The Chinese Communist Party has deliberately shut down all legal forms of appeal available to Falun Gong practitioners since it launched its nationwide attack on the practice in 1999. In response, practitioners use various creative ways to tell the public about the regime's persecution of Falun Gong. Their non-violent protest, however, is often met with severe retaliation from the Party.
A group of seven practitioners in Lanzhou, Gansu Province tapped into a local TV station to broadcast programs exposing the persecution in August 2002. Two months later, they were all given heavy sentences ranging from 10 to 19 years in prison.
Mr. Qiang Xiaoyi, who was originally from Shaanxi Province but later moved to Gansu Province, was among the sentenced. He managed to survive brutal torture in three different prisons during his twelve years of imprisonment. Not everyone was so fortunate, however: Mr. Li Zhirong, who was arrested together with him and sent to the same prison, died from torture in 2006.
Below, Mr. Qiang details what he went through at the hands of the communist regime and what he witnessed being inflicted on other practitioners in prison.
Arrested and Sentenced for TV Signal Interception
I was arrested in my apartment in Lanzhou City on August 14th, 2002–not long after six other practitioners and I tapped into the local TV programming.
Police restrained my hands using two metal rings screwed onto a metal plate. As they fastened the screws, my wrists felt tremendous pressure, and my hands turned black and purple in just a few minutes. They soon became numb and lost sensation. I was tortured this way for three days and three nights.
Chengguan District Court in Lanzhou City handed all seven of us heavy sentences on October 27th, 2002. I was given 15 years, but was released early due to my critical condition.
During my 12 years of incarceration, I went through three different prisons and suffered brutal torture.
Hung Up for Two Months in Lanzhou Prison
In November 2003, Mr. Wei Junren and I were transferred from a detention centre to Lanzhou Prison. When we refused to submit to a blood test, dozens of policemen immobilised us on the ground and forcibly took our blood.
When guards ordered us to do hard labour, we refused and explained that we were not criminals and were sentenced only for our beliefs. As a result, they hung me up when others went to the workshop and let me down when they came back. I was hung up like this for more than two months.
Soon, I began showing symptoms of serious illness and became weaker and weaker, until I couldn't walk. I was diagnosed with toxic anaemia, diabetes, and hepatitis with jaundice, which could claim my life at any moment. Doctors said I needed blood transfusions and notified my family of my critical condition.
I did not want a transfusion, so police forced me to write a statement accepting responsibility. They detained me in an isolated ward and waited for me to die.
However, my condition started improving half a month later. Even my doctor couldn't believe it and told his superior, “Qiang Xiaoyi's blood pigment was as low as 3 grams when he came here, and now he has recovered to 10 grams without any treatment.” Other doctors suspected the equipment but found no problems with them.
Doctors declared me fully recovered after 40 days. When I was taken back to Lanzhou Prison, a guard was amazed at my change and said, “Qiang Xiaoyi, you're practising Falun Gong really well. Teach me so I can also be free of illness.”
Witnessing a Beating Death at Dingxi Prison
Three days later, I was transferred to Dingxi Prison, where I witnessed Falun Gong practitioner Mr. Bi Wenming being hung up for three days and beaten to death.
Guards covered up the real cause of death and claimed that he had committed suicide due to “cultivation insanity.” Mr. Bi's family insisted on an autopsy, but were informed by prison officials that his body had already been cremated.
When practitioners in Dingxi Prison started a hunger strike in protest, guards tortured them using electric batons.
Beating Death in Tianshui Prison Labelled “Suicide”
On December 14th, 2005, I was transferred to Tianshui Prison, also called the No. 3 Prison in Gansu Province.
There, practitioners were isolated in small cells. Each was monitored and abused 24 hours a day by eight inmates. We were deprived of sleep and not allowed to use the restroom.
Mr. Liu Zhirong, also arrested for intercepting TV signals, was killed during that period of time. Prison officials told his family that he had committed suicide.
Falun Gong practitioner Mr. Cao Dong disclosed the true cause of Mr. Liu's death at the hands of prison guards. As a result, he was secretly arrested by the Ministry of State Security and sentenced to four years for “disclosing state secrets.”
After Mr. Cao's arrival, Tianshui Prison set up a special section dedicated to beating and torturing Falun Gong practitioners to force them to give up their beliefs.
Mr. Cao was locked in solitary confinement and not allowed to contact anyone during his entire term. On the day of his release, agents from the local 610 Office (an organisation of special agents just for persecuting Falun Gong) took him away at midnight.
Forced Labour, Torture for My Belief
My life became much more meaningful and fulfilling after I started practising Falun Gong in 1996. When the communist regime started defaming Falun Gong and its founder in 1999, I appealed to the government and the public to restore the reputation of the practice.
My simple act, however, landed me in police custody numerous times. Prior to my 2002 arrest, I had been detained on multiple occasions and sent to a labour camp for 21 months.
Arrested on Tiananmen Square
Several practitioners and I went to Beijing in late 1999 but were barred from the Appeals Office. We had nowhere to speak up, so we went to Tiananmen Square to publicly display the Falun Gong exercises. As a result, we were arrested and detained until officials from our local government took us back and detained us for another 15 days.
During my detention, police extorted more than 3000 yuan (~$500 USD) from my family by threatening to send me to a forced labour camp. My father sold one of our oxen and handed in the money, but I was still sentenced to one and a half years of forced labour.
Violent Brainwashing at Forced Labour Camp
I was then taken to Zaozihe Forced Labour Camp in Shaanxi Province. My first impression of it was hell on earth.
Guards instigated drug abusers, rapists, and other criminals to “transform” [forcibly renounce Falun Gong] Falun Gong practitioners using beatings, electric baton shocks, and other forms of torture. They forced practitioners to do intensified labour during the day and study Communist Party propaganda vilifying Falun Gong at night.
We were then ordered to write thought reports. If any practitioner refused, guards would put him in a dark room, where six drug abusers took turns to torture and beat him. Some practitioners thus became disfigured or handicapped.
Hung Up for Three Days
Because I refused to renounce my belief in Falun Gong, they added three months to my term in the labour camp, where the brainwashing attempts continued.
Five inmates put me into a dark room, handcuffed me, and hung me up, with only my toes touching the ground. The cuffs became tighter and tighter and gradually became embedded into my flesh. My fingers turned black and purple, then black until my hands lost sensation completely.
The suffering was beyond my tolerance. I felt as if several mountains were pressing down on me. As I was on the verge of breaking down, warm currents suddenly flowed down from the top of my head, and I felt light all over.
The guards hung me up like this for three days and two nights. They destroyed my will by not allowing me to use the restroom. I had no choice but to expel waste inside my trousers. When I was let down, my wrists had lost sensation completely and looked like a sludge of flesh and blood.
Not wanting other prisoners to see my mangled wrists, guards took me to a hospital and prevented me from getting in touch with anyone. They released me when my extended term ended.
However, not long after my release, police came to my home and tried to arrest me again. I escaped by excusing myself to the toilet.
To avoid further arrest, I moved to Lanzhou, Gansu Province, but was arrested again about a year later for intercepting TV signals to expose the persecution to the public.
Perpetrators' Contact Information:
Liu Jiangtao, division head in Tianshui Prison:
Wei Dong, former official in Section No. 1, Lanzhou City Police Bureau (currently an instructor at Pengjiaping Police Station, Qilihe District, Lanzhou City):
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