Hailong Village is a fishing village on the border between China and North Korea. The village is under the jurisdiction of the Jianghai Sub-district of the Border Economic Cooperation Zone, Dandong City, Liaoning Province. Being separated by only a strip of water from North Korea, the village is famous for its cross boarder barter trade. Since seafood is the key local commodity, seafood brokers are the busiest among local people. Yao Shushen was one of the most creditable brokers. He had good a reputation for facilitating transactions and providing excellent services for businessmen. Local villagers praised him for catering to the demands of the local agricultural industry and villagers, bridging the gaps between factories and fishers, between cities and countryside, and introducing local villagers to the global market. Yao Shushen earned as much as 60, 000 or 70, 000 Yuan annually. But this excellent broker suffered a dramatic deterioration of his mental health and spent five years in a psychiatric hospital.
Hailong Village located at the border between China and North Korea
Yao Shushen became a broker due to his competence
Yao Shushen, born in 1955, was a native farmer in Hailong Village. Although he did not go to college, he made himself an expert in marketing seafood by depending on his business sense and his local resources. He sold fresh and quality seafood to dealers in Shenyang, Dalian and Beijing. He then promoted the development of local industries covering seafood processing, transportation and sales. Gradually, scale production and distribution of seafood was formed in Hailong village, while Yao Shushen became a well-known figure in the village. His competence in production, sales and brokerage made him a role model for local villagers. As local people got rich, Yao Shushen’s wealth also accrued and by 1997 he was almost a millionaire.
Obsessen with Falun Gong driven by craving for health
As the seafood processing industry was booming in the village, some unexpected visitors came to the village from Donggang City in April 1997. The visitors were headed by a relative of a villager surnamed Liu. With white garments, they looked like medical professionals. They began teaching Qigong as soon as they got to the village. They said practicing Qigong was not only helpful for improving physical health, but also to upgrade one’s moral standard. They told the villagers, mysteriously, that the forest fire which occurred in the Greater Khingan Mountains was put out by a Qigong master. They added that an old woman in Jilin Province, who had been confined to bed for a couple of years, was able to walk after practicing Falun Gong for half a year. According to these people, a liver cancer patient had recovered after eight months of practicing and a teacher in Dandong, who suffered hypertension with blood pressure ranging from 150 to 250mmHg, recovered after three months of practice. Then they gave a small yellow bag to local villagers containing the book Zhuan Falun and a cassette tape.
Dock in Hailong Village, Dandong
Yao Shushen had a gastric ulcer at that time and regarded the visitors as doctors. He consulted them on why he often had stomach upsets, weak appetite, weight loss, anemia and occasionally vomited. The visitors told him that these diseases were caused by his karma. They promised that Falun Gong was able to cure the diseases without using any medical treatment. Karma was a new word to Yao Shushen, but he did not dare to ask for more information about the diseases because he and his fellow villagers worshiped gods. He took the small yellow bag, and learned to practice Falun Gong with 30 other people at the square in the village. Two months later, Yao Shushen felt better due to his nutritious diet and controlled drinking. He was very excited and reported the good news to the head of local Falun Gong station. The head told him that the recovery was attributed to their combined energy released by practicing Falun Gong. He asked Yao Shushen to practice more so as to turn the black substance in his body into white, just as their master Li Hongzhi had instructed. He further explained to Yao Shushen that the change in color of his feces was a manisfestation of the elimination of his karma. Since then, Yao Shushen believed in Falun Gong and became dependent on it.
The square where villagers practiced Falun Gong
Devotion to Falun Gong destroyed Yao Shushen’s mental health
In order to help Yao Shushen ascend to a higher level, the head taught him how to keep Falun Gong principles in his mind. He also asked him to take meditation and to read the book Zhuan Falun every day. To express his sincerity and his worship towards the master, Yao Shushen placed a picture of Li Hongzhi in his living room. He also burned incense, took meditation, read the book Zhuan Falun and listened to the magnetic tape every day. As time passed by, he also studied how to release his energy and to control his mind. In order to devote himself to Falun Gong, Yao Shushen cut off his contact with the outside world. A couple of months later, he was totally possessed by the ideas of karma elimination, ascending to higher levels, and consummation. His only goal was to ascend in the broad daylight to the heavenly paradise. Yao Shushen had illusions and auditory hallucinations. Since he thought too much about how to show his piety to the master, his mental and physical conditions got worse, which led to mental disorders. He had anxiety, depression and became violent. In order to focus on Falun Gong, he entrusted his business to his younger brother. He just exchanged experiences about learning and practicing Falun Gong with his fellow practitioners.
According to Yao Shushen, he often felt that he was floating during meditation. Confused by his illusion, he sought further illusions. Hence he suffered from mental disorders and split personality.
Yao Fuzeng is running a grain store
Chinese New Year is the busiest day in the village because the villagers worship the sea god on that day. During the holiday season in 1999, Yao Shushen, who used to be very sociable, kept himself at home. Visiting relatives found that he had changed so much that he was solitary, lonely and indifferent. As the New Year was coming, he became skeptical and emotional. He was hostile to his family and often had a bad temper toward his wife. He also spent a lot of time looking into a mirror, did not clean himself up, slept in the daytime, and smashed items. He even talked in a weird way, shouting and using foul language. His remarks did not make any sense. On the second day of the new year, while the whole family was watching TV, Yao Shushen suddenly shouted, “Master, I am your real follower.” Then he took a spike from the kitchen and smashed the TV set into pieces. He also hurt his wife and son. The noise in his home startled his neighbors, who reported it to the police. When Yao Shushen was taken to the police station, the police officers suspected that he had some mental disorders so they contacted the psychiatric hospital in Dandong City. Doctors diagnosed that Yao Shushen was a high-risk mental patient.
According to the psychiatrists in a Dandong-based hospital, the mental disorders induced by practicing Qigong were listed as a mental diseases in the second edition of “Classification and Diagnosis Standards of Mental Disorders.” Long time exposure to Falun Gong and relevant hints put Yao Shushen into an illusionary state and led to the loss of his self-consciousness. Driven by confused thinking, he became emotional and tended to hurt himself or other people. Being brainwashed by Falun Gong, he had a strong desire for ascension in broad daylight, which caused stress. Stress can change the functions of the cerebral cortex, and hence affect cerebral marginal systems. When the changes are beyond the brain’s ability to adjust, they may cause mental disorders.
After five years of hospitalized treatment, Yao Shushen spent all of his savings and returned to Hailong village. Fortunately, Falun Gong was outlawed by the government in 1999. After coming home, Yao Shushen’s condition was not stable. He could not work as a broker anymore so his wife had to run a grain store by a road to make ends meet. Yao Shushen was supposed to retire this year so he could get a monthly pension of several hundreds of Yuan according to local policies.
A millionaire in 1990s had to depend on his wife for a living. Local villagers felt pity for Yao Shushen, who had been a leading figure in economic development in Hailong village.