Ms. Teng Xiuling, a Falun Gong practitioner in Donggang, Liaoning Province, was sentenced to three and a half years in prison on September 16th, 2013. When her family visited her in Shenyang City Women's Prison in November, they found that Ms. Teng had lost the ability to speak. With shaking hands, she reached through the iron bars and wrote on her brother's hand, “I've been driven almost crazy!”
Ms. Teng is in serious condition and needs urgent care.
Lost Ability to Speak Due to Trauma in Custody
Ms. Teng's parents, husband and sister visited her on October 15th, 2013. They saw Ms. Teng through a barred window. She looked emaciated and weak, and her hands shook uncontrollably. She looked at her family in tears but couldn't talk. Ms. Teng's family were both heartbroken and furious upon seeing her condition.
Her father told her, “Remember, we all support you! You haven't done anything wrong in practising Falun Gong. Don't be 'converted' [coerced into renouncing Falun Gong] no matter what happens. We are law-abiding citizens. What do they want to 'convert' us to, bad people?” Ms. Teng appeared to be moved by her father's encouragement. She gave her father a thumbs-up. Her sister told her, “Don't worry, what we are doing is open and righteous. The wicked will be punished one day!” Ms. Teng put her fist on her chest and nodded.
A police officer gave Ms. Teng's family a letter when they arrived for the visit, claiming that it was written by someone else on her behalf. The letter said that the reason for her loss of speech was because she had been terrified by an inmate's suicide on July 1st –implying that it wasn't due to any abuse. The letter also said that she had convulsions five times over the past couple of months.
Ms. Teng's family was asked to go to the detention centre again in early November, but her brother was the only one allowed to see her. They found out that the detention centre had tried several times to send Ms. Teng to Shenyang City Women's Prison, but the prison wouldn't accept her because of her poor health.
The reason her family was called in this time was because the detention centre was trying to extort 3,000 yuan1 from them for Ms. Teng's physical exam. Her brother was told that if he could provide paperwork showing that Ms. Teng had epilepsy before, she could be released on bail for medical treatment.
Ms. Teng's brother replied, “My sister has been very healthy. Her current health problems were completely caused by the violent abductions and persecution.” The guard shouted at him in anger, “If you don't provide any proof, we can get it ourselves!”
A few days later, the detention centre again pressured Ms. Teng's family to send money and provide her medical history. Her family refused to do so, as the detention centre was trying to shirk responsibility for her condition.
Secret Court Decision
The Donggang Court secretly sentenced Ms. Teng to three and a half years in prison on September 16th, 2013, without a trial or notifying Ms. Teng's family. Employees of the court – Li Xintian, Han Guiyuan and Li Shibin – took the verdict to the detention centre, asking Ms. Teng to sign it, but she refused. They attempted to force her, but Ms. Teng had another major seizure under the enormous pressure. The court employees took this opportunity to grab Ms. Teng's hand to “sign” the verdict.
Ms. Teng was shopping with her sister and two nieces at the Jinyuan Department Store in Dandong City around noon on June 25th, 2013, when six or seven plainclothes police officers dashed into the store, and knocked Ms. Teng down. Without saying anything or showing any identification, they dragged Ms. Teng from the fourth floor to the first floor through the stairway. Ms. Teng lost her shoes during the struggle.
Ms. Teng's sister tried to stop the violence, but the police pushed her down on the floor. Shoppers thought it was a gang crime and shouted, “Call the police!” Ms. Teng had been abducted by the police several times since the persecution of Falun Gong was launched, and she knew who they were. She cried, “I have done nothing wrong practising Falun Gong! The police are violating the law and arresting the innocent! Falun Gong is great!” A few policemen lifted Ms. Teng and threw her into a car.
Ms. Teng's nieces rushed to stand in front of the car, trying to stop the police from driving off. A police officer jumped out of the car, grabbed the girls and threw them to the sidewalk, injuring their arms and legs. When Ms. Teng's sister ran up to help the girls, an officer threw her down on the stairs, breaking a finger and injuring her lower back and legs. She couldn't stand up, but tried to crawl to the car. One of the policemen turned around, kicked her fiercely and threw her farther away. They then roared off in the car.
An arrest warrant was issued on the next day by Zhang Zhenxi, the Donggang City police chief. Ms. Teng's family was then notified that she had been detained in the Dandong Detention Centre. Her family requested to visit her but their request was denied. The Donggang City Procuratorate filed charges against Ms. Teng in the Donggang Court on August 8th, 2013.
A History of Abductions
Ms. Teng had been abducted by the police twice before. The first arrest took place around 6:00 a.m. on December 22nd, 2009. Six police officers broke into Ms. Teng's home, ransacked it, robbed her of her personal belongings, and took her away. Horrified and overcome during the physical struggle, Ms. Teng suffered a convulsion and lost consciousness.
The policemen carried her to the police car and sent her for a physical exam in preparation for the detention. The doctor said that Ms. Teng was in critical condition. However, the police insisted that Ms. Teng had faked it. The doctor refused to process the paperwork for her detention unless the police department would write a guarantee, with a signature, stating that he was not responsible should complications arise as a result of her condition. The police finally called Ms. Teng's family, telling them to take her home. Ms. Teng remained unconscious for twelve days before she came to.
A group of police officers from the Dadong Police Station broke into Ms. Teng's home around noon on March 15th, 2011 and took her away again. Ms. Teng lost consciousness during the arrest. Even though the doctor who examined her said that she was in critical condition, the police still took her to the Dandong Detention Centre. The centre refused to accept Ms. Teng because of her precarious health.
Under the direction of Song Shiwen, the head of the police station, the police carried Ms. Teng to the station and left her on the cement floor. Though she was still twitching, the police kicked her once in a while, claiming that she was faking it. They finally called Ms. Teng's family around 5:30 p.m., telling them to take Ms. Teng back home. It took many days for her to recover.
1. "Yuan" is the Chinese currency; 500 yuan is equal to the average monthly income of an urban worker in China.
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