Speech from the International Conference on "Genocide in the New Era" by Former Prisoner of Conscience Zhang Cuiying

The International Conference on “Genocide in the New Era”, organised by “Friends of Falun Gong Europe” and “International Advocates for Justice”, took place in Sweden’s capital, Stockholm from January 26th to January 28th 2004. This is one of the conference speeches by Zhang Cuiying, Worldrenowned artist and former prisoner of conscience, which was given in the morning of Wednesday January the 28th.

Good morning. My name is Zhang Cuiying and I am a Chinese living in Australia. In 1996 I had serious problems with arthritis and I lost the capability to create traditional Chinese paintings, which was my career. When I was struggling at the brink of death, I obtained Falun Gong. Not only did Falun Gong give me back my health but it also opened up more wisdom for me, in terms of traditional Chinese culture and traditional Chinese paintings. Falun Gong helped my career.

After Jiang Zemin launched the persecution against Falun Gong, I went back to China again and again to call for justice, inform the Chinese people about the persecution and urge them to help end the persecution. What I got in return was eight months of torture in four prisons. I had to experience a lot of torture just because I wanted to say one sentence: "Falun Gong is good." I was beaten to the extent that my whole body was swollen; my body was black and blue. The pain kept me from sleeping.

I was kept in a very small cell with more than ten other people. We had to sleep on a very cold concrete floor. Our heads pointed towards the toilet in the cell and we were forced to face the toilet whenever we ate or slept. The fruit we had to eat was covered with mould and throughout the entire eight months I didn't get a single breath of fresh air. We were always kept in the same small cell and because of the lack of fresh air my skin became sticky.

I didn't receive any medication or medical treatment, even though my health became worse and worse. At one time I was imprisoned in a cell with lunatics. After all this torture, I still persevered in following the principles of Falun Gong - Truthfulness, Compassion, Forbearance – so they forcefully put me into male prison cells. I was persecuted both physically and mentally. We had to take showers and change our clothes in front of the male inmates.

After a while, with help from the Australian Embassy, I was finally able to transfer back to a female cell. I still persevered in my belief, so they put me back into a male prison cell. They encouraged other inmates to beat me by telling them that if they do this their prison sentence will be reduced. I was not only persecuted by policemen but also by people imprisoned in the same cell. They were told to beat me and to take turns to monitor me. Each person took a two-hour shift to make sure I didn't do the Falun Gong exercises.

I asked the policemen what kind of world it is where nice people who practise Truthfulness, Compassion, Forbearance are put in prison, whilst early release is offered to the bad prisoners who help persecute the good people. The policeman said, "I can’t do anything about it. This is an order from Jiang Zemin." We were forced to do labour and had to work more than ten hours a day making products to export to other countries. We were told to hide the products under the bed when people came to investigate or observe the prison.

During the 2000 Spring Festival, Luo Gan came in person to interrogate me. He did not allow the policemen on duty to go home to celebrate the holiday. He told them to stay overnight with me to interrogate me. After he was gone the policemen were very angry because they couldn't go home to celebrate the holiday with their family. They said, "This is not a dangerous criminal, it's just a weak Chinese woman: why should we do this to her?"

I was also forced by four or five policemen to sign a document saying that I voluntarily give up my Australian citizenship. One of the cellmates was very kind and she offered to write a letter to my husband to let him know my current situation when she gets out of prison. In this letter she said to my husband, "You have to come and rescue your wife as soon as possible otherwise your wife will be tortured to death." She also said that Falun Gong has been declared “anti-revolutionary” in China and a lot of Falun Gong practitioners have already been tortured to death. With this letter, my husband was able to talk to Members of the European Parliament and they called an urgent meeting to condemn these human rights violations. With help from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Australia, I was finally able to get back to Australia alive.

Although I was able to go back to Australia, my parents are still in China and they have also experienced very brutal persecution. My parents are over seventy years old but at midnight the police would come quietly so as the neighbours didn’t realise, grab my parents and take them to the police station. My parents home has been ransacked seven or eight times.

My nephew also practises Falun Gong. Because he wouldn’t give up his belief he was tied to a special type of torture instrument called a "Death Bed" for more than ten days. He had no chance to go to the toilet. He wasn’t released from the "Death Bed" until he was about to die. Whilst tied to the “Death Bed” he was shocked with electronic batons. He couldn't move at all for ten days. Now he's disabled and cannot walk any more.

My case is not an isolated case. There are tens of thousands or even more families in China who are experiencing the same; they are facing danger every minute. I was fortunate to hold Australian citizenship. That's why I was able to go back home with the help of the Australian Government. But so many Chinese people in China are not so lucky.

More than a thousand people have been tortured to death in the persecution of Falun Gong in Mainland China. Therefore, we call for support from all people to bring Jiang Zemin to justice and end this brutal persecution, so that Chinese people can enjoy the same freedom of belief as people in the rest of the world and enjoy their belief in Truth, Compassion, Forbearance.

Thank you everyone.

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