Older Practitioner Ms. Zhao Xiuyun Describes the Brutal Torture She and Other Practitioners Endured While Imprisoned

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Name: Zhao Xiuyun
Gender: Female
Age: 52
Address: Yilan Town, Yilan County, Heilongjiang Province
Occupation: Unknown

Date of Most Recent Arrest: April 5th, 2004
Most recent place of detention: No. 2 Detention Centre in Yilan County
City: Harbin
Province: Heilongjiang
Persecution Suffered: Detention, beatings, home ransacking, interrogation, extortion, force-feedings, other torture, physical constraint, electric shock, solitary confinement, hung up, brainwashing, fired from workplace

Communist regime authorities have repeatedly and systematically tortured and abused Ms. Zhao Xiuyun for persevering in her beliefs. She was held six times, including for two years at the Wanjia Labour Camp in Harbin City, Heilongjiang Province. She was savagely beaten and force-fed many times. Below is her account.

Beaten and Detained While Appealing for Justice

Shortly after the police first began harassing and arresting Falun Gong practitioners, I went to appeal at the Heilongjiang Province government. The date was July 22nd, 1999. We quietly waited outside the front gate for leaders to come out and talk to us, hoping to discuss ways to resolve what we then believed were misunderstandings. What happened instead, though, was the appearance of fully armed riot police.

They surrounded and began attacking us - whacked/beat us with rubber clubs and kicked us. They put 13 of us into a bus and drove to Harbin City No. 8 District Sports Stadium and kept us there. The officials asked me where I came from, and I refused to answer. Two vans equipped with speakers pulled up at 3:00 pm and continuously blasted the announcement from the Ministry of Civil Affairs and the Ministry of Public Security banning Falun Gong. They let us go at close to 5:00 pm.

That same evening, several of us were looking for a hotel near Sankeshu, Harbin City. Someone reported us, and officers from the Taiping District Police Department arrested us and forced us to watch TV programmes that slandered Falun Gong. This continued until 1:00 am. Yilan County Police Department deputy head Zhang Huanyou took me back and held me in a large conference room at the Yilan County Police Department for three days, followed by three days and two nights of detention in a small conference room. Police head Zhao Shijing pounded the table and screamed at us. They also coerced us to write guarantee statements to renounce Falun Gong and ransacked my home. Officials from Yilan Police Department, from the street committee and police station frequently harassed my household. Sometimes they would come at 8:00 pm to see if I was home and demanded to see me in person. They would also jump over the wall into my backyard in the middle of the night and yell, "Is Zhao Xiuyun home?"startling the whole family awake. They kept a close eye on me to prevent me from going to Beijing to appeal.

Five of us went to Beijing on October 19th, 1999. We were arrested and held at the Tiananmen Police Department. An officer dragged me into an interrogation room and punched me in the temples, which made me dizzy. I was made to stand for the next two hours before being taken to the Fengtai District Sports Stadium in a bus. One police officer there struck me to the ground, and two officers dragged me about 30 feet while several other officers kicked and verbally assaulted me. I was taken to the Daxing County Prison at 9:00 pm. It was a little past 11:00 pm when a guard snatched my purse because I refused to tell my address. He took a recorder, cassettes and a copy of the Falun Gong book, Zhuan Falun, and he forced me to buy a military blanket that cost 180 yuan1 and a pair of shoes costing 10 yuan.

Two women inmates then searched us, demanding that we remove all clothing. They looked through every piece. I went on a hunger strike upon being taken to the prison. Six officials arrived on the sixth day of my hunger strike. They put me in a van and drove to the emergency room at a hospital. A nurse got a feeding tube ready; the deputy prison head said, "Use a thick tube!" The guards pinned me on a bed, held my head, my arms, and my legs and began force-feeding me. They connected one end of the tube, which is as thick as one's thumb to a machine that is used to pump someone's stomach and inserted the other end into my nose. The tube was too thick and abrasive and instantly scraped the flesh off on the inside of my nose, mouth and throat. It took them a long time to get it into my stomach. They mixed cornmeal and salt with boiling water into a porridge, and hurriedly poured it down the tube, with chunks of undissolved salt. I struggled and held my breath to prevent the food from entering my throat, and the tube fell off the machine twice. The pain was excruciating and I screamed. When they connected the machine for the third time I was too exhausted to fight; all the food went into my stomach. After the feeding, before they could pull the tube out, food and blood shot out of my nose and mouth and spilled all over the guards and nurse.

