1. The education I received
I was born during the Great Cultural Revolution, and when I started my elementary school education, the Great Cultural Revolution was just over. As I remember, above the door of a state-run groceries store near my home, there was a banner which read, "Refocusing our effort on economic development." Since I was still a little boy at the time, I didn't know that this was tremendous progress in the People's Republic of China's history. Afterward national policies became more practical, and political struggle was no longer so fierce. Students could truly attend school without having to be "reformed" in the mountains or countryside anymore. My parents often said that we were the luckiest generation since we were born after implementation of the policies of reform and openness, in which people were better off and could go to school normally. Besides, after the relaxation of policies, we were able to make money according to our capabilities, and even go abroad for further studies. I also thought that we were lucky generation.
My parents and brothers majored in science or engineering, and I did too. I attended the most prestigious senior high school and was admitted to the most prestigious university of technology in my province after passing an entrance examination. After graduation, I worked with a high-tech enterprise. The lesson from the Great Cultural Revolution had made the Chinese people fed up with politics. As for the generation that were born after the Great Cultural Revolution, what they had in their minds were gaining knowledge and making money so as to lead a happy life. So, I was not concerned about politics at all.
Both of my parents are intellectuals. My father used to be a professor, and my mother a senior engineer. In China, my parents were also the lucky generation. Since they were younger than those senior intellectuals who were lives were turned upside down in the Great Cultural Revolution, they were exempt. But they were senior to the intellectuals whose education was impeded by the Great Cultural Revolution. When the Great Cultural Revolution started, they had graduated from university. Therefore, they were not taken to the mountains or countryside to be reformed. During the Great Cultural Revolution, they were engaged in political studies. In my opinion, my parents' greatest achievement was to successfully bring up their children. After the implementation of the policies of reform and openness, all of their children had grown up, and their lives were rather comfortable. They were satisfied with their lives and appreciated the Chinese Communist Party very much. However, in my view, they were miserable in that they had never had the opportunity to think independently, to choose their own beliefs, and they even didn't notice that their lives had been twisted. In China, if one wants to be exempt from persecution, he has to absolutely obey all the political directions and propaganda made by the Chinese Communist Party.
I was a model student educated under the Chinese Communist Party's educational system. I joined the Communist Youth League long ago. When I was in a senior high, I was the secretary of my grade's branch office of the League. After graduation, I worked hard at a state-run company for five years. At least before1989, I sincerely believed in Communism, and regarded communism society as a best human society. When I was a freshman, the first semester's final exam on the subject of "Chinese Revolution History" consisted of a quiz and an essay-writing. I still vividly remember winning the only special award of the grade I was in, because in the essay, I mentioned that socialism was the most advanced form of society. Now I finally realise that the knowledge, the viewpoints about the world and the attitude toward life a student can learn in the schools in China are nothing more than what is under the Chinese Communist Party's ideology. Since the Great Cultural Revolution has eradicated other thoughts and cultures, people didn't have the access to anything of the outside world. The stereotype of Chinese people of the several generations after the founding of the People's Republic of China was formed under the Chinese Communist Party's strict propaganda. People were trained to be indifferent towards politics. In fact, all the people in China are a manifestation of the Chinese Communist Party's political ideology.
I also know that the Great Cultural Revolution brought a hard time for the Chinese of that generation. In 1980's, most Chinese literature was a sad reflection on the Great Cultural Revolution. However, I had never judged the Chinese Communist Party.
People of my generation were fed up with politics, and wanted to stay away from it. However, to my dismay, I was persecuted in early 1999, and imprisoned in a forced labor camp for nearly two years just because I practiced Falun Gong. I had never had thought of defying the Chinese Communist Party whatsoever. What I did was only to choose my own way of life and wanted to enjoy the basic human right of practicing qigong. In this regard, people in China were not able to choose their way of life according to their own will. After leaving China, western people repeatedly asked me: "Why does Chinese government persecute Falun Gong?" Thus, I have no choice but to contemplate some of these things, to look back my parents' and my lives in the past, and to think of Chinese history. During the process, I gradually recognised what the Chinese Communist Party was like.
