Before being persecuted
Name tag In Labor Camp
My name is Chen Crystal Hua and I am a Falun Dafa practitioner from Guangzhou, China. I was born on December 19, 1972. From 1985 to 1991, I studied at Guangzhou Pui Ying Middle School, which, for more than one hundred years, existed as a missionary school. The school motto was: “Believe, Hope and Love.” This was different from other Chinese schools in that it gave me a good moral grounding from very young age. In 1995, I graduated from the Anhui University of Finance & Economics with a Bachelor in Economics as well as a Certificate of ESEC (“Educational Services Exchange with China”) in international trade. The same year, I worked as an assistant to the president of the Guangdong Textiles Import and Export Corporation (Group), a leading national foreign trade corporation in Guangdong Province. Because of artistic interests, I participated in two television series and a movie. In one of China’s well-known television shows, “Three Family Allies,” I played the role of “Young Outao.” In the film “Ocean in the Glasses,” I played the role of the class monitor. Its theme song, “Mama in the Candle Light,” is well-known in China. In summary, I always strove to be useful to China.
In March 1997, I began to cultivate in Falun Dafa. In doing so, my stomach inflammation and hepatitis C disappeared and the capacity of my liver returned to normal. With the Falun Dafa teachings of “Truthfulness-Compassion-Tolerance,” I have become compassionate and am able to get along well with people in work or family situations.
Unfortunately, however, my present circumstances dictate that I seek protection as a refugee. If I were still in China, there is a high probability that I would be illegally detained in a labor camp, for a third time. On April 23, 2004, after publicly speaking the Truth of Falun Gong and exposing the torture that I had suffered, I was sentenced two and a half years of forced labor. Following my arrest, I went on a hunger-thirst strike to protest my persecution, defend my beliefs, and demand my unconditional release. On July 14, 2004, after more than eighty days and near the point of death, I was finally “released” (the term used was “hospitalized outside the camp”). However, I remained under strict surveillance by authorities. This meant they were authorized to imprison me again, at any time.
In March 2005, I learned from a reliable source that the Guangzhou “6-10 Office” wanted to return me to the labor camp. By way of background, the 6-10 Office, also known as the “Leading Bureau for the Prevention and Procession of Evil Cults,” was mandated by the party-state in Beijing in mid-1999 to direct the nation-wide persecution of Falun Gong practitioners. I was reported for being active on the internet for publicizing information related to Falun Gong. I had to abandon my home and the Japanese Sushi restaurant I was running and flee China to Thailand.
The following outlines, in greater detail, the persecution that I suffered in China for six years as a result of my Falun Dafa activities:
July 20, 1999 to July 23, 1999
Initially, I went to appeal peacefully to the city hall of Guangzhou and the provincial hall of Guangdong by telling the government about my positive experience in practicing Falun Gong. I was told by the local government official that I had to go to the central government for issues relating to Falun Gong activities. I went to Beijing to appeal. In Tiananmen Square, I was arrested by policemen and taken to Fengtai Stadium where I saw thousands of practitioners, including pregnant women and children, being detained. Some had been detained for two or three days without any food or water. I also saw a troop of armed police stationed inside; they were working with the public security police. They kicked and beat practitioners who cried out “Falun Dafa Hao.” Like the others, I was forced to keep silent, waiting beneath the burning sun for a very long time.
After six hours of waiting and my skin burned from the sun, I was asked to show my citizenship ID. I was then sent to the Guangzhou representative office in Beijing and, several hours later, sent back to Guangzhou. The travel both ways was self-paid. Once back in Guangzhou, local police came to my work unit to ask for detailed information. Later, I was asked to write down my opinion and attitude towards Falun Gong, to leave the Communist Youth League and to hand in all my Falun Dafa books. I did not want to give up my belief in Falun Gong, so I was compelled to leave my position at Guangdong Textiles, where I had then been working for more than four years, and move to field work at a subordinate spinning and weaving factory in Heshan, Guangdong.
December 21, 1999 to January 11, 2000
On December 21st, I went to the central petition office in Beijing to hand in a letter outlining my concerns. In Yongding Men, Beijing, I met with police. From there, I was sent to a cellar located in the basement of the office building of the general government representatives of Guangdong Province, Beijing. Here, I was expected to make a recorded confession. I was illegally detained there for eight days. I saw Falun Dafa practitioners being beaten, insulted, and body-searched.
