The Humiliation and Suffering I Endured During My Detention in Beijing's Tuanhe Forced Labour Camp

I started practising Falun Dafa in 1996, and benefited physically and mentally from the practice. I held the position of manager at a well-known foreign company in Beijing prior to the regime's ban of Falun Dafa. I worked hard and my achievements were outstanding. My superiors had great trust in me. Later, during the persecution against Dafa practitioners, my company forced me to resign due to pressure from the Communist regime. The police arrested me five times because I appealed for Dafa, did the Falun Gong exercises in public and exposed the persecution. My most traumatic incidents took place after the last arrest. My experiences are a demonstration of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) fanatic wickedness and evilness.

I started volunteering at a site producing Dafa leaflets exposing the persecution in early 2001. I didn’t know then that it would be better to have numerous, widespread small materials production sites. By the time I joined, the practitioners working at the site had already produced a considerable amount of high-quality materials and sent lots of materials to other cities. We rented a house as a storage place for the materials, to keep them safe. I had a key to the house and was responsible for delivering the materials to local practitioners who needed them. I became anxious and impatient when I saw the slow speed at which piles of materials were distributed to deceived people who didn’t know the truth. I told myself to hand them out as much as possible each day. I went to the patient wards and the family dormitory at the People’s Liberation Army General Hospital and the No. 307 Hospital to hand out materials right under the nose of security officers and Street Committee officials. I cannot recall how many residential districts I have been to, or how many leaflets exposing the persecution I have handed out.

I was anxious to hand out the truth material and I overlooked safety concerns. Twice, I was almost arrested. I thought that nothing would happen as long as I was alert, so I continued to distribute large quantities of materials in residential buildings. One afternoon, two security officers in a residential district arrested me. I tried to break free, but one officer hit the back of my head with a heavy object and I immediately lost consciousness. When I came to, I was being held down on the floor of a police van with my face pressed against the cold metal floor. My left arm was twisted so severely that my elbow hurt as if my arm was going to break. At the police station the police asked my name, address and the source of the materials. I refused to tell them and looked for an opportunity to escape. The police violently slapped my face, jabbed their knees on my legs and into my hips, and kicked and stomped on me until I rolled on the floor in pain. They also discussed shocking me with electric batons. After they beat me they put me in a metal cage for nearly two days. I realised at some point during the interrogation that there was no hope to escape, so I told them my name and address. The police sent me overnight to Qinghe Custody Centre in Haiding District.

The doctor at the Qinghe Custody Centre noticed a large bump on my head and said that he would not accept me unless I first got a CT scan of my head. Late at night, the police went to my parents’ home, demanded money and took me to a hospital for a CT scan, after which they took me back to the custody centre.

The condition at the custody centre was terrible, as about 20 people were squeezed into a cell of less than 24 sq yards. During the day we had to sit on the hard floor. We were forbidden to move our bodies without permission. At night we slept with our heads pressed against each other. I could not straighten my back for about 15 days due to injuries sustained to my lower back and hips from the beating and had difficulty walking. At night, two detainees in each cell were assigned to watch the others sleeping. When it was my turn to be on duty, I found chances to do the Falun Gong exercises. I told the inmates, which included murderers, "Falun Dafa is good, Falun Gong practitioners are good people, and this persecution is completely unreasonable." The guards interrogated me three times, ordering me to give up Dafa practice and to reveal the source of the materials. I refused.

After more than one month of detention I was sentenced to one-and-a-half years of forced labour. I was first held at the Labour Reeducation Dispatch Centre, located very close to the Tuanhe Labour Camp in Beijing. Right after I entered the front gate, fully armed guards on both sides of the gate glared at me with a cold, vicious look. One guard screamed in a stern voice, "From now on, you are under labour re-education."

It was summer when I went there, and all of the cells were full. More than 30 people, comprising a "class," were held in a small room. It was extremely crowded. Each class head was a designated lackey for the guards. Various humiliating rules existed at the labour camp, such as we were forbidden to raise our heads and could only look at the floor. We had to shout "report" when we entered a room and had to say a scripted message before we could get food. We had to stand in rows and stomp our feet during "group activities" and had to squat when the guards talked to us. We had to recite the regulations for labour camp detainees and sing Communist Party propaganda songs.

