Practitioners Tortured, Disfigured, and Sexually Violated With Burning Cigarettes

A Falun Gong practitioner in her twenties was arrested in 2001 in Beijing, for petitioning the government to end the persecution. She held a hunger strike at the detention centre for days. The guards repeatedly beat her to make her end her hunger strike, but she continued.

She was taken away by the guards one day, and came back shortly afterwards with tears in her eyes. With a very painful expression on her face, she began to eat.

Other practitioners detained in the same cell wondered what happened to her. She told them that the guards had stripped her naked and inserted a burning cigarette into her vagina. The guards threatened that if she continued the hunger strike, this would happen to her every day until she ended her hunger strike.


Cigarettes have been used to torture practitioners everywhere on the body and in every which way during the persecution of Falun Gong.

Compared with other gruesome torture methods, a cigarette burn is harder to detect, but the harm inflicted can be just as severe.

The centre of a burning cigarette can reach 1500°F (800°C), and the peripheral of a lit cigarette can reach 400-600°F (200-300°C). Such high temperatures can severely burn the skin and also cause bleeding, blistering, peeling skin, and leave a hole. When the fingertips are burned, a nail can fall off. Some practitioners lost consciousness due to the extreme pain.

In some cases, burning with cigarettes is coupled with other forms of torture, such as beatings, shocking with electric batons, scalding, extended exposure to the scorching sun, freezing, and being hung by the wrists.

Physical pain is only one aspect of this torture. Police and guards sometimes sexually assault female practitioners by burning the genitals. This can also be accompanied by rape. Practitioners take great care to guard their purity, so sexual assault causes great mental as well as physical pain.

Female Practitioners Tortured

Guards Repeatedly Rape a 19-year-old Practitioner and Burn her Breasts and Genitals with Cigarettes

Ms. Xiao Yi (肖亦), 19, was taken to the Changzhi Mental Hospital in Shanxi Province for further torture. Guards there raped her 14 times over the course of three nights. The guards who raped her burned her nipples, breasts, and genitals with cigarettes, leaving numerous burn marks on her body.

Woman's Midsection Burned with 100 Cigarettes

It takes two to three cigarettes to burn a hole through a person's skin. While interrogating Ms. Zhu Lianshen (朱连申) at a police station on May 15th, 2002, Xu Shaobin (徐少彬) and other officers made more than 40 burn holes at her waist using more than 100 cigarettes.

Ms. Zhu Lin (朱琳) was also tortured by Xu again in July 2003. At Nong'an County Detention Centre, Xu covered her body with cigarette burns, from her breasts to her lower abdomen, leaving many holes in her skin.

Burning Cigarettes Dipped with Pepper Powder Stuck into One's Nose

When Ms. Zhao Yuhong (赵玉红) was arrested in 2002, staff from the Zhaoyuan 610 Office (an organisation of special agents just for persecuting Falun Gong) tied her to a metal chair for interrogation. They then took the cigarette torture to a new level. After dipping a lit cigarette into pepper powder, they forced it up her nose, causing painful burns. The torture caused Ms. Zhao to have suffer a mental collapse. She was not able to talk for more than a year, and couldn't sleep for several years.

Burning a Hole Through an Earlobe

At Changlinzi Forced Labour Camp, as a practitioner was being hung off the floor, and guards burned her face with lit cigarettes, leaving several large holes in her skin. They burned a hole completely through an earlobe.

Cigarette Torture Used on Male Practitioners

Nail Falls Off After Fingers Are Burned

Four guards at Suihua Forced Labour Camp in Heilongjiang tortured Mr. Peng Shucha (彭树权) by burning his fingertips with cigarettes. All of his nails turned black and fell off.

Cigarette Burns Between One's Fingers

Another instance of this atrocity at Suihua Forced Labour Camp was carried out by guard Fan Xiaodong, who inserted a burning cigarette between the ring finger and little finger on Mr. Miao Xinglong (苗兴龙)'s right hand. As the cigarette's flame lessened, Fan puffed on it and placed it back in the same position. Fan repeated this three times, specifically going after places where Mr. Miao's hands had blistered from forced labour. The smell of burning flesh hovered in the air.

Cigarettes and Lit Candle Burn the Back

Mr. Zhang Zhikui (张致奎) recalled his torture on October 1st, 2001 at a police station. “The guards tied me to a tiger bench1, and dotted my entire body with burning cigarettes. I lost consciousness several times from the pain. They poured cold water on me to keep me awake. They placed a lit candle on my back and then allowed the hot, melted wax to drip on my back. I couldn't stop shaking because of the pain.”

Lips Blister from Cigarette Burns

Sun Guijie, the former vice president of Laishui County, Hebei Province, has actively participated in the persecution of Falun Gong. After local practitioner Mr. Xia Hongmin (夏洪民) was arrested on April 7th, 2000, Sun personally burned his lip with a cigarette. Mr. Xia screamed miserably. He struggled as several people held him down. Sun continued burning his lip two more times.

Mr. Xia recalled, “Three big blisters formed on my lip. Because of the pain, I kept sweating, and felt cold from inside out.”

Burning Cigarettes on the Palms

At Shuangkou Forced Labour Camp in Tianjin, the guards forced Mr. Li Liang (李良) to lift his hands, with palms facing upwards. They then placed lit cigarettes on his palms until they were completely burned out. His hands festered, and the smell of burning flesh permeated the entire room.


1. "Tiger Bench": Prisoners are forced to sit on a small iron bench that is approximately 20 cm (6 inches) tall with their knees tied together. With their hands tied behind their backs or sometimes placed on their knees, they are forced to sit straight up and look straight ahead without movement for long periods of time.

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