The Story of My Father（23-24) 我的父親（23-24）
In April 2000, I was arrested for the fourth time; and then sent to the Beijing Female Labor Camp with a one-year Re-education through Forced Labor sentence. None of the following was able to prevent this from happening: my father’s "top 10" status, his "1+1=2″ theory, my brilliant halo as a "talented woman from Peking University,” as well as the fact that I once worked for the Development Research Center of the State Council.
When my father asked me to study science, he believed that studying science would help to prevent me from recommitting the same error he had made. However, he didn’t expect that “plans always fall behind changes,” and that I would end up in jail for practicing meditation and trying to be a better person—not for doing anything political at all.
Every day within the labor camp was a battle between life and death. Every day I was either experiencing for myself or witnessing all kinds of the most unimaginable, inhuman, and vicious crimes. Amidst the unprecedented barbarous physical torture, mental destruction, and a war to destroy our willpower, I had been pushed to the edge of total collapse countless times.
However, with a very strong determination to survive so that I could expose all this evil, I did manage to escape the devil’s den by a hair’s breath (Please refer to my autobiography “Witnessing History: One Woman’s Fight for Freedom and Falun Gong" for more details) and was released in April 2001. In order not to be sent to the brainwashing center again, I had only five days later to leave my home and live in exile.
At this stage I learnt that my sister, who was on the national wanted list, was “hiding” and working in a small bar in Chengdu, the capital city of Sichuan Province some 100 kilometers away from Mianyang. As she couldn’t apply for a temporary residence permit with her ID card, she was nearly caught several times when the police went to the bar to check residence permits. It was very dangerous for her to continue to stay there. I decided to find her a safe place so that she could leave as soon as possible.
I took the train to Chengdu to meet her. The bar she worked at was extremely small, with her as the only attendant. So she had to do everything alone, from serving the customers to acting as the cashier. Every day she worked until midnight. As she had no other place to stay, she had to wait until all the customers left before she could push the tables and chairs to the corner to make a bed on the floor for her to sleep.
Under such circumstances, it was impossible for me to stay with her at the bar as well. So we went to a small motel nearby. At this stage, we hadn’t seen each other for more than a year; and there was so much we wanted to share with each other.
We talked for the entire night until dawn. When daylight broke, we both felt very hungry. So we walked out to get some food. At the front door of the motel, we came across a young man. His facial expression abruptly changed as soon as he set sight on my sister. Then he quickly turned back and rushed away.
My sister also recognized him: he was a classmate of my sister from ten years ago, when they were studying at the police academy. And he was currently a police officer in Chengdu city, and obviously knew very well that my sister was on the wanted list with 30K yuan (approximately US$3,600, a sum greater than the average annual income in China at that time) reward money on her head.
We immediately checked out and left the area. Having nowhere to go, my sister had to return to her bar although we both knew it was very risky. In the meantime, I decided to secretly travel back to Mianyang. I could visit my parents, after having been imprisoned for more than one year, and I could also try to find a place for my sister to go from there. I believed that I could only seek help from a fellow Falun Gong practitioner, as I didn’t think there would be any other people who would take the risk to offer assistance to a “wanted criminal.”
When I saw my parents after only one year’s separation, I was as surprised as I had been in 1998, when I saw the huge change in my father after he practiced Falun Gong. However, this time, the surprise was totally opposite of the one before. It deeply pained my heart.
My father had relapsed into a thin, bony, and silent old man. What was more terrifying than the change with his appearance was that, through his gloomy face, I could see that his soul seemed to have withered, without any sign of life. He was no longer the father I saw over a year ago, when his face had glowed with a youthful radiance while proudly boasting that “four out of five members of our family all practice Falun Gong!”
He was obviously too scared by the overwhelming propaganda campaign and the suppression and had stopped practicing Falun Gong. He no longer talked about anything related to cultivation, either. He even failed to ask me anything about what had happened to me, how I had suffered in the detention center and the labor camp. Perhaps it was because he dared not ask, or perhaps he was not interested. For an old man whose soul had dried up, it wouldn’t make any difference anyway.
I only heard him mumble once, “I am almost 70, and can’t afford any mishaps. What if they confiscate my house? What if they stop paying my retirement pension?”
As to my mother, I noticed that much of her hair had turned grey. Initially, she always talked about her three beautiful and talented daughters with much pride and excitement. However, now with two of her three daughters having become the enemy of the Party, all her pride and happiness had gone. She also looked like a lifeless plant wilted by the frost.
（To be continued 待續 ）