Editor’s note: Wang Jindong used to be an obsessed follower of Falun Gong. On the eve of Chinese New Year on January 23, 2001, he participated in the self-immolation incident in the Tiananmen Square, and was the first self-immolator. On August 17, 2001, he was sentenced to 15 years in prison by the First Intermediate People's Court of Beijing Municipality with political rights suspended for three years. In May 2003, he wrote this article in prison, recalling the years of being obsessed by Falun Gong, recollecting the "1.23" self-immolation incident and surveying the process of waking up after the incident. This article reveals facts about the self-immolation incident in Tiananmen Square on January 23, 2001.
I am Wang Jindong, 51-year-old, a former driver working for Maodun Group Corporation in Kaifeng City, Henan Province. My home address is No. 33, Fayuan Street, Kaifeng City, Henan Province. My wife is He Haihua, a laid-off worker of Kaifeng Underwear Factory. My daughter is Juanjuan, 23-year-old. She is unemployed at present. I attended the self-immolation incident on the afternoon of January 23, 2001, and was the first self-immolator. On August 17, 2001, I was convicted of intentional homicide and was sentenced to 15 years in prison with political rights suspended for three years. I am now serving the sentence in Zhengzhou Prison in Henan Province.
On the eve of Chinese New Year on January 23, 2001, when Chinese people were expecting and preparing for the first lunar New Year in the new century and the new millennium, I, as an obsessed follower of Falun Gong, attended a self-immolation incident in Tiananmen Square. This world-shocking incident gave rise to much discussion. However, Falun Gong movement and Li Hongzhi who had already fled to the United States denied that I was a Falun Gong follower and practitioner, though I stepped out to defend Falun Gong by setting myself on fire.
Some people said that I was not a follower of Falun Dafa because my meditation position bore no resemblance to Falun Gong when I set myself on fire. Some other people said self-immolators got astray in practicing and the self-immolation was personal behavior having nothing to do with Falun Dafa. Some others said that the family of Wang Jindong was not a real family, and that they were laid-off workers bought over by the government. Some even said that Wang Jindong’s burning injury was made up.
But actions speak louder than words. Now I would like to recall what I have experienced over the past four years since I began practicing Falun Gong, including how my mind has changed before and after the “1.23” incident. I realized all these events have witnessed my course of being blind, surviving the death and heading for a new life.
My hometown is Jiaohu Village, Jiaohu Town, Hua County, Henan Province, which is a well-known market town. My home was in a yard at the eastern end of the Nanjie in the town. I was born in the yard on January 8, 1951. One day in the autumn of 1957, my father took me to Kaifeng City because I reached school age.
I was previously known as Wang Xiudong. My fellow villagers in my hometown used to call me Dongniu. When I graduated from primary school, I changed my name to Wang Jindong.
In the primary school, I cared nothing but play, and got poor marks since my fourth grade. My father was so angry with me that he often beat me for my poor academic performance. I did not mean to upset him, but I really did not like to study. Sometimes I felt guilty for my lack of ambition. But I forgot all these things when I was playing. After graduation from primary school, I went to a local public secondary school, which had a work-study program. I went to class one day and learn locksmithing the other day
At that time, there were seven people in my family. My father was the only bread-winner in the family. We were living in straitened circumstances. But my father refused to take subsidy from his employer, so I had to drop out of school to find something to do. I could not find a job at first. My father asked me to do locksmithing free of charge in his workplace.
My father was the most respectable man to me. He had been a workshop director in the factory. He was responsible and hardworking. During the natural disaster from 1960 to 1961, my father often biked to suburban areas with me to dig wild herbs. I began to know the hardship of life. Because of overtiredness and malnutrition, my father had edema, which resulted in hepatitis. One day in 1965, my father was hospitalized for a spleen removal surgery. Even when he was bothered by great sufferings, he was very polite to doctors and nurses, often with a smile on his face. He did not even groan in huge pains. During the days I accompanied my father in hospital, I was moved by his strong will. I made up my mind to take him as my role model no matter what kind of the hardship and misfortune I have to get through in the future. I made a commitment to my father in his last days, “ You can rest assured that I will take very good care of my mother and my younger siblings. ”
In April 1976, I began to work in Kaifeng Daily-use Commodities Factory (also known as Maodun Group Corporation) as a driver. I loved this job, so I worked hard and got along well with my colleagues. In 1992, my wife was laid off. She rented a booth in a new market east to Wuchaomen to sell travel goods. Although we felt a bit embarrassed at the beginning, we gradually got used to the new business. On December 31, 1993, we rented a house with an area of 45 square meters near Tieta Park to start a shop named Jubaozhai (shop of treasures). As our business flourished, it was really hard for my wife to run the shop alone. So I retired in 1998 and began operating the shop with my wife.
One day in October 1996, my friend Xue Hongjun gave me the book Zhuan Falun, which was written by Li Hongzhi. Xue told me that as long as I practice as directed in the book, I would eventually get enlightened and achieve consummation. I finished the book quickly. Both my wife and our daughter also read the book. Since then, we began to practice Falun Gong. We not only read the book, but also tried to be a good person, to improve our mentality as required by the book.
