“One guard yelled, ‘Torture him to death and report it as suicide!’ Several guards rushed at me, twisted my hands behind my back, tied me up with bed sheets, and hung me from the upper level of a bunk bed, leaving my feet off the floor.”
This nightmare happened to Mr. Gao Ke in the Suihua Forced Labour Camp, after he was arrested for the 12 th time because of his belief in Falun Gong. This was his fifth labour camp detention.
Mr. Gao, 59 years old, is a teacher at the Yumin Elementary School in Harbin City, Heilongjiang Province. Since the persecution of Falun Gong started in July 1999, Mr. Gao has been arrested 13 times and detained 12 times, including 5 times at labour camps.
The first four labour camp detentions were at the Changlinzi Forced Labour Camp in Harbin City. The last time was at the Suihua Forced Labour Camp in Heilongjiang Province. In addition, officials ransacked Mr. Gao's home 12 times, extorted money from his family and stopped him from getting raises at work.
Upon hearing of the abolishing of labour camps in China late last year, Mr. Gao said, “Although the labour camps may no longer be functioning, the physical and extreme psychological harm they have caused me still remains.”
Mr. Gao was severely abused at the labour camps and detention centres, where he was constantly subjected to brutal torture, abuse and humiliation.
Below is Mr. Gao's personal account of several horrific torture sessions in detention – one in 2012 and the other four years earlier, in 2008.
I was administered harmful drugs in late 2012 on several occasions.
Zhang Xumin, a Nangang District police officer, and others sent me to the Suihua Labour Camp on November 14th, 2012. I was diagnosed with heart disease and a high blood pressure reading of 210 upon receiving a physical exam. The labour camp refused to accept me.
Liu Yi, a local police officer, repeatedly begged the labour camp officials to admit me, so they finally did.
The torture started three days later. Officials detained me for several hours and sent me to the labour camp hospital with the excuse of medical treatment. They cuffed me in bed and hospital director Xu Nansheng began to inject unknown drugs into me.
The doctor injected me with an I.V. drip that was attached to me for two days, emptying more than 20 bottles. The drug caused severe chest pain and I felt dreadful. I ended up in a partially unconscious state, at which point the guards forced a prison uniform on me and took me back to a prison cell.
The chest pain persisted after I returned to the cell. Noticing that I was dressed in a prison uniform, I recalled what had happened and took it off. I then went to the division manager Pan Juying, and told him that Falun Gong practitioners are innocent of any crime and should not be forced to wear the prison uniform.
Hearing that I refused to wear the uniform, guard Fan Xiaodong was furious. He and six other guards took me to a small room that had no security cameras. Fan yelled, “Torture him to death and report it as suicide!”
Several guards rushed at me, twisted my hands behind my back, tied me up with bed sheets, and hung me from the upper level of a bunk bed, leaving my feet dangling above the floor. One guard pushed my bottom with his legs, preventing my body from touching the bed. Tied up with my body in this painful, arched position, I called out, “Falun Gong is good! I am innocent! I won't wear the prison uniform.”
During the torture, both the division manager Pan Juying and hospital director Xu Nansheng watched silently. Fan choked me with smoke from his cigarette. The pain in my chest—which resulted from the forced drug injection—became more severe. Fan saw it and pushed a heart attack pill in my mouth.
The guards took me down after half an hour. My hands were dark, and my arms were in extreme pain. The guards shook my arms hard, and hung me up again. They repeated this torture several times. When they hung me up the fourth time, I was on the verge of dying and could not see anything. One guard shouted, “Tear the picture of his teacher from the book and stuff it into his underwear!” The other guards followed his order.
The high blood pressure and heart disease quickly worsened as the torture continued. The chest pain became more frequent and lasted longer each time. My hands were often dark, with legs severely swollen—also dark. As I was on the verge of death, the labour camp officials released me on December 5th, 2012. Even now, my legs are still swollen and purplish. The chest pain has also recurred from time to time.
Shocked with Electric Batons
In 2004 I was held at the Changlinzi Forced Labour Camp in Harbin City, where I was tortured repeatedly. Under the brutal torture, I could not withstand it anymore and wrote statements giving up my practice of Falun Gong in June 2004. However, I soon realized that I was wrong. Filled with regret, I told the officials to withdraw the statements.
Zhao Shuang, officer in Division 5 of the Changlinzi Labour Camp, dashed to the cell on July 7th, 2004. Furiously pointing an electric baton at me, he said, “You want to withdraw the statements [to give up the practice]?”
“Of course,” I replied.
“You come out!” Zhao shouted.
Several inmates came up and took me to solitary confinement. I said to them calmly, “Falun Gong is good. We are innocent. You should not treat us this way.”
The guards shackled me to an iron chair and cuffed my hands behind me. Zhao shocked me with an electric baton for more than 20 minutes. He then ordered inmates to forcibly bend my limbs in painful positions for half an hour, followed by pouring cold water over me for another half an hour until I collapsed. Throughout the whole experience, I kept calling out: “Falun Gong is good!”
Zhao returned with 7 inmates at 10 p.m., carrying two large, fully charged electric batons. He kicked the door open, came in, and ordered several inmates to cover my head with a cloth bag (to increase the terror of the experience).
Zhao and one inmate, each with a 10,000-volt baton, began to shock me simultaneously. It is unlawful for inmates to use electric batons. They started with my eyes and temples, and then moved to my mouth and throat. Upon hearing me calling out, “Falun Gong is good”, they stuffed my mouth with filthy rags from the bathroom. I spat out the rags and continued to call out, “Falun Gong is good!”
In addition to the shocking, Zhao also poked my neck with a spiked baton. It was so painful that I thought I would die. But Zhao did not stop. He then removed my clothes and continued to shock me, from my stomach, heart, liver, to my private area.
There was a strong burning smell in the air from the burns and wounds on my body. Zhao eventually got tired and stopped. The electric shock torture lasted one hour. When I was released from the iron chair the next day, my face was deformed and my entire body had turned a purplish color.
I was subjected to such brutality dozens of times during detention. The description above was just one of them.
I was not alone, either. I have witnessed the death of the following practitioners as a result of torture at the Changlinzi Forced Labour Camp:
Mr. Kong Xiaohai (孔晓海), died during force-feeding in 2001 at the age of 34.
Mr. Zhang Tao (张涛), died in 2002 at the age of 53.
Mr. Zhou Jingsen (周景森), died in 2003 at the age of 68.
Mr. Zhang Xiangfu (张祥富), died in 2005 at the age of 32.
Mr. Sun Peichen (孙培臣), died in 2006 at the age of 47.
Benefited from Practising Falun Gong
I started to practise Falun Gong in 1996. By following the principles of Truth-Compassion-Forbearance, I adhered to higher standards for myself, both in daily life and in my teaching profession. This significantly improved my relationships with my students, coworkers, neighbors and friends.
In addition, practising Falun Gong cured many of my illnesses such as high blood pressure and heart disease. People who knew me saw the changes in me and came to know how great Falun Gong is.
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