Right after I arrived at the labour camp, a guard named Shen called me over and told me to "reform." He also demanded to know the source of the materials, but I refused to tell. He said, "I hope you can make up for your crimes by doing the right thing. Even if you don’t tell us now, you’ll have to tell us later; and even if you don’t tell us, they’ll find out eventually."

Newcomers were also forced to practise standing in formation and do push-ups. Practitioner Zhai Guangcai, a senior engineer in his 60s, refused to follow the persecutors’ orders to stand straight, with his head up. The guards kicked his legs and feet, but they gave up as they saw kicking didn’t work on Zhai Guangcai. The guards at the Labour Re-education Dispatch Division tied Zhai Guangcai up and shocked him with electric batons.

At the Dispatch Division, a software engineer with the name of Zhao Xianming was shocked with electric batons. He had a Master’s degree and created software for a computer company in Canada. He came to Beijing from Canada in early 2001 and was arrested when posting Dafa materials in the streets of Beijing.

Once when I was forced to stand for a long time I met practitioner Deng Chaogang. He came from Hunan Province and had been held at the Dongcheng Detention Centre in Beijing for several months prior to coming to the Dispatch Division. I secretly asked him if the guards had beat him and he nodded. Later I learned that the guards often savagely beat him, shocked him with electric batons and force-fed him because he refused to tell his name and went on a hunger strike. The guards even broke off his fingernails.

Our daily work assignment at the Dispatch Division consisted of having to wrap piles of "hygienic chopsticks" in papers with the word "disinfected" printed on them. We almost never were able to wash our hands before wrapping the papers. Large quantities of chopsticks were laid out on the bed and floor. They were taken away and sold after they were wrapped. Many of the one-time use "hygienic chopsticks" that restaurants supply to their customers are "disinfected" this way.

The guards colluded with money-oriented businesses to cheat the consumers. We had heavy assignments to complete on a daily basis, and started work right after we got up each morning. We didn’t have any breaks, except for meals. Work lasted until 8 p.m., and sometimes until late at night. The guards make bonus money through our labour, so we were forced to produce as many chopsticks as possible. I saw one person whose wrists were injured at work and had become infected and severely swollen, yet he was still forced to work.

While busy wrapping chopsticks, Falun Gong practitioners were bombarded with vicious lies that were aimed at "reforming1" them. I didn’t want to listen to the lies. As a result I was forced to squat on the floor with my head in my hands, almost between my thighs. This is an extremely uncomfortable posture. I felt dizzy, had difficulty breathing and my legs and feet went to sleep almost right away.

For meals we had to walk out to the drill ground in formation, and squat and eat. We were given steamed buns, pickled vegetables and vegetable soup. We sweated profusely during lunchtime because of the sweltering heat.

Before going to sleep we had to recite the regulations for labour camp detainees. Our beds were several double-bunk beds put together. Three to four people slept in an area normally allotted for one person. Therefore, we could only sleep on our sides, tightly packed against each other. We worked for long periods, but were forbidden to take showers. We were soaked in sweat. Although I was exhausted, some nights I could not fall asleep at all.

An ordinary detainee goes through a lot of suffering at the Dispatch Division. Falun Gong practitioners are under even more strict control. People were assigned to monitor the practitioners to prevent them from talking to each other. Practitioners were also not permitted to get their own water; we could only ask other people for water. Sometimes I was so thirsty that I drank tap water during the very short wash time and time to use the restroom. The people assigned to monitor us often stopped us and said there is a rule that Falun Gong practitioners are forbidden to drink tap water.

After several very difficult days at the Dispatch Division I was sent to Tuanhe Forced Labour Camp. On the surface, the guards there are not as ruthless or rude as the ones at the Dispatch Division, but the lies they used and the coercion behind their hypocritical mask were aimed to destroy practitioners’ righteous belief and conscience. The guards first faked kindness toward newly arrived practitioners through a policy of so-called "help and educate," which is in fact brainwashing and coercion.

Initially I had a relatively clear mind at the Tuanhe Forced Labour Camp. The guards sent collaborators2 to "help and educate" me. For several days I managed to point out their false logic. Then, the guards forbade me to sleep, trying to make me tired and lose my mind.