We took learning Falun Dafa as the top priority in our life. We sometimes closed the shop only to watch the video of lectures given by our master. As a result, our business went down. But we were not worried about it because we thought learning Falun Dafa was much more important than making money. Once I lost my newly bought motorcycle valued at more than RMB10, 000. But it did not upset me very much, because I remembered my master’s teachings, “You are destined to lose it.”I thought if I had learned Falun Dafa, I would have been upset for the loss for a fairly long time.
With the help of my friends, I used my savings to buy a two-story house with an area of 128 square meters (with a yard covering an area of more than 40 square meters). From the second half of 1998, however, our business was deteriorating because of strong competition. Burdened by overstocking of goods, we could not repay the debt. So I sold the house to repay loans and debts.
We intended to practice Falun Gong at home and never thought of practicing outside. But the instructions published on Falun Gong websites clearly required all disciples to go out to extend its influence.
On the next day, we joined a practicing group in front of Fanlou building at Yujie street, where we got acquainted with many practitioners of Falun Gong. Since my shop located at Yujie Street, it was very convenient for other practitioners to contact me. We often held discussions, comparing our practice with instructions in the book Zhuan Falun and lectures, as well as teachings downloaded from Internet. Because I practiced and studied hard, it did not take me a long time to join discussions with a few fellow practitioners who were complimented “highly enlightened”. They had a great influence on me. They confirmed my deepening understandings of Falun Gong teachings, which made me more attached to the master and the book Zhuan Falun.
What bothered me the most was the“thought karma”. I did not know why I often felt an impulse to insult the master. My master explained that it was the “thought karma” that prevented me from getting enlightened. I was extremely painful. In order to eliminate the “thought karma”, I read the chapter on this subject in the book Zhuan Falun for over and over again. But it did not work out at all. I burned incense in front of the portrait of my master, pouring out my sufferings in tears and begging my master to help me get rid of the karma. I respected my master more than my parents. Under my influence, my wife and my daughter and our relatives began to practice Falun Gong. I bought them books and invited them to watch videos.
On April 25, 1999, more than 10, 000 followers of Falun Dafa went to Zhongnanhai for collective protest. When I heard the news, I felt regretful for missing this opportunity. I made up my mind to devote everything I have to Falun Dafa. I reminded myself to seize every chance in the future.
During the following days, I downloaded teachings from Internet and learned Falun Dafa with my fellow practitioners. I also spent my money printing a large number of teachings and other documents for wide distribution.
In August 2000, I downloaded the article To Get Rid of the Last attachment, which said, “It is time to get rid of the last attachment. As a practitioner, you have already learned and been able to let go of all worldly attachments, including the attachment to your life. But the attachment to consummation is another kind of attachment. Do you think the Buddha would be attached to consummation?” My master said in the article, “I know well about your sufferings. In fact, I cherish you more than yourselves.”This article made me more determined to devote myself to my master and to Falun Dafa.
Liu Yunfang was well known for his good understanding of Falun Gong. He often explained the article to me and other practitioners who were in close contact with him. He said practicing Falun Gong was like growing a lotus in fire, which meant that we were facing austere test. He claimed he had set himself on fire in Tiananmen Square to defend Falun Gong when he was in meditation. He also elaborated specific details about his self-immolation. So I thought it was time for me to stand up to defend Falun Dafa in the form of giving up my life.
After the self-immolation incident, when I was lying in hospital bed, I learned from news reports that Zhang Erping, the spokesman for Falun Gong Headquarters, denied the self-immolators were Falun Gong followers. I should like to ask him what kind of people may be regarded as Falun Dafa disciples, and what features Falun Dafa disciples may have.
As to the self-immolation incident in Tiananmen Square on January 23, some people said the self-immolators got astray in practicing Falun Dafa and the self-immolation was personal behavior having nothing to do with Falun Dafa. I responded to them at that time that those who said I got astray could not understand my behavior because they did not reach my level. Just as what the master had said, it was impossible for those at lower levels to understand those at higher levels. It was a common circumstance that the practitioners were reluctant to discuss with those at lower levels. The master had promised that Falun Gong practitioners would never get astray during the cultivation. Even now Falun Gong websites still published articles advocating the followers to eliminate attachment. We have already let go of everything as directed by Li Hongzhi, though in a different way. What was wrong with our following teachings of Li Hongzhi? Those who criticized us were at lower levels than us, so they could not understand what we did. But now I know that all the teachings, no matter at higher or lower levels, are fallacies.
Get to Beijing
I had decided to take the form of self-immolation to defend Falun Dafa. One day in October 2000, I told Liu Yunfang about my decision to go to Tiananmen Square and conduct self-immolation to defend Falun Dafa. He neither agreed nor disagreed. Later I heard that my idea coincided with that of another disciple Hao Huijun. After a couple of days, we three made the decision on self immolation, leaving the specific schedule for further discussion.
At about the end of October, Liu Yunfang said he knew little about Beijing since he had never been there. So I bought two train tickets of sleeper to Beijing. When we got to Beijing, Chen Guo, the daughter of Hao Huijun, received us at the gate of the Central Conservatory of Music. She had arranged accommodation for us. Later, Liu Yunfang and I walked around Tiananmen Square to locate the spots where we would carry out the plan. Then we asked Chen Guo to invited more practitioners in Beijing to hold discussions. But Chen Guo only found two female practitioners. Through discussion, I realized that they were unable to accept my understanding of Falun Dafa. I felt somewhat disappointed. Before we left for Beijing, Liu Yunfang said there would be few people in Kaifeng who would like to attend such activity. He said since the master gave more lectures in Beijing than in other regions, there must be more “highly enlightened” practitioners in the city. He suggested that we had better form nine wheels of law in the square (one wheel of law needs nine people and nine wheels needs 81 people).
