On a rainy day in May, the targeted poverty alleviation group of Liaoning’s Dandong City and I went to the impoverished household of Guan Hongquan at Wulong Village of Manchu and Xibe County of Longwangmiao Town, Donggang City, and we helped and guided Guan to finish a precise poverty alleviation project. This project helped Guan plant tomatoes in a protected field.
Former expert and model
Guan waited for us and the agricultural technician from the local government at the village committee building early in the morning. The technician from the local agricultural science institute, Wang Fengke, and Guan had known each other for over two decades.
Village Chinese Communist Party branch
Guan’s wife was renowned locally at that time
Wang Fengke told us that, over twenty years ago, Guan's family was the town’s leading specialized household for planting. His wife Wang Huiqin only received primary school education, but she was good at farming. As Guan worked for years in Shandong Yantai, it was his clever and diligent wife that supported the whole family. She operated the family business successfully, including selecting varieties suitable for growing in greenhouses and getting access to the market. She was the first in the town to plant tomatoes introduced from Israel. Israeli tomatoes were characterized by good appearance, good quality, good storage and transportation tolerance, and long storage life. Tomatoes of such a variety can be preserved for 90 days without any special conditions. Tomatoes grown by her were welcomed by customers in Dalian, Shenyang and Anshan, and were exported to Russia. At that time, she was quite famous in the local area.
The Guan family greenhouses before his wife practiced Falun Gong
With the help of the national policy on contracting land, Wang contracted 60 mu (4 hectares) of land from other villagers. She built several greenhouses to expand the area for planting tomatoes. Her tomato plantation was ranked as a key supporting project in the Longwangmiao region.
Obsessed with practicing Falun Gong, she began to borrow a large amount of money
Guan then said, “As I was planning to quit my job and to operate a business in my hometown, my wife joined and practiced Falun Gong, which was prevalent at that time.”
Guan recalled that it was the summer of 1998 when the mother-in-law of his second daughter visited his family. His wife admired her because she was the teacher of Center Primary School in the Qianyang County of Donggang. Years of work made his wife suffer from soreness and pain in her waist and legs. The mother-in-law of his second daughter told his wife that some people were practicing Falun Gong to improve their physical health. Falun Gong not only allowed people to improve their physical health without taking any medicine, but also taught people to “become virtuous men”, “accumulate merits”, “achieve completion” and “pray for blessings for their husband and children”. Before she left, she gave his wife books and videos, including Turning the Law Wheel and Explaining the Content of Falun Dafa. Because of perennial fatigue, his wife had lumbar muscle strain, her health conditions kept changing all the time. Hearing the words of their daughter’s mother-in-law, his wife was motivated to practice Falun Gong. As she needed to exercise her body regularly when practicing Falun Gong, the daughter and son-in-law helped to plant tomatoes.The strength in her waist and legs improved. However, she wrongly thought that it was Falun Gong that strengthened her health. Since then, she was obsessed with practicing Falun Gong. Through practicing Falun Gong, she met many other practitioners. Every morning, she got up early to practice. During the daytime, she exchanged experiences with other practitioners. Then at night, when she returned home, she read scriptures and watched videos. She was busy practicing Falun Gong and had no time to take good care of all the plants. All the responsibilities fell on the shoulders of the eldest daughter. To realize the dream of “flying to the heaven”, his wife woke up early every day to travel a long distance of 3 miles to practice Falun Gong in the town. She no longer spent any time or effort on the business operations. Every time customers came to her, she evangelized Falun Gong and handed out Falun Gong’s books and videos. Many customers felt awkward and no longer contacted her. At the same time, as a result of improper management, the tomatoes in the greenhouses of Guan’s family were infected with plant diseases. Many tomatoes in over a dozen of the greenhouses were dehiscent.
The technician added that “dehiscent fruits, in fact, are a commonly seen physiological disease that harms tomatoes. As Wang Huiqin quit managing the greenhouse, and Guan, the daughters, and sons-in-law lacked in management experience, plants were watered and fertilized improperly. The humidity rate and the soil changed greatly. The applied amount of potassic fertilizer was 2 times larger than that of nitrogenous fertilizer. As a result, the tomatoes became dehiscent. In this way, the commodity value of the tomatoes reduced or even disappeared. Almost all the tomato plants in Guan’s family failed to produce fruits. The family could not pay for the wages of workers or land rents. Together with the three-hundred-thousand in loans borrowed from rural credit cooperatives, the family went bankrupt overnight.”
Guan told us, his wife did not worry about such large amount of debt. Like an outsider, his wife devoted all her attention to practicing Falun Gong. Every day, she just read books, watched videos, and went to the town to practice Falun Gong and to study scriptures with other practitioners. Later, she talked less. She avoided talking to Guan, avoided eye contact and treated their daughters as strangers. She concentrated on practicing Falun Gong with other practitioners. Sometimes, she would rise from the bed at midnight and murmur “Bless me, master, bless me!” She read “Turning the Law Wheel” repeatedly. “Once I asked her why she would not want to quit Falun Gong, she told me that vulgar men would only think of operating business and making money. Only by abandoning greed and the pursuit of money, can people become Buddhas and step on the ‘ladder to heaven.’”
Wang Huiqin died because of her rejection of medicine
The technician continued saying that “Guan was prosecuted because of his inability to pay off his debt. His house and greenhouses were seized and sold to pay the debt. A renowned specialized household for planting went bankrupt. However, the dramatic changes in the family did not awaken her.”
Guan sighed, “In the autumn of 2001, the township authority organized the females to accept physical examination. Wang was diagnosed with a breast tumor. Originally, it was a benign fibroma. As long as she accepted an operation, she would regain her health. However, she firmly refused to accept the operation and claimed that her disease was the result of bad karma. An operation would remove “merits” accumulated over the past years. Only by removing evils, could the tumor disappear.” After the physical examination, she went out to practice Fulun Gong more frequently. As a result, her condition worsened. At first, she only felt dull pains. Later, she suffered from stabbing pains in her upper body. Particularly, at night, she was in too much pain to sleep. After knowing my family’s situation, neighbors and female village cadres attempted to persuade her into accepting the operation, but failed. She insisted on practicing to remove evils. Two months later, her breast lump began to fester with fluid seeping, which marked the pathological changes for breast cancer. However, she was pleased to tell our daughters and I that the master finally helped her to remove "karma".”
After her death, Guan and his three daughters worked for over ten years to pay off their debt. However, Guan was senior in age and could not do manual work. Just after paying off the debt, Guan was stricken by poverty. To protect his basic life, the township government applied basic living allowances for him. Last year, his family was listed as a target for poverty alleviation.
Precise greenhouse project for target alleviation
We followed Guan to go to the edge of a field and saw two standard greenhouses.
Tomatoes in the greenhouses already bore fruits.
Harvest scene in Guan’s poverty alleviation project
Seeing the ripening tomatoes, Guan was filled with complicated feelings. He told us, if his wife did not practice Falun Gong, his family would not be trapped in poverty. Instead, he probably would already have become a millionaire or built a professional farm.
(Editor: Zi Tong)