On December 28, I was sent back to Guangzhou and was detained at the Tianhe District Detention Center. While in detention, I was forced to do intense labour, such as ornamental flower making and Christmas lamp bulb piercing. The center chief (Zhu Wenyong) and the female police guards applied tortures to stop me and other Falun Gong practitioners from practicing. They attempted to coerce us into giving up our activities by forcing two non-practitioner inmates to kneel by the latrine pit inside the cell. We were threatened that if we did not give up our practice, they would be kept kneeling by the pits. To further incite anger toward Falun Gong practitioners amongst the other inmates, they also said hateful things like, “Aren’t you Falun Gong practitioners cultivating compassion? How come you make others suffer for you?” I felt I had no choice but to go on a hunger strike as a form of peaceful protest against my illegal detention and treatment.
After one day of fasting, the chief and the medical police officer decided they would “save my life” by force-feeding me a mixture of water and salt. They taunted me by saying, “You didn’t eat or drink a whole day - you must need salt to survive. Feeding you salt is saving your life.” In front of other prisoners, four or five convicted men pushed me to the ground. They cut off the front part of a plastic bottle. They pushed up my lips with a dirty toothbrush and put the bottle upside down in my mouth. I watched as an entire 500g bag of salt was poured into a plastic cup containing very little water—the salt barely dissolved. The male inmates then violently force-fed this to me. I closed my mouth and clenched my teeth tightly. They used a towel to cover my eyes and they clutched my nose. To open my mouth, a police woman asked the men to use a stick to tickle me. If I used my nose to breathe, the salt water, which was quite solid, choked me. If I opened my mouth, they would force-feed the salt into my mouth. I nearly died from suffocation. After the incident, a male inmate fell down. Chief Zhu swore, “You are so foolish.” The others present were afraid to cry out. My gums were filled with blood. My hands had various wounds. I could hardly talk. For several days after, I vomited salt and blood. I could not eat. The heavy rusted shackles remained.
For Falun Gong practitioners in Tianhe District Detention Center, “being saved” meant being tortured and sometimes even death. On January 17, 2000, I heard practitioner Gao Xianmin died from this torture. From then on, authorities evidently did not use this form of torture anymore. However, the truth of our persecution remains concealed. One of the ways the center conceals the truth is by dispersing its female practitioners to different detention centers in different districts.
After I was released from Tianhe District Detention Center, my employer dismissed me. The reason cited for my dismissal was: “violating labor discipline.”
April 25, 2000
At 5:00 a.m., I did Falun Gong exercises at Guangzhou Haizhu Square. I was arrested and detained by the Guangzhou Tianhe District Public Security Sub-bureau for fifteen days.
June 18, 2000
I did Falun Gong exercises with other practitioners at the Tianhe Sports Center in Guangzhou. I was arrested and detained by the same office for another fifteen days.
July 19, 2000 to January 23, 2003
On July 19, my mother and I went to Tiananmen Square to display a banner saying, “Falun Dafa is righteous.” The police arrested us and placed us in a police van parked at Tiananmen Square, where I was violently beaten for a long time before being sent to Tiananmen Police Station. As a result of these beatings, I sustained a black eye and concussion. The same day, I was moved to Beijing Mentougou Detention Center. At the Detention Center, the police said we were being arrested for “obstructing law enforcement using evil cult organization.” Because I refused to tell them my name and hometown, they assigned me a number: 164.
On July 20, Beijing police sent many practitioners away to either Hebei Province or Tianjin City. On July 21, I was sent to Shijiazhuang City, Hebei Province, and was later moved to Yuanshi County Detention Center, Hebei Province. In order to force us to reveal our names and hometowns, officials would separate practitioners and then interrogate and torture them. I was dragged into a room where my hands were handcuffed to a radiator pipe above my head, leaving me hanging with my toes just barely touching the ground. Because I refused to identify myself, I was left hanging like this for several days until finally recognized by police. During this time, a senior police officer poured tea on me and touched my body. I shouted at him to obey the “Police Duties” that were mounted to the wall of the room. If he did not, I threatened I would subject him to justice once I was released. Finally, he stopped. I saw many Falun Gong practitioners from all over China being tortured with sticks and electric baton shocks, their skin covered with black bruises and burns. Many practitioners refused to reveal their personal data. Some refused to eat and drink as a way of protesting their illegal detention. They demonstrated immense courage and endurance.