I thought he was joking for it was absolutely impossible to mobilize so many people to attend self-immolation. But Liu Yunfang seemed confident. He wanted to have a try, so he was eager to find more practitioners for discussion. In fact, we did not find many practitioners. We even did not dare to tell other people about our true purpose (self-immolation). At last, Liu Yunfang gave up his plan about nine wheels of law and 81 people. After we made a study of the square, we found a paint shop to buy fuel needed for self-immolation.
We stayed in Beijing for five days. At the last night, Liu Yunfang made a phone call to a practitioner in Kaifeng, telling him that we were about to go back to Kaifeng. Since we left Kaifeng without a word, our families have been hunting all over the city for us. They were so worried that they cried sadly. I put down the phone, and decided to go back home the next morning. When I got home, my wife hugged me and burst into tears, but I did not know how to comfort her. I lied to her that I went to Beijing with Liu Yunfang to exchange practicing experience with other practitioners. Thus the storm had blown over.
In the following days, the master published a series of teachings, all of which asked us to eliminate attachment and to go to Tiananmen Square to defend Falun Dafa. We studied all these teachings. The master praised that the practitioners who had already taken actions were great. At that time, both my wife and my daughter said they wanted to defend Falun Dafa in Tiananmen Square, so I decided to go to Beijing with them.
Around January 6, 2001, Liu Yunfang gave me a hand-written copy of "lection" from the master, it read to the effect that: a Buddha can sacrifice all, including his life, to defend the universe where he lives and the people in it. Driven by the desire to defend Falun Dafa and our master, we decided to set ourselves on fire in Tiananmen Square in a bid to force the government to change its attitude toward Falun Dafa.
After January 8, Hao Huijun proceeded to talk with Liu Yunfang frequently about the self-immolation in Tiananmen Square, saying her daughter Chen Guo would also take part in. I felt sorry for Chen Guo because the girl was too young. But I could not find a reason to stop them. I admired Hao Huijun and Chen Guo very much.
The schedule of carrying out the self-immolation plan had not been decided. One day, when I was talking with Liu Yunfang at a paint shop, I thought of a cartoon that had been broadcast by CCTV about ten and more years ago. The cartoon told a fairy tale about Chu Xi (Chinese New Year’s Eve). According to the fairy tale, a devil named Xi came to the world, bringing about various disasters to ordinary people. The devil ate children, brought about strong wind, flood and drought. The suffering people burned incense, praying for help from the God to get rid of the devil. Then a talented boy named Nian (the Year) came from the heaven. He eventually defeated the devil Xi through battles, bringing the world back to peace. To commemorate the glorious victory, people set the last day of the lunar Chinese Year as the day of Chu Xi (Getting rid of Xi), and the first day of the new lunar year as the day to celebrate the victory of Nian. The fairy tale made Liu Yunfang thrilled. I had never seen him so excited before. Thus we decided to set ourselves on fire on the New Year’s eve (the day of getting rid of Xi).
On January 10, Liu Yunfang gave me 1, 000 Yuan out of the 3, 000 Yuan that Hao Huijun gave him a couple of days before, asking me to buy four train tickets to Beijing and said Liu Baorong, another disciple, would also join us. But I had no idea of it in advance.
I knew I was a target of the police, so I was vigilant. Trying not to be identified on the way to buy tickets, I decided to seek help from Liu Chunling, a fellow practitioner who I just knew. She was a smart person. On January 11, I came to Liu Chunling and asked her to buy the tickets. Both she and her daughter Liu Siying were at home. I told her frankly that I was a target of the police, so I had to beg her to buy four tickets for me. She immediately agreed. But when she asked me what the tickets were for, I did not tell her the truth, and just said the tickets were for my friends. I was shocked when Liu Chunling told me that she heard about the self-immolation plan and wanted to join in. I asked her how she got the news, but she was reluctant to tell. She told me her intention to attend the activity. Her resolute attitude almost made me into tears. I could not help telling her my real plan. Her daughter also wanted to go with us. But I did not agree to Liu Chunling’s plan, for I thought it would be a tragedy if Liu Chunling attended the event and left her daughter an orphan. I also said to them it would be too cruel if 12-year-old Liu Siying attended the event. I explained the possible negative influence that their participation would have on Falun Dafa. Liu Chunling accepted my advice and told her daughter that she would take her to Beijing after the Spring Festival. But the girl did not agree. Liu Chunling promised me that she would not go to Beijing with us and would persuade her daughter not to do so.
Two days later, I went to the home of Liu Chunling to take the four tickets. But she told me that both she and her daughter would go to Beijing with us and showed me the tickets that she had already bought. I got angry and further explained the serious consequence of such behavior. I asked her to return the tickets. She eventually agreed to cancel her plan.