The head of the class where I was detained [the head of the class is the inmate the guards assign to help them persecute practitioners] completely sided with the authorities and put me under mental strain. He saw that he could not convince me, so he found a collaborator, a man in his 30s, who had memorised a large portion of a Falun Dafa book. Prior to his arrest he had been a medium-level army official responsible for official literature. He spoke his deviated understanding of Dafa while reciting passages from the Falun Dafa teachings. I became muddle-headed and was thus "reformed." I wrote "guarantee statements" to "renounce" Dafa. The guards made me read the statements in front of everyone and videotaped the whole process. As I slowly drifted away, Wang Jianying, an associate professor from a university in Hefei City, gave me a firm handshake during roll call. He meant to remind me to maintain a clear head.

Soon, the collaborator, the former army official who "reformed" me, received new articles by Teacher. He had awakened and came to me to explain the ridiculous falsity of "reform." I immediately realised "reform" is wrong, but I was worried whether I could continue to practise Dafa after making such a grave mistake. I lacked courage. I also saw the tremendous tribulation determined practitioners were going through, and worried whether I could weather it. I thought, "Things are already the way they are. I’ll get out quickly and practise Dafa later when I get the opportunity." Driven by selfishness and fear, before the guards I acted as if I was "reformed." I changed from agreeing to deviated understandings of Dafa to making deliberate compromises. It’s a real shame for a cultivator, and of course I was in great anguish. I clearly knew that Dafa is good, and yet I had to tell lies to the guards and the other people who’ve betrayed Dafa, only so I could avoid additional persecution. While I was there, many "reformed" practitioners experienced similar scenarios.

In order to make money and look good, the Tuanhe Forced Labour Camp officials often forced practitioners to do various types of slave labour, including digging ditches, carrying cement, laying pipe line, sorting peas, cleaning wool, planting grass, levelling the ground and pulling out wild grass, among other things. The labour was a minor thing to bear compared to the psychological agony.

I constantly suffered from guilt during that time and from what felt like repeated mental rape. Each time the CCP cooked up a lie slandering Dafa, the guard would force Dafa practitioners to watch the CCTV produced Focal Point Interview, after which each practitioner was forced to write their "understanding." I played word games and wrote things that I felt could go either way, doing so to satisfy the guards. In order to confirm the result of the brainwashing, the guards "tested" us again and again by forcing us to attack Teacher and Dafa. I betrayed my conscience and did as I was told so I could get out of the devil’s den.

The guards also demanded to know the identity of Dafa practitioners working "above" and "below" us. I was worried that if I didn’t write about anyone the guards would again pressure me for the source of the Dafa materials. I wrote about one collaborator I knew, with the last name Deng. He was relatively well known at the camp. He completely betrayed Dafa and actively aided and abetted the guards in "reforming" Dafa practitioners. After his release he visited Dafa practitioners on his own accord and tried to reform them. He even wrote letters to the labour camp authorities, reporting his "accomplishments." I heard that he received money from the police department agents on a monthly basis and was a favourite of the police. I thought at the time that there would be no consequences if I wrote about him, but it’s a shame to provide information to the guards, no matter what the excuse.

Sometimes I was sent to "reform" newly arrived practitioners. It was most difficult when the guards or people who have completely turned against Dafa were present with me. I tried to say as little as possible. I also asked questions I could not understand. When I ran out of things to say I would read a passage from the slanderous materials we were forced to study. If that didn’t work, I would repeat some of the wicked CCP lies. It was terrible! I was only going through the motions. No practitioner reformed because of my "help and education" although I committed crimes all the same, because the sly human intention to protect myself was at work.

The "help and education" was not a completely anguishing experience. Sometimes the other collaborators who were sent with me also compromised against their true wishes. We would talk to each other and ask if Teacher had written new articles. If someone had memorised the article we would listen to him/her recite it and would share our true understandings.

One practitioner named Li Jingsheng was a guitar player. Prior to his arrest he used to sing in bars, and taught guitar in universities. One collaborator and I were assigned to "help and educate" Li Jingsheng. He had been diagnosed with a congenital heart disease when he was a young child. People with his condition usually only live until their early teen years. After he started practising Dafa his condition improved. He used to run out of breath when he took a short walk, but after he practised Dafa, he could play guitar and sing for hours.

He taught us the song Silent Night, which describes the story of Jesus Christ's birth. He said when he sang this song he was often moved by the great compassion of great, enlightened beings. A magnificent god came into the filthy world to save people, and he suffered everything because of it; yet many people not only didn’t believe him, they even took part in persecuting him. Sometimes when he sang this song on stage he couldn’t help but cry.

