Testimony of a Practitioner in Germany: I Suffered for 2 Years in a Beijing Female Forced Labour Camp

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Xiong Wei was born in 1970. Her father was a doctor and engineer before he retired and he started working in Germany in the early ‘80s. Her mother is a Paediatrician. In 1993, Xiong Wei started studying economics and engineering in the Technical University of Berlin and began practising Falun Gong in 1996. In 2000, she worked in the Wetzlar Headquarters of Buderus and in their Beijing Office. On January the 5th 2002, she was arrested whilst distributing leaflets exposing the persecution against Falun Gong. She was then sentenced to two years in a Beijing female forced labour camp till January the 4th 2004. After two years of suffering in a labour camp and nine months of living at home under surveillance, Xiong Wei arrived at Frankfurt airport on September the 28th 2004. The following is a personal account of her two years of suffering.

Part I - Obtaining Dafa

I had long pursued a way to be healthy as I was in poor health from childhood and often fell ill. I was so weak that I couldn’t take part in any active sports. I became very interested in Qigong. As soon as I began practising Falun Gong, I lost the symptoms of insomnia, and my regular headaches and stomachaches. By reading Zhuan Falun [the main text of Falun Dafa cultivation practice], I knew whatever I did I should do it according to the principles of Truthfulness, Compassion and Forbearance and I wanted to be a good person, too. With this in mind, I began practising Falun Gong.

In China, Falun Gong was banned and suppressed in July 1999 whilst I was still living in Berlin. Just then my parents sent me a thick folder of articles by China’s state-run med which were full of propaganda and slander against Falun Gong. Because they believed the propaganda, they also felt worried about me. In order to be responsible for myself, I thought that I should think about Falun Gong seriously and independently. I shut all windows and doors, switched off the telephone and recalled wholeheartedly what I had been doing since I began to practise Falun Gong: I had read the book; sometimes I read it at home and sometimes with other practitioners. I had practised the exercises; sometimes I practised it at home and sometimes in Tiergarten in Berlin with some other practitioners at weekends. I had also talked about what I had learned from reading the book, sometimes on the phone and sometime at meetings. So I made a judgement that the propaganda made by the state-run media didn’t accord with the facts and I was determined to continue practising Falun Gong.

Part II - Returning to China

In August 2000, I returned to China and worked at Buderus. A colleague of mine, a young engineer, told me that the suppression of Falun Gong in Mainland China was so serious that police could search pedestrian’s bags at will on the streets. The police would illegally arrest those who had books or other things related to Falun Gong and then they would pack them into vehicles waiting nearby. These events frightened people and they didn’t even want to go shopping; it was like a second Cultural Revolution. Since the persecution of Falun Gong began in July 1999, rumours and lies slandering Falun Gong have been continually repeated on prime time TV.

In order to tell the facts about Falun Gong to the government, many practitioners appealed to the higher authorities for help. But in front of the Appeals office without speaking a word, we were arrested by police and thrown into police vans and then practitioners from other places were taken back to where they came from, detained in forced-labour camps and sentenced to prison terms. As I had nowhere to go, I began distributing leaflets to people and hoped that in this way the Chinese people would have a chance to know about the persecution of Falun Gong and what Falun Gong is all about.

Part III - Kidnapped on the Street

At 2.30 pm. on the 5th of January 2002, I was followed by three plain-clothed policemen while I was distributing leaflets in the Haidian District of Beijing. On an overhead bridge where people were continuously passing by, the police used violent means to force me into a taxi without showing me any legal papers. At the police station, I saw the three policemen register and sign which suggested they had arrested me.

In the station, I was detained in a very small cage and I could only cling to the cage to keep a standing posture. I was kept standing for about six hours without being given anything to eat or drink and without being able to go to the toilet. I was taken to the detention house in Haidian Substation at around twelve midnight.

Part IV - The Detention Centre

I was detained for two months in the detention centre in Haidian Substation. The following is what I suffered.

I was locked up in a cell with 23 others. The cell measured about fifteen square metres and all 23 of us had to eat, drink, defecate, urinate and sleep there. There was a very long wooden block used for sitting on during the day and for sleeping on at night. Because of the terrible lack of space, we had to divide into 3 rows to sleep at night. The first and second rows slept head to head, whilst the second and third rows slept feet to feet. As there were too many people for such a small cell, the second and third rows had to sleep with their legs overlapping.