On the evening of January 16, I went to the home of my second younger sister to say goodbye to my mother. My daughter's boyfriend and two of my sisters were there as well. I lied to them that I was about to leave for the suburban area and to live in the home of a fellow practitioner for a period of time. I spoke with them in smile while restraining great sorry. My tears burst out when I got out of the door. But I refrained myself for I thought of what my master had said, “when a follower achieves consummation, the master would take his/her families to the heaven.”I was expecting my reunion with them in the heaven. I said to my mother and my relatives in my mind, “my beloved ones, I do not mean to leave you behind. I just cannot give you a clear explanation right now. Wait and see. Someday you will know how amazing my achievements are. What I will do is far beyond the reach of those who were not enlightened and just kept Falun Data on their tongues. ”I said to myself, “I have to get rid of such attachment to love in a bid to defend Falun Dafa.” Then I took a taxi at the southern end of the Nanjingxiang Street to the railway station.
Shortly after I arrived at the railway station, Xue Hongjun and Hao Huijun got to the railway station by taxi. I bought a platform ticket for Xue Hongjun, who helped Hao Huijun take her luggage to the train. Suddenly I saw Liu Siying was getting on the train. I was very shocked. I was so angry that I said nothing to them all the way. I was wondering even after we got to Beijing, “Is it destined?”
We took the No. 387 bus to the Central Conservatory of Music, where Chen Guo was waiting for us. She took us to the on-campus dining hall for breakfast, and then took us by bus to a disciple’s home in the western part of the city. Liu Yunfang and I waited outside. After a while a young man came and led us to Chengzi station in Mentougou district. After getting off the bus, we were led to a suite in a big yard. There were two bedrooms and two separate sitting rooms in the suite. Liu Yunfang and I lived in the outer bedroom, while women and girls lived in the inner bedroom and the sitting rooms. After settling down, the women went to a nearby supermarket, and bought a lot of food and vegetables. All of us took about more than 8, 000 Yuan in total.
The young man who led us to the suite thought we would leave after a show-off in Tiananmen Square, just as other Falun Gong practitioners had done. Liu Yunfang asked the young person to organize a meeting with some other followers. At that night, the young man came over and led Liu Yunfang, Chen Guo and me to a restaurant. A total of nine people including us attended the meeting. Liu Yunfang and I did not tell our real purpose to other practitioners. Instead, we wanted to learn their opinions and then judge their understanding of Falun Dafa. But we were disappointed with them, except a follower named Liu Xiuqin. About two hours later, I hinted Liu Yunfang to stop the meeting. Liu Xiuqin gave us her telephone number. I did not keep contact information of other people. Then she called a taxi to take us to our residence.
Self-immolation in Tiananmen Square
On the next morning, we advised other followers to stay in the suite for security reason. Liu Yunfang and I made a phone call to Liu Xiuqin with a pay telephone at the street. We invited her for a meeting. She accepted the invitation at once. We decided to meet at 19:00 at the entrance of the Capital Steel Co.
Then Liu Yunfang and I went to Liulichang Antiques Street by subway, where we bought a 40-metre-long plastic bag to contain gasoline (actually the moisture proof bag for mounting calligraphy and picture). It was still early, so we took a round on the street. At 17:00, we got to Gucheng by subway, and had dinner at McDonald’s. At 19:00, we met Liu Xiuqin at the gate of Capital Steel Co. She led us to a restaurant to join another three people, including two men and one woman. Thus, we had six people for the meeting. During the meeting, a middle-aged woman did not say a word. Through dialogues, we found that Liu Xiuqin had better understanding of Falun Dafa than other people. So I hinted Liu Xiuqin to stop the conversation. Then Liu Xiuqin invited Liu Yunfang and me to her home for further conversation. At her home, we told her the real purpose of our trip to Beijing. She was surprised and admired us a lot. She also felt shameful for she did not have the courage to do so. She was deeply moved by my calmness, and admired our achievement in practice and cultivation. Driven by the admiration, she expressed her willingness to help us in fulfilling the plan.
I told her that we did not dare to fill gasoline in our residence, where we knew little about. I asked for her help to find a house to fill gasoline. She said it was difficult to find such a place. At last she told us we could fill the gasoline at her home. Liu Yunfang and I were touched by her sincere contribution. We both thought that the decision reflected Liu Xiuqin reached a high level in cultivation.
When we got back to our residence, Liu Yunfang was worried about whether we could buy gasoline. He urged me for several times to buy gasoline in advance. But I told him that nowhere is safe for the gasoline. I reassured him that I was a veteran driver and knew where and how I could get gasoline. I asked him to take it easy.
On the morning of January 22, Liu Yunfang and I bought four 10-litre plastic barrels in a nearby grocery, and a pipe for intake of gasoline from the barrels. Then we rented a minivan, asking the driver to take us to a gas station. There we filled the barrels with gasoline. On the way back, we changed another car halfway to avoid arousing suspicion. We arrived at Liu Xiuqin’s home at about 10:00. Liu Xiuqin was waiting for us. We separated the gasoline at balcony and wrapped the barrels with three-layer plastic to prevent exuding. Then we covered the barrels with a piece of cloth. Since Liu Xiuqin’s husband knew nothing about what we had done, we had to get rid of the gasoline odor. Liu Xiuqin even burned incense in the bedroom.
In order to help us, Liu Xiuqin asked for a leave from work that day. Her boss made two phone calls to her out of the worries about her involvement with Falun Gong. She stalled off her boss with a few vague remarks.
