The “Transformation Group” and Brainwashing Centre at Hunan Women's Prison

On July 12th and 13th, 2012, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) Ministry of Justice and the Provincial Correction Services sent people to the Hunan Women's Prison to check on the brainwashing of Falun Gong practitioners. Deputy chief Li Jun, of the Sixth Supervisory Section, was in charge of the brainwashing of practitioners. He ordered rigid quotas for his section, and forced each level to heavily pressure the next level down. Eventually, Falun Gong practitioner suffered the most.

It was reported that every one of the Falun Gong practitioners was to be "transformed" [forcibly renounce Falun Gong]. On the second floor of the Re-education Building, a male and a female (Yang Feifei) officer from the Provincial Correction Services ordered Falun Gong practitioners to go into a room one by one and questioned them: "Is Falun Gong good or bad? Is your master good or bad? Are you still practising Falun Gong?" The practitioners who were clearly not "transformed" were to be sent to the brainwashing centre.

Transformation Group and Brainwashing Centre

A “Transformation Group” was established in 2005 when Yuan Lihua was transferred to the Hunan Women's Prison. Yuan Lihua was originally a Seventh Battalion captain in the Zhuzhou Baimalong Women's Forced Labour Camp. She was a so-called "advanced personnel" under the judicature system of Hunan Province for her efforts in persecuting Falun Gong practitioners. After she arrived at the prison, she formed a “Transformation Group” in the Sixth Prison Section. Later, she set up a brainwashing centre, located on the second floor of the "Strict Management Team" building.

The brainwashing centre operates within a totally enclosed environment. Police officers Zou Yonghong and Liu Qian are responsible for the centre, giving orders to persecute Falun Gong practitioners. Prison inmates selected to work at the brainwashing centre are like spies. They are not allowed to talk to each other, just as Falun Gong practitioners are forbidden to speak to each other. When a Falun Gong practitioner needs to use the toilet, a prisoner walks ahead of her, closing the door of each room they will pass, to prevent people in the room from seeing them. There are a total of ten rooms in the brainwashing centre.

The inmates who take part in the persecution of Falun Gong practitioners are not allowed to disclose information about the practitioners to the outside world. If they violate the rules, they will be punished, such as being deprived of the privilege of calling their families once a month. Two prisoners are assigned to watch one Falun Gong practitioner and the three of them live in one room, which is equipped with a TV and a DVD player. The brainwashing centre has a group leader responsible for all the work of “transformation.” Each room has an “education team,” and each team is headed by a main speaker and a secondary speaker.

When a practitioner is sent to the brainwashing centre, the perpetrators begin by asking the practitioner whether she is willing to participate in the so-called "education" (brainwashing). If she refuses, they will put handcuffs on her until she agrees to "learn." The "education" involves watching films about the Tiananmen Square self-immolation1, the "April 25th peaceful appeal," and other videos that slander Falun Gong. They play these films continuously. Practitioners are required to memorize the prison regulations and various provisions against making a petition. If that is not enough to force practitioners to renounce Falun Gong, more abuse, such as forcing practitioners to stand for twelve to twenty-three consecutive hours, occurs. Practitioners are sometimes allowed to sleep for only one or two hours a day. Abuse such as sleep deprivation is not entered into the duty records. There are other forms of abuse and humiliation, such as not allowing practitioners to use the toilet.

In the “Transformation Group” practitioners are strictly forbidden to practise the Falun Gong exercises or study the teachings of Falun Gong. The guards and inmates frequently use electric batons to beat practitioners, force them to stand for extended periods, or put them in handcuffs.

Falun Gong practitioners who refuse to renounce their belief are under more stringent supervision. They are not allowed to leave their cell. The “Transformation Group” is like a jail within a jail. Practitioners are not allowed to leave the cell to fetch any necessities, collect their laundry, nor are they allowed to go to the store room to get their clothing. The perpetrators are afraid that practitioners will use the opportunity to pass messages or scriptures to each other. There are also “monitoring groups,” comprised of Falun Gong practitioners and regular prisoners, which operate under the implication policy. If one person gets a negative point, the others within the group will also get the negative point. The point system is of critical importance to prisoners, as getting negative points will affect reduction or lengthening of their prison term. The prison uses this "guilty by association" to control prisoners. It is being played out throughout the whole prison system in China.

The "guilty by association" system is widely applied to those associated with Falun Gong practitioners even outside the prison. Family members of practitioners may be denied promotions or bonuses at work, and their children may be denied employment opportunities. The goal of this implication system is to provoke hatred toward Falun Gong.

Taking Blood Samples from Falun Gong Practitioners

A practitioner who was imprisoned at Hunan Women's Prison recalled the following occurrence: In early 2008, all Falun Gong practitioners in the First Reformed Unit had their blood drawn. No one gave any explanation as to why their blood was taken. The taking of blood samples was limited to Falun Gong practitioners. They took a fairly large tube of blood from each practitioner. They took blood from me three times to collect enough samples. I didn't know whether practitioners in other units were also having their blood drawn, as we were all isolated. I was wondering why they were taking blood from Falun Gong practitioners. What could it have to do with forced labour or re-education!

In 2000 when I was detained in the Hunan Baimalong Forced Labour camp, I also had a blood sample taken. They made it clear that it was for testing for AIDS and it included everyone. However, the manner of taking blood in the Hunan Women's Prison was strange. It was not until 2009 when I was out of prison that I read the reports about the harvesting of organs from living Falun Gong practitioners.

Note

1. The "Tiananmen Self-Immolation" an incident on Tiananmen Square in January 2001 whereby four people set themselves alight and the Chinese Communist claimed they were Falun Gong practitioners, yet there was video evidence to strongly disprove this claim.


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