Harbin City, Heilongjiang Province - This is not a battlefield, but the air feels heavy with the smoke of gunpowder. This is not a concentration camp, but there are women being hung up with handcuffs and ruthlessly beaten with electric batons. This is not war, but there are casualties and bloodstains everywhere. This was the scene at the Wanjia Labor Camp between June 18th and 21st, 2001.
The cruelty and torture began when "trials" were held in the camp wherein Falun Gong practitioners and inmates who had cooperated with camp authorities to beat and persecute practitioners all had their sentences adjusted based on their behavior. Some who had helped the guards persecute practitioners were released on the spot. Others had their sentences reduced by three to six months or even a whole year. On the other hand, those who remained resolute in their practice of Falun Dafa had their sentences increased by six to twelve months.
Police brandishing electric batons and handcuffs suddenly brought ten
practitioners onto the stage. We had the feeling that they were being prepared
for execution. We knew at once that they were the practitioners who had just had
their sentences increased. When their names were announced, one practitioner's
name was read out wrong. She corrected the guard, "My name is not Zhang
Lihua. I am Xu Lihua. Falun Dafa is right and good." As soon as she said
this, an officer rushed forward and hit her, dragging her by the hair from the
third floor to the first. When the rest of us who were facing increased
sentences were escorted down the stairs, we saw that Xu Lihua had been beaten
beyond recognition. Her eyes were bloodshot with black and purple bruises all
around. She sat on the concrete with blood trickling from her mouth.
Many of the practitioners were confined in a group in a large holding cell. They were bound, hung up by the hands and beaten. Lei Zhouqing received more than 40 blows from Section Chief Liang and Liu Lun simply because she did not count off her number during roll call before going to the canteen. Over 60 years old, Lei was beaten until she lost restraint and soiled her pants. The two section chiefs further degraded her by demanding, "Now take off your pants so we can have a look."
Another practitioner, Qu Bo, was kicked over by her "team leader" when she did not count off her number and as punishment, her leg was twisted and held in an excruciatingly painful position for a long time. 59 years old, Qu was returned to the same state she had endured before practicing Falun Gong: bedridden. Many were tied up, hung up and forced to stand without moving for hours on end. I cannot fully describe the details of everything that occurred in the main cell, but it is undeniably true that Falun Dafa practitioners have suffered all kinds of brutality.
Practitioners confined to solitary confinement cells met even more tragic ordeals. Guards took turns to constantly watch over each and every one. Days were spent standing still while facing the wall. The cells were so small that it took only three steps to get from one end to the other. A tiny window allows the guards to see inside. Yang Xiuli was one of the practitioners who had been bound and hung up by Section Chief Quan. Fifteen more practitioners were hung from the steel door frames of the tiny cells simply for commenting at mealtime that practitioners who had been hung up should be untied so that they could all have some food together. Sweat rolled off their faces onto the ground. Their feet and bodies were suspended in mid-air. Their arms had been pulled up from behind into the hanging position, becoming painfully swollen and eventually numb. Yang Xiuli could not stand it any longer and demanded to be taken down. She was refused and insulted as a result. In the end she said, "I can no longer stand this, let me die." A male officer came in, grabbed her head and smashed it against the wall, saying, "You want to die? I'll help you." Her helpless and tragic cries sent shivers down one's spine. The sorrowful scene brought intense pain to one's heart.
After a very long time, Yang Xiuli said, "I need to go to the bathroom." She was refused numerous times. She had been hung up at 4 in the afternoon and it was now past 2 in the morning. Helplessly, she urinated onto the ground. Officer Wu Baoyun took her down long enough to grab her by the hair and use her body to wipe up the ground, wetting her clothes. She was then hung up again and a piece of her urine-soaked clothing was forced into her mouth. Moaning painfully, Yang Xiuli's body swung back and forth on the rope with her hair covering her entire face. Her sad and shrill cries gradually gave way to soft whimpers. The eerie darkness before sunrise in the small cell made it even more ghastly.
On this June 21st tragedy, three of these women, all of whom had been illegally jailed, endured these cruel inhumanities until they finally passed away. They were Zhao Yayun, Zhang Yulan, and Li Xiuqin.
Over the same period of time, practitioners held in the group cell were being taken one by one into small cells. A guard brought in pre-printed forms for practitioners to sign and thereby renounce their practice of Falun Dafa. Everyone was allowed ten minutes to sign it. The air in the room was thick with tension. It was suffocating. Most practitioners held calm minds waiting for their test of life and death to pass. They had already made up their minds, resolute in their refusal to sign.
It was just at this time that news came of the tragic death of the three practitioners. Their sacrifice prevented the death of more. The guards stopped their cruel torture of those who refused to sign. The signed promise statements were torn up by the team leader in front of those who had signed. The violence was stopped, but three pure, wonderful, kindhearted and strong lives were lost forever! Though the labor camp tried to cover up the news, the bloodshed quickly became widely known and reported by the media around the world.
(The above is just a small portion of facts and tortures that we know and experienced)
Practitioners from China
October 15, 2001
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