China's Torture and Cover-up Tactics Exposed Through An Infamous Case

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Translator's Note: The article referenced below alludes to a case that has sent shockwaves throughout China. In a high-profile case, two men, one of whom was a wealthy business owner, were falsely arrested and accused of murder. They were subsequently subjected to relentless torture with the goal of extracting a confession from them. One of the men, Jiang Jianxin, caved under torture and falsely confessed to the murder and named Gao Tiegang as an accomplice. Tortured to the breaking point, Jiang gave five different accounts of how he and Gao supposedly disposed of the body to satisfy his police tormentors, but searches turned up nothing. Subjected to further torture, Jiang claimed that he fed the remains to his dogs, and later that he had killed and ate one of the dogs--and that was the reason for the lack of remains. Shockingly, this was the evidence to name Jiang and Gao as the murderers. Meanwhile, Gao refused to confess to a murder that he did not commit, even under long-term brutal torture. Nearly two years later, Gao regained his freedom after the truth about the notorious case came to light. In his fight to clear his name, he was repeated thwarted and a massive official cover-up effort was undertaken to keep this story under wraps. Two more years later, he wrote about his experiences in a book, which has earned him fame and respect in China.

The Xinhua News Agency, the People's Daily, China Central TV, and other media working as the voice of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) recently acted together to deny that steadfast Falun Gong practitioners had been subjected to any torture. The fact is, standard official procedure is to arrest and jail people who expose the torture to the outside world, and to subject them to at least three additional months of persecution. Afterwards, they are ordered to deny the existence of torture to the public and to express their appreciation for the prison's "concern" for them. To help illustrate this point, we'd like to point out a tragic story that even the Chinese media has picked up on and reported widely.

An article from the Bimonthly Review by the People's Net on December 7th, 2004 said: "After 1500 days, the case of killing people to feed dogs in Henan Province was full of doubts." The article described in detail how the police tortured the suspects in order to "solve" the case and claim the reward. In its conclusion, the article said that such actions are all too common.

Confession under Torture

The article said, "Unable to bear the torture, Jiang Jianxin began to confess to everything. The police announced the detention of Jiang and Gao. Jiang confessed to many different methods of 'killing people,' but none could be verified after the police investigated the purported crime scenes. After being fooled by Jiang several times, the police applied more aggressive measures, until Jiang Jianxin finally confessed." If one is not quite clear what "torture" and "aggressive measures" refer to, please read the detailed descriptions in the following paragraphs. These are eerily similar to what Falun Gong practitioners face daily in forced labour camps and detention centres.

Sitting on the 'Metal Chair', Continuous Interrogation

"After 16 days of continuous interrogation in the Police Brigade, the previously strong Gao Tiegang quickly lost 22 pounds. Gao Tiegang recalled that the Third Police Brigade Leader He Dayong threatened him many times, 'We are a collective body and we'll take turns to interrogate you without a break. Even a person made of iron and steel will eventually confess. You'd better confess now to save yourself from suffering. I don't believe that you are that tough!' He Dayong and five other police officers took turns tickling Gao Tiegang's nostrils with feathers, banging on porcelain cups with a screw driver to make loud noises, and similar tactics to deprive him of sleep so that he would confess to the killing. Day and night, Gao Tiegang was tied to a metal chair. His body became as soft as dough. Whenever he dozed off the police would punch and kick him. Every time he woke up he would find more wounds on his cheeks and head, and his body would be covered with pieces of porcelain from the cups embossed with the Luoyang Police College symbol. He would always hear the police yelling, 'Even if you die and are placed into a coffin, we will pry the coffin open. We'll let you die only after you have confessed to the crime. We will do anything to obtain a confession: continuous interrogation, torture, or any other means!'"

Burning Hands with Cigarette Butts

"When Gao Tiegang was arrested and taken to the Third Police Brigade for interrogation, Jiang Jianxin was also arrested for the 'Special Trial.' The two were detained in different rooms that were only two rooms apart. Everyday, Gao Tiegang could hear screaming from Jiang Jianxin's room. Later, Jiang Jianxin wrote in his petition his horrible recollections: 'On the back of my left hand, the pus oozed nonstop from the burned flesh. My hair was pulled out from a large area. My buttocks were rubbed raw by the metal chair, and pus was oozing out.' The journalist witnessed the evidence."

