Not To Be Forgotten: Practitioners Tortured in Xingtai Brainwashing Centre in Hebei Province (Part 1)

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Surrounded by high walls topped with barbed wire and secured with an iron gate, the notorious Xingtai Brainwashing Centre lies roughly 330 yards east of the Xingtai Epilepsy Hospital on Donghuan Road, which leads into Jing'an Village.

The brainwashing centre was established by the local 610 Office, a Party-based security organization that pervades all levels of government in China with the sole purpose of persecuting Falun Gong practitioners.

Over the last decade, the brainwashing centre has jailed and tortured many Falun Gong practitioners. Some were taken to the centre directly by local police, and others were transferred from forced labour camps and prisons.

The goal of the brainwashing centre is to force Falun Gong practitioners to renounce their belief and “transform,” by whatever means it deems necessary. Chinese authorities then use these “transformed” people to spy on, and even torture, other practitioners.

Dentist's Lungs Severely Damaged

Mr. Zhang Guangcai and Ms. Zhang Xingfang, a married couple, operated a dental clinic in Shahe City, Hebei Province. They were detained at the Xingtai Brainwashing Centre facility twice in 2004.

The first time was eight days after officers from the Shahe City Police Department searched their clinic and broke into their home with a crowbar on July 6th, 2004.

Mr. Zhang was held there for three months. He was starved, subjected to sleep deprivation, and allowed only restricted use of the toilet.

Local police returned to the clinic on December 24th, 2004, and arrested the couple again. Mr. and Mrs. Zhang were taken directly to the brainwashing centre this time.

Mr. Zhang was handcuffed behind his back with one arm over his shoulder. He was then shocked with electric batons. A guard from the brainwashing centre said when Mr. Zhang was being tortured, “Beating [Falun Gong practitioners] to death won't be blamed on us--it's recorded as suicide.”

Mr. Zhang went on a hunger strike to protest the torture. Deputy director of the brainwashing centre Qiu Youlin retaliated with painful force-feeding procedures that damaged Mr. Zhang's windpipe and oesophagus.

Mr. Zhang's health quickly deteriorated. He struggled to breathe, was in constant pain, coughed constantly, and experienced feelings of suffocation--even while he slept.

Mr. Zhang was taken to a hospital, where doctors found that his lungs were severely damaged. The brainwashing centre then transferred Mr. Zhang back to the Shahe City Police Department.

The police department then tried to transfer Mr. Zhang back to the Handan City Forced Labour Camp, but the camp would not take him because of his poor health. The police department reluctantly released Mr. Zhang.

Nursing Mother Tortured and Taken from Her Child

When Ms. Wen Cai went to the Xingtai brainwashing centre in March 2004 to seek the release of her mother, she was also detained.

The brainwashing center staff tried to force Ms. Wen to renounce her belief in Falun Gong by beating her and force-feeding her with drugs. Her family was made to pay 3,000 yuan (US$490) for Ms. Cai's “legal education fee” and release.

She was still breastfeeding at the time. Her one-year-old daughter had to switch to formula due to her detention.

Mother Beaten in Front of Five-Year-Old Daughter

A group of around 12 people from the Shiliting Township Government, including several police officers, ransacked Ms. Hao Bianyun's house on October 27th, 2004.

The group took 230 yuan (US$37) her family had saved to buy coal for heat in the winter.

One officer covered Ms. Hao's mouth and punched her while two others carried her outside into a waiting police car.

Her 5-year-old daughter cried “Mama,” and chased them outside. An officer grabbed the child and threw her into the police car, too.

Ms. Hao was detained in the brainwashing centre for two months, during which time she was injected with unknown drugs several times. As a result she suffered chest pains, hallucinations, and sometimes fell unconscious.

After she was released, Ms. Hao was mentally disordered. Her hallucinations worsened, and she gradually lost the ability to take care of herself. She died on March 25th, 2010.

(To be continued)

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