We were given only two meals per day: Steamed bread and cabbage in salty water. The cabbage soup had been seen to contain mouse faeces, various types of worms, and some other insects with legs. There were celery dishes twice a week which were very salty and one could sometimes find bits of grass in them.

We had no toothbrushes or toilet paper. There was only one public toothbrush for newcomers. The public toothbrush had been used by untold numbers of people. One had to borrow toilet paper from others. There was no shampoo; we had to use detergent to wash our hair. The toilet was publicly exposed. If we wanted to take a bath we had to collect water with a basin and wash ourselves in the urinal, above which there was a supervised video camera. The whole room was under supervision.

In accordance with the law, the detention centre could only detain me for thirty days but they actually detained me for more than two months. During the two months, I was taken to a “transformation” (brainwashing) class off the premises for 14 days. When I was taken back to the detention centre, Zhu Feng of the Country Defence Department in Haidian Substation didn’t put my watch, scarf and purse in the check-in desk according to regulations and he claimed that he would keep them for me. Later, when my family members asked him for my belongings, they noticed he was wearing my watch on his wrist.

I was arrested on January the 5th 2002 and my parents’ house was searched and confiscated on January the 8th 2002. All property belonging to my parents’ had been searched seven times, during which a police found a plastic bag of foreign coins which had been saved by my brother who had been abroad many years ago. When my mother saw the police taking the money bag away, she asked, “Have the coins got something to do with Falun Gong?” Just at this moment, a policeman nearby elbowed the officer with the money bag who threw the money heavily on our table. They also searched out a pair of plastic, see-though gloves which my father used to dye his hair and they filmed the gloves as evidence of my crime. When my parents told them that I had never used the gloves, they wouldn’t listen to them at all.

In the transformation class, there were twelve people watching me. Five of them were instructors, two were security personnel and the rest of them were police officers and they worked in three shifts. I was not allowed to sleep, sit or stand and I had to squat, lowering my head and holding it in my arm. At that time, I started my periods. They didn’t allow me to use a sanitary towel, go to the toilet or drink water. Blood soaked my trousers and they even cursed me for dirtying the place. Five instructors kept repeating lies to me. When I refused to listen, believe them or accept any form of corporal punishment, they all rushed over and beat me. Policeman Zhu Feng (the Squad Leader of the Country Defence Department in Haidian Substation) and some other policemen came over. Zhu Feng said that I “dispute the law and continued committing crimes.”

Later the police took me to another cell where there were as least four police officers, among whom there was a policewoman. I refused to be transformed again and wrote some sentences on the paper: “Falun Dafa is a righteous way! I would die rather than be brainwashed!” At once, a young police man named Du Cong held me tight to a wall corner and pressed my neck and forced me to stand in the “Flying Torture” (the posture of standing with the forehead next to the knee and one’s rear against a wall with the arms raised high until the hands reach the wall). When I broke loose and refused the corporal punishment, Du Cong started beating me up. In the meantime, Zhu Feng was snarling and snapping at me, among what he snarled and snapped there were two sentences: “If you don’t write it, I’ll break your fingers one by one !” “I will burn you when I pour a kettle of boiling water on you!” When they took me back to the detention centre from the transformation class I was very ill for nine days: I was running a high fever, and had headaches, diarrhoea and fierce coughing.

Part V - The Gate of Hell

The Manoeuvre Department is called “the gate of hell”. On the first day we arrived we were forced to squat for almost the whole day and later my legs felt numb, and I lost consciousness.

We usually had to do draining physical labour: wrapping chopsticks. At that time everyone was required to finish wrapping 6000 pairs of chopsticks every day. We had to work immediately after breakfast every day and we were only allowed to drink water once during the day. As there was little water for so many people, each time I could only have two mouthfuls of water. We had to work again immediately after lunch without having any rest or visiting the toilet. We felt extremely tired at about four o’clock every afternoon and we still had to work fast while bearing the thirst. After finishing work in the evening, the police would still search the prison thoroughly and frisk us. All bedding was turned over and bed boards lifted, which they did every day.

Whilst detained in the Manoeuvre Department, at first I found that the police treated me differently from the others. They looked “kind” when talking to me. As soon as they turned their faces to some other Falun Gong practitioners, they began furiously barking at them, snapping and punishing them. I thought that there may have been an appeal and rescue activities for me abroad. That was why the police acted this way towards me.

