|Ten years after the tragic moment that changed her life, Hao Huijun, a former Falun Gong believer who survived a self-immolation, is still struggling with remorse and pain.
"Please tell those who are still practicing Falun Gong to keep away from it and be sober-minded," Hao, 58, told Xinhua reporters who visited her ahead of the Chinese Lunar New Year.
On Jan. 23, 2001, Hao and six other Falun Gong followers including her then 19-year-old daughter set themselves on fire at the Tian'anmen Square in Beijing for self-immolation to attain "all-round fulfillment" claimed by Li Hongzhi, Falun Gong's leader.
Hao and her daughter Chen Guo, were burned beyond recognition in the incident, while two others were burned to death on the spot, another severely injured, while two remaining were prevented from causing harm to themselves.
After long time medical and rehabilitation treatment paid by the government, Hao and her daughter tried to start a new life.
They now live in a courtyard in the city of Kaifeng in central China's Henan Province. Their 30-square-meter sitting room is furnished with sofa, table, television, air conditioner and other home appliances.
Hao, whose face was heavily disfigured from burns received in the incident and hands have been amputated, said the government hired helpers for her and her daughter and they received monthly living allowance from the government.
"The government also hires psychologists to provide us therapies from time to time and bought my daughter a computer for her to study new things," she said.
Hao was once a music teacher in a middle school in Henan, and her daughter used to be a student at the Central Conservatory, the most prestigious music academy in China. Now, with several fingers amputated, Chen no longer plays music.
Hao expressed remorse and worry about her daughter's condition. "Guo Guo's (her daughter) condition is not quite stable, sometimes smashing stuff on the ground, sometimes refusing to eat, or staying up all night," she said, while wiping her tears.
Hao's sister told Xinhua that Chen Guo expresses a grudge against her mother from time to time, which plunges Hao deeper in her sense of guilt because she led her daughter into practicing Falun Gong.
"Falun Gong destroyed us and brought our families endless pain," said Hao.
The Chinese government banned Falun Gong in July 1999.