Inside – Persecution, Outside – Deception: The Truth About the Masanjia Labor Camp
[Minghui Net] My name is Zhang Zilian [an assumed name is used to protect the author from further persecution]. I have experienced great improvement in body and mind since I started practicing Falun Gong in January of 1997. Formerly a selfish, narrow-minded person who was "joyful or anxious over petty gains," I have become kind, healthy, and considerate of others. However, since the Chinese government banned Falun Gong in July,1999, I have been forced to attend so-called "transformation classes" many times. I have been fined and declared ineligible to receive promotions and salary increases in my workplace. In fact my salary was reduced, and in January, 2000, I was fired without cause. I am a single-mother. Without an income, I cannot afford to send my daughter to school. To make things worse, because I am a Falun Gong practitioner, I was arrested for going to a park, fined 3,000 Yuan [the average monthly income of a city worker is 500 Yuan], and sentenced to a labor camp for one year.
At 3 p.m. on February 29, 2000, I was tricked by local police and taken to the police station. They told me that I had been sentenced to one year in a labor camp and wouldn't allow me to inform my family, nor would they allow me to get some clothes from my home. In the late afternoon, my daughter came looking for me and cried, "Mom, don't leave me alone. I am frightened. Mom!" Since then, my young daughter was alone at home for six months, with a dog as her only companion.
The next morning, I was taken to the Masanjia Labor Camp in a big bus, along with over twenty Falun Gong practitioners and many others. All the men's heads were shaved. They had to hold up their pants with their hands since their belts had been taken away. It was winter and the male practitioners were wearing only thin sandals on their bare feet. There were so many people in the bus that some had to curl up and squat in the aisle. At 8:30 p.m., I was taken to Team One of the Women's Section No.2 at Masanjia. The male practitioners were taken to Team Six, not far away from us. Getting off the van, I felt dizzy due to cold and hunger. Two women came from upstairs, one in uniform, the other in plain clothes. The latter (I learned later that she was an inmate) was very rude. She shouted at us: "You listen. Stand in one line and call out numbers. Those who don't know how will be trained right on the spot." The air was tense. The practitioner behind me grabbed at my clothes. The woman in plain clothes shouted immediately: "Let go of your friend. You are not at home. Stand at attention." I was taken to Room 2 of Team One. Several people came up to search my body and bag right away, taking the money from me to "be held by the authorities".
Everyday we had corn bread and water as our meal. I curled up with three other people in two beds. The cell, designed for 16, was crowded with over 40 people. We couldn't take a shower for several months. The work we did in the day was sewing buttons on garments. Because I refused to be "transformed," I was watched and strictly restrained to do my work. I was not allowed to look at others or to greet them. Whenever the guards asked me anything, they would use my answer to mock me. If I didn't answer, they would accuse me of "resisting the transformation". They forced Falun Gong practitioners to read out loud from books denouncing Falun Dafa and the Teacher. Practitioners who refused to read would be surrounded and attacked by a mob of people, later forced to stand for a long time or to bend over with their fingers touching their toes. Any one disobeying their orders would be beaten and sworn at. Practitioners who refused to give up their practice sometimes were sent to do heavy labor work with other inmates. Sometimes they were put into a cold room and forced to listen to recordings denouncing Dafa and the Teacher from early in the morning until midnight. Oftentimes I heard the screams of practitioners tortured with the electric baton. I saw the blisters on their faces and necks. Their bodies were covered with black and blue and they were unable to stand up on their bruised and beaten legs.
Under such horrific conditions, I wanted to escape. Later, when I felt I was forced into a corner and that there was no alternative, I broke down and wrote letters to denounce Falun Gong and promised to quit the practice. Although this stopped the physical torment, I fell into endless misery with emptiness, bewilderment and worries. The torment in my mind was even greater than the physical torture. It was beyond words.
I was released in August of 2000. The authorities in Masanjia promised me that I could go back to work as long as I wrote papers denouncing Falun Gong. But when I presented copies of the official documents from four ministries of the central government to my work unit and asked to go back for work, I was told that I needed to present the originals. Yet the related offices wouldn't give me the originals. Therefore the promise of "going back to work" was just another lie.
When I came back home, no one greeted me. People called me a traitor with no conscience. Gradually I came to realize that I was used of by the evil political gang of scoundrels in the Chinese government. After four months of struggle, I shook off the shadow of Masanjia and came back to practice Falun Dafa.
For the sake of letting people know the truth of Falun Dafa, restoring the reputation of the Teacher, and for the sake of the practitioners being persecuted like me in Masanjia, I went back to Masanjia Labor Camp to speak out the truth of Falun Dafa and to stop their crime. The police there were very rude. They detained me for over 20 days. They made me stand in the corridor for the whole night every day. I wasn't allowed to have enough food. I was denied all freedom and was not permitted contact with other practitioners, to greet them or even look at them. I wasn't allowed to speak at all.
During the period I was detained, I saw a practitioner in Room 1 of Team One in Women's Section Two being forcibly fed psychiatric medicine. She resisted and broke a glass bottle, injuring herself. She was sent to the hospital. After that, they stopped using glass bottles. Even the door of the bathroom was removed, because it held a pane of glass. There were guards on duty from 9 at night until the morning, changing shift every two hours. More strict measures were imposed on practitioners who refused to give up their practice. They could not rest for a minute. There were two women practitioners in their 60's who were forced to work in the day and spend the night in the squatting position. For several days they squatted through the whole night from evening until everyone arose the next day. I couldn't bear seeing that any more, so I went to Officer Zhou, the chief officer of Team One, "Your behavior is utterly devoid of conscience. You will receive retribution." Zhou answered me with a menacing tone, "I will put you in jail."
On December 28, 2000, Zhang Xingxiang, Vice Governor of Liaoning Province, the directors of the Justice Bureau and the Labor Re-education Bureau, and some Chinese journalists, came to visit Masanjia. Every team hid practitioners who refused to give up their practice of Falun Dafa and held them guarded by three or four people. They were so afraid that practitioners would speak out the truth that they even prepared things to seal their mouths. I was taken and put into a warehouse where I was guarded by four people. I heard the staged greetings to the officials from people posing as practitioners. I tried to stand up and tell them the truth, but I was held down. After the visitors were gone, I was let out of the warehouse.
Before the Chinese Lunar New Year, some journalists and officials from the central and provincial governments visited Masanjia again. This time, as usual, all the teams hid and guarded the practitioners who refused to give up their practice. They held a "re-education and transformation" conference with the officials sitting on the stage. Practitioner Zou Guirong stood up and spoke out the truth, but was immediately beaten up by the surrounding inmates. After the conference, they stripped off her upper clothes, tattooed the Teacher's name on her body, and forced her to parade from cell to cell.
During the time I was detained in Masanjia, whenever officials or journalists came to visit, be they from the central government, the province, or the local area, the guards in Masanjia would put on a show. They even invited foreign journalists to visit the carefully staged scene. In order to make visitors believe that there were no male inmates in Masanjia, male practitioners were transferred back to "re-education institutions" in the area of their residence. The criminal gang of Chinese President Jiang Zemin used Masanjia to deceive people around the world, trying to cover up the persecution of Falun Dafa practitioners.