Hot summer came. The guards slept in the air-conditioned room outside the tiny cell at night.
The tiny cell was like a hot oven; I was steamed in it twenty-four hours a day, sweat-soaked all day long.
One night, the vice chief walked into the cell.
The two night guards hastened to turn on the ceiling electric fan, fetched a comfortable chair, and brought in a big electric fan, having it blow specifically in her direction.
Amid the whistling wind, the vice chief yelled at me:
“Yiwen Tang! I just came back from a meeting in Guangzhou. The Provincial Government leaders were concerned about you and asked me how things were going with you! But I got nothing to report to them, for you have always kept silent! Tonight I’ll sit here waiting for you to talk! You’ve got to say something or I’ll sit here all night!”
Sitting on a tiny plastic stool, I remained silent, with my eyes looking at the floor.
Then she started scolding me loudly, calculating for me “How much money you would’ve made had you not been locked up?” “Don’t you think it’s a shame?”
I was reciting Zhuan Falun in my heart.
“Yiwen Tang! If you don’t want to say anything on your own initiative, then answer my questions!” She thereupon started asking questions, one after another.
I remained silent.
“Yiwen Tang! If you don’t want to answer, then just say yes or no to my questions!”
I remained silent.
“Yiwen Tang! If you don’t want to open your mouth to answer, then nod or shake your head; even a smile is fine!”
I made no response.
“Yiwen Tang! It’s really not interesting talking to you! Seems like you are not listening to me at all!”
Then not knowing how much time had passed, I suddenly heard her say, “I’m off!”
Upon seeing her off obsequiously, the two guards charged into the cell yelling at me furiously, “Our vice chief talked for two hours here and you didn’t say one single word!”
Even my sitting posture had remained unchanged. She might have felt like talking to a statue.
She couldn’t see my heart – it had been reciting Zhuan Falun serenely, like a limpid brook was flowing quietly…