As a matter of fact, the essentials of persecuting me were the same as with other Falun Gong practitioners, only the means of persecuting me were more covert and sly. For example, I was made to carry much heavier loads of chopsticks and had to do this much more frequently whilst we were doing the forced labour. This was even the case when I was on my period. This was the kinds of means the police used to destroy my will and my belief in Falun Gong.

I have heard about and known Falun Gong practitioners who suffered from the torture of “being tied on a board” with their hands and legs being stretched to four corners of the bed. Nearly all of them had been tied on the beds for more than twenty days. In the Manoeuvre Department, there was a Falun Gong practitioner whose name is Li Yuanzheng and she was about twenty. Because she yelled out “Falun Dafa is good!” on the first day she arrived, she was imprisoned in a separate cell by cell head Wang Chao, eight other people who were detained because of drug addiction and two persons detained for other crimes. Being goaded and ordered by Wang Chao, the eight criminals stripped all Li Yuanzheng’s clothes off and stuffed her mouth with her socks and shorts. They then beat her and kicked her. They especially kicked her lower body with cloth shoes which have very hard plastic soles. Two of the inmates who had committed some other crimes were terribly scared while watching this. After this beating, Li Yuanzheng was lying in bed for more than twenty days. When I saw her, she moved slowly, had no reaction to any kind of stimulus and couldn’t answer any questions. She and I were detained in the female forced labour camp on the same day – April the 18th 2002.

There was an aged Falun Gong practitioner whose name was Xue Baoling from Fangsan District in Beijing. Because she refused to be transformed, she was beaten up by three policemen. Standing on both sides of her, two of them were pressing her shoulders and tweaking her arms backwards, and in the meantime they were stepping on her feet. Another policeman took off his leather shoes and hit her shoulders and neck, which made her unable to straighten up and raise her head or move her neck for the next two months.

In the Manoeuvre Department, the police mainly use criminals or drug addicts to supervise Falun Gong practitioners. They didn’t allow us to speak a word with each other, even for very simple requests that were related to the forced labour work. Every day the shouting and abusing of Falun Gong practitioners by policemen and criminals could be heard throughout the forced labour camp.

Part VI - The Forced Labour Camp was Hell on Earth

Beijing Female Forced Labour Camp lies in Tiantang River in Daxi District. The main task of the forced labour camp is to brainwash Falun Gong practitioners. On April the 18th 2002, there were 100 people being detained in the forced labour camp from the Manoeuvre Department. On the first day we arrived, we were dragged to the playground and forced to stay standing on one leg in the name of training. Our bodies were shaking and we couldn’t hold on so we put down the impending leg, but the policemen just shouted, threatened and punished us. We only had steamed bread and pickles for supper and we were not allowed to sleep at night. Every Falun Gong practitioner was encircled by a policeman and two instructors and was forcibly transformed (forced into giving up Falun Gong).

Early next morning, the police took me and the same group of Falun Gong practitioners, to the clothes-airing room and punished us physically. The attendants were evil policewomen. First they forced us to squat up and down 500 times. None of us could meet this demand and we could only do it 100 times. We suffered many types of physical abuse like this. In the afternoon, they took us to dig ditches.

After a whole day of physical punishment, some practitioners’ buttocks were blistered and all of us couldn’t walk naturally. When going up a flight of steps, we had to make our bodies lean to another side and drag our legs up. Every time we had meals we all had to lift our arms on to the tables with great effort. The most painful thing was going to the toilet: with extremely aching legs, we had no strength at all to squat or stand up and had to hold the short baffles on both sides and squat slowly; when finished, we had to hold the short baffles in front and drag our bodies up with great strength. Sometimes we helped each other, with criminals standing nearby supervising by not letting us speak a word and often snapping at us for no reason.

I saw for myself that Zhang Liqian was shut in a single cell because she refused to be transformed. She was supervised around the clock by criminals and instructors. She was forced to squat and prevented from sleeping for a period of thirty to forty days; she was not allowed to take a bath all that time. She wasn’t permitted to go to the toilet for several days, which made wet her trousers many times. In order to alleviate the great pain in her legs when squatting, she pressed her fists against the floor until the back of her hands turned black and blue. At that time there was a female criminal inmate named Huang Ping who was a homosexual. In January 2003, several criminals were transferred from the forced labour camp to our brigade. They told us proudly that Huang Ping was moving to our group. The policewomen intentionally asked her to watch practitioner Zhang Liqian at night and Huang Ping sexually harassed Zhang Liqian.

