Ms. Zuo Xianfeng was the last Falun Gong practitioner detained in Qianjin Forced Labour Camp in Harbin City before it was shut down. She walked out of the camp on the morning of August 29th, 2013.
Ms. Zuo was reported to the police by a villager while she was distributing informational materials about Falun Gong and was arrested on November 4th, 2012. She was first detained in the Yilan County Detention Centre and then sent to the Qianjin Forced Labour Camp in Harbin on November 19th, 2012. She was detained there for two years and two months.
The following is an account of the suffering Ms. Zuo endured in Qianjin Labour Camp in her own words.
Forced to Sit on Small Stool in the Cold and Deprived of Sleep
When I was sent to Qianjin Forced Labour Camp, Zhang Bo, head of the administration section, told me to place my fingerprint on the admission paper, which I refused. Liang Yang, deputy of the labour camp, Jin Zhiwei, the labour camp head and Wang Yibo, the camp doctor started to beat me. I was held on the table face down. My chest was tight against the table top, and it was hard to breathe. My arms and wrists were painfully pressed down and I could not move them. They broke apart my fingers one by one to do the finger print, causing my fingers to bleed.
This was the second time I was sent to this labour camp. Liu Chang, deputy of the No. 1 Division arranged inmate Li Cunzhi to be my “personal monitor” and watch me. My hair was chopped off and was a mess.
I was forced to sit on a small stool all day long. When everyone else went to bed at 8 p.m., Li Cunzhi and I were locked in an office. Li went to bed at 10 p.m. but I was not allowed to sleep.
At 3:30 a.m., guard Wu Jinhua finally allowed me to go to bed. By that time, I was sleepy, exhausted and cold.
The cell was very smelly and suffocating. More than 70 people slept in the cell which was about 1000 square foot. The bunk beds stood together. Three people slept on two bottom beds. There were three big plastic buckets, one for bowel movements and two for urine. I was arranged to sleep between two people on the bottom bed. The temperature was only five or six degrees Celsius in the room. I was too cold to fall asleep.
At 4:20 a.m., just as I was falling asleep, I was woken up. Li Cunzhi was called too. We were taken to the office again. I was forced to sit on the small stool. At 6 a.m., when everyone got up, we were moved to the hall on the third floor. My clothes were very thin. I was cold and sleepy. I fell asleep while sitting.
For the next several nights, I was forced to sit in the cold office or in the hallway until around 11 p.m. I was woken up around 4 a.m. and forced to sit in the cold hallway. All this time, I was not allowed to wash my face or brush my teeth.
Since I refused to give in, the guards took turns torturing me. Xie Qiuxiang sarcastically scolded me. Xu Wei didn't allow me to go to the toilet. Zhang Wei made me sit in a posture that was very painful. Wang Min opened the window every 10 minutes to torture me with the cold air.
Protesting the Mistreatment
I went on a hunger strike to protest the mistreatment. They conducted force-feeding. They used water mixed with steamed buns, which made a flour paste. Twenty days later, Zhang Bo told me, if I resumed eating, they would not trouble me any more. I agreed.
By that time, I could not eat. The camp cafeteria food was poor quality and hard to swallow. I was extremely weak and could only eat a few drops of rice gruel each day. At the end, I couldn't even eat the rice gruel. I became emaciated and only weighed about 75 lbs. I am 5 ft. tall.
Despite my fragile condition, guard Wang Min still woke me up early every morning and did not allow me to go to bed until late. I was put in the coldest place. Every second was sheer torture.
This went on for about two months. Finally I passed out in the cafeteria after breakfast on January 17th, 2013. Zhang Yanli kicked me and claimed I was faking being unconscious.
I was checked with ECG and diagnosed as having suffered a heart attack. The guards hid the ECG test result and did not allow anyone to talk to me in order to conceal my condition.
Since I had not been allowed to brush my teeth for more than a month, my once healthy teeth developed cavities. Although my family members sent me a warm bed cover, a heavy cotton coat and warm shoes, they were not given to me. When they finally gave them to me one month later, the clothes had been chewed by mice and were not wearable.