We were sitting together in a small room once when I said I hadn’t practised the exercises for a long time. I really hoped to get out of the camp quickly to do the exercises. He said, "Well, do them now then." I started doing the first four sets of exercises. He reminded me not to stand too close to the windows to prevent people from outside seeing me. He was later sent to another division. Once I saw several people dragging him to the clinic to force-feed him. He had been on hunger strike for quite some time and was skin and bones. I read on the Internet last year that he was tortured to death. Dafa had given him a new life. The CCP took his life away. I will never be able to hear him sing Silent Night again.

Dafa practitioner Li Yuejin from Beijing's Shijingshan District was sent to the labour camp for a second time. The guards ordered a collaborator and me to "help and educate" him. We asked him to tell us about Teacher’s new articles. Li Yuejin told us that after his first release from the labour camp he had written a letter to the head of the Beijing Police Department and told him the persecution of Falun Gong practitioners is wrong. He had not stayed home for long. The police chief personally ordered his arrest , and he was arrested soon afterwards. Li Yuejin told us about his first stay in the labour camp. One night when he was half asleep, he saw a snake crawling into the bed above his and wrapping itself around the person in it. That person had red blisters all over his body the next day. He used to be a Dafa practitioner, but since that day he had feverishly attacked Dafa.

I met a practitioner who graduated from Tsinghua University. He "reformed" several times and later renounced the reform and returned to Dafa several times. Once he underwent great risk to give me Teacher’s new articles, which would cause him to incur severe tortures if the guards found out about it. Later, he "reformed" again. One day he suddenly developed red blisters all over his body and his eyes turned red. I felt that he had changed greatly, and we drifted further and further apart.

Practitioner Zhen Huijun, who worked at the China Electronic Power Research Institute, was also subjected to "help and education." He was tortured for more than six months at the Beijing Legal Training Centre, a brainwashing class, before he was brought to Tuanhe. He was detained in a training centre room, completely isolated from the outside. A heavy curtain blocked out the sunlight while a light bulb inside the room was on 24 hours a day. About ten military police officers took turns watching his every move, but they never talked to him. Four police officers and several collaborators took turns brainwashing him. They also barbarically beat him and prevented him from sleeping. The police claimed their beatings were "making him think."

Some people compromised temporarily. They knew in their hearts that Dafa is good, but a small percentage of the collaborators were really vicious, such as the class head I mentioned earlier. He was fully devoted to helping the police "reform" Dafa practitioners, and often had dry throat from talking to the practitioners nonstop. He often screamed at the practitioners. He said later that he had frequent bouts with headaches when he was "helping and educating" Dafa practitioners. Before he left the camp he went to the camp doctor and was told that he had high blood pressure. I don’t know if he realised that he was being punished for persecuting Dafa. Other collaborators like him had so much hatred toward Dafa, Teacher and determined practitioners that they could not hide it. They attributed all of their suffering to Dafa and thought that practising Dafa brought on all of the tribulations. Dafa, in actuality, gives people only wonderful things. It is the CCP that is the real source of their suffering.

As for Dafa practitioners who would not be deceived and who remained rock-solid in their faith in Dafa, the guards completely tore off their mask of kindness and resorted to extremely brutal methods, brutality hard to imagine for people living in civilised societies.

I met a person from the Fangshan District surnamed Zhang. He looked like a sincere person and he could recite some of Teacher’s articles. My first impression of him was not bad, but later I learned that he was the person mainly responsible for following the guards’ orders and beating Dafa practitioner Lu Changjun into disability. The guards used Zhang as a scapegoat and sentenced him to three years in prison for the incident.

There is a small hut in the yard where we were being held. The door on the hut was always closed. Sometimes we saw two people carrying a man and walking in a circle. The man was Dafa practitioner Wu Jun. He refused to write anything the guards told him to write. They tied him to a bed plank and kept him in the hut for 100 days, while each day drug addicts, and criminals convicted of financial fraud, went in and verbally abused and insulted him. Wu Jun was tortured like this until he had muscle dysfunction and even needed help walking. He used to be a scientist working in the field of missile technology research in Beijing.

