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|Sunday, February 18, 2001, updated at 10:51(GMT+8)|
Falun Gong Practitioners' Life at Re-Education InstituteFormer Falun Gong activists undergoing a re-education program at the Masanjia Re-education-through-labor Institute agree that the facility has offered its women inmates something that was lacking in their everyday lives: a sense of belonging.
The institute, located in this capital city of northeast China's Liaoning Province, has earned a name for successfully re-educated over 90 percent of some 1,000 women members of the Falun Gong cult it has accommodated. Inmates lead an easy life, according to Sun Fengwu, deputy head of the facility. They spend half of the daytime making a few handicrafts and use the rest to study and discuss the fallacies of the Falun Gong doctrine.
The inmates had all participated in activities challenging the government's authority and disrupting public order, Sun said. But they still deserve a fairly good living condition, Sun stressed.
They watch TV and listen to radio twice everyday, take regular baths and have hot meals, Sun said. They are clad in sportswear.
More than 90 percent of the inmates have left the group as a result of the help of professional staff at the institute and their discovery of the cult's true intent. Hearing of their turnaround, cult leader Li Hongzhi labeled the facility a hellish lair of wicked forces.
The institute staff have tried their best to provide the Falun Gong practitioners with a home-like atmosphere.
Wang Xiaofeng, an instructor at the institute, said winning the trust of one inmate involved a long struggle.
"It's been a real test of my patience, confidence and passion to help Wang Yanqin return to a normal mental state," Wang said. " She was so stubborn when she first arrived here, showing resistance all the time, like other Falun Gong-addicted inmates."
Tutors at the Masanjia reeducation school treat these women like their own family members, believing that genuine care and concern may touch the hearts of these cult members.
"I never expected to find daughterly affection here. The tutors are so kind to me," 62-year-old former practitioner Jia Liqing said, crying.
A great number of the reformed inmates have devoted themselves to persuading other Falun Gong followers to change their misguided ways.
"The purpose of our reeducation program is to help these women recognize the evil nature of the cult. As soon as the goal is reached, we will set them free," Sun said.
Over 300 inmates have returned home after finishing their re-education terms, and another 300 have their terms reduced or are serving their terms outside of the facility.
"We were willing to give our lives to Li Hongzhi, but he has now called us poisonous tumors. He is not at all a Buddha, but a devil," 51-year-old Wang Xiaoling said.
"The reeducation institute is by no means a devil's lair, neither are the tutors devil's disciples, as Li Hongzhi has said,"former cult followers declared at a recent inmate release ceremonyat the facility. "We've experienced genuine loving care here."
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