My name is Kunlun Zhang. I am a Canadian citizen and a professor of art.
Because I practice Falun Gong, I was arrested three times while staying in
China to take care of my elderly mother-in-law. On November 14, 2000, I was
sentenced without trial by the Chinese authorities to three years in labour
camp because I refused to denounce Falun Gong. With the help of the Canadian
government, Amnesty International, and the international community, I was
released on January 10, 2001.
During my detention, policemen beat me to the floor and shocked me all over
my body with high voltage electric batons. They threatened that if I uttered
a sound, they would shock my mouth. The head of the police station said to
me, "We have orders from Jiang Zemin. As long as you refuse to denounce
Falun Gong, we can do whatever we want to you. If you were beaten to death,
we could simply bury you and tell the outside world that you had committed
suicide." My arms, legs, and other areas were burnt in many places from the
intense electric shocks. I could even smell my own burning flesh. The
beatings and electric shocks injured my left leg badly. It took three months
for the wounds to heal.
In addition to physical torture, police used intense mental torture against
me. I was forced to attend "brainwashing" class. The so-called class is
actually the same as jail, since we were deprived of our freedom and were
totally isolated from the outside world. If you are "transformed" to
denounce Falun Gong, you will be released; otherwise, you will be sent to
labour camp for three years. They even forced us to pay "tuition" of
10,000 Chinese yuan, which is equivalent to one year's salary, for such
Every day, along with the other practitioners, I was forced to sit straight
on a small bench to watch brainwashing propaganda films all day and all
night. They forced convicts to monitor us and keep us from closing our eyes
or lowering our heads. Their goal was to keep us from having even one minute
to be able to think independently.
In December of 2000, I was transferred to Wangchun Labour Camp, which is
notorious for its cruelty toward Falun Gong practitioners; it is often
referred to as "Hell on Earth". The security staff there tried much harder
with their brainwashing tactics, using psychological attacks and mind control
to torment me and force me to renounce my belief in Falun Gong. I was
monitored twenty-four hours a day by a group of policemen. After days and
nights of endless brainwashing, deception, coercion, and psychological
attacks, I almost collapsed. Such mental torture was even worse than physical
These memories are extremely painful and are beyond words' description.
Every time I recall those darkest days in my life, I feel as if I am still
being mentally tortured. The pain remains vivid, the memories haunting.
However, I have to stand up to tell the truth and to stop the torture, as
tens of thousands of Falun Gong practitioners are still suffering in jails
and they can't get their voices heard. Many of those practitioners have
suffered much more than I did. Already more than 800 practitioners have been tortured to death. Now that I have gained my freedom,
I feel that it is my responsibility to speak for them and to let the world
know about the truth of the persecution, so that more kind-hearted people will
stand up to help end this brutal persecution in China.
After I was released, I traveled to Canada and the United States to generate
awareness of the vicious persecution in China. In March, I learned that the
United Nations Commission on Human Rights would meet in Geneva. I thought
this was a perfect opportunity to bring this urgent issue to the attention of
the world's human rights leaders. As an overseas Chinese, I want to see
China to become a prosperous country. However, prosperity has to be built on
stability. Only when a country has people with good morals, only when a
country's leaders respect its citizens' human rights, can that country become
stable and prosper. It broke my heart to see that innocent citizens are
being murdered by their own president in China simply because they believe in
the high moral principles of "Truthfulness, Compassion, Forbearance". Yet
Jiang Zemin's regime shamelessly lied in Geneva that "now is the best period
of time of human rights records in China".
I wanted to use the example of myself to tell the world: "Thousands of
Chinese practitioners are still being physically and mentally tortured every
minute. They need your help!" Despite the fact that Jiang Zemin's regime
sent 500 spies to Geneva to interfere with our activities, and despite the
fact that they fabricated stories there to discredit me, I was determined
that nothing could stop me from revealing the truth of the persecution I
witnessed and experienced in China.
I traveled to 10 countries in Europe, including Sweden, The Netherlands,
Germany, and the United Kingdom. I spoke at press conferences, met with
Members of Parliament and ambassadors responsible for human rights, and
visited human rights organizations like Amnesty International. They've all
expressed their support after learning the truth.
I believe that righteousness will surely overcome the evil.
Prof. Zhang was the first overseas practitioner to be arrested in China. His case paved the way for subsequent rescues and the
family rescue campaign.
By March 2003, Canada had helped to rescue nine practitioners from torture in China to safety in Canada.