January 06, 2013 | By Shan Zhengqing from Shanghai, China
(Minghui.org) I was born during the Chinese Civil War (the conflict between Chinese nationalists and Chinese Communists), and experienced various class-struggle movements launched by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) after it seized power through violence. I’m now in the autumn of my life. I have mixed feelings whenever I recall those moments in my life during the various political movements, feeling and experiences that are engraved in my soul.
I entered middle school during the “Great Leap Forward” period. I joined the great army of steel workers along with other teachers and students. We sawed off those ancestral engraved iron handrails along the stairs and aisles in school buildings, then melted them in a big oven that we built with soil on the sports field. I asked my teacher, “It’s a pity that we sawed off such nice things. Can we really make steel by melting them in this oven?” The teacher stared at me and answered, “You want to slack off, right? You won’t go wrong by answering the call of the Party.”
One individual was undergoing reform under surveillance in our work group. I heard that he had been the head of teaching and research. He trusted the CCP’s suggestion to “Let a hundred flowers blossom, let a hundred schools of thought contend,” so he brought up an honest criticism of the Party. As a result, he was classified as a “rightist,” and was not allowed to teach any longer. He was sent to clean the grounds or do other menial labor. He never spoke in my presence; however, one time he whispered to me while I was sawing an iron rail, and told me not to saw it in such a way that would cause a big space between remaining rails, because that might result in a future accident. Surprisingly, somebody reported this. The teacher came and asked me what he said, and I told the truth. I did not expect that a “criticism meeting” would be organized for this. I was asked to expose the “crime” that the “rightist” committed in undermining what the party called for, which was considered the new trend in the class struggle. My head dropped and my face was flushed. I spoke haltingly and repeated what he said to me. I looked like the one being criticized.
A heartbreaking accident happened after that. As the stair handrails became sparse, one of my classmates missed a step and fell from the third floor. My friend was severely injured and subsequently became disabled. My classmate’s injury intensified my guilt over the “rightist” being criticized, with a shadow in my heart that I couldn’t erase for the rest of my life. Prior to graduation from middle school, I walked around the school and didn’t want to leave. I found a utility room piled with the fruit of our diligent work – a pile of rusty iron. Some banners were scattered around, with traces of the words: “Surpass Britain in 15 Years.” I remembered my teacher’s statement, “You won’t go wrong by answering the call of the Party.” I remembered that “rightist” that I felt guilty about. I remembered my disabled classmate who became bedridden for the rest of his life. A chain of questions perplexed me during my youth.
I was in High School during the “Great Hunger” period which lasted three years, from 1958-61. I lived in the school and was allowed only 15.5 kg (about 34 lbs) of grain per month. I was growing fast at that age, so that amount of grain wasn’t enough for me (we didn’t have any other food or meat at that time). However, I still had to save 3 kg of food for my younger brothers and sisters who stayed at home. I often felt hungry and didn’t dare to exercise my body. When my uncle came, he envied those of us who lived in the city. He told us that some people in rural areas had already starved to death, and he’d even heard a tragic story about people who exchanged their children and ate them. He brought some bread made of something I didn’t recognize. I was hungry, so I took a big bite of the bread, but I couldn’t swallow it although I kept chewing it. I didn’t dare to spit it out because I was afraid that my mother would curse me. I just kept it in my mouth and slipped outside, then spit it into a drain. However, what I read in the newspaper at that time were those “highly important” articles talking about how our county provided a lot of grain and financial support to Africa, Asia and Latin America. Parents are the heads of the Chinese family. They would rather starve in order to feed their children. As the head of our country, the CCP generously gave away our grain to others, while caring nothing for the starving Chinese people. Why? I couldn’t figure it out. I had only one feeling – the people’s government, who repeatedly declared that it “serves the people,” was a government that sold dog meat under the label of a sheep’s head. Since then, whenever I passed by buildings of various levels of the government, I felt disgusted and even wanted to make a bag of feces and throw it onto the signboard.