One morning, Zhang Liqian was taken to the clothes-airing room and we heard two blood-curdling screams. We were then told we were not allowed to go out of our cells. It was a long time before we got to know that an instructor called Li Yanfeng gave Zhang Liqian a quick, heavy kick in the ribs. It was so painful that Zhang gave out a cry and Li Yanfeng came up with an idea that she would use a towel to stop Zhang’s mouth and tie her hands before beating her up. On hearing that, Zhang gave out another scream of terror. Later the policewomen took Zhang to “the Reunion Building” twice. It is a closed building that stands alone. It is here that the police often cruelly torture Falun Gong practitioners and it is here that they continued torturing Zhang Liqian. During most of her time in the forced labour camp, she had steamed bread of corn and pickles three times per day. Even so criminals still stole her pickles. In the early part of August 2003, Zhang Liqian’s forced labour sentence was coming to an end. But on the night before her time was expired, she was kidnapped by policemen from the forced labour camp and persons from the 610 Office. We have never heard from her since.

Zhang Yijie is about fifty years old and was a deputy director general in the Ministry of Foreign Trade. Her husband used to be a Chinese diplomat stationed in Eastern Europe and she has a son and a daughter who have both grown up and gone to universities. She was a good wife and loving mother. Since she was detained in a forced labour camp in 2000, she refused to give up practising Falun Gong and stuck firmly to her belief in “Truthfulness, Compassion and Forbearance”. Because of this, she was cruelly persecuted by evil policewomen headed by Jiao Xuexian and Huai Cunhong; it was routine for her to be beaten up, electrocuted and not allowed to sleep. She was not allowed to eat, drink or go to the toilet for days, and she was not allowed to meet anybody but those who constantly watched her.

No matter how the policewomen persecuted Zhang Yijie, they couldn’t make her change her belief. Finally the policewomen said, “We can’t do anything with her.” I saw for myself that she wasn’t allowed to go to sleep until 2 am every day and even when she went to the toilet, she was followed and watched by criminals. When I saw her, she already looked heavy-hearted with blank eyes and her speech was degenerated. Two months before her release, her release date was postponed and she was taken to the collection group to be persecuted more severely. At the end of autumn or early part of winter 2003, I saw her once from far off. Her back was seriously hunched and she walked with her body stooped. She looked like a small old woman in the distance. Now she is indefinitely and illegally detained in Beijing Female Forced Labour Camp.

Lang Dongyue, a farmer from the Yanqing District of Beijing, had suffered from ringworm and asthma since her childhood. She travelled far and wide for several decades seeking doctors but no treatment could cure her diseases. She couldn’t do any farm work or housework. However, after practising Falun Gong, all her illnesses disappeared in an extremely short time without spending any money. When the Chinese Government started suppressing Falun Gong, she went and appealed to the higher authorities for help and wanted to tell the government the truth about Falun Gong using her own experiences.

In the detention centre, the police not only didn’t listen to what she has to say but also hung her up on a basketball frame and used an electric prod to shock her for an hour and a half. The police said that a convict sentenced to death could only stand an hour of electric shocking at most. In the forced labour camp, the police goaded more than ten criminals to beat up Lang Dongyue many times and even sexually abuse her. Later she was not given anything to eat and not allowed to sleep or sit down. She was tortured until she was extremely worn out and she was forced to stand continuously until she lost consciousness and fell with a flop on the floor. Even so, the policewomen still goaded criminals to drag her onto her feet. They beat her up whilst howling and swearing. One morning, evil policewoman Huo Xiuyun went to the cell where Lang Dongyue was imprisoned to abuse her and she slapped Lang around the face. As Huo as she went out the door, she stepped on a nail which made her lame for four or five days. From then on, she looked ferocious and bore a bitter hatred for Lang whenever and wherever she heard the name. It was not long before Lang’s forced labour sentence expired but her release was postponed and she was taken to the collection group where she was detained indefinitely.

