A Reporter From Outside China Investigates Conditions In Masanjia Forced Labor Camp
I am a reporter from a Chinese TV station outside China. I read a report today on the Internet about brutalities inside Masanjia Forced Labor Camp leading to the deaths of some Falun Gong practitioners. Masanjia denied all the accusations, and instead invited reporters to come on a site visit to witness the situation at the camp. From a third-party point of view, I felt like investigating further to find out more about the facts. Using the phone number published on the website, I made several calls to Masanjia Forced Labor Camp.
First, I tried to contact Ms. Su Jing, Director of the No.2 Women's Division of Masanjia Forced Labor Camp, at 86-24-89210074 (ext. 305). The phone kept ringing for a long time but no one answered, so I tried several other extensions instead. When I stated that I was an overseas reporter and wanted to verify the torture cases in Masanjia recently reported on the Internet, to my surprise, all the receptionists replied with good manners and all of them invited me to visit the place and see for myself. My intuition told me that there was something suspicious about the whole thing because other institutions usually hung up every time when we called to verify the persecution facts. I decided to find out more about the truth using my phone interview techniques.
In response to my first two calls, both officers answered with a laugh. "Do you think that's possible?" (Referring to the torture). They both gave me exactly the same answer - "We keep them in the camp to re-educate and reform their thoughts. Why would we ill treat them?"
"These people are working towards truth, compassion and tolerance. Does it mean that by reforming, you are turning them away from the truth, and from their compassion and tolerance?" I asked.
There was silence, then the woman answered, "We don't ill-treat people here."
"Is it possible that you may not know what has been happening behind the scenes?" I asked again, "I have gathered from the Internet, a number of case reports each giving detailed information and names of people involved."
"I have been working here for a long time and I know everything that goes on here," she replied.
"Then, you must have heard about Su Juzhen and Gao Yanqiu - the two Falun Gong practitioners who were tortured so badly that they're now little more than human vegetables?"
There was mumbling on the line, apparently she did not know what to reply.
I then read out the details of the torture as described on the report.
Then I heard her reply, "I know Gao Yanqiu, she couldn't have..."
I asked, "Do you know where she is now?"
Mumbling to herself... "That, perhaps left for...(inaudible) must have gone." I could hear nervousness behind the voice.
"Thank you for telling me so much," I continued, "I would also like to tell you about our local situation here."
I then told her about the huge number of people practicing Falun Gong overseas, including westerners -
"They are all kind hearted and normal people and many of them have higher education. The governments are very supportive as well, because this is their belief, and it is important that their rights are respected. We all feel that what has happened in China should not have happened."
I also told her about the fallacy of the self-immolation...
After listening to me, she said, "I have been working in this organization for 12 years, but I don't really know much about what's happening inside."
- What she had said earlier, "I know everything that goes on here..." seemed contradictory.
I managed to get through on the main line with my next call and a young man answered. I told him that I was a reporter from overseas but could not find Su Jing. I asked him if I could ask a few questions. He quickly replied, "I am only manning the phone line, I don't know anything." I then asked, "I am investigating the torture cases of Falun Gong practitioners." He answered, "There is no such thing. You should come here and find out personally." This young man gave the same common reply as all the others.
A man answered my last call. "I don't really know what's happening," he said. From their parroting replies, I could guess that they had been trained to handle inquiries like these.
Masanjia claims to be open to the public. It can't treat reporters with the same attitude as the other labor camps by hanging up on them. Otherwise the public will become suspicious. Because of that, I suspect that this man was unwilling to tell a lie. So, I told him how well Falun Gong is being received overseas.
"Why were these people arrested?" I further questioned him.
"Hey, politics, don't you know?"
"Are there male detainees?"
"Are they in the No.6 male team?"
"Yes, there are about 60 people in the team."
I asked those questions because of the incident in October 2000, in which an officer in Masanjia Forced Labor Camp dumped about 18 women Falun Gong practitioners into a male cell and had their clothes stripped. After the case had been exposed internationally, they invited reporters from overseas and staged a scene to tell them that there were no male convicts in Masanjia.
After hanging up the phone, I thought, if I called more extensions and asked each one about the news of the persecution published on the Internet, I should have little difficulty finding out more about the details and evidence of the whole situation. The persecution of Falun Gong practitioners in Masanjia Forced Labor Camp cannot be denied.