In recent times, the armed conflict between Israel and Pakistan in the Gaza Strip has attracted a lot of attention and discussion. There are discussions in the Western media, both left and center, and this depends on what position the writer stands for. One comment, perhaps more right-wing, that struck me, said that what happened to Jews in the concentration camps during World War II was a moral and legal basis for the subsequent restoration of Israel.
More than six million Jews died in Europe during World War II, and a large number of Jews were abused to death in concentration camps, and the truth was gradually revealed after the war, shocking the world. Later, many intellectuals vowed “Never Again” (Never Again).
Today, we will not discuss the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, nor the international political conflict, but the same humanitarian disaster that still needs to be faced.
A few days ago, Xu Na, a Falun Gong practitioner in Beijing, published an article of hers overseas that made me feel very much. Xu Na is a graduate of the Communication University of China, formerly known as the Beijing Broadcasting Institute. She is a painter who has been arrested and imprisoned several times, and was arrested again last year and imprisoned again.
I’ll start by reading a paragraph from her essay.
“How I wish I had been imprisoned in Auschwitz instead of a Chinese prison. Because in the Nazi gas chambers one could die quickly, while in Beijing women’s prison it made living worse than dying. Repeatedly, you go through long torture sessions in which they have inmates who know how to doctor and check your signs at all times. I was not allowed to sleep for many days there and was found to have an irregular heart rhythm. So the police ordered, ‘Let her sleep for an hour and rest.’
“All kinds of hidden and elaborate tortures were invented, such as: the splits, where the legs are pulled apart to 180 degrees and three prisoners are ordered to sit on the legs and back of the tortured person and press repeatedly. The police were proud of this invention: ‘This is good because the pain is unbearable, but it doesn’t hurt the bones.’
“The Nazis’ aim against humanity was to destroy the Jewish body, while their aim was to destroy the human spirit, the conscience. When I was more upright in torture and brainwashing, a policeman said to me seriously: ‘You should apply for a craniotomy to remove your brain.'”
Does this passage from Xu Na shock us? She would rather have been in Auschwitz, the place where we swore “Never Again”. The greatest fear we have as human beings is said to be life, death and sickness, but death is not the worst of all.
The Chinese Communist Party has been implementing this policy of making life worse than death in its prisons for seventy years. The persecution of Falun Gong practitioners is not the first, nor will it be the last. If one reads the testimonies of Falun Gong practitioners, one will know that the splits are only one of the ways to make people suffer. There are at least fifty to sixty other punishments that are more painful than the splits, each of which can cause excruciating pain and are also heinous.
The goal of the Nazi concentration camps was to annihilate the physical body of the Jews, and the goal of these camps of the Chinese Communist Party is to annihilate the human spirit and will, to turn you into a walking corpse, into a slave. Putting people into unbearable suffering is the means to accomplish this goal.
It is easy to kill people, but difficult to change them, so the CCP invents more and more painful punishments to make people suffer.
Xu was a university student at the time of the June 4 Incident in 1989, and after graduating from the Communication University of China, she became a freelance painter, hoping to live a relaxed life away from the CCP propaganda department and the agencies controlled by the General Administration of Radio, Film and Television.
After the CCP crackdown on Falun Gong in 1999, Xu Na was arrested and imprisoned.
In her article, she said, “When Xu Tao, a television host, interviewed me about the Beijing Women’s Prison in 2003, I was isolated in a police office. Four inmates, in the form of human handcuffs, clamped me down, and I could clearly hear the police and inmates who were torturing me not far from the interview site, preaching about how civilized they were in enforcing the law, while I could not make a sound and my mouth was gagged with a towel.
“Xu Tao was my college classmate, and we were taught together at the Communication University of China, which aims to train the Party’s mouthpiece, and today she is the deputy chief editor of Beijing TV and a deputy to the National People’s Congress.
“Shortly after this interview, a Falun Gong practitioner, Dong Cui, was abused to death alive in a women’s prison. She was finally called sick and died, and I was again put into the trumpet for torture for reporting and accusing her of being abused to death.
“A few years later, my husband Yu Zu also died of ‘sickness’. The detainee in the same cell with him admitted that he had perjured himself about Yu Zu’s death, but said, ‘I didn’t dare to tell the whole story, I was afraid of being silenced by the police.'”
Xu Na’s husband, Yu Zu, was cool-looking, a big man of a few meters, tall and lean. He is a French graduate from the foreign language department of Peking University.
In August 1999, they attended a gathering of fellow practitioners in Fangshan, Beijing. On that occasion, several hundred Falun Gong practitioners came, including Wang Bin, a doctoral student who was later illegally sentenced by the CCP and is now in the United States (having been reeducated through labor twice by the CCP), his mother Liu Guifu, who is now in exile overseas, and Huang Xiong, the younger brother of American Falun Gong practitioner Dr. Huang Wanqing (whose whereabouts are still unknown, and whose fate is not yet known). After the persecution, everyone wanted to meet with their former fellow practitioners and share their feelings.
After the meeting, Yu Zu and Xu Na left a little late in order to take care of other fellow practitioners, so they were stopped by the police and arrested and put in the detention center for more than 40 days. Since they didn’t catch anyone else, the police interrogated them as the “organizers” of the meeting, but they kept their mouths shut and didn’t disclose any information about their fellow practitioners. They showed great kindness, courage, benevolence and righteousness in front of the police, and the local police refused to give them a hard time after they were released.