In 2002, most Falun Gong practitioners from the third brigade of the Female Forced Labour Camp supported or participated in a group writing activity to state that their steadfast belief in Falun Dafa was not shaken, which shocked the whole Forced Labour Camp Bureau. Therefore, the bureau appointed Xu Kaixuan, the Section Chief of the Educational Department, to join the brigade.

Falun Gong practitioner Liu Fangfang is a doctor and was born of a family of veteran cadres. Because she took part in the group writing activity, she was taken away from the third brigade and enclosed in the sixth brigade where most prisoners were drug addicts. I heard that she was not allowed to sleep and was forced to stand without moving for long periods of time. In order to torture her more cruelly, many basins of water were put around her. Thus, she would fall down into the water basins when she was extremely tired and couldn’t stand any longer. The policewomen forced her to stand for six days and six nights with wet clothes on. Later her forced labour sentence was extended another six months to October 2003.

In 2003 most Falun Gong practitioners in our brigade did another collective writing activity, which again shocked the whole Forced Labour Bureau. This time the policewomen divided Falun Gong practitioners who had written the announcements into four groups and tortured them cruelly. There were only three practitioners in the fourth group: Liu Fangfang, Zhang Surui and me. We were all imprisoned in single prison cells individually. I saw Liu Fangfang being blocked up in a corner of the wall and sitting on a hard plastic chair made for children. She was forced to listen to what the policewomen and instructors said and not allowed to sleep. In the later part of August 2003, she was secretly taken to the collective team. There were no legal papers declaring any reason for her being taken there. We don’t know whether she is alive or dead and haven’t heard from her since.

Chen Lifang is about thirty. As she refused to be transformed, she was forced to stand facing the wall in a corner for over thirty days. Sometimes when she was asleep standing, her hands would go into spasm. Once the police goaded drug addicts to beat her up until her back and thighs turned black and blue in many areas. One night, because Chen Lifang was too tired to listen to what the instructors said, Huai Cunhong, an evil policewoman, dragged her to the washhouse and ordered drug addicts to splash over twenty basins of cold water on her, which made her shiver all over. Two months before her time of forced labour was due to end she was taken to the collective team where she suffered all kinds of persecution. Because she had cruelly persecuted Chen Lifang, policewoman Jin got promoted.

Part VII – A Soft knife Kills People by Subtle Means

The policewomen persecuted me using ways which were not only cruel but crafty as well. In the middle part of June 2003, a lot of people had to be kept in prison during the SARS epidemic, so the forced labour camps were asked to vacate beds for them. Because of this, the forced labour camp decided that they would reduce the time for those whose forced labour sentence was due to end at the end of January 2004 and set them free ahead of time. But the first condition raised by the forced labour camp was that we should give up practising Falun Gong.

At that time Jiao Xuexiang, an evil policewoman, declared that those who agreed to this condition could apply for a reduced sentence. She mentioned me by name and asked me to apply for it. After I refused, she asked a policewomen and another official to persuade me to apply for the reduced sentence. Had I applied for it, I could have had freedom six months earlier in July 2003. However, I was not willing to give up practising Falun Gong and was firm in refusing the reduced sentence. There were only two Falun Gong practitioners refusing the reduced sentence in the forced labour camp: Liu Fangfang and me. Our refusals made the policewomen lose face in front of all the other policewomen and their bosses in the forced labour camp. Therefore, they bore a bitter hatred for us.

It was immediately arranged for me to do very heavy physical labour. Sometimes I was woken up alone even if it was not day-light. I came back for breakfast after finishing work; sometimes it was already 8 or 9 am. After breakfast, I had to continue working in the fields till mid-day. I had a noon break and then I had to continue working in the fields. After supper I had to work for an hour or two more. One mid-day when I was on my break, I felt that the top half of my legs were both painful and as heavy as a piece of rock because they were so tired. When I wanted to lie on my side, I wasn’t able to move my two legs.

Once when I was using a cart to deliver vegetables to the dining hall, my heel tendon was wounded by the plank of the cart and it was bleeding profusely. My foot became immobile and could not touch the ground. The policewoman who was watching me working had seen everything, but she did not say or do anything about it. Just then another member of the other brigade working in the dining room couldn’t bear to see my suffering and she gave me a bandage. I was lame for six days before my heel tendon was better. Every day I met Nie, the policewoman who watched me working in the field. In these six days, no policewoman took care of my wound or did anything about it. I calculated once that the vegetables I harvested and delivered in a morning weighed about 700 kilos. After supper on that day, forty people in the brigade went to work and they only harvested about 1400 kilos of vegetables altogether. They were just using a way which was not only fierce and malicious but also very sly to persecute me.

