, it needs to be sent out one way or another. I have to seize the opportunity now that it has emerged.”
Once we arrived at the restroom, I asked the prisoner: “Can you give me your cigarette box?” He handed it to me. I took the letter out and put it to the box. I asked him: “Please mail this to the address written there. Thanks.” After that, the prisoner sent me to my cell and went to see his family.
Over the next two days or so, I was very nervous. I did not know where the letter went. I often thought: “If a group of guards rush into my room, what should I do?” The thought eroded my mind and put me into a deep, suffocating sea of darkness. I reminded myself of the significance of the letter and the reason that I wrote it.
The letter was at last received by my friend. My friend was shocked and organized the information and sent it to the Minghui website. The article“Falun Dafa Practitioners’ Fa Rectification Path at the Guanshanzi Forced Labor Camp, Liaoning Province”( http://en.minghui.org/emh/articles/2002/5/28/22527.html ) was published on May 18, 2002. At that time, I was on the fifth day of my hunger strike. After 24 days, I was released unconditionally.
It Is Not Always Successful
Attempts to send out information from the prison or labor camps are not always successful. A Falun Gong practitioner who had been detained for five years in the Huazi Prison in Liaoyang City, Liaoning Province, told me, “Once, a prisoner was scheduled for release, and per the request of a Falun Gong practitioner, he hid a letter on himself to take out of the prison. Before he exited the prison, the letter was discovered during the final search. This prisoner was sent back to prison for another year.”
A lot of slave labor products are now known to the outside world. A prisoner who was once detained at the Shanghai Women’s Prison told me that she had made tens of thousands of British national flags. They were said to be prepared for the Queen’s birthday.
The mother of a friend of mine is now detained at the Second Ward of the No. 1 Women’s Labor Camp in Shandong Province. There are more than 50 slave laborers and two assembly lines. They have worked on between 5,000 and 6,000 fishing vessels, and they work between 15 and 18 hours daily. The fishing vessels belong to the Weihai Guangwei Fisheries of Shandong Province. It is a subsidiary of the Weihai Guangwei Group of Shandong Province. Its products export to more than 70 countries in the world.
The labor camp does not pay the labor at all. Such intensive labor would amount to about 300,000 Chinese yuan (~48,142 USD) per month if we assumed that each individual received 200 yuan (~ 32 USD) per day for 50 the people working on these two assembly lines. Labor camps do not have salary costs at all. Such camps only make illegal profits.
When people initially heard the truth of the Nazi concentration camps in Germany, many found it hard to believe. However, the truth shocked everyone. “The Diary of Anne Frank” is considered one of the most important books of the 20th century because it recorded the actual daily life stories of Anne’s family during the more than two years they stayed in a secret room in an office in Amsterdam in order to avoid arrest.
Today, such horrible scenes are taking place in China every day. Tens of millions of Falun Gong practitioners are subjected to slave labor and even live organ harvesting. It challenges the bottom line of human morality. However, we still have kind people in the world, and we should all unite to resist and eliminate the erosion of our humankind’s fundamental values.
Chinese version available
CATEGORY: Imprisonment & Forced Labor