In 2001, Li Xiaoli, a Falun Gong practitioner from Siping, Northeast China, who had been living in Xu Na’s house (and had been persecuted to death), was arrested, and the police found Xu Na’s other rented place based on Li Xiaoli’s phone number.
In Beijing Women’s Prison, Xu Na was subjected to various kinds of abuse, but she still did not give in. Later, with the approval of prison director Zhou Ying, Xu Na was put into a “small cell” for torture. In the prison, Xu Na always told the inmates about Falun Gong, which teaches people to cultivate their hearts and turn to goodness, and the truth about the Chinese Communist Party’s persecution of Falun Gong, and touched many inmates and correctional officers with his good heart and righteous deeds. As time went on, the police and the inmates felt that Xu Na spoke well and was right. Because of the fear that Xu Na would turn everyone in the prison (from the police officers to the inmates) into Falun Gong practitioners, the prison director often transferred her to another team, and every time she was transferred, the inmates would say goodbye to her in tears.
At the end of 2006, Yu Zu’s wife Xu Na was released and returned home. The couple was finally reunited. Xu Na continued to show her talent in the arts and crafts field, and soon after she returned home, she was accepted by the Central Academy of Fine Arts as a graduate student in the oil painting department without examination. Yu Zu moved his home near the campus to ensure his wife’s studies.
A year later, in late January 2008, Yu Zu and Xu Na’s car was stopped by the police. That summer, Beijing would host the Olympic Games and the Chinese Communist Party had stepped up security across the board. The Beijing police found a book, “The Wheel of Fortune,” in their car, so they arrested the two men and took them to the police station.
On February 6, Yu Zu’s parents received a notice from the Beijing Public Security Bureau, asking them to rush to the Beijing Qinghe Emergency Center immediately. When the family arrived there, Yu Zu had stopped breathing, his body was covered with a white sheet, his face was still wearing a breathing mask, and his legs were already cold ……
Yu Zu was also socially adrift at the time, and had organized a small band with a friend, just three people, called “Xiaojuan & the Valley Dwellers”. The company’s main business is to provide a wide range of products and services to the public. Their small band sings country songs and traditional folk songs for their fans and is a huge hit everywhere they go, with a loyal following. Xiaojuan is a disabled person with mobility problems, but with the help of Xiaoqiang and Yu Zu, she tenaciously walks on the path of art, and gradually, her soft singing voice and optimistic and open-minded character are accepted by more and more people.
The band became famous and often performed in major hotels. In 2007, the band made three special tours, and their own songs “Evening Sun”, “My Home” and “Dwellers in the Valley” were loved by their fans, and “My Home” became the opening and closing song of every concert. A company even invested and made a music video especially for them.
Before Yu Zu was arrested on January 26, 2008, he had just finished attending a concert.
Ten days later, he died in Tongzhou Detention Center, on February 7, the first day of the Chinese New Year. The singer of the band, Xiao Juan, published in her personal blog a song “Beautiful Soul”, which was said to have been composed many years ago. This time, Xiaojuan published it in a clean singing style. The lyrics go like this.
As time goes by
We will become beautiful spirits
Floating in the distant sky
Maybe you first
Or maybe I will be first
Folding a rose of heavenly holiness
Waiting quietly in heaven
The family asked about the cause of Yu Zu’s death, the doctor said “hunger strike”, then said “diabetes”, and Yu Zu is healthy, there is no diabetes. He had just been locked up in a detention center for 10 days, so how could he have died from a “hunger strike”? In order to cover up the crime, the CCP detention center forced the family to cremate the body immediately, or else they would “round up” Yu Zu’s family for “causing trouble”. Yu Zu’s family strongly disagreed with the cremation of Yu Zu’s body and demanded an autopsy. The detention center once promised Xu Na to take care of Yu Zu’s affairs, but then suddenly stopped talking and transferred Xu Na to the Beijing Detention Center, the infamous “City Bureau Seven Division”, which is the Beijing police specializing in handling so-called “political prisoners” and “felons”. “This happened 13 years ago.
This happened 13 years ago, when Xu Na, who lost her husband in November, was sentenced to three years in prison.
Last July, Xu Na was arrested again, along with several other Falun Gong practitioners in Beijing. They were charged with posting several photos of the streets online during the epidemic. In the CCP’s view, these photos of old Beijing hutongs were a serious threat to the CCP’s security.
To this day, Xu Na is still detained in the Dongcheng District Detention Center in Beijing. Xu Na’s mother, a deceased teacher at the Academy of Fine Arts, and her father, a well-known painter in mainland China, are well known for her own paintings.
Lawyer Liang Xiaojun, who defended her, wrote in his tweet, “Xu Na’s education as a painter and freelance writer, her own tragic encounter and difficult fate, brought her a wisdom, conscience and courage that were deep within her.” “Under the cruel circumstances, she was indifferent to fame and fortune. Her fame and influence were underestimated by civil society but not taken lightly by officials. Every time I met her, it was a kind of listening and learning process for me.”
Xu Na told her lawyer that most of those arrested with her were young Falun Gong disciples in Beijing, some under the age of 20, so she had to fight for them. In her recent article published overseas, she said, “Every injustice in this world, even if it is far away from you, is still relevant to you, because he tortures your conscience all the time.”
She said, “Some things are not only my rights but also my responsibilities, and I cannot escape them.”
That’s why she thinks: “Every screw that is torqued is guilty, it reinforces the evil operation of the machine.”
Those who pretend to be invisible in the face of evil, or even consciously or unconsciously go along with it, may be morally guilty, no matter how insignificant. This was true in the Second World War and it is equally true today, and that includes each and every one of us.