The vegetables we planted not only provided for the dining hall of the forced labour camp and for the police who worked there but were also sold out to markets outside. In the winter of 2003, the whole labour camp was required to produce 100,000 kilos of vegetables. Our brigade was required to produce 30,000 kilos. There were only about 400 to 500 people in the whole camp.

On the 12th of August 2003, my father came to visit me. I had been in solitary confinement before that. Six to eight police officers surrounded me, among whom were Zhu Xiaoli, head of the Female Forced Labour Camp, and Jiao Xuexian, the head of the third brigade. A policeman was carrying a camera filming the whole course of my father meeting me. Before all the police present, I told my father how my health became good after practising Falun Gong and how practitioners want to be good people from bottom of our hearts, which is beneficial to both the society and individuals. Our peaceful statement that we are being treated unfairly is not against the law. On the contrary, from the detention centre to the forced labour camp, I saw how a large number of police broke the law. As Falun Gong practitioners from Germany, Israel and overseas have had many successful activities calling for my rescue, the police pretended to be kind but in fact they were standing nearby because they saw me as a key person. The most conspicuous manifestation was that the police were standing near my father and me from the beginning to the end or even sitting opposite staring at us.

The main job we were forced to do in our brigade was to knit sweaters. Everybody in every class had a quota. Because we were gazing at sweaters for such a long time, our eyes were extremely tired. When having lunch and supper, if we looked at the person sitting opposite we would see double. The sweaters, gloves and scarves we knitted were all for export, but none of them bore a tag saying they were made in Beijing Female Forced Labour Camp.

Every brigade has a head who takes charge of production and the head of our brigade was Huo Xiaoyun. There was an assistant superintendent responsible for the production. Every brigade has a quota of several thousand every year. We had to work overtime and often without a break. The practitioners who used to stay in Xinan Forced Labour Camp told us that they once were forced to knit the whole night and continued knitting the next day without being allowed to have a rest. At that time a new policewoman on duty who had just graduated from University felt that it was against human nature to treat practitioners like this. She couldn’t stand it and angrily quit her job.

Part 8 - The Suffering of my Family Members

After I was arrested, my parents (who were born in 1931) suffered a great deal. It was not long after I was arrested that both of them had heart attacks. Even a girl who often came and cleaned our house was not willing to do the job when she heard that someone in my family had been arrested, our house had been searched and our property was confiscated.

My mother suffered from a lot of illnesses and had to stay in bed, so she couldn’t look after herself. Once whilst my father was out buying medicine in a traditional Chinese medicine shop, my mother wanted to get a glass of water. As a result, she rolled and fell down on the floor because of weakness. Her left temple and eyebrow corner bumped right on the sharp point of a table and blood poured out. There was a long scar left on her temple. Although she was in her right mind lying on the floor, her four limbs had no strength at all. She couldn’t sit up, let alone stand up. It wasn’t until one or two hours later when my father came back that he helped her up from the floor. On that very night, my father had a heart attack again.

The “6-10 Office” mobilised people from my parents’ workplaces and our neighbours to tell my parents rumours about eliminating Falun Gong practitioners one after another, which exerted mental pressure on them so that they would persuade me to transform (give up practising). My brother in Israel also practises Falun Gong, and because of this the Chinese Embassy refuses to give him a visa and he is not able to come back to China and see our parents. My parents couldn’t help crying whenever they remembered that they hadn’t seen their son for five years and their daughter was in a forced labour camp. Another brother in Beijing had to go to work and look after his family, and because I was imprisoned and my brother I Israel could not return, he also had to telephone my parents two or three times every day or come and look after them,. He was mentally and physically exhausted.

In the first three months when I was detained in the forced labour camp, my father’s hair turned completely snow white. When I got home after I had freedom, I saw that my mother was very weak in health and she looked worried. She almost couldn’t see me clearly because she was crying all the time and was mentally devastated. After I got home, I often received telephone calls from the “6-10 Office” and the local police station of my home town; our telephone number has been tapped all the time. Any international calls we received were often interfered with by noises and even cut off.

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