Gao Chengnu’s Story: Life After Living Inside a Chinese Labor Camp

Chinese kindergarten teacher Gao Chengnu was sent to a Chinese labor camp and tortured. She committed no crime — she was targeted because she practiced Falun Gong.

Her Korean husband, lawmakers, and South Korean citizens appealed for her release. This short film, under 6 minutes in length by filmmaker Jarrod Hall, lets her tell her story in her own words.

The film starts with an introduction:

Photographs of Ghengdu appear as she tells the audience she is now living in Korea with her husband and daughter. She explains that Falun Gong is a form of qigong that teaches people to be truthful, be compassionate, and be tolerant in every situation.

Gao Chengnu:

“It’s cultivation of the Buddha; it teaches people to cope with all the suffering of life.”

Chengnu and her husband practicing the standing exercises in Falun Dafa. (Image via Jarrod Hall Vimeo/Screenshot)

Chengnu and her husband Byungho Kwak practicing the Falun Dafa (Falun Gong) exercises. (Image via Jarrod Hall Vimeo/Screenshot)

She shares how she used to have congenital heart disease (as did her mother), but her disease completely vanished after she started practicing Falun Gong. It has now been 12 years since she started the practice. (Today it would be even longer, as this film was made 7 years ago). She talks about her body feeling light and mind feeling pure from the practice.

Gao Chengnu married her Korean husband in China in 2003, and applied for a passport for Korea. This process normally would take one  month to be approved, yet the passport office refused her, saying she was on a blacklist due to being a Falun Gong practitioner. It was on account of her holding a banner at Tiananmen Square in protest that read “Falun Dafa is Good” that she was not able to go to Korea to be with her husband.

Chengnu is now living with her husband in Korea free to practice her belief. (Image via Jarrod Hall Vimeo/Screenshot)

Chengnu is now living with her husband in Korea free to practice her belief. (Image via Jarrod Hall Vimeo/Screenshot)

The day Chengnu was arrested, two policemen came to tell her she had been sentenced to 3 years of prison. She was shocked, as she had not committed any crime and was a kindergarten teacher. They asked her if she practiced Falun Gong, to which she replied yes, so she was arrested and sent to hard labor without any criminal evidence.

Not long after arriving at the labor camp, Chengnu had a dream. She dreamed she was on the phone to her husband in Korea and he was crying, and she was crying on the phone to him as well. In her second dream, she dreamed her husband bit his finger and wrote her a letter with his blood, saying: “I won’t abandon you and I will do anything to get you back.”

Chengnu recalls her time in a Chinese labor camp. (Image via Jarrod Hall Vimeo/Screenshot)

Chengnu recalls her time in a Chinese labor camp. (Image via Jarrod Hall Vimeo/Screenshot)

In the labor camp, the guards didn’t allow Chengnu to do the Falun Dafa exercises, but she persisted. And she was beaten until she was unconscious. Then she was handcuffed to a bed with no base so she could not sit or stand, which was incredibly painful. She was confused as to why she was being treated like a criminal.

Chengnu went on hunger strike and was force-fed with a pipe from her nose to her stomach — a process that could easily go wrong and result in death. The pain was immense and Chengnu thought she was dying;  she was sure the guards wanted her to die.

Korean Falun Gong practitioners do waist drum performances in a parade - the practitioners in Korea put in a lot of effort for the release of Chengnu. (Image via Jarrod Hall Vimeo/Screenshot)

Korean Falun Gong practitioners doing a waist drum performances in a parade. 240,00 Korean citizens appealed to the Chinese regime for Chengnu’s release. (Image via Jarrod Hall Vimeo/Screenshot)

Later, when Chengnu came to Korea to be with her husband, who was also a Falun Gong practitioner, she was so touched to learn that 240,000 South Korean citizens appealed to the Chinese regime for her release and tried so many different things, including writing letters to the prison guards.

Gao with her husband and child in Korea.

Gao, now living in Korea, with husband and child. (Image via Jarrod Hall Vimeo/Screenshot)

In Korea, Chengnu doesn’t work, as her husband’s wage can support the family. She is worried about all the Falun Gong practitioners still locked up in prisons and suffering through torture. So she uses her time to tell all the people of South Korea the truth about what’s happening in China.

Chengnu working hard to make sure people in Korea know the truth about Falun Dafa and the persecution. (Image via Jarrod Hall Vimeo/Screenshot)

Chengnu is dedicating her life to make sure people in Korea know the truth about Falun Dafa and the persecution. (Image via Jarrod Hall Vimeo/Screenshot)

Her life in Korea with her husband is different to other 32-year-olds as they don’t spend time going to the cinema or heading out dancing. She is incredibly grateful that she made it out alive from the labor camp and can practice Falun Gong freely in South Korea. So they dedicate their lives to trying to expose the crime of the persecution of Falun Gong in China that not everyone is lucky enough to come out alive from. They do this in the hope they might be able to help others.

Chengnu and her husband Byungho Kwak re-united. (Image via Jarrod Hall Vimeo/Screenshot)

Chengnu and her husband Byungho Kwak re-united. (Image via Jarrod Hall Vimeo/Screenshot)

The film ends with statistics that are shocking — but out of date. Sadly, the number of those affected by the persecution of Falun Gong has risen, and more up-to-date figures can be found here:

http://en.faluninfo.eu/2015/10/26/key-statistics-related-to-falun-gong

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