Australia: After Two Years of Unjust Imprisonment in a Forced Labor Camp, Practitioner Ms. Li Ying Arrives in Australia

On the morning of November 29, 2003, Falun Gong practitioner Ms. Li Ying, who had been illegally imprisoned in a Chinese forced labour camp for two years, finally arrived at the Sydney International Airport with her Australian fiancé, Mr. Li Qizhong. Ms. Li revealed to the media the inhuman torture she had endured in the labour camp. At the same time, Ms. Li expressed her appreciation to Australian government and fellow Falun Gong practitioners who had been working hard to rescue her.

Australian Falun Gong practitioners have organized a series of activities to rescue practitioners' family members who are illegally imprisoned in China. Ms. Li is one of the practitioners they tried to rescue. Ms. Li said that she was set free from the labour camp on October 15. She is very grateful to the Australian government and the Australian Consuls in Shanghai, who made it possible for her to come to Australia so soon. She also thanked her fiancé for taking the risk to go to Shanghai and help her to get all necessary paperwork done to come to Australia.

Li Ying revealed to the media what she had experienced in the labour camp. In January 2001, she was abducted and sent for brainwashing. Staff in the brainwashing centre asked her two questions: Is Falun Gong good or not? Will you still practice it? She answered that Falun Gong is good and that she will continue to practice. As a result, she was incarcerated for four months.

To protest this human rights violation, she went on hunger strike for a month. She was force-fed as a result, and her health was in a desperate situation. Some staff told her, "Putting you in jail or under house arrest is exactly what we want to do. We are government institutions, so what do you think you can do about it?" She asked, "Can a government violate the law without being punished?" They had no answer. Later, Ms. Li's workplace bailed her out. On October 16, 2001, when she went to Hangzhou on a business trip, she was once again unlawfully arrested. She was sent to the Shanghai Qingsong Female Forced Labour Camp where she was to be confined for 2 years. The reason recorded was "other," because her confinement was not based on any actual law.

Ms. Li Ying said, "In the labour camp, I resisted their persecution. They hung me with my hands cuffed behind my back for three days. Sometimes, they cuffed my hands behind my back to an iron door. It was very cold. They did not allow me to put on more clothes. They locked me in a solitary confinement cell for more than six months. They were afraid that my determination would interfere with their so-called "re-education" of other practitioners.

In the labor camp, we usually got up at 5 am and started working at 7 am until 11 pm or midnight. We often got blisters on our palms. Some practitioners were punished to sit on a very tiny stool, as a result, their buttocks started festering. Some were punished to stand for a long time. After a few months, their feet were so swollen that they were unable to walk. Some were beaten with electric batons so badly that it was hard to find any good piece of skin on their bodies. Different places adopted different ways to persecute Falun Gong practitioners. In some areas, there were more physical tortures. In other places, there were more mental tortures. To put it simply, they used various ways to persecute practitioners."

When reporters asked Li Ying about the pressure and harm her family members had experienced, Ms. Li said, "My parents suffered a lot. My older sister, my younger brother and I were imprisoned in different labour camps. My mother had to go to different places to visit us. Especially, when she visited me, the authorities raised three conditions to my mother. First, she must not mention anything about my fiancé. Second, she must not mention anything related to Falun Gong. Third, she was not allowed to bring any food or daily necessities to me. She could only bring me some money. If she violated any of these, she would not be allowed to visit me again. I had only one chance per six months to meet with my family members, and my mother had to come from Tianjin to Shanghai to visit me. Her letters to me were also intercepted and I was not allowed to see them."

When reporters asked her how many Falun Gong practitioners were held in her labour camp, Li said, "All together, about a thousand Falun Gong practitioners had been imprisoned in that labour camp. Currently, 89 practitioners of different ages and from different backgrounds are held there."

After Li Ying was illegally detained, rescue activities on her behalf were carried out in several countries. Australian Foreign Minister and several Members of Parliament expressed their concern for Ying's imprisonment. They also took some effective measures. This time, with the help from Australian Consuls in Shanghai, it took Li Ying only one week to get her visa to Australia. Normally, it would have taken 35 weeks to get the visa.

Li Ying's younger brother, Mr. Li Liang was released from Qingbowa Labour Camp in Tianjin City on November 19, 2003. He was arrested again on November 25. Ying's elder sister, Ms. Li Hong is still imprisoned in Banqiao Female Labour Camp in the City of Tianjin. Ms. Li Ying hoped that kind-hearted people will continue to work together to end the unprecedented persecution in China. She will also try her best to help Falun Gong practitioners who are still incarcerated, like her sister and brother, to obtain their freedom.

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