In this article, I describe the persecution that I experienced and witnessed in the Tianjin Women's Prison.
1. Physically Abusing Falun Dafa Practitioners for Not Reciting the Prison Rules
When practitioners were first sent to prison, they were separated and placed in different cells, with only one practitioner per cell. If a practitioner refused to recite the prison rules, the guards forced her to put her nose and toes against the wall and stand stock-still with both hands straight down along her sides. Two "assistants" stood on each side and screamed at and attacked the practitioner whenever she moved.
If practitioners still refused to recite the prison rules, they were forced to stand from morning until night for more than 16 hours on end. Some practitioners' legs and ankles became swollen and painful, and their joints did not bend. They needed people to carry them to the toilet. [Editor's note: Because practitioners have committed no crime and are not criminals, they often protest their detention by refusing to recite the prison rules or wear the prison uniform.]
2. Depriving Practitioners of Their Basic Dignity and Human Rights
Practitioners were not allowed to use the toilet as needed. Each day a practitioner was only allowed to go to the toilet twice. To prevent practitioners from seeing one another, the guards only let practitioners go to the toilet one at a time, for no more than two minutes. Some practitioners suffered stomachaches because they were not allowed to use the toilet for so long. For steadfast practitioners who refused to renounce Falun Gong, the prison assistants tormented them by forbidding them from using the toilet at all and forbidding them from moving. Usually it takes a practitioner five minutes just to get to the toilet, but once she got there, the assistant would say that the time was up and force the practitioner back. Some practitioners did not get to use the toilet for a week and became severely constipated. When they were finally allowed to go, some had to scoop out the hardened faeces with their fingers. Some practitioners' constipation caused anal fissures and rectal prolapse, with severe bleeding all over the toilet floor.
The guards also refused to let practitioners purchase anything; no cooking oil for their food and no drinking water. The prison administrators turned a blind eye to the abuse of practitioners. In fact, they did everything they could to persecute practitioners.
3. Forced Brainwashing
Some practitioners were forced to stand behind a door for over 16 hours from morning until nightfall. The guards even abused a 70-year-old woman like this. Practitioners who exhibited symptoms that even remotely resembled those of hypertension were force-fed drugs by guards who had no medical training. Some practitioners almost choked to death from the brutal force-feeding.
Some practitioners were put in solitary confinement. Authorisation from higher authorities is usually required for putting any prisoner into solitary confinement, but practitioners were thrown in at will. Practitioners who refused to renounce their belief in Falun Dafa were locked barefoot in solitary confinement for over 24 hours. Long periods of standing causes severe swelling of the feet. Some practitioners were forced to stand for several months. Sleep deprivation was often used in conjunction with solitary confinement.
4. Sleep Deprivation
To "transform"1 practitioners, prison assistants and collaborators took turns trying to indoctrinate them with false enlightenment theories. When a practitioner's main consciousness weakens due to long-term sleep deprivation, or when she does did not have a clear mind, she might be forcibly "transformed."
5. Mind Control and Brainwashing with Chinese Communist Party Propaganda
After breakfast, practitioners were dragged to a hallway or TV room to watch CCTV's "Focus Interview." Practitioners were required to write a report after each episode. The guards also forced practitioners to read many slanderous articles about Falun Gong. Any refusals were met with corporal punishment and torture. Prison assistants also read these articles aloud. In the afternoon, practitioners were forced to continue watching and reading this evil propaganda. After supper, practitioners were to watch the 7 o'clock evening news and another episode of "Focus Interview," which often slandered Falun Dafa. Another written report was required. The practitioners' day closed with more enforced standing.
6. The Guards Employed Both Tough and "Gentle" Tactics and Ordered Assistants to Beat Practitioners
I saw Captain Yan instruct assistants to kick and strike practitioners. When the tormentors became tired this exertion, they would feign concern and try to cajole the practitioners into renouncing Falun Dafa.
Practitioners were not allowed to take a break at noon. They only got five minutes to eat lunch. Wardens encouraged prison assistants to treat practitioners harshly. The assistants called time when practitioners had barely finished one bite. Those who chose to protest the persecution with hunger strikes were brutally force-fed. Ms. Tang Zongyan developed chest oedema and pneumonia from force-feeding. They later attempted to force-feed her with drugs. To meet the prison's quota, prison assistants decided to force-feed Ms. Tang with very salty tofu soup mixed with drugs. She sustained blisters on her mouth from being force-fed. The excruciating pain made her writhe on the ground. A guard and assistant Liu Guimin then poured hot water on Ms. Tang to further torture her. Later, she reported the abuse to higher-level wardens, but the only result was that she was severely verbally abused.
To turn the criminal inmates against practitioners, when the guards did not allow practitioners to use the restroom they forced them to defecate into plastic bags in their cells. This made the criminal inmates treat practitioners as enemies, and they often attacked practitioners.