On January 23, 2001, also the last day of lunar Chinese year, we seven got up early. After washing-up and breakfast, we left our residence and headed for the home of Liu Xiuqin by taxi. When we entered the door, Liu Xiuqin warned us the gasoline had exuded and was quite smelly. I decided to buy new bags. Since it would take some time for the gasoline to leak, there would be no problem if we put the gasoline in use shortly after we refill it. Someone suggested using soft-drink bottles. But I insisted that bags were better for bottles were not easy to hide. On the way to buy bags, I thought over how to take the gasoline into the square without arousing suspicion for there were too many police people there with piercing eyes. All of a sudden, the toy guns occurred to me. I decided to buy a few toy guns and take them to the square in order to mislead the police. It really took me some time to buy the toy guns. Eventually, I spent 90 Yuan buying two sets of toy guns equipped with an electronic watch and a computer at a nearby marketplace.
It was almost 13:00 when I came back. The others were impatient of waiting for me so they decided to use soft-drink bottles instead. Liu Xiuqin bought a dozen bottles of soft drink downstairs, emptied the bottles, and filled with gasoline. When I entered the door, they were busy fixing the bottles on their body. Some put the bottles into their bags. Liu Yunfang and I hang the bottles over neck by ropes, fixed them with adhesive tape under our armpits, then put on the sweaters and wadded jackets. We looked at each other, and confirmed everything was ok. Each of us took two single-edged blades and two lighters prepared by Hao Huijun. We took out all our money, which amounted to less than 6, 000 Yuan. We asked Liu Xiuqin to give 1, 000 Yuan to the young man mentioned above, and left the remaining for Falun Dafa events in Beijing. Liu Xiuqin suggested us sending the money home. But all of us did not agree with her, for our families knew nothing about our plan.
It was about 13:00 then. I told other people to go to the square by two taxis to avoid arousing suspicion. Since it would take us about an hour to get to the Square, we promised to take action respectively around 14:30.
Hao Huijun, Chen Guo, Liu Chunling and Liu Siying went downstairs first, caught a taxi and left. I felt rather sad at the back shadow of the two girls. I thought, “Just leave it to fate. After all they are doing the same great thing as us. What pities me is that they are still young.”
Then Liu Yunfang, Liu Baorong and I took a taxi and went directly to Tiananmen Square. On the taxi, I chatted with the driver. I talked to Liu Yunfang, but he did not respond. He looked very nervous. I had no idea what he was thinking about. But I was very calm. I asked the taxi driver to stop at the southern gate of the Great Hall of the People. Liu Yunfang and Liu Baorong headed toward the Square after they got off the car. I paid the driver and followed them to the square. I saw they walk toward the western gate of the Mao Zedong Memorial Hall. Liu Yunfang tried to enter the square through the memorial hall. But the visitors were not allowed to go through the memorial hall. So they had to go straight toward the square, though there was a soldier guarding the entrance to the square.
I entered the square from the western entrance, pretending I was reading newspaper. I looked at my watch. It told that it was half past two in the afternoon. I wandered around the monument, trying to locate where my fellow practitioners were. I had no idea whether they had already been at the square. I met Liu Yunfang and Liu Baorong at the west side of the monument. I asked Liu Yunfang, “Have you seen the others?”Liu looked very nervous. He heard my questions, but he walked straight northward as if he had not seen me. This made me doubt whether Liu Yunfang could accomplish this mission. But I thought what we had planned to do were for the Falun Dafa. Since the law body of our master was everywhere, he may know every idea and every behavior of us all. No matter what other people would do, I must complete my task to defend Falun Dafa.
When I got to the northeastern side of the monument, I found four police people in plain clothes walk toward me with their eyes staring at me. I felt it would be late if I did not take action. I used the blade I had prepared in my hand to cut through the clothes and slice the bottle, and then I threw away the blade and took out the lighter with my left hand. At that moment, the policemen hurried towards me. They saw I was holding a lighter, but they seemed as if having no idea what I was going to do. They all were stunned.
When they were ten steps away from me, I struck the lighter. The fire devoured me instantaneously; I had no time for a cross-legged sit, so I sat on one leg instead and formed the hand position. Being suffocated by the fire, I heard nothing but the whirr of the flame, but I thought my mission was about to be fulfilled.
At that moment, the policemen used something to put out the fire on me (Later I learned from the video footage that it was fire extinguishing blanket); I refused, twice. However, some other policemen managed to put out the fire with extinguishers. Greatly disappointed, I stood up and shouted, “Truthfulness, Compassion and Tolerance is the law of the universe; the law deserves to be respected by all people in the world. The Master is the major Buddha in the universe!” When the police were about to drive their car, we suddenly heard someone shout, “There is fire over there!”One of the police remained to take care of me, while the others rushed toward the places where my fellow practitioners set themselves on fire. I kept on shouting the slogans. It did not take 10 minutes that the police drove a car to me. They put me on the police car, and sent me to a hospital. But the hospital was not qualified to treat burned patients. The doctors recommended sending me to Jishuitan Hospital. The police advised me to lie on a stretcher, but I refused. I insisted walking onto the car by myself. , the police vehicle drove at a very high speed towards Jishuitan Hospital with siren on.
While lying in the moving bed in emergent treatment room, I did not feel painful or regretful at all. After a while, Chen Guo was sent into the room. She lied beside me without a word. I raised my body to look at her. Comparing what I saw with her image in my memory, I had a mixed feeling. After another while, Liu Siying and Hao Huijun were sent into the room. They were all lying quietly. But I did not see Liu Chunling, Liu Yunfang and Liu Baorong. I had a premonition that Liu Chunling may have already died. I guessed that Liu Yunfang and Liu Baorong stayed together and that they possibly did not set fire. I did not know why I had such premonition, but my premonition proved true.
