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Gaining freedom after being rescued by Canada

Mr Lin Mingli shares his experience of persecution in China


( Editor's Note: Mr Lin Mingli obtained a visa from the Canada Immigration Department after he walked out of the Tilanqiao Prison in Shanghai in October 2011. On the first day of 2012, he finally arrived in that free country. In China, Mr Lin was arrested three times, did hard labour in a forced labour camp for two years, and was imprisoned for six years. In an attempt to force him into renouncing Falun Gong, the guards instigated the inmates to torture him, beat him with bamboo whips, refuse him access to the toilet, deprive him of sleep, and to strip off his clothes before pouring cold water on him during winter. However, years of persecution could not change Mr Lin's belief, and now the evil deeds will be exposed to the international society. The following is Mr Lin's account of his experiences over the last ten plus years:

My name is Lin Mingli. I started practising Falun Gong in April 1997. Before I practised Falun Gong, I suffered from many diseases, such as myocarditis (inflammation of the heart muscle, often due to infection), lumber disc protrusion, and an inflammation of the prostate. I tried various qigong practices to remedy my condition, but nothing helped. After I practised Falun Gong, my illnesses completely disappeared within a few months. Prior to practising Falun Gong, I had three relapses of my heart problem, which nearly took away my life. Falun Gong gave me a second life. This is my physical benefit from practising Falun Gong.

The most important gain is in my mentality. Because Falun Gong stresses “Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance,” whenever something goes against me, I remind myself that I am a Falun Gong practitioner, and that I can control my anger and calm down. Other than doing the exercises, Falun Gong teaches us to use the principle of “Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance” to guide our lives. Hence, I have benefited greatly from the practice, both physically and mentally.

Residential surveillance and illegal arrest

However, the Jiang Zemin regime started to suppress Falun Gong in July 1999. At that time, I thought that the government may not have known what Falun Gong was. Hoping that government officials could understand the truth of the practice, I went to the Beijing Appeals Office to appeal for the right to practise Falun Gong. I was arrested and taken back to Shanghai. They told me, “You went to Beijing to appeal without our approval, so the police department has decided to put you under surveillance for half a year.” In fact, the residential surveillance lasted for over seven months.

I persisted in practising Falun Gong. One night in October of 2000, there was a knock at my door. Just as I opened the door, four or five policemen suddenly barged into my home and forcibly took me away under the excuse that I practised Falun Gong. I was detained for a month, and my family members were not allowed to visit me.

Ruptured oesophagus in brainwashing centre

One night in January 2001, because Falun Gong truth clarification materials were found in the building where I lived, six or seven policemen broke into my home and arrested me. First they tied my hands behind my back, and then they ransacked my home the whole night until the early morning. I was later taken to a brainwashing centre and was told that I would be held for a month. As I refused to give up the practice, they extended the term twice, and I was held for a total of three months. I was released at the end of March 2001.

During that period, I went on a hunger strike to protest the illegal detention. They brutally force-fed me. The tube was already in my stomach, but they deliberately pulled it out and inserted again. They repeated the process many times until my oesophagus was ruptured. My body jerked up and down from the great pain. The tube was covered with blood and my mouth was also filled with blood. The guards were afraid of taking responsibility, so they sent me to a hospital for emergency treatment.

Working 14 to 16 hours daily in forced labour camp

After I returned home in late March 2001, the police kept monitoring me. On March 26th, 2001, when I had almost recovered, four policemen arrested me and took me to a detention centre. I went on a hunger strike and did the Falun Gong exercises. One policeman kicked me with his boots and shouted, “In China, there are no human rights. Did you see the June 4th Tiananmen Square Massacre? They were all college students. The party wanted to kill them, and they were killed. You Falun Gong practitioners are nothing. If the party wants to kill you, they can. I'll kill you if you do the exercises again.” I said, “I'll do the exercises even if you kill me.” The policeman handcuffed me in order to stop me from doing the exercises.

One month later, I was sentenced to two years of forced labour on the grounds of “disturbing public order”. In the forced labour camp, I was forced to do hard labour from 6:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. and sometimes 10:00 p.m. The camp regulations stated that the working hours should be no more than six hours. However, my working hours far exceeded that, so I went on a hunger strike. Because of my hunger strike and the calls from overseas, the guards finally agreed to reduce my labour time.

At the end of March 2003, I was released after finishing two years of the forced labour term.