7. Exploiting Practitioners' Kind Hearts to Try to Force Them to Renounce Falun Dafa
In order to get practitioners to sign the guarantee statement not to practise Falun Dafa, the wardens tormented the practitioners' cell mates. For example, they would shine three bright fluorescent lamps directly into a criminal inmate's eyes all night, so that she could not sleep well. They only stopped this abuse when a practitioner renounced Falun Dafa. They know that practitioners are kind and do not wish to in any way be responsible for another's discomfort. The criminal inmates were all aware of the wardens' ulterior motives, but none of them dared to object. To compensate the inmates, wardens awarded points to inmates who slept with the lights on. The goal was to incite hatred against practitioners. (Criminal inmates have few opportunities to earn points, but they can easily lose points; more points lead to reduced sentences.) To encourage inmates to persecute practitioners, wardens awarded points to those who swore at Falun Dafa and practitioners. Practitioners were not allowed to speak, and criminal inmates were not allowed to talk to practitioners, so practitioners were completely isolated.
8. The Cruel Persecution of Steadfast Practitioners
Detained in the Banqiao Women's Forced Labour Camp in Tianjin City, Ms. Wang Wenqing went on a hunger strike in protest. When her weight dropped from 60 kg to 20 kg, she was released for medical treatment. I witnessed the guards alternately torture, intimidate, and cajole her. The Fourth Prison is a notorious "model prison" in China. The persecution of practitioners there is among the most severe and brutal. To persecute Ms. Wang, for example, prison captain Li Hong boasted, "I will never let your weight drop below 20 kilos. I will fill you up with water, so that you weigh above 50 kilos." Ms. Wang was force-fed with watery flour soup. They often inserted a hard, thick 2-metre-long feeding tube into her stomach. Her stomach often bled as a result. The large amount of water poured into her stomach gave Ms. Wang excruciating stomachache. Early in Ms. Wang's sentence, when her relatives came to see her, the wardens extorted 2,000 yuan2 for food expenses from them. Her family lives on a farm and earns less than 2,000 yuan a year. After successfully extorting this large sum, the wardens would call Ms. Wang Wenqing's family before every visit to request more money. Her relatives are effectively frightened away from seeing her.
In order to torture her further, the guards would not allow Ms. Wang to use the toilet. They force-fed her every day with water, causing her to wet her trousers. In the winter, she had to wear wet, soiled trousers for a long time. The guards opened the window to let the smell go away, leaving Ms. Wang shivering in the cold wind.
Four prison assistants took turns watching, kicking, torturing, and verbally abusing Ms. Wang day and night. Their tried to make her renounce Falun Dafa. The most vicious was surnamed Sun, who constantly tried to confuse Ms. Wang with distorted theories. No matter what they said, Ms.. Wang always replied, "I have done nothing wrong in saying good things about my Teacher Teacher [Teacher Li Hongzhi, the founder of Falun Dafa]." They tortured Ms. Wang by shackling her hands and feet to four bed posts. The handcuffs and foot shackles cut into her flesh and her circulation was greatly hindered. As a result, Ms. Wang's limbs swelled.
Ms. Wang Wenqing was tortured to the verge of death. The guards isolated her from other inmates in order to prevent the news from leaking out. Later, I saw that her name was erased from her cell door. No one knows what happened to her after that. Several other practitioners disappeared like this, too.
9. Two to Three Blood Draws Per Year
Prison authorities drew blood from practitioners two to three times a year. Needles of twice the usual gauge were used to draw large volumes of blood from practitioners. As mentioned earlier, practitioners were poorly fed and only given two minutes to eat each meal. Those in charge scrimped on practitioners' rations and then cursed practitioners for being so skinny. Nonetheless, large volumes of blood were still drawn from practitioners. According to people with inside information, the prison sold the practitioners' blood at very high prices to affiliated organisations.
10. Urine and Blood Samples Taken from Every Practitioner
Prison Teams Three, Four, and Five specialised in persecuting practitioners. All practitioners in these teams were subjected to individual urine and blood exams. Non-practitioner inmates were not examined. The wardens claimed that the exams were "special care" for practitioners. We realised that they were probably looking for practitioners to use in organ transplants! Some of the practitioners that disappeared might have fallen victim to organ harvesting.
11. Sitting Punishment
Practitioners were often forced to sit on a hard plastic bench with both feet three inches away from the bench legs. A ruler was placed between the practitioner's legs. Practitioners were required to extend their arms horizontally in front of their chests and pens were placed on the backs of their hands. Their backs and necks needed to be straight, both eyes staring directly ahead. No movement was allowed. This posture causes most muscles to tighten. The entire body weight is placed on the pelvis. Staying in this posture for 16 hours every day causes so much pain that it feels like the pelvis was going to split apart. This torture causes the buttocks to become dark purple, and the skin to rupture. In the summer, practitioners being tortured this way were not allowed to wear shorts. This torture is very painful. I know of two elderly practitioners who developed muscle paralysis from this torture. They later disappeared.
1. "Reform or Transform" Implementation of brainwashing and torture in order to force a practitioner to renounce Falun Gong. (Variations: "reform", "transform", "reformed", "reforming", "transformed", "transforming", and "transformation")
2. "Yuan" is the Chinese currency; 500 yuan is equal to the average monthly income of an urban worker in China.
Chinese version available at http://www.minghui.org/mh/articles/2007/11/9/166257.html
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