I did not resent Liu Yunfang, for cultivation was actually a personal choice. I felt proud for what I had done at that time.
After the self-immolation incident, Zhang Erping, the spokesman of Falun Gong headquarters in the US published a statement, denying that we were Falun Gong followers. Instead, he said we were devils who were trying to destroy Falun Dafa. I did not take the statement seriously for I thought it as a way in which my master tested me. If we had not been deceived by Li Hongzhi, why we, a group of people at various ages who were supposed to enjoy our happy life, would have come to Tiananmen Square to set ourselves on fire?
Through the follow-up report made by the CCTV Focal Point Interview program about the self-immolation incident, I learned that the Falun Gong headquarters had directed some followers in Zhengzhou to investigate us. I was confused about it. I did not know why Li Hongzhi, who claimed to be the supreme omnipotent Buddha in the universe, needed to order his followers to make a field investigation in Kaifeng?
On July 20, 2001, CCTV journalists told me humorously, “I have good news for you. Your master has confirmed through investigations that you self-immolators are actually followers of Falun Dafa, but he said you got astray in practicing Faluun Dafa.”
But I remembered that Li Hongzhi had told us that there would be no chance to get astray in practicing Falun Dafa, for his “body of law” and “wheel of law” would teach and protect us at anytime. He concluded that Falun Gong was the safest without any risk. But I do not know how he would explain the reason why more than 1, 700 followers across the country had been confirmed to have already killed or injured themselves by refusing to see doctor, refusing to take medicines, cutting wrists, drowning or jumping from buildings, or killed or injured by other followers?
I did not believe such reports at first. I thought the reports were fabricated by the government. But I was shocked by a huge amount of facts and truth. The undeniable facts and truth made me reconsider whether what I had been pursuing with my life was right. I had to take responsibility for myself. I had to review what I had done.
Long after the self-immolation incident, I had been obsessed with Falun Gong. But the fire in Tiananmen Square made the focus of contradictions. That actually marked a change in my soul, and a turn to new life.
On January 30, 2001, I was transferred to the department for sick prisoners in Beijing Public Security Hospital. I was the only patient in a ward accommodating four patients. I was told that such arrangement was aimed at avoiding infections. I was given ultraviolet radiation treatment twice in a day. My surgeon was the best one in the hospital.
Dr. Yang Mo, aged about 30, was a very kind person. He had a height of 180cm, a fair skin, well-built body and easy manners. He always kept a smile on his face. When he was checking and dealing with my injuries, he was very careful, avoiding hurting me. I was deeply touched by his consideration. When I expressed my gratitude, he often responded, “It is my duty.”
Later I found out that all doctors and nurses in the department treat their patients equally, no matter what crime the patients had committed and what kind of disease they had. The sick prisoners were given nutritious food, which cost about 400-500 Yuan per month. We had never expected such good food in the hospital. When some sick prisoners wanted to take some food at midnight, the nurses on duty bought food with their own money for them. I would never have believed such things if I had not witnessed myself. I was very moved by their professional morals.
I was given extra care in the hospital. Although the ward was centrally-heated, Dr. Yang suggested buying an electric heater in order to speed up my recovery. To improve my physical health, he bought me Huiyuan juice. My gratitude cannot be conveyed in speech.
When CCTV journalists approached me for an interview for the first time at Jishuitan hospital, I rejected them on the ground that I was unable to speak. On February 2, 2001, CCTV planned to interview me. Leaders in the hospital came to send their best wishes to me at first. Then they asked whether I was willing to receive the interview. I answered, “Yes.” They told me that I could tell the truth and fact in the way as I like. I agreed.
Journalists asked, “Why did you attend self-immolation in Tiananmen Square?”
I said, “Falun Dafa is a righteous one. It was unfair for the government to outlaw it. As a real follower of Falun Dafa, I value Dafa more than my life. I would take my life to defend Dafa. The self-immolation in Tiananmen Square is a kind of protests. As other practitioners, I decided to defend Falun Dafa. Self-immolation is just the supreme form. ”
Journalists asked, “Don’t you think such behavior is too cruel for a Liu Siying who is just 12 years old?”
This question was the heaviest hit to me. But I gave an answer from the prospective of a Falun Gong disciple.
I said, “I had tried several times to prevent Liu Siying and her mother from coming to Beijing. But I did not know their plan until we got on the train. It was too late to stop them. Besides, I thought it may be their fate, just as what the master had said. What kind of reasons do I have to prevent other people from sacrificing themselves for Falun Dafa?”
Journalists asked, “What do you think about Liu Yunfang’s failure to set himself on fire?”
I answered, “we all volunteered to do this thing. None of us was forced to do that. Only those who have reached a fairly high level in cultivation can make such choice and do not feel regretful for it. Everybody has the right to choose what he/she would do and how he/she would do it. I do not comment on other people’s choice. ”
Journalists asked, “You just care about achieving consummation by yourself. Have you ever thought about the effect that your behavior may have on your family?”