Six years of imprisonment

1. My wife was interrogated

When the book Nine Commentaries on the Communist Party was published in 2004, I found it to be a excellent book. I then made a large number of DVDs of the Nine Commentaries and distributed them for free.

At 10 p.m. on October 9th, 2005, officers from the Putuo District Criminal Brigade, together with 6-10 office members, arrested me and ransacked my home. Finding no incriminating evidence, they became furious and arrested my wife, a non-practitioner. They interrogated her overnight, trying to force her to disclose the whereabouts of the CD writer. Since my wife was not a practitioner, she knew nothing about my involvement, and of course she could tell them nothing. Yet the police assumed that she was trying to hide information, and the interrogation continued from 12 a.m. to 6 a.m. At that time, my 70-year-old mother was home by herself. She was in poor health and needed continuous care. However, the officers denied my wife’s request to go home to take care of my mother.

I did not know that my wife was arrested until I was taken downstairs. My wife rushed to me saying that she had been detained the whole night. I immediately told the officers that my wife was not a practitioner, and that she should be released. My wife was finally released.

2. My lawyer was threatened

I was then taken to the Putuo District Detention Centre and detained for one year and two months. Their reason for the long-term detention was that they could not find any incriminating evidence. Finally, they used a mentally ill person to lay a charge on me, and I was sentenced to six years in prison under the crime of “sabotaging legal enforcement”.

Before the trial, my lawyer did not communicate with me. He simply notified my wife that only she was allowed to attend the trial. During the trial, my lawyer said nothing. After the trial, my lawyer came to me and said that the prosecutors and judge threatened him: “Do not take Lin Mingli’s case. It will do you no good.” The lawyer I hired did not dare to say anything for me.

3. Brutal torture in prison

On January 11th, 2007, I was taken to the Second Ward in the First Division of the Tilanqiao Prison in Shanghai. When I arrived, they ordered me to sit on a small stool, which was actually a cylinder used for winding copper wire, with my arms behind my back. I followed their orders for the first week. Later on, I realised that I did not commit any crimes, so I refused to sit on the stool. The guards threatened me, “If you don't sit on it, we will beat you to death.” The guards instigated the inmates to beat me. Beatings are normal in the prison.

They kicked my head and face until they were exhausted. The team leader in charge of monitoring Falun Gong practitioners said to me, “You are so stubborn. Remember: We won’t kill you, but we will make you seek death for relief.” After that threat, they did not allow me to use the toilet, nor did they allow me to sleep. If I dozed off, they would wake me up. The guards instigated the inmates to torture me. They forced me to sit on that stool. If I refused to sit, they would beat me on the head with a bamboo whip, which had small prickles and caused great pain.

I began another round of hunger strikes to protest the persecution. It was a terrible experience and lasted for four months. I lay on the bed with a feeding tube running from my nose to my stomach all day long, while a stereo speaker constantly played words slandering Falun Gong in order to prevent me from sleeping. They regularly beat me at will.

In order to further protest, once they woke me up, I would shout loudly so that people in other cells knew what was happening.

4. Pouring cold water in winter

Then they found a new way to torture me: They moved me to a separate room, where inmates were ordered to take off all my clothes, and they poured cold water over me. It was January and the weather was extremely cold.

5. Family threatened

The authorities not only tortured me, but they also harassed my family. They said, “Lin Mingli does not follow orders in prison. It is not good for him or for your family. If we go to your son's company and tell them his situation, your son will be out of a job.” Under the tremendous pressure, my wife divorced me.

Thank you to the Canadian government for the rescue effort

Because my brother is in Canada, my experience was publicised and drew the attention of the international community. I thank all the Members of Parliament and the entire government of Canada for appealing for me. Your voices effectively reduced the persecution exerted on me. As a result, I do not have any permanent physical damage, and I have finally escaped the persecution.

I have witnessed more brutal persecution toward other practitioners. The skin on Mr Xiong Wenqi's head fell off in large areas due to the savage beatings, and he never regained his hair. For another practitioner, the whip caused many lumps on his head, and the injuries did not heal for many years. Another practitioner had his limbs and head tied to a bed, and he was force-fed; even worse, human urine was forced into his stomach. Yet another practitioner, Mr Ma, was not allow to use the toilet for half a year, and he died as a result of long-term torture. Some practitioners were stomped on by the guards and shocked with electric batons. The screams of practitioners being tortured were often heard throughout the prison.

I hope that the international community will pay attention to the brutal persecution against Falun Gong in China and help bring it to an end.