A Chinese woman who fled overseas in late 2019 has endured a life many in the West would find unfathomable.
Unlawfully incarcerated and tortured in Chinese prisons for her faith, she describes her experience as “hell.” Countless like her have suffered far worse at the hands of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), thus, having escaped to North America, Chen Yinghua, 49, calls herself one of the lucky ones.
Coming from a totalitarian state where “differing views” are suppressed or canceled, Yinghua is noticing similarities emerge in North America. Speaking to The Epoch Times from her new home in Calgary, Canada, Yinghua said she hopes the world will soon wake up to communism’s real goal: to “rule all mankind and eventually destroy it.”
“I want to share my real-life experience with those who still have illusions about ‘communism’ due to their complete ignorance,” she said; “with those who are numb and indifferent to the CCP’s destruction of Hong Kong, the United States, and even the world; and with those foreign agents who, due to their personal vested interests, are willfully lured in by the CCP to be its accomplice in the destruction of human society.
“This is actually God’s will to tell the truth about communism and about those who have been persecuted by it. This is saving humanity.”
Westerners are starting to experience the evilness of the leftist push. The CCP has subtly infiltrated all key areas of American and Canadian societies for decades. If you do not flatly reject the CCP, people will soon lose their free will.
Back in China, Yinghua was a peace-loving model citizen up until her views diverged from those of the communist regime, which put her on its blacklist as a “state enemy.”
She was a college grad who later worked for her husband’s electrical repair company, and they had a son together. At the time, they felt things like political suppression and torture were just shadowy rumors unrelated to them. But in the year 2000, that changed when she began practicing Falun Gong.
An ancient spiritual discipline rooted in traditional Chinese culture, incorporating teachings based on the core principles of “truthfulness, compassion, and forbearance,” Falun Gong is a form of qigong (energy exercises) that involves five meditative exercises for cultivating body and mind. It is currently practiced by 100 million people all over the world. However, the officially atheist CCP—under which divergent thoughts are regarded as a threat to its iron-fist reign—has been violently persecuting Falun Gong since July 1999, arresting and killing tens of thousands of adherents in the ongoing persecution.
Yinghua says her experience—the experience of being persecuted for practicing her faith—should sound a warning for everyone on what may unfold next in America and the West.
She said: “Socialism and communism are a scam. Socialist changes could happen at any time, and the kindhearted American and Canadian people will lose their most precious things—free will.
“What kind of future will socialism bring to a country and people? China and the Chinese people are a lesson. The current state of the Chinese people is the future of those who want to take the socialist road. When one realizes that if you take a step back, communism takes a step forward—sooner or later, you’ll have nowhere to go.
“Westerners are starting to experience the evilness of the leftist push. We have experienced this already in China. The CCP has subtly infiltrated all key areas of American and Canadian society for decades.”
Ancient Spirituality Meets Communism
Recalling the experience of embarking on a spiritual path that led to her being persecuted, Yinghua said her mother, Jinling, was the first in her family to practice Falun Gong, starting in 1998 before the persecution. It was the year when Yinghua’s elder brother migrated to Canada.
“A month after my mom started practicing, all her illnesses were suddenly cured. She had recovered,” Yinghua said. “My mom then recommended it to me. I was 27 years old at that time.”
In 1999, Yinghua’s father-in-law, who was a party secretary at an oil company, cautioned her before the onset of the persecution. “He told me, ‘The spiritual system my mom is practicing will be suppressed,’” she recalled.
Soon thereafter, state media and television began broadcasting propaganda reports during prime time to turn public opinion against Falun Gong. In no time, the Chinese mainstream society, brainwashed from generations of suppression, were on board with the state-run narrative for Falun Gong.
“The communist regime claimed that civil servants were prohibited from practicing; they would be fired and wouldn’t have a place to earn a living. For those who had been sentenced, they would also be fired from their job,” she said.
“The CCP doesn’t care about your life after that. Some were taken to the brainwashing centers to be ‘transformed.’ If they don’t transform, they have no place to survive.
“Once you are affected by the CCP’s tyranny, you will instantly lose your family, your job, and all your relatives. No matter how high your social class is, you will become a prisoner at any time, and you will even be killed.”
The Crime of Belief
Yinghua said she was arrested for the first time in 2003 for the “crime” of distributing Falun Gong informational materials—such as CDs and brochures counteracting the CCP’s slanderous propaganda. According to her, no warrant is needed by police to enter a practitioner’s home, nor charges to detain them—possession of Falun Gong materials is the key “rubber band evidence” that could lead to multiyear prison sentences.