I answered, “According to teachings of the master, the purpose of our practice and cultivation is to get rid of all kinds of attachment, including attachment to our body. But attachment to consummation is another kind of attachment. Nothing visional is permanent. The only thing that matters is to practice. Let it is as it is. I don’t care what other people’s purposes are. I myself was following the directions of the master. I know I still need to let go of attachment. But I am trying to achieve the goal. I am missing my family. But I know such emotion is an obstacle to my cultivation. I learn from history that only those who can get rid of attachment to family can eventually achieve their goal of life. I am proud of myself for being calm when I set the fire. ”
Journalists asked, “Do you feel regretful? You are so badly burned. How can you face your family and other people? ”
I answered, “I will never regret for it. I have expected all these things before the incident. I have told one of my fellow practitioners that there would be two kinds of results of my plan: one is that I die as I wish; the other is that I am saved. There are a lot of police people in plain clothes in the square. These police people are on guard. As a veteran driver, I know that there are fire extinguishers in the police cars. Even common vehicles are required to be equipped with fire extinguishers, not to mention the police vehicles patrolling in Tiananmen Square. If I am saved, I would be badly burned. But it does matter how I would face my family or other people. I would like to follow the direction of my master, letting go of life and death. I have kept my promise to sacrifice myself for Falun Dafa.”
A few days later, some other journalists came to interview me (I had no idea which TV station they were working for). They inquired about my physical condition, and asked what I was in need of and whether I was satisfied with treatment. When the interview began, besides similar questions asked in previous interview, these reporters told me a thing that they did not understand but were interested in.
The reporters asked, “Your determination to devote yourself to Falun Dafa put you in such a miserable condition. But the US-based Falun Gong headquarters said in a public statement that you were not followers of Falun Gong, but devils who were ruining Falun Dafa. What do you think about their statement? ”
I said, “I am a real follower of Falun Dafa. I took teachings of my master as guidance to what I say and do. The master repeatedly encouraged us to stand out to defend Falun Dafa. I just took the supreme form. What’s wrong with me? I practice Falun Gong. I do not care whether other people accept my cultivation. I know what I am doing. I just took it as a test to me. The incident is also a test to all followers of Falun Dafa. It is nothing special. ”Then the reporters wished me a speedy recovery. I said “thank you”to them.
In late March, I missed my family very much. The thought of my mother aged above 70, my wife, my daughter and my siblings saddened me. I don’t know how deeply they feel sorry for me. I don’t know whether my aged mother could bear the heavy attack that I brought out to her. I am worried about the health status of my mother. I know that my siblings must have felt heart-broken for me, and that I must have made a lot of trouble for my daughter’s boyfriend and his family. I felt very guilty and sad. But I would like to take the incident as a trial to me. So I had to control my feeling.
On April 3, two reporters from Henan TV came for an interview. They were nice, kind and very easy-going. They told me that they had already visited my wife and daughter, and shared some information with me.
Reporters asked, “Do you miss your family?”
I replied, “Yes. I miss them very much. I am anxious to learn their conditions.”
Reporters said, “We have interviewed your family and your colleagues. They all said you are a good son, a good elder brother and a good colleague. They recalled that you had saved the life of a man, a woman and two kids aged four or five in the pond covered by a layer of ice in Tieta Park on December 31, 1992. You are really a good person.”I knew the reporters felt sorry for me.
I answered, “I could not repay my parents for their loving care. I am not a good son. I felt regretful for I have not created a good life for my mother. Now I feel sorry for her. My father died young, leaving behind the whole family in poverty. As the eldest brother, I felt sad for not being able to arrange a decent wedding ceremony for my siblings. My leaders and colleagues sympathized with me, so they said good things about me. I know I am not as good as they said. But I thank them for their support. I will try to be a good person. Thank you. ”
Reporters asked, “Lao Wang, what would you do if your wife and daughter had participated in the self-burning incident and they wished you could set fire for them for they did not have the courage to do so?”
I said, “I would definitely not offer such help for if they do not have the courage to do a thing, they are not qualified to do that. I think such things are for those who have already reached a fairly high level in cultivation.”
Reporters added, “We met your wife and daughter at a labor camp in Zhengzhou. They both miss you, and wish you a speedy recovery. Your wife He Haihua is a very nice woman. You should be nice to her when you come back home.”The reporters also told me, “Your daughter and your wife are living in the same room.”I felt very relieved at the information.
The photographer told me in a gentle voice, “Your daughter speaks good Japanese. She is learning the language by herself. Lao Wang, do you speak Japanese?”I said, “No, I don’t. ” Then he said, “I told your daughter that I many transfer her regards to you if she said it in Japanese. She said one sentence, ‘Daddy, I miss you.’Both your wife and daughter were expecting us to transfer your messages to them.”
I cannot control my feeling anymore. I burst into tears. I was not able to speak for a long while. But the reporters did not urge me. The camera was on. When I calmed down, I said, “I have nothing more to say. We are sharing the same feeling.”
The two reporters said gently, “Take it easy. You’d better say something to them. It is convenient for us to record your message and give the tape to them as they expected. ”
I was touched by their sincerity. I said in tears, “I hope you will be home soon. I feel sorry for you.”
The reporters told me that my daughter would get married after she left the labor camp. I was very happy. I said to the camera, “I felt very sorry for missing your wedding ceremony. I am guilty for not creating a better life for you. I will make up for all your loss resulting from my behavior. I bless you, my daughter. Let us practice together after I get back home. ”
When the interview was over, I was excited for the good news about my family. I felt fairly relieved and was grateful for their concern and consideration. When the reporters were gone, I could not remain calm. I asked myself, “I had been such a good cultivator that I let go of life and death. Why now am I so excited? What happened to me?”