Officials from Harbin City Liaison Office in Beijing took me back early in the morning on the eighth day of my detention. 24 hours later I was taken to the Yilan County Liaison Office in Beijing. After one night, three of us were handcuffed together with only two pairs of handcuffs. We were taken back to Yilan County Police Department on November 5th, 1999 and then held at Yilan County No. 2 Detention Centre for 54 days.

Brutal force-feeding at the Yilan County No. 2 Detention Centre

I joined another practitioner and we appealed again in Beijing in January 2000. Long Yunfei from the Yilan County Police Department took us back on January 21st. After interrogation I was sent to the Yilan County No. 2 Detention Centre. Guard Long Deqing beat me sadistically; one of my eyes was badly bruised as a result. He beat me for a long time during interrogation the next day. When he became exhausted he made me bend over at a 90-degree angle with my arms in the back while he sat and took a break. After he regained strength he beat me again and then made me stand in the same humiliating position. He did this over and over until it was time for him to go home.

The guards also locked us into metal chairs outside until dinner. The freezing wind cut our skin like knives. We held a hunger strike to protest being held beyond term. The guards made us stay outside on the fourth day. It was one of the coldest winter days. Head Li Bo poured cold water on us. On the fifth day, deputy head Lin Zhong brought ten male inmates. They tried to force-feed us. They grabbed me, took me outside the cell and put me in a metal chair. One man yanked my hair backward; two other men clamped my arms down and held my nose shut, while yet another man pinched my cheeks to make me open my mouth. He used so much brutal force that the skin was broken and my face became swollen. Someone stabbed at my gums with a chopstick. My gums were bloody, and my teeth came loose. Then, a person put corn porridge into a water bottle and instantly emptied the entire bottle into my mouth. He poured it so fast that I almost choked. I nearly lost consciousness while struggling as hard as I could and I felt as if I was drowning.

Fellow practitioner Ms. Li Lan ended up having corn porridge enter her windpipes. She lost consciousness. The officials rushed her to the hospital. An x-ray revealed large shadowy areas in her lungs.

Practitioner Ms. Ma Lida was force-fed three bottles of highly concentrated salt water with about one inch of undissolved salt at the bottom. She began sweating profusely and tossed and turned in bed in pain. Officials took her to the ER. Examination showed her stomach had shrunk and turned black from being burned with the highly concentrated salt water. The skin in/on her mouth deteriorated and had turned white. The officials sent her home for a week and then arrested her again, this time immediately sending her to the Wanjia Labour Camp.

Practitioner Ms. Wu Yajie had several incidents of gastroenteral bleeding from brutal force-feeding that did not heal for nearly a month. The officials eventually let her family take him home.

I was held at the detention centre for 101 days, and forced to pay 500 Yuan and another 800 Yuan for food.

Two practitioners and I took a bus to Beijing on December 29th, 2000. Yilan County Police Department agents stopped the bus before we left the county. They told everyone to raise their hand to agree to say slanderous words attacking Falun Gong. We did not raise our hands. They took the three of us to the Yilan County Police Department, interrogated us until past midnight and then sent us to the No. 2 Detention Centre. They sent seven of us to the Wanjia Labour Camp after 17 days of detention. I was held there for two years.

Brutal torture at the Wanjia Labour Camp

Right after I was taken to the labour camp, a group of collaborators surrounded us and tried to "reform" [forcibly renounce Falun Gong] us. Since I was very determined they locked me in solitary confinement cell for one week. There was no window or bed in the cell. I slept on the floor.

Guard Liu Ying took several practitioners to the third floor at 4:00 pm on March 8th, 2001, and forced us to stand until past 8:00 pm. Then they took us to a conference room on the second floor and told us to stand there. I refused. She called inmates Fu Lina and Qin Guiyun and they grabbed my hair and dragged me to the storage room where they twisted my arms in the back and hung me up by the arms. I heard the cracking sound of my bones and the pain was unbearable. They put me down and dragged me to a freezing solitary confinement cell by my hair where I was held for one day.