The Great Cultural Revolution began soon after I entered university. Students stopped attending classes in order to carry out revolutionary activities. They tyrannized people judged to be “capitalists” and “reactionary” academic authorities, and linked up with establishment units to support the leftist movement. When I was in middle school, a trauma remained in my heart over that “rightist” being criticized. Therefore, at university, I often warned myself to take things easy. I developed a habit of looking at state propaganda from the opposite or side point of view. For example, when the state media clamored about “tight unification,” I understood that as being torn apart was the true situation; when it sang loudly that our friends were everywhere, the government was indeed separated from the world and had at most, two or three friends of the same ilk as those despotic authoritarian governments. When it advocated that the future was bright while the road ahead was tortuous, it was in fact at the door of collapse. And I came to see that the people they called to be stricken down might be good people. With this judgement criteria, I avoided being deceived by lies or blindly following the trends. I maintained my cleanliness like “lotus rising out of the mud and maintaining purity.”
After September 13, 1971, we finally learned that our “great leader” and his “dear comrade” had suddenly turned hostile (referring to the conflict between Mao Zedong and Lin Biao). A common view gradually formed among people that the Red Guards and masses had been fooled, and were being used as stage property in the movement. The halo around the “great leader” gradually faded. The “god” status of Mao dropped and he fell from the altar and became human. The calamity of ten years filled with the words “great, glorious, and correct” that resulted in the collapse of the economy disgusted many people of vision.
The “Gang of Four” (a radical CCP faction composed of Mao’s third wife, Jiang Qing, and her close associates Zhang Chunqiao, Yao Wenyuan and Wang Hongwen) fell from power in 1976. China entered the age of reform and openness. My heart developed some hope. However, what came about was bureaucratic profiteering and corruption, prices running wild, making it a difficult time for people to live. The situation continued and protests finally broke out in Tiananmen Square in 1989. I remembered going to Nanjing Road one day, which was packed with people. For the first time, I deeply felt that people are like water that can bear a boat up, but swallow it as well. A group of students came to me with a donation box. I quickly pulled out my wallet and poured all my money into the donation box. The students bowed to me together, saying: “Thank you, sir.” I immediately responded, “Thank you students for saving our country and people.” Later when I decided to go home, I realized that I didn’t have money left for a bus ticket, so I had to walk home. I overheard people talking along the way, “It’s strange. So many people coming and going these days, yet we didn’t run into a single thief.” People sighed emotionally, and said that this was due to the righteous and just atmosphere which moved and inspired everyone. I spent two hours walking home and was filled with inspiration. I was greatly intrigued and walked with a light step. However, the subsequent suppression threw me into extreme anger and sadness. Tanks in Tiananmen Square crushed students’ bodies. That also crushed my sincere hope that China would take a path of democracy and freedom. Along with the trail of tanks, my last trace of illusion about the CCP finally turned to ashes. The party dictatorship mobilized the army that was supposed to protect the country and families, to slaughter defenseless citizens during their peaceful appeal. They made themselves the enemy of the people and took the dead-end path, and its destiny will be judged by history.
The Tiananmen Square Massacre made me realize the CCP’s bloody, violent nature. Another personal incident allowed me to witness the CCP’s shamelessness and evilness. This incident involved the legal proceedings that I filed on behalf of owners in a residential quarter in order to uphold their rights.
A natural area of green land of several tens of thousands of square meters existed on the southern border of that residential quarter; there was already a plan for its conservation, but it was not yet constructed. The contract between the developer and residential quarter property owners stated explicitly that the green land area was to be developed as a public natural preserve, and the development would begin shortly after owners moved into their property. Owners looked forward to this green environment. Finally, the developer started work on the environmental preserve. However, the development suddenly stopped after several months. Messages circulated that a commercial building would be built on that preserve instead. Subsequently, a struggle ensued between owners wanting their rights upheld, and officials and the developer pursuing profits. Entrusted by owners, I researched the land planning records. I obtained a large quantity of evidence and related legal regulations, and proved that the developer and government officials had violated the law and infringed upon the owners’ rights. I proved that the developer collaborated with government officials to unilaterally change the usage of the natural land, which also infringed on public interest. I also proved that they stole a huge amount of state funding through their actions.