On July 25, a policeman named Huang Zhihui from my residential area in Guangzhou City recognized me and took me back to Beijing. As a result of the torture, the intense interrogation, the hunger strike I had commenced on July 19, and the five-hour ride in the back of a station wagon in the steaming-hot weather, I was extremely exhausted. Huang had said that he had gone to Tiananmen Square in Beijing to look for me for several days. He had also combed the suburbs, Tianjin City and Shijiazhuang City. He urged me to cooperate because his boss had told him that he must bring me back, dead or alive; otherwise, he would lose his job. I later heard that my mother had been sent to Jingjing County Detention Center in Hebei Province, where she suffered about two hours of continuous electrical baton shocks.
On July 26, my mother and I were returned to Guangzhou. Because I suffered from severe injuries, the detention center refused to accept me. The police sent us to Shahe Street Police Station. At our strong insistence, the local police agreed to physically examine us, but they refused to give us the results. At my family’s repeated request, the police finally agreed to provide a copy. On July 28, they sent me to Tianhe Detention Center. My mother was sent to Chatou Forced Labor Camp in Guangzhou to serve a three-year term.
During my illegal detention at Tianhe Detention Center, I refused to obey orders to perform work or to squat down. Police director Ma kicked me hard on my ankle and I was dragged to the floor by my hair. I was also chained by handcuffs and foot shackles so that I was prevented from straightening my back. To protest, I started a hunger-thirst strike, refusing to eat and drink. As a result, I became the first victim in Tianhe Detention Center to suffer the torture of being force-fed through a hose inserted in my nostril. The prison doctors had no knowledge about nostril feeding. Four key persons, Center Chief Zhu, Deputy Chief Ma, Wang, and Yang, directed the force-feeding. They forced me into a chair, chained my hands, and my pushed my head backward. They inserted a rubber hose into my stomach through my nostril which the prison doctors deliberately pulled back and forth several times in order to inflict more pain. Despite several days of such treatment, I did not compromise. The police, now worried, sent me to a hospital in Guangzhou to receive a transfusion. Police officer Ma told prison guard Zheng, “We should send her to Kanghua Hospital to be raped.” Because of the severe injury and hunger strike, I was very weak, so the police released me on August 21, 2000. Four days later, on August 25, I was arrested and sent to Chatou Forced Labor Camp to serve a two-year term.
In the labor camp, we were forced to work for around 16 hours per day, every day. I was forced to make export goods, such as delicate artificial flowers, decorative hair products, straw-crocheted hats and bags, and soft toys such as one of the dwarfs from Snow White and the Seven Dwarves. I was also forced to sew shiny colored beads on dresses, shoes or hand bags, and do other handiwork.
Our working quarters were very poor and we were “guarded” by drug addicts 24 hours per day, with no exception for sleeping, bathing or going to the toilet. I was prevented from practicing any activities related to Falun Gong as well as communicating with non-compromising Falun Gong practitioners. Even eye contact was prohibited. Our drug addict guards were awarded “points” if they worked hard in guarding and transforming Falun Gong practitioners and they were authorized to inflict violence when doing so. Accumulating a high number of points meant they could be released earlier.
I was deprived of sleep, extra food, and family visits for long time as part of a process called “intensive transformation.” From 7 a.m. to 12 a.m., I was forced to sit on a small stool facing the wall as part of a process of brain washing me against Falun Gong. While in this position, I would be forced to listen to various materials slandering Falun Gong by means of high decibel broadcasting, video propaganda, and newspapers and books read aloud by drug addicts. We were forced to write down our opinion of Falun Gong. If what we wrote was positive, it would result in punishment and a reduction in points, thus extending our term. Sitting for such long periods caused blisters to form on my bottom, and pus and blood would be released when the older blisters broke. This was made worse in the summer when I was prohibited from bathing. The worst part of the entire experience was that I was deprived of any legal appeal rights. Despite this, I still wrote appeal letters and asked for my basic legal rights.
About July of 2002, when my two-year term expired, the head of Chatou Camp, Xu Xiangan, told me that the Camp had decided to send me out for continuous incarceration because they hadn’t seen any hint of me giving up Falun Gong during my two-year imprisonment. This was called “serving term in other province.” Xu Xiangan didn’t tell me where I would be sent. He also mentioned that in Chatou Camp I still had a chance to see my family, but, if I was sent away, I would not. Amazingly, this news was exposed on the internet. I found this out when Xu Xiangan asked me angrily if it had been me who exposed the information. I answered by stating “but, isn’t it true that you plan to do that?” In the end, I wasn’t sent away.
