HU ZHIMING, LABOUR CAMP SURVIVOR
Hu Zhiming was kicked out of military service because he refused to give up the practice of Falun Gong.
EXCERPT FROM INTERVIEW:
The first time I heard about Falun Gong was from my older brother, who lived in San Francisco at that time. He asked one of his friends in China to mail me the book. After reading the book, I felt very happy. Thus I started the cultivation of Falun Gong. In the past, the only cultivation ways we know are Buddhism and Taoism. They cultivate away from ordinary society. However, Falun Gong does not have such requirements. When we improve ourselves under the guidance of cultivation, our morality start to improve, we become better and better, which brings benefits to the society. This was the most attractive part of Falun Gong for me.
Before I learned Falun Gong, I was very puzzled about the purpose of life. I could not find any clues, but I kept searching. After I learned Falun Gong, I immediately found answers to many questions. I had also a serious nasal illness since I was young. However, after starting to practice Falun Gong, within a couple of weeks, the problem disappeared. These are the two major changes I experienced from practicing Falun Gong.
My family, relatives and friends also witnessed these changes. In the past, because I could not find the purpose of life, when I was with them, I was never very pleasant, and I was lacking in self confidence, which affected my relationships with others. After finding answers to my life, I became confident and happy. Naturally, I got along better with people.
The persecution of Falun Gong was quite sudden to me. One day when I was at work, I was called by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) secretary in my workplace for a meeting. The meeting lasted several hours. I was told that the CCP did not allow practicing Falun Gong anymore and that I must give up my belief. I was very startled.
Then for several days consecutively, I remember it was July 18, 1999, I was called by the CCP secretary for meetings. I was not allowed to return home at night. The meetings lasted until daybreak. It lasted until July 22. Suddenly, they stopped calling me for meetings. So I went back to my workplace as normal. But on the afternoon of July 22, at around 2pm, we got an order that everyone must go to the conference room to watch a video. It was a video that the CCP made to slander Falun Gong. Later I learned that the video was broadcast nationwide. Everyone working for the government or military had to go to their workplace to watch this video at that time. Even those who were on vacation or business trips were called back.
The video distorted facts to demonize Falun Gong. They edited some sentences from the books of Falun Gong and rearranged them, completely changing their meanings. To someone who does not know Falun Gong well, they would think it was true. After I watched the video on July 22, I felt very angry.
Since Falun Gong already gained a very good reputation in Chinese society, most Chinese people had positive impressions of Falun Gong. the CCP used all the media to fabricate news and slander Falun Gong, to mislead the public. Especially during the first couple years, the media propaganda had a very serious, negative impact.
y parents both practiced Falun Gong before the persecuted began. Because they experienced lots of political persecutions by the CCP before, they became scared. They did not want us to become victims again. After the persecution started, the police visited them many times to talk to them about me. They could not stand the long term harassment, so they moved to another place to avoid the local police. After I was released from the prison for the first time, the police constantly threatened them. Eventually I left home to reduce the pressure on them.
The information blockage inside China became more and more severe. It was very difficult for anyone to find true information about Falun Gong. I knew a little about Internet technology, even though the Internet was not popular in China at that time, so started to teach lots of practitioners how to use the Internet and to bypass the information blockage and build up connections with practitioners abroad to get out first hand information on what was happening inside China. The CCP used all means to block the information flow and disconnect practitioners in and outside of China.
When I taught people how to use Internet, I had to deal with all kinds of people, and many of them were strangers to me. One day in Shanghai I was monitored and followed. When they arrested me, they didn’t even know what I did. The CCP always arrests people whenever they have a suspicion and then they investigate the target. At that time I lived in a hotel. They used the excuse of regular night checks to enter my room. Without showing any ID, they placed me in handcuffs, and covered my head with my clothes. The Chinese authorities never followed the law when dealing with Falun Gong practitioners. They always arrested practitioners whom they suspected, then check for their backgrounds, incriminate others who they had contact with, and then create a sentence.
I was interrogated for three days consecutively. Then for three weeks, the interrogations started at night and lasted until early morning. After that, they would not let me sleep. I almost collapsed mentally. Finally they decided my crime was: “teaching others to visit the Minghui.org website”.
After being held in the detention station for two years, I was taken to the Tilanqiao Prison in Shanghai and kept in a cell three square meters in size, usually with two other inmates who were in charge of watching me. r one to two months, every morning after I woke up, I was taken to a room where they showed propaganda videos and was forced to sit very close to a TV set and watch videos slandering Falun Gong at high volume until late into the night without break.
This kind of brainwashing did not work, so they changed to another approach: intensive slave labor. In the small and dark little cell, I was forced to make crafts. The whole process was accompanied with physical and verbal abuse. here was a regulation that anyone who successfully converted me would be rewarded with reduced prison terms. So they purposely persecuted me. It lasted for a long time, but they were not successful.
After several days of sleep deprivation, I could not think clearly anymore, so I went on a hunger strike. I was already physically exhausted, so after I started the hunger strike, I lost consciousness within a few days. I was taken to the prison hospital. In the hospital, instead of trying to help me recover, they tied me to a bed, with my four limbs widely spread out so I couldn’t move at all. It was summer, and they put me on top of thick quilts. I sweat so much that even my eyes were filled with sweat.
During my hunger strike, they force fed me through a tube, and an intravenous drip, but they didn’t tell me what was in the drip. It gave me a terrible headache that lasted for about half a month and was so painful I started to vomit. At that time, it was close to the end of my four year prison sentence so they probably didn’t want me to die in prison and stopped the drip. was still tied to the bed all the time until I left the prison. ter they let me go, I was already unable to move or walk.
After I returned home, I rested for about half a year. The police and neighborhood committee kept harassing me despite my physical condition. I did not want to bring trouble to my family, so after I recovered, I left home again and went to Beijing. In Beijing, I burned and distributed DVDs with the content of the “The Nine Commentaries of the Chinese Communist Party”, a publication that exposes the crimes of the CCP. At that time, Beijing was full of undercover police and I was arrested one night and taken to the Beijing detention station.
The living conditions there were very poor. Each cell was about 20 square meters big, but usually detained more than 40 people. It was dirty and messy. In such a small space, we had to do slave labor. For a period of time, I had to make plastic flowers. For another period of time, I had to peel garlic. Since I had experienced detention before, soon after I was detained I went on a hunger strike again, and then they sentenced me to four years imprisonment again. I was taken to the Jinzhou Prison in Liaoning province.
After four years and many hunger strikes and much abuse and torture, I returned home. My parents were very worn out. The persecution of their son and in society brought tremendous physical and mental stress to them. If I stayed in China, local police would continue to follow and arrest me. To get away from their harassment, I spent a lot of effort to find a way to escape. Eventually I found a way to escape to Thailand. There I applied for asylum, and eventually came to the U.S.
After I finished the second four-year prison term, many people thought that I would die soon. Because I was so weak at that time that I could not even sit up. But after I returned home, within a couple of months, I was already able to take care of my daily life. Within about half a year, I almost became completely normal. Through Fa study and doing the Falun Gong exercise, I felt that my recovery was very fast. Many people could barely believe that I could stand up and live as a normal person. Nowadays, few people can tell that I was paralyzed for years.