“They have no formalities. The police first arrest a person, then collect the so-called evidence. The ‘evidence’ is used to assess their work performance,” she said. “They can convict a person shamelessly.
“These so-called pieces of evidence are like a ‘rubber band’ to the CCP. If they want to hide it, they will hide it. If they want to extend it, they will extend it. If they want to release it, they will release it. When they say it is a political case, it’s even more serious than petty crimes. If they say there’s nothing wrong, then everything is fine.
“Actually, the arrest process is also a looting process. The police usually confiscate money while making an arrest. The higher-ups want evidence while the ones in the lower ranks want to get rich.”
Yinghua said her crime was that her thinking differed from the CCP’s. While in a detention center, a policeman told her, “You’re different from the other criminals. They did commit a crime. But for you, it’s just that your thinking was different from ours.”
She was tortured in prison before being released. Her second arrest was in 2013.
“The police put a black sack over my head,” she recalled. “I don’t know if they were worried that I would be recognized or I would recognize them. I was then stuffed into the vehicle. I shouted.”
She was taken to Nanjing Detention Center where she was again tormented before being released. Her third arrest, in 2014, led to a four-year prison term at Hebei Women’s Prison No. 13, in Shijiazhuang City, Hebei Province.
“Being imprisoned for four years made me experience darkness like never before,” she said. “Even though I resisted the persecution to the greatest extent.”
During her multiple arrests, she recalled, large volumes of blood and DNA samples were taken from her. Such biometric sampling is uniform for Falun Gong and other religious detainees. According to the U.S. government China 2020 Human Rights Report, an NGO research report noted that this procedure “could indicate evidence of illicit organ trafficking.”
The prisons, detention centers, and labor camps unlawfully holding Falun Gong adherents, and other prisoners of faith, aim to “reeducate” or “transform” them with force and coercion to extract a “guarantee to stop practicing.”
During her detention, Yinghua went on a hunger strike to protest her unlawful arrest. As a result, she was force-fed several times, with each lasting two to three hours. She was also torturously tied to a “tiger bench” and had tubes rammed down her nose, causing considerable bleeding and vomiting.
Other routine torture included sleep deprivation, not allowing her to use the bathroom or wash, coercing criminal inmates to choke her unconscious or beat her head against a wall, and more.
“None of the torture could change me,” she said. “What really destroyed my will was the officials making things difficult for other prisoners who sympathized with me. Someone was reprimanded and punished by many supervising policemen for sending me two lucky clovers to try to comfort me.”
The time finally came when Yinghua heard beatings from the corridor outside her cell, and under the pleading of other prisoners, she submitted to sign the guarantee statement to stop practicing Falun Gong—an act she describes as a form of spiritual death.
“At that moment, I really felt that a part of me was dying,” she said. “My mind was very slow to react, and I started to look like a walking corpse. I felt like the current world is a living hell, with its existence rooted in the varying degrees of ignorance of and submission to communism.”
Without her faith, she said, life was “meaningless and worthless.” Moreover, she was forced to endlessly repeat her condemnation of Falun Gong, reasserting her guarantee in daily “reeducation” sessions.
After four years of “hell,” Yinghua was released.
Freedom at Last
Yinghua was extremely lucky in that her relatives, including her mother and little son, had made it overseas and reached out to officials in the United States and Canada to bring political pressure to bear on the prison where she was incarcerated.
Such international exposure would embarrass the CCP on the global stage, and so it’s likely prison authorities dared not kill her or harvest her organs, nor harm her too severely, for fear of being accountable. The vast majority of prisoners of faith, however, lack such international support and suffer horrors beyond imagination.
After her release, Yinghua obtained a visa and traveled to Canada in 2019—eventually becoming a refugee. On the flight, she suddenly experienced what it means to be truly free.
Upon reuniting with her family in Canada, her son didn’t recognize her, as so many years had passed. Yinghua saw her own mother had aged too early, too.
Yinghua sent some photos back to practitioners in China, and they replied, “You’re free now. We really envy you.”
While the persecution is vast in scale, Yinghua’s account exposes but a fraction of it. The persecution at large remains obscured by CCP censorship and those willing to tow the party line.
Warning the world from her home in Calgary, Yinghua said: “Living in Canada, you can feel that this is a place for humans to live in. In China, it’s not a place for humans to live in. That place is hell. There are people in that place too, but they don’t dare to say that they are humans because there are ‘beasts’ waiting on the sides. This is how evil it is.
“If everyone can’t take action to resist and push back against the CCP, what the Chinese people are facing today will be everyone’s tomorrow.”
Jocelyn Neo and Arshdeep Sarao contributed to this report.