Zhang Hongbao in Blast Furnace
A Documentary on How the Outstanding Spiritual Leader
Transformed to a Political Leader
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Zheng Da: His Prison--His Commander-in-Chief Office
While Master Zhang
was imprisoned, however bad the situation was, he never gave up managing
Zhonggong Qilin Group. From the general strategy of anti-political persecution,
to specific ways to rescue the arrested Zhonggong core members and himself; from
condoling and financially helping the arrested core members’ families, to the
preserving of Zhonggong resources, reasonable using of the limited monetary
reserves and the personnel arrangements for the Zhonggong Group either at home
or overseas---his managing was so meticulous, even to the point of caring about
Zhonggong people’s studies, holiday activities, birthday celebrations, health
care, disease treatment, etc. Master Zhang’s care was so specific that people
who worked for him didn’t feel as if he was in prison. Yet, Mr. Zhang achieved
all these by using the public phone shared by all the inmates. In a rather long
time, he had to line up for one or two hours, either under the scorching sun or
in the rain, just to get 10 minutes of phone conversation. If the work couldn’t
be finished in 10 minutes, he would immediately go to the end of the line to
begin another cycle. He once even spent 7 to 8 hours in line, just to have the
phone work done. He often gave up a meal for one phone call. In the 444 days,
Master Zhang was imprisoned in the others’ eyes, but for Master Zhang, those
were working days. Now we can understand, in ordinary people’s eyes, prison is
hell on earth; but in superman’s eyes, prison is just another form of heaven.
And our Master even turned the prison into his Commander-in-Chief office.
In order to give you specific understanding about this, let’s listen to the recollections of some Zhonggong people who used to work with Master Zhang through the phone while he was in prison.
A. I could never forget the shock sent to the bottom of my heart when I first heard the imprisoned Master Zhang’s voice on the phone.
Earlier, I have learned from Ms. Yan’s call about Master Zhang being imprisoned. This was the critical time in the history of Qilin Group, it could mean the life or death of Qilin! I sank into the most worried, most scared state of mind in my life.
But, the moment I heard Master’s voice on the phone, my heart regained its normal beat. “Hello,” Master’s familiar and peaceful voice passed through the phone line. There was no trace of anxiety and frustration related to the prison. He told me calmly, “Something went wrong so you have to enter a special stage of work. But no need to panic.” My heart string went taut again. Then he said in a casual way, “ if you don’t get my call in seven days, you will act on the emergency leadership, then go to the Embassy for me, or call to this prison to look for me.” I was brought back to the harsh possibility, and tears filled my eyes: I couldn’t tell him how I felt at the moment, and I couldn’t think of any way to rescue him, telling him take care seemed meaningless. When I was at such a loss of speech, Master Zhang said, “ Don’t worry. What will happen will happen. It might be a good thing.” At that moment, I truly felt the extraordinary essence of our Master. Looking back, Master’s words have become true. That experience in prison caused by political reasons had actually helped Master to achieve even more, and Qilin culture became known by more people in the world.
B. July 28, 2000, Master told me on the phone, in an unusually calm tone, that his political asylum application was intercepted by CCP government. He told us to be prepared for new battles. I gasped---CCP had been searching for him. Now they found him, his life was endangered!
“What should we do?” I asked before I could think. Master felt my worry and nervousness. He said with a smile, “Disclose their scheme! If I can’t get out here, I will enjoy the life here longer. You guys just keep on working.” “It’s important to accept death as it is. A person who is fearless in facing death fears nothing. I won’t die, my mission is not finished yet.”
I couldn’t smile, I was so moved by his courage, I was full of tears.
C. I am a very fortunate person---when Master Zhang was imprisoned, I could often
Listen to his teachings. With the time gone by, some details have become blurred, but the unusual working phone calls and the atmosphere could never fade in my memory.
In a matter of fact, the background on Master Zhang’s end of the phone line was always a din---the yelling of the guards, the different accents of inmates who were either calling or in line, crying, cursing, roaring, pleading…
Once, Master Zhang was assigning a job on the phone, suddenly a man broke into cry. His cry was so desperate, so miserable, so helpless…Master Zhang stopped talking. I felt as if a knife cut into my heart. Master Zhang must be suffering just like that man! At least that man could complain to his folks on the phone! But our Master, you never showed any distress! Please, let us, your followers, share your suffering! Master began speaking again, but changed the topic, “In my opinion, being imprisoned is an important part of a perfect life. My life has been too busy. This imprisonment is a retreat for me, I can have the time to retrospect, to learn new knowledge; to take advantage of this bad situation to train my own will, to turn the fire place into a peaceful lily pond.”
I listened quietly, trying to feel how Master was feeling. He didn’t take prison as a prison, but took it as another place to purify himself. I was totally relieved.
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