The reason for me to reveal these things was neither political motivation nor intention of overthrowing Chinese Communist regime. Nowadays nobody, including the Party's management, believes in the theories derived from the Chinese Communist Party's beliefs. It is simply because I noticed that the Chinese Communist Party's propaganda have resulted in the distortion of human thoughts, which have made people unable to think of problems and treat others with human nature. What's ever worse is that human beings have become the tool of hurting each other. I also would like to make it clear that what I mentioned here is only my own feelings based on my personal experience in the persecution, and it does not stand for the position of Falun Gong.
2. The "June 4th" Incident:
Within my own experience, before Falun Gong was persecuted, the "June 4th" Incident in 1989 was the only large-scale brutal persecution launched by the Chinese Communist government.
I was a freshman of Qinghua University that year. Before I practiced Falun Gong, my heath was very poor. Although I took care of myself very carefully, I still suffered from various ailments. At the end of my first semester in Qinghua University, I was very seriously ill. I was hospitalized due to acute hepatitis. When the second semester started, I could not attend the physical education class. As to other classes, I could hardly catch up with others.
After Hu Yaobang died the commemorative activity turned out to be a large-scale anti-bureaucracy and, anti-corruption demonstration. With more and more students' participation and the support from teachers, many universities closed. I also participated in the demonstration, and went to Tiananmen Square as well. Since my health was not so good, I did not participate in this kind of activities often.
At that time, what the students appealed for was very simple, and nothing should be criticised. All the civilians who were fed up with the corrupt bureaucracy were certainly in favor of what the students did, and wished them to go on. It is not right to say that the students were taken advantage of. The demonstration was widely supported by all walks of life in the society, and received a lot of donations. Moreover, the demonstration proceeded very peacefully from the beginning to the end. As I remembered, one day when we marched by Tong-er-huan Rd, a few students and I lagged behind the group. Many people stood by the roadside from residential area to watch the demonstration. Some applauded to support us. Others nodded their heads to show their consent to us. A woman and her 4-or-5-year old daughter held an aluminum teapot and a bowl to provide water to the students. Those who were thirsty might stop and have some water to drink. Although she didn't speak, we still could feel her support and blessing. In the Square, some residents bought us two bottles of soft drink. Some bought cartons of drink, and gave them to us without saying a word. All of Beijing residents' hearts were tightly wrapped together like the strands in a rope. Afterward, the students from other provinces also joined us and stayed in Tiananmen Square. The tents put up by them scattered all over the Square. The number of students there amounted to more than 100,000.
On the government side, after Zhao Ziyang went to the Square to see what was going on there, nobody said anything about it for a long period of time. The students stayed in the Square day in and day out. They didn't know what would be happening next. Since this kind of demonstration was energy consuming, my physical condition could hardly stand it. I started to have fever in June and felt very uncomfortable. Afterward, I decided to go back home to Changchun. My parents were delighted to see me going back home. They thought that I was supposed to take a good rest at home after being discharged from a hospital treating my hepatitis.
A couple of days after I returned home, in a morning after I just got up, my dad told me that Beijing authorities had started to opened fire (on the students.) I immediately tuned in to the Voice of America's short wave broadcasting program, and heard the automatic weapon's consecutive firing sound! I was stunned, and was wondering if I could have returned home alive had I stayed in Beijing. The Central Television Station reported that there was a riot. Actually, all the students there and the residents of Beijing knew that how peaceful we were there. The report was nothing but a slander for framing the students. Tanks had even been deployed in the Tiananmen Square, so the situation was much more serious than any "massacres" taking place during the period ruled by the Kuomintang as printed in modern history textbook.
Even now I still cannot understand why those who were in power would possibly deploy tanks in the streets in the capital to deal with the problem which could have been resolved by many other means. This indicates that they lacked the basic human notions of dealing with others. What's even worse was that they were not ashamed of their cruelty. The students simply wanted to do something good for the country based on their pure motives. However, what the government did was a massacre. Since the "June 4th" incident in 1989, people have completely lost their confidence in the Chinese government. Since then on, many students of the Qinghua University devoted themselves to studying English and preparing for GRE test in order to study overseas. As for those who didn't plan to go abroad, they only focused their attention on making money. Chinese people are no longer concerned about politics. Funded with part of the "Boxer Indemnity" and established in 1911, the Qinghua University was a preparatory school for students who would be sent by the government to study in universities in the United States. In the 20th century, it ironically became a genuine preparatory school for studying in the US. Currently half of my university classmates are in the US. As a matter of fact, in the wake of the Great Cultural Revolution the most talented intellectuals among the younger generation have expatriated.