Because of my strong resistance to persecution, my two-year term in the Chatou Forced Labor Camp was extended by 529 days. I was also put in solitary confinement and suffered non-stop harassment and interrogation. Two young unmarried female practitioners were persecuted so severely that they became mentally traumatized. Their names are Song Jin and Zhou Jieli. At the end of September 2002, Chatou Labor Camp sent some police officers who specialized in persecuting Falun Gong practitioners to Beijing’s Tuanhe Labor Camp to learn about its so-called “advanced experience.” Upon their return, the police began to send non-compromising practitioners to “dark rooms” for torture. Soon after, several people who claimed to have come from Beijing arrived at the labor camp. A man in his 40s named Xu, a woman in her 50s named Yue Huiling, and a younger woman named Zhang Lijun came to the camp. These people actively encouraged some drug addicts and police officers to start “new torture techniques.”
On October 14, 2002, at about 9 a.m., I was told to see a prison guard. They led me to a dark room where all of the windows had been covered with newspapers. Yue Huiling and Zhang Lijun invited me to have a dialogue. I refused to acknowledge their questions and kept silent. Yue Huiling asked why I did not talk to her or even look at her. She asked me to relax. She then gave me a body massage and tried to kiss me. I felt really sick and yelled, “Don’t touch me! Behave yourself!” They stopped and said, “You finally spoke up.” They called in a few more female drug addicts and tied my hands and legs together with two bed sheets. Then they forced me to sit in double lotus position and tied my legs in that position. They claimed “You’ve always been trying to practice Falun Gong inside the camp, now we help you accomplish it.” They tied my hands behind my back and put me in the middle of the room. They continuously beat me and insulted me. I was tied up for 14 hours, with no bathroom breaks and no sleep. Afterwards, my legs lost their sensation for a long time. Two female practitioners, Jiao Jian and Tang Yiwen, became permanently disabled after enduring similar torture. Although in medical terms they would be considered permanently disabled, I believe they could have been healed, had they been released and permitted to practice Falun Gong exercises once again.
Immediately after that, I was put through another torture called “cross stretch stand.” They pulled my arms apart, stretching them to their limits using handcuffs, and forced me to stand up for three days without a break. My legs swelled causing extreme pain. They fiercely beat my legs yelling, “Do you feel pain? I am saving you from losing sensation!” Meanwhile, they didn’t allow me to use the toilet and made me urinate in my pants while standing. They prepared a copy of the “Three Statements,” “the “Repentance Statement,” the “Guarantee Statement” and the “Dissociation Statement,” which, once signed, would serve as a proof of my giving up my Falun Gong belief. They inserted a pen into my hand, which was fixed by handcuffs, and tried unsuccessfully to force me to sign the statements while frenziedly yelling, “It’ll count no matter what!” They force–fed me pepper and beat me after I fell asleep and then took turns brainwashing me in an attempt to wear me down.
On the morning of the forth day, I was tricked into signing the paper. I realized what had happened immediately after I returned to my senses. I felt I had no excuse and felt ashamed of myself for not being determined and righteous enough to withstand their tactics. Notwithstanding all of the tortures and persecution I had experienced so far, compromising myself in this way caused the greatest sorrow I had experienced in my life. From that day on, I made up my mind that I would never do anything against my will ever again. I expressed my genuine opinion and refused to cooperate when the camp wanted to take further advantage of me to help their propaganda. On January 23, 2003, I was scheduled to be released. Right before the release, however, I was forced to sign an agreement to promise to obey the laws and regulations of the government, to keep cooperating with the camp, to help others do so as well, and to regularly report my opinion about Falun Gong to the camp and the police in my residential area. I was threatened not to be released if I refused to sign. I replied without hesitation “No, I won’t sign.” Finally, I was released.
April 23, 2004 to July 14, 2004
After I was released, I had difficulty finding a job because of my status as a Falun Gong practitioner. It was because of this that I decided to join in a partnership business with other practitioners. With the help and support of our families, we started a Japanese sushi restaurant in October of 2003. Our restaurant did well, but we were constantly monitored and harassed by plainclothes police.