However, in a society with no fairness or justice, and under a system managed by greedy people instead of law, the owners’ rights were deprived in the end, whether they appealed individually in the beginning, or when they collaborated later to pursue a class action lawsuit. The court rejected the appeal, stating that converting public green land area to commercial building “did not affect the green environment.” No matter what convincing proof was presented, it was powerless in front of the dark forces that can label a deer a horse, and prohibit people from suing them. In the end, the developer, who acted in collusion with government officials, won approval and built a commercial building on that green land.
My fight to uphold citizens’ rights lasted several years. I witnessed how the government shamelessly fabricated material, how the court bent the law in administering justice and how corrupt government officials neglected their duties. My understanding of the CCP descended to a new level: I’d seen shameless and evil things before, but I’d never seen such a shameless and evil entity as the CCP.
In my eyes, the CCP is the walking dead; it is lingering on and will die in a short time. It is not worth mentioning. However, a new name, Falun Gong, gradually got my attention.
I heard about Falun Gong for the first time in the mid-1990′s. One of my friends who practiced Chinese boxing with me in the morning mentioned it to me. I didn’t pay much attention to it, and thought that it was just another type of qigong. I also practiced qigong. I thought about discussing Falun Gong with somebody and exploring it when the opportunity arose in the future. I did not expect that some time later, television, radio stations and newspapers would start reporting pages and pages about the crackdown on Falun Gong. Using my experience and habit developed over many years for observing issues, I realized that the CCP had launched another gigantic suppression movement, and the target must be a group of good people. I didn’t have more information and couldn’t find the truth anywhere. At that time, I couldn’t figure out why the CCP started a fight over a group of people practicing qigong. I could only guess from a clue from an official report about Falun Gong practitioners allegedly “Besieging Zhongnanhai” (Zhongnanhai is the central headquarters for the CCP). I guessed that Falun Gong must have reached a certain size, and that the CCP felt its power threatened because of that.
I bought a new apartment in the early 2000s, and got to know my new neighbors. One practiced Falun Gong. We lived on the same floor. She was kind, righteous and had good ideas. She was low-key and ready to help others. She practiced cultivation, took care of her family and was friendly to neighbors. She told me that she used to suffer from multiple diseases and was world-weary. However, she regained her health after practicing Falun Gong. I looked at her rosy and glowing face and believed her. Jiang Zemin’s regime drove the propaganda machine at full speed to demonize Falun Gong in order to provoke people’s hatred. It defamed practitioners as a group of crazy people who were perverse, even to their families. The proven reality was that the truly crazy people were those bloody-handed CCP faction members who were out of their minds, cruelly persecuting practitioners who believed in Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance. They spoiled traditional Chinese culture, dragged the entire government into the abyss of corruption, destroyed morality and contaminated the entire society. This Falun Gong practitioner standing in front of me was a living example of her practice. Her healthy nature told me that Falun Dafa is good!
Later, this practitioner gave me software to break through the CCP’s Internet blockade. This was software developed by Falun Gong practitioners, which bankrupted the CCP’s plot to block the Internet (so that citizens couldn’t access news and information not conforming to the Communist Party line). Many friends who used the Internet were then able to access stable and reliable sources of truthful news, and my understanding about the CCP and Falun Gong became profound and penetrating. A galaxy of talent existed among Falun Gong practitioners and their faith in Falun Gong is a resplendent flower in Chinese culture. I’d like to express my deep appreciation and respect for Falun Gong.
I firmly believe that democracy and freedom is the historical trend for the entire world. Good will be rewarded and evil will be punished. Heaven’s law will fully manifest. All those who are determined to be the people’s enemies will have no choice but to be brought to trial in history. The Tiananmen Square protests will be redressed. Falun Gong will succeed.
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