I met practitioner Wang Yanfang during his second time in the labour camp. He was a simple person and didn’t talk much. He told me once that the persecutors hammered nails into the arches of his feet. Wang Yanfang experienced all forms of crass abuse under the persecution. One of his legs was severely injured. He sometimes lost all feeling in it and had difficulty walking. I saw two people dragging him around the drill ground. His shoes fell off and his feet abraded against the calcareous ground while a guard stood aside and gave orders.

When practitioner Liu Xiao, a teaching assistant from the Foundation Institute of Peking Union Medical College, first arrived, I observed him. He wrote on paper and on a table the proverbs, "Grinding and hammering hones the sharpness of a sword; bitter cold gives birth to the plum blossoms' perfume." His handwriting was structured and elegant, just like himself. I think he was encouraging himself and other practitioners suffering tribulations. I only talked to him once for several minutes and felt he was a well-educated and very intelligent person. The persecutors savagely tortured him because he persisted in his belief. I didn’t see how he was tortured, but later I saw his face was grey and dark, and he looked depressed. He no longer talked to me. He was transferred into the cell where I was being held. He often curled up in his bed, wearing filthy clothes. His body shook even at the slightest noise from the door shutting. Sometimes I saw him sitting in the storage room by himself with a lost look on his face.

Practitioner Zhu Zhiliang, who earned a Master’s degree in Aeronautics and Astronautics from Beijing University, was sent to the Group Drill Division for firmly persisting in cultivation practice. He was tortured until he had a mental breakdown. I saw him only a few times. When his term expired and he was about to leave the labour camp, he came to each room to bid farewell to us. He didn’t say anything and only looked at us with deeply thoughtful eyes.

Practitioner Liu Yongping, who had worked at a hotel in Beijing, stayed in the same room as me. He was reported and arrested for copying Dafa materials. Liu refused "reform" and was forbidden to sleep for more than ten days. During those days his quilt was never touched. He was very brave and resilient and refused to tell what he had experienced.

The guards frequently used physical punishment to torture determined practitioners. The methods included push-ups, prolonged squatting and standing, standing for long periods of time, running and other things the guards called "physical training." I saw practitioner Zhao Ming, who had lived and studied in Ireland, being forced to run on the drill ground. He was held in the horrific Group Drill Division, where he was savagely tortured. He was extremely weak. Another practitioner, Zhang Xiangyu from the Daxing District in Beijing was also held at the labour camp. I didn’t talk to him, but I saw him being forced to sit on a small plastic stool outside his room, day and night, or standing up day and night. I also saw another practitioner, whose name I do not know, being forced to endlessly shout "report."

All practitioners detained at that camp who refused to "reform" had their sentences extended. Li Aimin, labour camp deputy head, announced at an all-detainees public meeting, "We will burden the society with zero tolerance" and "don’t even think about leaving the labour camp if you refuse to reform!" I also heard a guard scream, "If you don’t reform, you’re dead! You’ll leave here as a corpse or you'll be insane."

A guard once ordered me to "study" Dafa-slandering books with a few other people. A while later the guards brought in determined practitioner Gong Chengxi and told him to read the books with us. Gong Chengxi refused and covered his ears with his hands. The guards took Gong Chengxi away, and the strange "study session" ended. Each person present during the study session, however, was told to write a witness account saying Gong Chengxi had refused to participate in the study.

By this time I had completely lost a practitioner’s righteous thoughts and wrote an article saying Gong Chengxi had refused to take part in the study. I comforted myself by saying that he had indeed refused. I heard later that Gong Chengxi received a ten-month sentence extension. I have always felt guilty about it. Although the guards were persecuting him, what I did is worse, because I am a practitioner.

Because of my unconscionable betrayals and with my family pulling strings for me, I left the devil’s den—the Tuanhe Forced Labour Camp—four months prior to the end of my term. For a very long time fear lingered above me like a black cloud. The mind-poisoning brainwashing materials I was subjected to in the labour camp frequently popped into my head.

Great Teacher, with boundless compassion, does not give up on his students who have made mistakes.

I want to expose the wicked CCP persecution, and also hope fellow practitioners who took detours under the persecution will return as quickly as possible.

Please critique and correct anything inappropriate.


Note

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. "Collaborators": Former practitioners who have turned against Falun Gong under brainwashing and torture. They are then made to assist in brainwashing and torturing practitioners.


Chinese version available at http://minghui.ca/mh/articles/2006/6/27/131508.html

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