This kind of torture can be found nationwide in labour camps, detention centres, and prisons where Falun Gong practitioners are detained, and has been widely reported by the Falun Gong website, Clearwisdom.

Damaging the Reproductive Organs

The article quoted Mr. Gao, "Several police officers with steel wires and electric batons in their hands threatened me by saying that they would insert a steel wire into my penis and damage my reproductive organ and make me a completely worthless man."

The article continued. When recalling these nightmares, Gao Tiegang's voice, previously loud and strong, became low and hoarse. During the interrogation, the nearly broken-down Gao Tiegang hit the wall with the back of his head using all the strength he had left. Afterwards, he was carried to the conference room on the second floor and handcuffed. The shackles blocked the blood circulation. My feet were as swollen as loaves of bread. I could not walk and I needed assistance just to go to the bathroom. My hands were permanently damaged from this torture. Even much later they often become suddenly stiff while driving. The aftermath is even worse from the prolonged sitting on the metal chair. The scars itch whenever it is cloudy or rainy. According to the extensive written evidence and many testimonies collected by the journalist, Gao Tiegang's descriptions had many eye-witnesses. Even under such brutal torture, Gao Tiegang still did not confess.

Falun Gong practitioners were tortured frequently with such despicable methods. A police officer from Sichuan Province publicly raped practitioner Wei Xingyan, a graduate student from Chongqing University. In Masanjia Labour Camp, the guards stripped eighteen female practitioners naked and threw them into cells filled with male inmates. The police are clearly not above using sexual abuse and violence to achieve their goals.

Publicly Detaining People Illegally in the Name of "Falun Gong"

The article said that when the victims went to Beijing to appeal: "The Sanmenxia Police Bureau dispatched over 40 police officers and 17 police cars to intercept the victims at many places where the victims were most likely to go. In early November, when Gao Tiegang ran back and forth between the State House Appeal Office and other agencies of the Central Chinese Communist Committee to announce the wrongful treatment he had been subjected to, a group of people headed by a political standing committee member from the Sub-police Bureau of Hubin District were waiting for him. They took him to a room in the liaison office of Sanmenxia City in Beijing and detained him there for two days. The political and legal secretary of the Hubin Sub-police Bureau promised over the telephone that they would do all they could to properly handle his case and solve his problem according to the instructions of the Deputy Party Secretary, the Politics and Legal Secretary, and the director of the police bureau of Sanmenxia City. When he returned to Sanmenxia City, however, no one who had made him such a promise showed up. Instead Gao Tiegang was detained for sixteen days in a conference room of the Hubin Sub-police Bureau. Gao Tiegang called the secretary who led the group to Beijing to intercept him. The first time he called, the secretary promised to make enquiries for him. Later on, he received no reply. Gao Tiegang called 110 (equivalent to 911 in the U.S.) twice to report that the police had illegally detained him. He was told: 'Gao Tiegang is a Falun Gong practitioner and a mental patient.'"

This is yet another telling sign of the persecution of Falun Gong practitioners. In order to illegally hold non-practitioners, the police call them practitioners so that their illegal actions could be "justified."

Too Common to Be of Concern--A Postscript Commentary that Causes People to Ponder

After the descriptions of the various tortures that the victims had been subjected to during their detentions, the article's author wrote a postscript commentary: "The public has become used to these kinds of scenarios: the public security agency arrested a citizen as a 'suspect,' but when it could not obtain sufficient evidence within the legally allowed time, it would automatically extend the detention time to several months or even several years. During detention, the suspect could be subjected to endless interrogation, torture, physical abuse from police officers and the guards of the prison, and might eventually 'confess'."

Jiang's regime has considered Falun Gong as the most formidable enemy of the Chinese Communist Party and the target to be eliminated. Some of its policies are "Beating to death and bearing no responsibility" and "No method of torture is too extreme," in addition to the common torture routines for ordinary citizen "suspects." Given how brutal the regime is in dealing with non-practitioners, it is not difficult to imagine to what extent it will go in dealing with practitioners.

In the last five years, the Party propaganda machine has flatly denied that Falun Gong practitioners had ever been tortured. Judging from China's own media reports, nothing could be further from the truth.

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