Shen Yun Performer Mei Xuan Meets with Special Rapporteur of UN Against Torture

On March 11, 2010, Ms. Mei Xuan, an erhu soloist from Shen Yun Performing Arts, went to Geneva during her European Shen Yun tour. Professor Manfred Nowak, the Special Rapporteur of the UN Against Torture, met with Mei Xuan to hear testimony of torture experienced by Falun Gong practitioners in China, as well as information on the forced disappearance of her husband.

Mei Xuan, left, an erhu soloist from Shen Yun Performing Arts, meets with Professor Manfred Nowak, Special Rapporteur of the UN Against Torture. Mei Xuan described that her legs were swollen to double in size during seventy days of torture

Mei Xuan drove over ten hours after performing in a full-house Shen Yun show in Belgium. She said that she was very worried about the safety of her husband, as they both had been abducted many times during the last ten years or so. Each time they were subjected to both mental and physical tortures. "I know what they would do to Falun Gong practitioners and I was very worried about his safety, and I hope the United Nations can help ensure his safe return. I also want to take the opportunity to ask UN officials for help in rescuing all Falun Gong practitioners being persecuted in China."

Professor Nowak learned of Mei Xuan's case through a recent submission regarding Feng Jiang's forced-disappearance case. Feng Jiang is Mei Xuan's husband. As Special Rapporteur of the UN Against Torture, Professor Nowak spoke directly with Mei Xuan, who is a Falun Gong practitioner, and one of the torture victims.

Mei Xuan was an accomplished artist from Anhui Province and Falun Gong practitioner. During ten years of persecution, she did not see much of her husband, as the two of them were repeatedly abducted. Newlyweds in 1999, they have been together for just a few months during past ten years.

On the evening of July 20, 1999, two dozen plainclothes police broke into her home and took her away without any due procedure. When she tried to contact her employer (she was the main performer in a Chinese performance company) to let them know her whereabouts, she was denied. She was supposed to perform that night for an important engagement and no one knew what happened to her. This happened numerous times. She was detained for seven days that time. Since then she has been taken away several more times. The second time for forty-two days, the third time for sixty days, and the fourth time for seventy-five days. She still refused to relinquish her belief in Falun Gong, and was sentenced to four years of jail time after a show trial.

In 2002, while she was waiting for a taxi, with one foot already in the car, four police officers pushed her into the car and blindfolded her, then ordered the driver to drive them to a hotel where she was tied to a chair, for seventy-five days.

As special rapporteur, Mr. Nowak was very keen to learn the details of the tortures, who the torturers were, how the tortures were done, and the times they were committed.

Mr. Nowak asked about what kind of torture she had suffered before and after she was sentenced to jail. Mei Xuan answered, "Those people just tied me to a chair, like this chair I am sitting in, with armrests. My hands were cuffed to the armrest, and my feet were shackled together. They had four groups of people on a rotating schedule, and they didn't allow me to sleep. In those seventy-five days, I just sat on the chair. After the 75 days the cushion of the new chair was torn and had lost its elasticity. During meal time, they uncuffed one of my hands, and after the meal, I was cuffed again. I only got a few minutes of break when I needed to use the restroom. All of this happened in a hotel, and my bottom skin was broken from the long sitting. Every finger was swollen because of the tight cuffs. My whole body was swollen. My legs were swollen to more than double their original size from the long sitting time and poor circulation. Those police officers took turns torturing me, trying to force me to quit my belief. I was so tired and so sleepy, but they didn't allow me to sleep and used a strong light in front of my face. Any time of the day they would come to interrogate me."

Mr. Nowak asked, "Why did they do this to you?"

Mei Xuan answered, "Just because I practise Falun Gong. They were trying to force me to quit."

Mr. Nowak, "You didn't quit Falun Gong..."

Mei Xuan, "...so I was sentenced to jail time. They said if I quit Falun Gong they would release me immediately."

Mr. Nowak, "Do you know the name of that hotel?"

Mei Xuan, "I know the location. Later I learned that there were 38 other people detained in the same way as me."

Mr. Nowak, "Did you file a complaint?"

Mei Xuan, "I protested. Later at the court, I prepared a two-page statement and I intended to expose their illegal detention and torture, but the judge deprived me of my right."

Mr. Nowak asked whether she had submitted the case to the UN. Mei Xuan said that this was the first time she had talked about her own suffering with a UN official. Mr. Nowak assured Mei Xuan and other witnesses that they should report all the persecution cases in great detail, so the office of the Special Rapporteur could follow up with the Chinese government to demand answers, even though some of the crimes happened many years ago.

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