I was very skinny and my clothes were thin. Many fellow practitioners and some inmates were worried and concerned about me. Some gave me their clothes or food by hiding them under my bed cover. When one practitioner handed me her half of a steamed bun, she was seen by guard Cong Zhixiu. She scolded my “personal monitor” and threatened that if she allowed anyone to give me anything else, her term would be extended.
Not Allowed to Go to Toilet
At 8:30 a.m. on March 26th, 2013, it was time for the inmates to go to the toilet in the workshop. Cui Lianlian, head of the inmates, refused to allow us to go to the toilet.
Practitioner Ms. Qi Guizhen had high blood pressure and heart problems. She got permission from guard Xu Cunfeng to go to the toilet. However, Cui Lianlian refused to let her.
Practitioner Ms. Zhang Yumei went into the toilet but was forcefully dragged out by Cui. When practitioners Wang Dongli and Zhao Yanju went inside, Cui ordered inmates Gao Jin and Fan Jifeng to drag them out.
More than 20 practitioners took off the work uniforms to protest this mistreatment.
When I went to the toilet, guard Wang Min flew into a rage. She grabbed me by the hair and shoved me to the ground. She kicked and punched me. Cui Lianlian ran in and viciously kicked me too.
I lay on the ground, not sure what was going on. Suddenly more than ten male guards rushed into the workshop. They were carrying electric batons which were emitting blue sparks. Some people were so scared they almost had a heart attack. The male guards forced those practitioners who took off the work uniforms to squat down along the wall. Wang Min dragged me out of the workshop. She slapped my face and kept kicking me.
Detained in Solitary Confinement for Nine Days
They thought I was the “organizer” of the group protest, so they put me in a metal cage only about 25 square feet. I was cuffed to a metal chair. My body was fastened to the chair and I could not move my feet or hands. They opened the window to let the cold air blow in. I was so cold that my body felt dead.
Wang Min threatened me by not allowing me to use the toilet. I told the guards that I would not give in although it's very cruel to not allow a person to use the toilet.
They cuffed my hands to the top cente of the cage for 24 hours. My own body weight made the handcuffs cut into my wrists. My hands became badly swollen, and I could no longer use them. They were afraid of being held responsible if my hands were disabled and finally released me.
Guards Gong Jian, Wang Yansuo and Wang Jiuxin kicked the cage door whenever they noticed I looked sleepy, which caused my heart to race. They made sure I did not sleep. My heartbeat was over 150 and my blood pressure was high. My body often shivered.
They didn't let me go. Ma Fengcun, head of the labour camp, ordered that my arms be tied behind my back and then tied to the metal cage. Guard Li Xiaoyu tied me so tightly that my arms and hands became purple after a couple of hours. My left hand lost all feeling and I was unable to hold my trousers. My legs were fastened to the metal chairs and I could not move them. My legs and feet became so swollen that I could not stand up. The capillaries in my feet ruptured and my feet were covered with blood spots.
To protest, I went on a hunger strike. The clinic doctor came every day to conduct force-feeding. They would force-feed me the cold paste made from the buns twice a day. It was so cold that I felt as though my insides were being frozen.
On the eighth day, they started to beg me to eat food and promised not to harass me any more. Because they constantly monitored me, the labour camp guards were under a lot of stress. When they put me in a confinement cell, they had to work overtime, and some started to get sick.
Last Falun Gong Practitioner in the Labour Camp Before It Was Shut Down
When the forced labour system was terminated, the labour camp officials still tried to make me write the “three statements” to renounce Falun Gong before releasing me. I was detained until August 29th, 2013 and was the last Falun Gong practitioner in Qianjin Forced Labour Camp.
When I was released out at the gate of the labour camp, seven police from the Yilan County 610 Office (an organisation of special agents just for persecuting Falun Gong) and Sandaogang Police Station came and tried to take me away in their cars. My 62-year-old mum clung to my hands and refused to let go. During the struggle, my mum fainted. After nearly two hours of struggle and arguments, we were able to go home. Their scheme to transfer me to another detention facility failed.
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