Some said that expatriates like me are unpatriotic. In actuality, most of the people who said that are the younger generation who didn't witness the "June 4th" incident or those who didn't understand Chinese history after they were thoroughly brainwashed by the Chinese Communist Party's propaganda. Those who participated in the Student Movement 1989 expatriated out of patriotism, didn't they? But some don't like you to be patriotic, and some others are afraid of your patriotism because they are doing something shameful. If others are really patriotic, they themselves would have nowhere to go.
3. My Introduction to Falun Gong:
I was thinking about going abroad too at that time, but I was quite busy with my studies at the Qinghua University. If I spent time studying English for GRE test, my physical condition might not afford it. Had I gone abroad, the pressure for gaining scholarship would have been very huge, and my physical condition definitely would not have allowed me to do so. As a result, I didn't take GRE test or apply for admission from foreign universities.
After graduation, I worked with a high-tech enterprise in Beijing. In the first year, I dealt with software programming. I used to have problems with sleeping, and this kind of work made me have a nervous breakdown. My brain was often so excited that whatever happening to me during the daytime, including the details about the programming, would be vividly in my mind though lying on bed for two or three hours. My insomnia, coupled with losing appetite, made my heath go from bad to worse. I always felt weary and fatigued. My poor health forced me to pay special attention to my daily life. I had meals and went to bed regularly; I took note of seasonal temperature changes; I cared about nutrition very much. In addition, I also tried to do various exercises, but my health was not improved at all.
After I worked for a year, Falun Gong's founder Mr. Li Hongzhi happened to tour Mainland China to promote the exercises. I was told that practicing Falun Gong is very effective in curing illnesses. I thus took leave to attend the exercise-teaching classes in Dalian. I remembered Master Li reiterating that he won't treat illnesses for people, but he will purify the bodies for those who really want to cultivate themselves. What impressed me most is: "Many people have forgotten what it feels like to have no illness." (Unofficial translation of Master Li's words during his lectures.) He also said that only those whose bodies have been purified will know it. That is absolutely true. After attending the class and returning from Dalian, my physical condition was completely changed. My previous feeling of being weary had completely gone, Instead, I felt very light and energetic. In addition, my sleeping quality was exceptionally good, and my stomachache had gone as well. In the past, the worries I used to have about my health often made me very nervous. I was afraid of being ill; I worried that the food I ate might not be good for my stomach. Moreover, I dreaded catching cold and avoided being too tired. However, I don't have to worry about anything now. My life has become simpler, and I am always very energetic. Among the practitioners I know, many people have had the same experience. It is a state of happiness from inside, and is a state that body and mind are fully harmonised. In reality, health, peacefulness, rationality and wisdom will never come by through material enjoyment. This is only part of the benefits of practicing Falun Gong. For me, what matters most is that Falun Gong is a genuine truth based on science, which makes me understand all the questions I used to have in my life.
Every morning, I first practised the Falun Gong exercises on Qinghua's campus, and then went to work after finishing my breakfast in a cafeteria. My work efficiency was very high. As a bachelor, my income was good enough. As a result, I usually visited my parents in my hometown or traveled around on holidays. There were many young people at our practice site. We were very healthy, joyful and sincere. The first several years after I started to practice Falun Dong was the happiest time in my life.
In the second half of 1998, my contract with the company expired. In other words, I had met the requirement of working five years for the company which provided me with all my university tuition. Since then on I was able to go abroad freely without having to worry about breaking contract or the issue of reimbursement ensued. Therefore, I applied to some European universities for admission. Finally, I was admitted to a graduate school of the Trinity College in Ireland with a full scholarship.
When I was 28 years old, I became a student again. I came to this island country off the European continent to study for my master degree on computer science. It is the oldest university in Ireland, with classic buildings and beautiful campus. When I was available, I often taught Irish people practising Falun Gong for free.
However, the persecution of Falun Gong practitioners in China starting July 1999 disturbed the peaceful and happy lives of my fellow practitioners and mine.
(To be continued)
Translated from Chinese at http://www.yuanming.net/articles/200308/23710.html
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