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Teng Chunyan: I Am Pleased to Shake off the Spiritual Shackle of the Falun Gong Cult (11/20/01)

"I hope that my experience help transform those obsessed Falun Gong followers," said Teng Chunyan on November 20 surrounded by media at a Beijing-based re-education center.
With her short hair neatly combed and eyebrows noticeably trimmed, the confident 38-year-old woman looked at least ten years younger than her age.
"The reeducation center is more comfortable than my home and I am gaining weight here," said Teng, smiling shyly.
The beaming Teng, who has received systematic training in Chinese herbal medicine, cannot be compared with the Falun Gong devotee she once was.
Teng came to China from the U.S. many times between February and May of last year to collect information on the Chinese Government's handling of Falun Gong issues for Beijing branches of foreign news agencies and introduced Falun Gong followers to foreign reporters.
Teng was born in Harbin, capital of northeast China's Heilongjiang Province and went to the United States in 1990.
She was detained by police when she tried to enter China via the Luohu Port in Shenzhen in May 2000 and was sentenced to a 3-year term of imprisonment according to Chinese law.
Her belief in the Falun Gong cult began to waver after she was sent to a Beijing-based re-education center in June 2000.
Recalling her former devotion to Falun Gong, Teng said that persuasion from family members and friends could not lessen her blind enthusiasm for the cult.
"I completely rejected contacts with the outside world and only believed in the Falun Gong cult and its propaganda which is flooded on the cult web site," Teng said.
Teng started to doubt the credibility and motives of the cult web site when she found that her re-education center roommate Yao Jie, who was reported dead by the web site because of her conversion, was actually living a normal life.

"What helped to change your belief in Falun Gong?" asked a reporter.
"Truth can never be concealed for long. I saw with my own eyes police patiently helping educate Falun Gong followers and trying their best to save lives of believers who tried to commit suicide," said Teng.
Teng has also talked with many former Falun Gong followers and was deeply impressed with their experiences.
"My personal experiences made me reconsider the so-called facts published by the cult and I completely changed my mind," said Teng.
When asked about her conversion process, Teng said: "true belief conversion can never be forced."
"I am pleased to shake off the spiritual shackle of the Falun Gong cult and return to a normal life."
Teng Chunyan is now an active member of the re-education center dancing troupe and is busy preparing for an upcoming art performance organized by the center.
"I have never been abused since my detention and have not seen any sign of beating or admonishment here. Police in the center are  very polite and kind," said Teng.
Jin Hua, vice director of the re-education center, said that police in the center are required to treat every Falun Gong follower in the center equally, and discrimination is absolutely forbidden.
Jin said: "We encourages Falun Gong followers to communicate with their family members. "They can write to or call their family members as well as meet with relatives once a month."
The 75-year-old father of Teng Chunyan came from Heilongjiang Province last week to visit her and was relieved to see his daughter regaining energy and vigor.
"I am happy now," Teng said. "Justice will finally defeat evil."

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