Sunday, December 2, 2012

Taiwanese Searches for her Falun Gong Cell Mate


[Dandan, Taiwanese Ex-Prisoner]:
“I really thank her for helping me get on the right track, and starting a new life.”
Dandan wears sunglasses and a hat to hide her identity. Four years ago, she was imprisoned in a women’s prison in Jinan, Mainland China, for operating a phone scam.
While in prison, she was forced into prolonged hard labor, and her family didn’t want to have anything to do with her. At this most bitter time in her life, she met Falun Gong practitioner Qu Xiaotong, a fellow inmate who was imprisoned for her beliefs.
[Dandan, Taiwanese Ex-Prisoner]:
“At that time she walked over and said to me, is one kettle of water enough for you to wash? In Taiwan you can’t have experienced such bitter cold. The temperature was below freezing and each prisoner was only given one kettle of hot water per day. That day she brought over her kettle of hot water and gave it to me to wash with.”
Falun Gong, also known as Falun Dafa, is a traditional Chinese meditation practice based on the principles of Truth, Compassion, and Tolerance. Since 1999, thousands of Falun Gong practitioners have been imprisoned and forced into hard labor.
While in prison, Qu was kind towards the Taiwanese prisoner. She helped Dandan to overcome the daily problems of life in prison and lived up to the Falun Gong’s principle of compassion. Qu gave Dandan this booklet as a birthday gift.
Dandan says Qu was an intellectual, who had worked as a civil servant. Qu told Dandan that she and her fiancé were planning to get married. But under the Chinese regime’s policy of persecution of Falun Gong, she was sentenced to eight years in jail without her family’s knowledge.
[Dandan, Taiwanese Ex-Prisoner]:
“Once other inmates kicked Qu all the way down the stairs, down five floors. In the winter, Qu’s nose was always red. I’d say to her, ‘Have you been sneakily drinking some alcohol? Why is it red like this?’ Only after I’d known her for a long time did she tell me that she went on a hunger strike and was force-fed through a tube forced up her nose. The redness was because of prolonged force-feeding. As soon as it was winter her skin went red.”
Dandan says the prison made violent criminals and drug offenders monitor Falun Gong practitioners. One drug offender, in order to shorten her sentence, killed a Falun Gong practitioner through force-feeding, and the body was quickly cremated.
Despite the harsh treatment from some prison officers and inmates, there were also prison officers with conscience.
[Dandan, Taiwanese Ex-Prisoner]:
“There was once a prison officer who held Qu and cried, ‘I can’t bear to see you Falun Gong people like this, being oppressed like this every day, and I can’t do anything to help you.’ Think about it, if even a Communist Party member can say something like this about Falun Gong practitioners’ plight, then what are the practitioners themselves feeling. For people like me, we’re in prison because we committed crimes. It’s correct that we are punished, since we did commit crimes. But for the Falun Gong practitioners, they definitely didn’t commit any crimes, and what’s more—they’re such a sincere and beautiful group of people.”
Dandan says the prison tried to stop her from seeing Qu too often and warned her not to have any contact with Falun Gong practitioners.
In September 2012, Dandan was released and returned to Taiwan. The first thing she wanted to do was to search for Qu, who should already have been released.
[Dandan, Taiwanese Ex-Prisoner]
“Someone who has been so kind to me, how could she end up like this? I’ve heard absolutely no news about her whereabouts. Once Falun Gong practitioners are released, they are taken by the secret organization—the 610 Office—and not seen again. Have you heard about this? This is the situation. I also don’t know much and I fear for her.”
After her release, Dandan read news articles about the Chinese regime performing forced organ harvesting on living Falun Gong practitioners. This worried her. She has made phone calls to the Mainland and used online media to search for her Falun Gong prison mate, Qu Xiaotong.
Dandan also went to ask for help from Falun Gong practitioners in Taiwan. She says she will stand up for what’s right and find the person she’s most thankful to in her life.
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