I asked the master quietly, am I wrong? In his teachings, my master urged his disciples to get rid of attachment. I had followed his direction and took my life to defend Falun Dafa. I am not wrong. Everything was a trial. The firm belief in Falun Dafa made blood boil.
Ice is melting
On December 20, 2001, I watched a TV report about that Falun Gong follower Fu Yibin killed his family. I thought Fu Yibin was a murderer without any humanity. I wondered why Fu Yibin got so wrong in practicing Falun Gong that he even killed his family and claimed to kill more people.
Fu Yibin’s talk to reporters in the interview did not make any sense. He had no idea about how to get to heaven. He even got lost in the practice. The heaven is a concept advocated by Jingtu Sect, which believed that any attachment was impermanent and was a stupid devil. Thus I came to realize that we all believed other people were wrong. When we criticized others, we were behaving no better than them.
I was shocked by the report about Fu Yibin. I could not refrain from being sad and resentful. I felt very upset at the thought of similar events and my follow practitioners who attended the self-immolation incident on January 23. I wept for them and felt my heart was bleeding.
Some people said that I was too stubborn. Am I stubborn? No, I had just strictly followed the direction of Falun Gong up to now. If some other people said I was wrong, I should calm down to think it over. I should avoid blind obedience. As my master had said, Falun Gong was too amazing for ordinary people to understand. Only the practitioners can experience and witness the miracles during practicing. I felt extremely confused about how to explain so many questions. I suffered more from such confusions than the injuries on my body.
My master, why didn’t you give instructions to stop such tragedies? You have the ability to correct all these mistakes. But you did not take any measures, as if you know nothing about it. It is easy to tell whether these are crimes. But who should take responsibilities? My master, didn’t you tell us that your followers would never get astray in practicing? Then how did such tragedies happen? Don’t you think you should give a satisfactory answer to all practitioners around the world?
In the past I thought those practitioners were not real followers and were not supposed or allowed to practice FAlun Gong. But now I learned from the facts that most of them were actual practitioners. It is unreasonable to deny their status as a practitioner of Falun Dafa. But a series of such bloody tragedies have created horrible consequences.
On December 27, 2001, I wrote the statement “My Decision to Make a Clean Break with Falun Gong”.
My response to doubts from Falun Gong
After the self-immolation incident on January 23, Li Hongzhi and Falun Gong movement neglected facts and spread rumors. The following is my response to doubts given by Falun Gong on the incident.
Why the gasoline bottles remain unchanged?
I hang the bottles over neck by ropes, fixed them with adhesive tape under our armpits, then put on the sweaters and wadded jackets. Before I flicked on the lighter, I used the blade I had prepared in my hand to cut through the clothes and slice the bottle. As I flicked on the lighter with my left hand, instantly the flames engulfed me. I did not have time to sit in the posture with both legs crossed. So I sat in the single-leg crossing posture and form the hand position. I did not know when the bottles dropped. But there were some gasoline in the bottle, which cooled the bottle. It is well known that hot air goes up, and the fire was put out quickly. So the bottles remained unchanged.
Why the extinguishers were brought so quickly?
It is a common sense that all mobile vehicles are required to be equipped with firefighting equipment. There were police cars and many tourist vehicles in the square, so it was easy to get extinguishers. As a veteran driver, I know it well.
Who am I?
Falun Gong said that I was an armed policeman, and also said I was a death-row prisoner bought over by government. Then who am I? The reason for them is that I had a pair of leather shoes of the armed police uniform. The leather shoes were delivered to us as welfare by our company; the wadded jacket was a uniform with the logo of Kaifeng Maodun Group Corporation on it. Now everyone in Kaifeng knows that I am a driver in the company.
What is more ridiculous, another rumor claimed that the three in my family were all arranged by the government. I got married to He Haihua in 1978. This can be further clarified by the group photos in different time. If what they had said were true, then the Chinese government should have arranged the incident as early as in 1978. Could the government arrange the 12-year-old student? Could the government buy over the two mothers and two daughters? I would like to ask the rumor makers, would you let your family attend self-immolation if you are given 100 million Yuan?
Is it true that Liu Chunling was beaten to death?
The video footage showed that a belt-shaped object flew off when the police were saving Liu Siying and Liu Chunling. I think that the object is the belt of the bag carrying the gasoline bottles and when the belt was burned to break, it flew off. But Falun Gong spread the rumor that Liu Chunling was beaten to death by police with a stick. Who would beat others with an iron tool in such a weird shape? There has never been such kind of weapon from the ancient time. If the police wanted to kill us, why would they save us?
Falun Gong is self-contradictory
After the self-immolation incident, Li Hongzhi denied that we were Falun Gong followers. As a number of investigation results have been revealed, they had to admit our identity as a Falun Gong practitioner, but said that we got astray in practicing. But Li Hongzhi said in his teachings that the law was indescribably huge and there would be no chance for us to get astray. Even if we got astray, why didn’t the law body of Li Hongzhi find it and give guidance to us? Li Hongzhi said that his law body was omnipotent, knowing every thought and idea of people, then why did he need to repeatedly investigate whether we are real practitioners of Falun Gong?