Prison guards at Heilongjiang Province Women's Forced Labour Camp once remarked to family members of detained Falun Gong practitioners: “Physical punishment such as sitting on a small stool does not take place here at all. Those who are sent here will be educated like students in school. How can there be any persecution going on here?”
Yet recent incidents have come to light which clearly indicate that the above statement is a lie. It also reveals how cunning the Communist regime is in its persecution of Falun Gong practitioners. The labour camp goes all out to cover up the persecution that is carried out in its buildings. Consequently, what has been uncovered is just the tip of the iceberg.
How New Inmates are Tortured
Falun Gong practitioners sent to the labour camp are immediately detained in Division No. 4 on the third floor. This division is especially set up to carry out brainwashing tactics on practitioners. Every morning, inmates had to get up at 5 a.m., and they were only allowed to go to bed late between 10 – 12 midnight.
There were no breaks in between, and they were not allowed to use the toilet for extended periods of time. Practitioners were made to sit on small stools less than one foot high and watch programmes slandering Falun Gong. They had to write guarantee statements renouncing their belief. If they refused to watch the programs or shut their eyes, guards would physically punish them. And if they refused to write statements, their prison sentence would be extended.
Forced to Sit on a Small Stool or Stand for Prolonged Periods
Detainees had to sit on the tiny stool for days and, consequently, they suffered from backaches, loss of feeling in the legs, and their buttocks became unbearably sore and even started to bleed. According to criminal inmates, there were two black circles left on practitioners' bottoms from such physical punishment. Another form of punishment included standing for long hours every day.
Those who refused to give in were isolated and watched by several inmates. They were forbidden to speak to anyone, and criminal inmates were incited to physically and psychologically abuse them. These practitioners were often locked up in a room of merely 10 square meters. Windows were tightly sealed so the prisoners were enveloped in continual darkness.
They were forced to sit on a small stool and not allowed to climb onto the bed or go near the windows and door. Male guards monitored the rooms with surveillance cameras and harassed them through a loudspeaker. If a prison guard entered the room, the detainee was required to stand up immediately and greet him. Practitioners were strictly forbidden from speaking to one another.
The guards would make matters more unbearable by suddenly coming into the cell and forcing practitioners to strip off all their clothes. They stood at one corner of the room, shouting repeatedly: “Take it off, take everything off.” The blankets in the cell were turned over, sending out an unpleasant, musty odour. The cell was then turned upside down to search for any materials related to Falun Gong.
At night, male and female guards on duty laughed and talked loudly. During the day, they played noisy rock and roll music. Practitioners were never allowed to rest, and they would be reprimanded or beaten if they disobeyed the guards in the slightest manner.
Disregard for Life, Endless Mental Torture
After more than a decade of persecuting Falun Gong practitioners, the drug rehabilitation centre realized that physical torture could not force steadfast practitioners to give up their faith. So in order to avoid garnering attention from the international community, they adopted alternative persecution tactics that included systematic mental torture.
Practitioners were tortured to the brink of a mental breakdown and forced to write statements slandering Master and renouncing their belief in Falun Gong. Words cannot describe the agony these victims endured.
A lot of practitioners developed heart conditions after being made to go through various forms of torture such as: Sitting on a small stool for prolonged periods, solitary confinement and being forbidden to go to the restroom. Some nearly died from the abuse and were sent to the hospital for emergency treatment. Others became mentally unstable, and many practitioners suffered from stomach pain and became very emaciated.
Covering up the Truth and Deceiving the Outside World
On visitation days, family members of detained practitioners were turned away by staff who cited that the new inmates were emotionally unstable and needed time to adjust to the new environment. Prison guards assured them that their imprisoned family member was fine, but that visiting them immediately would make them unhappy.
When the families finally got to see the practitioners, it was obvious that they were emaciated and depressed. Prison guards would tell them how well they were treating them, but the practitioners refused to take medication despite being ill. The guards asked family members to persuade the practitioners to comply with prison rules.
Others saw through the deception and hired lawyers to appeal for their loved ones. The director of the Legal Affairs Section, Liang Xuemei, instructed prison guards to tell family members and lawyers: “We don't object to you hiring lawyers, this is the right of the litigant and their family members. Yet in reality, they treated the lawyers like enemies and created many obstacles to stop them from doing their job.
Some family members questioned the guards as to why the letters they sent were not seen by the detained practitioner. Unquestionably, they had been confiscated by the guards, who only lied about it unabashedly: “That's not possible, you must have written to the wrong address.”
While visiting detained practitioners, some family members noticed that the practitioners clutched their chests and could not stand straight. They then inquired if they were beaten up. The guards unequivocally replied: “That's impossible. We carry out humane management policies.”
When asked about reports about practitioners being forced to sit on a small stool, the Director of the Management Division, Guo Danxu, shamelessly replied: “This is nonsense. I detest those who create rumours. Physical punishment doesn't exist at all. Prisoners in our centre go through an educational curriculum, just like students in a school. How can there be any torture in here?”
Details on the Persecution Suffered by Several Practitioners
On October 11th, 2012, seven practitioners from Jiamusi: Ms. Ren Shuxian, Ms. Xiang Xiaopo, Ms. Liu Lijie, Ms. Zhao Juan, Ms. Zhang Shuying, Ms. Wang Yingxia and Ms. Cui Xiuyun were secretly taken to Heilongjiang Drug Rehabilitation Centre.
Although most of them were in ill health, the centre was forced to take them in. The practitioners were subjected to three and a half months of isolation and intense torture, ending in January 2013.
– As a result of abuse, Ms Ren Shuxian was rushed to Harbin No 2 Hospital for emergency treatment. The forced labour camp officials forced her to pay for all medical expenses. Upon returning to the centre, she was still made to sit on a small stool. Being very weak, she attempted to sit on the bed, but was driven off by guards.
The worst perpetrators were Wang Haiying, Lu Baoya and Wang Zipeng, who forcefully dragged her off the bed.
Ms. Ren's physical condition remains very poor. She often has to be placed on an IV and nearly died overnight on two occasions.
– Ms. Xiang Xiaobo was forced to sit on the small stool for failing to memorise prison rules or take part in physical labour. As a result of the torture, she was unable to eat and complained of stomach pains, so the guards forcefully put her on an IV.
Ms. Xiang used to be fit and healthy, but became mentally disoriented.
– Ms Liu Lijie experienced extreme weight loss as well as pain in her heart, back and legs. There was also a scheme to extend her prison sentence.
– Ms Zhao Juan: When her family and lawyer visited, she came out to see them clutching her chest. She had also become extremely emaciated.
– Ms Zhang Shuying was from a different region, so no one came to visit her. Consequently, the labour camp persecuted her unscrupulously. She went on a hunger strike to protest the mistreatment. As a result, her heart rate became abnormal.
– Ms Wang Yingxia's heart condition also became severely abnormal, and her body was unusually gaunt.
Organisations and Officials involved in the persecution:
Zhang Hongyan, director of Heilongjiang Drug Rehabilitation Centre: +86-451-82412158 (Office), +86-451-82447118
Liang Xuemei, Director of the Legal Affairs Division: +86-451-82447302 (Office)
Guo Danxu, Director of the Management Division: +86-451-82447045 (Office)
Ding Jie, Head of Division No.4: +86-451-82447080 (Office)
Lu Peihong, supervisor in Division No.4:+86-451-82447081 (Office)
Wang Haiying:+86-451-82447081 (Office), +86-18346102018 (Mobile)
Lu Boya: +86-13796105666 (Mobile)
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