My name is Zhao Ming. I am a postgraduate student studying computer science at Trinity College Dublin in Ireland. I was put in the Labour Camp in China for 22 month for practicing Falun Gong. Falun Gong is a Chinese traditional cultivation practice to refine mind and body, from which I have benefited a lot. Due to the efforts of many people in the international community, including the Irish Prime Minister, Members of European Parliament, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Ms. Mary Robinson, some French government officials, some members of the British House of Lords, Amnesty International and many kind hearted people, I was released in March this year. Shortly after that I returned to Ireland and resumed my studies.
The first time that I was arrested was at the State Appeals Office in Beijing. During my Christmas holiday in 1999, I went there to talk with the government officials about my feelings of Falun Gong to let them treat Falun Gong in a right way. But the police arrested when they found out I was going to appeal for Falun Gong. They escorted me back to my home city and released me. But they confiscated my passport. So I was not able to return to Ireland to continue my studies.
Months later, I was arrested again in my friends room when we were talking in the room. Plainclothes police rushed in and arrested all of us. The process of arrest was the same as kidnapping. I was then put in a detention centre and later a labour camp.
Falun Gong practitioners in China do not have the rights to freedom of belief, speech or assembly at all. Talking with government officials or talking with friends are regarded as a crime and are punished.
In the labour camp, I was subjected to brutal physical torture and brainwashing. The police guards pressured us to renounce our belief in Falun Gong by means of sleep deprivation, beatings, physical punishment such as squatting for over 10 hours, and electric shocking.
Once in the labour camp, 10 inmates were dictated by the police guards to beat me up. They folded my head to my feet and put me under a very low bed. The bed was so low that it was propped by my body. And some inmates sat on the bed to force me down further . Later they found it was not painful enough, they pulled me out and started to beat me up. They punched me and kneed my body and thighs. My thighs became completely bruised afterwards and I was not able to walk for 2 weeks.
This year, 2 weeks before I was released, 5 policemen in Tuan He Labour Camp, including 3 section chiefs shocked me with 6 electric batons simultaneously. They firstly bound me on a bed board to prevent my body from jumping when being choked. Then they shocked me with electric batons on my legs, upper body, shoulders and arms simultaneously, which made my body tremble very violently. One policeman kept shocking my chest by moving two batons over my chest in circle, which made me breath hurried and made my throat dry as if it was burning.
Sleep deprivation and physical punishment was very common. The police guards let the inmates monitor us in turn. If I fell in asleep, they would shout at me, push or kick me to keep me wake. For 2 weeks, I was not allowed to sleep for a single minute during the first two days and later they only allowed me to rest on a small chair for 1 or 2 hours a day. During the rest of the day, they forced me to squat for over 10 hours a day. My lower legs and feet are numb now after such treatment.
I am only one of the numerous Falun Gong practitioners being persecuted in China. I, as an overseas student was still tortured like this. Other practitioners who are not known by the outside world were suffering more. The number of death cases caused by torture increases every week. To date, the death toll is 487. Two friends of mine are among them.
What is Falun Gong?
This is a meditation practice like Taichi or Yoga, which is done by people in their spare time to improve mind, body and spirit. In many systems, for example Taichi, people only know the physical movements, but know nothing about the heart principles that is actually the crucial part to increase energy level. Falun Gong reveals this crucial part to the people and emphasizes cultivation of mind nature by assimilating ones nature to the cosmic characteristic Truthfulness-Benevolence-Forbearance. So Falun Gong teaches practitioners to be good and has a very good social influence. But it is not a sect, or a religion, because there are no churches, no worships, or other religious forms.
In Falun Gong there is no organization hierarchy, nor membership. So we are not members but practitioners of Falun Gong.
And it is apolitical. We are people from all walks of life and have no interest in politics. Falun Gong gives me a more healthy and righteous way of life. But this persecution deprived me of my basic human rights.
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