A Forced Labour Camp Inmate: The Horrific Tortures Used on Falun Gong Practitioners in a Beijing Forced Labour Camp for Women

I was sent to a forced labour camp because I was addicted to drugs. I was assigned to the Second Division and designated as one of the "clampdown personnel," who were prison inmates assigned to oversee the activities of Falun Gong practitioners. Through the performance of my duties, I became acquainted with various reprehensible and deceitful methods employed to isolate and monitor people.

In that filthy place, we served our prison terms in an environment of fear, anxiety and dread. Simple careless mistakes drew rebukes and dark looks. More severe cases led to a loss of points and tougher conditions for us all. These methods were used on us to systematically tighten the supervision and management of our responsibilities, which were to "clampdown" on Falun Gong practitioners by order of the division leader.

In our hearts, we went against our consciences by collaborating with prison officials to persecute Falun Gong practitioners.

Our performances were rated, and the division leader set the standards. Sometimes, in order to gain the approval of the division leader and obtain leniency and privileges for ourselves, we were driven to extremes, finding excuses to beat and insult the innocent practitioners. The prison supervisor favoured inmates who frequently beat and scolded the practitioners. These thugs routinely violated prison regulations, and the supervisor usually turned a blind eye, treating the situation as though it never happened. In addition, they expressed their approval with warm smiles. In this unfair setting, it wasn't unusual for us to sympathise with the victims.

The policy toward those who were "transformed"1was to maintain continuous monitoring and surveillance to prevent "relapses and resistance." For those who refused to be transformed, the most basic human needs were denied, and manipulative punishment tools were designed to break their spirits. Hunger, cold, exhaustion, physical pain, filth and humiliation were used. To those who showed resilience and resistance, beatings, rebukes, insults and urine suppression methods were routinely applied. I will summarise and describe a few of the methods of torture used to "reform" people. Most of the "clampdown personnel" in our division have beaten and insulted Falun Gong practitioners, in breach of re-education centre rules and regulations.

Hunger (starvation): Those to be reformed were fed only a thin vegetable broth and half a steamed bun a day. In addition, mental and physical pressure were used to torment practitioners. This method can cause a person to lose two to three pounds a day. Practitioners were required to make a formal request for a meal. Specifically, they were to report to the division leader, state their name and station, and request a meal, in much the same way that a military recruit might be required to. Anyone who failed to follow this rule wasn't fed. This resulted in many practitioners implementing hunger strikes in protest. Those who went on hunger strikes were then force fed. If the person were lucky, a doctor conducted the force-feeding If the supervisor was in a foul mood, several "clampdown" prisoners would force the victim down, tie her to her bed, pry her mouth open, and then pour food down her throat. Oftentimes a victim's face would be full of tears because of the agony she suffered while being subjected to this barbaric treatment.

Freezing: Because those to be reformed had to make reports on everything, when the weather turned cold, they needed to file a report requesting additional warm clothing. At this time, the "clampdown personnel" were secretly instructed to ignore the requests and respond, "The supervisor on duty is unavailable to grant the request." Actually, the supervisor was always on duty in the outer corridor. The victims were left to freeze and shiver in the cold, silently enduring the mistreatment, sometimes becoming ill due to exposure.

Exhaustion (sleep deprivation): The victims were roused from sleep early in the morning at 5 a.m. There was no fixed "lights out" time, because the victim's bedtime depended on her transformation performance for the day. (A practitioner might be kept up as late a 3 a.m. before being allowed to sleep.)

Physical pain: Practitioners had to endure the sitting punishment every day. The victims were required to sit on a 60-70 cm wide stool with both legs and feet together. Both hands and arms were to be placed on the lap. The back was to be kept straight. Eyes were to be kept looking forward, and the victims were not allowed to move. Any movement was to be reported, so several "clampdown" inmates supervised the sitting punishment. Should the victim fail to fulfil the requirements they would be beaten. This punishment would eventually cause the victim's buttocks to develop weeping, festering sores. The agony they suffered was unimaginable. The victims sometimes requested to be allowed to stand, but they were always told, "Standing is corporal punishment." So the victim was forced to continue sitting. This would go on from early in the morning until late at night, until bedtime. Continuously, for 18 or 19 hours every day, with the exception of using toilet facilities, they were not allowed to break contact with the stool. In reality, sitting on the stool for extended periods of time is a far worse form of corporal punishment than being forced to stand.

Filth: Falun Gong practitioners were prohibited from washing their clothes, bathing, or washing their hair for long periods of time. Living in these conditions for so long, practitioners' hair turned wild and matted, as if it was stuck together with glue. The stench from the cells was unbearable. Oftentimes the victims were denied the use of toilet paper and given the excuse that the supervisor was not present.

Demoralisation and humiliation: Normally, we were not allowed to show any sympathy for the victims. Insults, rebukes, scolding, and readings of propaganda materials that defamed Falun Gong were continuously employed in an effort to weaken the victim's resolve. The victims were compelled to listen. If they refused, inhuman torture methods, among them not allowing the victim to urinate, were used as a reforming tool with approval and praise of the division leader.

Beating and scolding: With the excuse that a victim had violated a prison regulation (such as failing to maintain the required posture during punishment) they were beaten, scolded and insulted, and told to "stop being stubborn and accept reform." The prison officials used ruthless drug addict inmates and criminals to punish and torture the victims. In so doing, the victims were prevented from lodging complaints directly against the division leader.

We were also in a precarious position. We couldn't trust anyone, with the exception of surreptitiously complaining to the victims. All benefits granted for successful transformations were awarded to the division leader. Any problems or complaints were attributed to us.

Note: In the victims' cells, the glass of the doors and windows were covered with white paper. A small opening was left, which was covered with blue tint. The guards and supervisors could look through the tint and see the practitioners inside, while those inside couldn't identify them. We frequently saw the supervisor passing by, peering through the windows, checking on the practitioners inside.

The above is my personal account of what I saw and experienced while I was at the forced labour camp. I have put it in writing to let everyone in the world know and see clearly how the Chinese Communist Party's so-called "re-education through labour" camp system persecutes innocent Falun Gong practitioners.

Note

1. "Reform or Transform" Implementation of brainwashing and torture in order to force a practitioner to renounce Falun Gong. (Variations: "reform", "transform", "reformed", "reforming", "transformed", "transforming", and "transformation")

Chinese version available at http://www.minghui.org/mh/articles/2005/9/11/110194.html

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