Guards Zhang Zhihong, Ma Xiaoxi, inmates Wang Shuhua and Qin Guiyun held me down in a bed and savagely beat me in the fall of 2001. Ma Xiaoxi's long nails left deep scratches and bloody bruises on my face and arms. My nose and eye sockets were swollen and discoloured for many days. Ma Xiaoxi also put her knee on my abdomen and vehemently elbowed my chest. They tied my arms in the back to a bed pole for an entire morning. I could neither stand nor sit. They tied my arms to the railing on the upper bunk in the afternoon, making my hands swell like melons.

Guard Hua repeatedly rammed practitioner Yang Lixia's head into a wall and threw a large thermos bottle at us. Guards Hua, Li Hong and Liu Baibing often hit us with wooden sticks and mop handles. Guards Wang Min and Liu Baibing dragged out practitioners Zhong Xiaoyan and 60-year-old Meng Xianzhi from Harbin. The two were savagely tortured. Meng Xianzhi eventually died as a result of gross abuse. Her body was covered in wounds. Wu Jinying, head of Group 7 at the Wanjia Labour Camp said to other practitioners, "I never asked the guards to beat her; the guards did this on their own!"

I was held at the Strictly Controlled Team most of the time because I refused to "reform." I was forbidden to leave the room and sat on a small plastic stool all day long. The flesh on my buttocks began to ulcerate; pus seeped out after a while. The room was dark and damp; green and black moss grew on the wall; flies and mosquitoes filled the room in the summer. We all developed scabies in this terribly unhygienic place. Some people had bumps on their bodies that dripped blood and pus, and some could no longer care for themselves. I was bedridden for months. Practitioner Zhang Hong who died as a result of persecution could not remove her clothes. Bodily fluids had glued them to her skin; when she could take a shower, pieces of dead flesh fell off. Practitioner Qu Yan from Harbin had deep holes on her body that exposed the bones underneath.

Zhang Bo, head of Group 7, administered tortures

Zhang Bo became the head of Group 7 in July 2002. He brought in male guards, even though labour camp policies state that no male guards are allowed in the women's section. The male guards tortured us and coerced us to write guarantee statements. If we refused to comply they would either make us watch videos that slander Falun Gong, make us squat or forbade us to sleep or use the toilet. Furthermore, they would torture us with the Big Hang-up, tie us in metal chairs while shocking us with up to eight electric batons simultaneously. They also made us sing propaganda songs praising the Communist Party before we went to bed each night and dragged us out to savagely beat us if we refused.

A Group Drill Division was established on July 25th, 2002 under Zhang Bo's instruction. Division head Zhao Yuqing screamed, "I am Satan! If you don't reform I won't let you die; I will have you watched around the clock." The painful screams, the crackling sound of electric batons frying human flesh could be heard all the time. The terrifying sight of blue flashes from electric batons was commonplace. The smell of charred flesh filled the air.

Practitioner Ms. Ning Shuxian could not straighten her back and walked with her back bent over at a 90-degree angle. She inched forward by holding onto walls and was crippled for more than a year. Some practitioners' faces were disfigured from the electric batons; others had blisters all over their bodies and felt cold all the time.

Nonstop harassment and family implication

I returned home on January 29th, 2003. Street Committee officials and police officers frequently harassed me at my home.

Domestic Security Division official Zheng Jun arrested me at 5:00 pm on October 10th, 2003. Zhang Jun and other officers subsequently ransacked my home and took my Falun Gong cassettes and music tapes and held me at Yilan County Detention Centre for 15 days.

A practitioner and I went to the home of another practitioner on April 5th, 2004. I let the Guanyue Street Committee head trick us, and opened the door to him. Officers from the Guanyue Police Station including Su Di forced their way in. They tried to arrest us and we refused to co-operate with them. They called Zheng Jun and other officials to help arrest us. They ransacked and videotaped my home, then took us to the No. 2 Detention Centre where we were held for 15 days and were extorted 300 yuan. This detention caused me to lose my job, my sole source of income.

Over the course of persecution between July 20th, 1999 and April 20th, 2004, I was detained for 32 months and 22 days. I was forced to pay more than 5,500 yuan. We had to shut down our boutique, a family business, due to the persecution. It caused more than 12,000 yuan in loss. The physical and mental toll on my family and myself over the past decade is beyond description.


1. "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://minghui.ca/mh/articles/2010/1/22/216703.html

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