On April 23, 2004, plainclothes police from the Guangzhou Tianhe District 6-10 Office rushed into my sushi restaurant. They forced my guests to leave, detained the staff, illegally searched the restaurant, dorm, and my home and took me to the Brainwashing Center in Tianhe District. From the hour I was arrested, I went on a hunger-thirst strike. Four days later, I was sent to Tianhe District Detention Center. On May 12, police from the 6-10 Office declared a sentence of two and a half years forced labor for me. About one week later, I was sent to Chatou Female Labor Camp. I did not stop my hunger-thirst strike. I asked to be set free with a verdict of “not guilty.” At the same time I made an appeal and commenced a lawsuit on my own. A political instructor at the labor camp once complained that the 6-10 Office was afraid that the Chatow Camp would not accept me because of my health condition, so they hid the truth and did not mention that I had gone on a long-term hunger strike. During the time in the labor camp, I was force-fed through a nasal tube. The tube had been inserted in my stomach for seven days. It had a strong foul odor. On July 13, they sent me to Guangzhou police hospital, where I received transfusions the entire night. On July 14, I was told to be “hospitalized outside the camp” and the police asked my family members to take me home. The People’s Court of Tianhe District did not accept my lawsuit. I called the officer who placed this case on file for investigation and prosecution. She was astonished, perhaps because she thought I was supposed to be in the labor camp. I asked her why the case was not accepted. She said it did not fall within the jurisdiction of the court. I pointed out that no law states that such a case does not fall within the court’s jurisdiction. “Where should I sue?” I asked. She did not give a clear answer.
Throughout March of 2005, the 6-10 Office of Tianhe District repeatedly came to my restaurant. They threatened my head chef, asking him to leave or they would arrest him. On June 14, my restaurant closed down because of many reasons and problems. I lost both considerable money and my job, again.
Some of my family members also suffered illegal persecution. My mother, now in her 60s, is also a practitioner. Before practicing, part of her body was paralyzed and she suffered from breast cancer. After she began to cultivate in Dafa, her health problems disappeared. She has been illegally detained five times. On one occasion, she was forcibly sent to a brainwashing class. She was illegally placed in a forced labor camp for three years. Once a policeman shocked her for one hour and forty five minutes with electric batons. Her ear was burnt. My aunt is also a practitioner. After she began practicing, her long-time rheumatoid arthritis disappeared. She has been illegally detained twice. She has also been illegally put in a forced labor camp for two years and was once sent to a brainwashing class. Her family is nearly broken and there is no one to look after her young child.
Currently, my entire family is in China and their situation is very dangerous. Even those who do not practice are afraid of being persecuted. My husband, who I have known since childhood, does not practice. In 1997, we were happily married, but the persecution drove us apart before we had a chance to have a child. During the time that I was in the labor camp, 6-10 Officers asked him to use divorce to coerce me, but he refused. He has endured so much for me. After 2003, when I still faced continuous persecution, he said: “I admire what you are doing very much. You did nothing wrong. But I cannot. I’m just an ordinary person. I need an ordinary life.” I appreciate what he says. Persecution has brought tragedy to so many innocent individuals and their families. I am not the only one. I think that if the persecution continues my marriage and my family may be destroyed. That will be extremely painful for me.
After many hardships, I finally went to Thailand, which, interestingly, means “The Kingdom of Freedom” in the Thai language. I deeply hope that in this free country we can let more people know that, beneath the same sky and on the same earth, there is a group of people who believe in “Truthfulness-Compassion-Tolerance” who are being violently persecuted. If you think the Communist Party’s persecution is only targeted against people who practice Falun Gong, you are underestimating the calamities this persecution will bring to human beings. In 2003, the SARS epidemic, which came from China, brought calamity to many people in the world because of denials in Beijing. This is only calamity to bodies. The persecution of people who believe in “Truthfulness-Compassion-Tolerance” is destroying humanity’s conscience. The Chinese people are living under atheism. The official lying and violence makes it difficult for the people to speak out against the persecution. Some betray their consciences for benefits and stand with the persecutors. I think nothing can harm human beings and our next generation more than this. I urgently call on the international community to pay more attention to this persecution and stop it as soon as possible. We must also stop it from spreading.
Chen Crystal Hua
With the help of the U.S. Government and the United Nations, I was resettled from Thailand to the State of Indiana as a UNHCR Refugee on May 13, 2009. Upon my arrival in the airport, I received a big welcome from the warmhearted staff of “Exodus,” a local resettlement agency. I was touched when an older airport employee helped bring my baggage to the car. When I thanked him and gave him some Falun Gong information, he bowed in his thanks and gave me a graceful Heshi! I felt so fortunate to be surrounded by people were hard-working, compassionate, caring, and respectful of spiritual beliefs. I found the beautiful, peaceful, natural scenery of Indianapolis very attractive. I had the impression that traditional values are well-preserved in Indiana, which is a treasure in modern society. I felt grateful to be there and to finally have the feeling of being “home.”
On September 12, 2009, I re-located to New York City in order to help the cause of Falun Gong more effectively