In 2003, I was arrested along with more than twenty other Falun Gong practitioners and put in a detention centre. On the second gate of the detention centre hung a sign, which read, "Falun Gong Class." At first glance one might think it was a place to study Falun Gong. In fact, everyone knew this to be a place where Falun Gong practitioners were persecuted. The other practitioners and I were locked into different cells.
When we first entered the cells the inmates there called us "political prisoners" and treated us very badly. Using the time detainees are allowed to rest, we practitioners encouraged each other and were determined to follow Teacher's teachings,
"Validate the Fa with rationality, clarify the truth with wisdom, spread the Fa and save people with mercy" ("Rationality," Essentials for Further Advancement II).
We pledged to do a good job in letting more people know about the persecution and injustices against Falun Gong with the compassion and dignity of Dafa.
As our efforts progressed, many people began to learn about Falun Dafa and their bias toward the Dafa practitioners vanished as the environment swiftly improved. One financial section head asked about the "April 25" incident and the "Tiananmen Square Self-Immolation." After hearing the facts he said, "From the very beginning I suspected there was something phony about it, now I understand."
One farmer who was detained for failing to pay his debts was infuriated after he heard the truth. He cursed the Party for having reversed right and wrong. One newly detained entrepreneur listened while I clarified the truth to the others. He didn't speak for three days; on the fourth day, at the time when detainees were allowed to rest, he told me in a low voice, "When I first came in I didn't say anything and just listened and observed. The Falun Gong practitioners I've seen here are totally different from the way they've been portrayed in television programs. Now I see those programs were all fabricated lies designed by the Party to deceive people, so when I go back I will tell my friends that we shouldn't be fooled by the Party anymore."
Some practitioners used the rest period to clarify the truth to the prison guards. In the beginning the guards made no reply. Later on they told us in private, "Many groups of Falun Dafa practitioners have been detained here. We all know that you are good people, but what can we do? We still need to make a living."
To overcome our difficulties in studying the Falun Dafa teachings caused by the lack of Falun Dafa books, practitioners wrote down from memory many of the new articles published by Teacher and the poems in "Hongyin." After repeatedly checking and verifying that there were no mistakes, several practitioners would compile and copy them, and give the copies to practitioners in different cells. The practitioners not only studied by themselves every day, they also read aloud to other people. Many people asked for the new articles and poems, some copied, studied and memorised them. In conjunction with the study of the new articles we talked to them about the inner meaning of Falun Dafa and the principles of how to conduct oneself in society. We told them of the greatness and the wonder of Falun Dafa, in accordance with Teacher's teachings,
"The Fa can break all attachments, the Fa can destroy all evil, the Fa can shatter all lies, and the Fa can strengthen righteous thoughts." ("Drive out Interference," Essentials for Further Advancement II)
When they had a better understanding about Falun Dafa they began to try their best to protect our Falun Gong teachings study group, the practise of exercises, and sending righteous thoughts. Some asked to learn the exercises, some helped to bring in paper and pens from outside the detention centre, and some even managed to bring in hand-written copies of the core Falun Gong book, Zhuan Falun and Falun Gong. One day, after the prison guards found out that the Falun Gong practitioners were studying the Falun Gong teachings they conducted an unexpected search. These detainees risked their lives to help us hide the Falun Dafa books and new articles.
The female practitioners lived relatively close together so they began to sing songs composed by Dafa practitioners and also taught other people to sing them. Around 7 o'clock one evening, while the on-duty guards were playing cards, they sang in chorus. The solemn and resounding melody and the compassionate words of the songs touched everyone's hearts. The guards made no move to stop them; instead, they asked others if they had heard clearly the words of the song. People all over the detention centre asked, "How come these songs are so nice?"
We replied, "It's not only because their melodies are pleasing, but more importantly the songs contain the inner meaning and the dignity of Falun Dafa, which is why they are so moving and so touching."
The next day, people asked for the lyrics. The Falun Gong practitioners copied the words and the melodies of the songs in the order they had sung them and offered every cell a copy. From that day on, the whole detention centre either listened quietly to the songs or hummed along. Singing Falun Dafa songs has become sacred and the most cherished activity in the evening.
About a month later, when the head of the detention centre came to inspect the centre, he was shocked at hearing the songs, so he rushed to the courtyard and yelled at us to stop, scolding the on-duty guards, saying, "Did you hear what kind of songs they are singing?"
One of the guards replied, "No, we can't hear clearly!"
The head of the centre was outraged and shouted abusively, "You fool! What they sang are Falun Gong songs!"
Singing Falun Dafa songs was banned, which aroused everyone's indignation. The practitioners decided to go on a hunger strike to protest the illegal persecution. Our group hunger strike received sympathy and support from the other detainees. They showed concern and provided protection. They also worried for our safety. Though we told them that ours is a just action, that our Teacher protects us and we were in no danger, they still refused to sleep in the evening so they could monitor our well-being.
By the fifth day of the hunger strike many people were moved. They were touched when they saw the practitioners in good spirits, continuing to study the Falun Gong teachings, practise the exercises and send forth righteous thoughts. Some even boldly reasoned aloud with the prison guards. They sighed with emotion, saying, "In five days they've had nothing to eat or drink, however they are still in good spirits. If other people attempted this they would have collapsed a long time ago. We are truly witnessing the wonder of Falun Dafa!"
The hunger strike shocked the evil and the criminal officials of the 610 Office (an agency specifically created to persecute Falun Gong, with absolute power over each level of administration in the Party and all other political and judiciary systems) and the detention centre. With the compassionate care of our Teacher we achieved victory. When we were sent to other places for detention we were reluctant to leave those people with whom we'd gotten along so well for those several months. One of them said, "I didn't spend these months here for nothing. I got to know Falun Gong and learn the practise. I also witnessed those fine qualities, the faith and the willpower of the practitioners. We learnt a lot and now we really believe in Falun Gong!"
One young practitioner shouted in the courtyard, "Hello everyone, have you enlightened to this? This sign hanging on the gate isn't wrong. This is a real Falun Gong Class!"
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