Female Practitioners in the Beijing Women's Forced Labor Camp Are Subjected to Grueling Military Style Drills, Long Term Sleep Deprivation and Brainwashing
Hidden inside the Beijing Women's Forced Labor Camp (formerly known as the Xinan Forced Labor Camp) is a secretive section known internally as the "Disciplinary Zone." This section is situated on the far east end of the labor camp behind a two-story building, and is impossible to view from the outside. This place was built to isolate and punish prisoners who were deemed to be difficult but it is now being used exclusively for persecuting Dafa practitioners. This area has never been opened to public inspection, and unauthorized personnel are not permitted to gain entry or even be near the building.
In this place, there are ten cells in total that have been built adjacent to each other in a semi-circle around the disciplinary arena. Each cell is tiny, measuring about 2 x 1.2 meters (approximately 4 x 6 feet), and is fitted with a waste basin, and a 50-60 cm wide bed (approximately 20-24 inches wide), some 40 cm (15 inches) off the ground. When a person lies on it, the narrowness of the bed makes it practically impossible to turn over. The cell entrances face north, so they catch the freezing northerly wind in the winter and the scorching heat from the sun in summer. The semi-oval arena outside the cells is where the Dafa practitioners are tortured.
The Disciplinary Zone is under the command of three officers, Chai Guohong, Liu Liping and Li Xiuying. Chai is responsible for the overall disciplinary program. Liu is responsible for the brainwashing sessions, and Li is responsible for the constant bombardment of propaganda materials defaming Falun Dafa. In addition, the officers were encouraged to use any techniques, however ruthless, to achieve their end of brainwashing the practitioners. In fact, they subjected the female Dafa practitioners to some of the cruelest torture imaginable.
Normally, before any Dafa practitioners were admitted to the Disciplinary Zone, the officers would be informed beforehand which practitioners would be put under their supervision. As part of their tactics, the officer-in-charge would immediately strip the incoming practitioners of all their basic rights in order to demoralize them.
1. Stripping away all basic rights
Female practitioners are first subjected to a humiliating body search, and all personal belongings would be thoroughly inspected before the practitioner was locked up in the tiny cell. As a measure to prevent information about the abuse of Dafa practitioners from leaking to the outside, the officer-in-charge chose two assistants to constantly monitor and guard each practitioner. These monitors were usually prisoners who were serving time in the labor camp for crimes such as prostitution or drug addiction, instead of regular police. No one else was permitted to have a conversation or inspect these practitioners, not even "collaborators" [former practitioners who renounced their belief under severe pressure and torture and now have been enlisted by the authorities to persecute their fellow practitioners] who now work for the labor camp authorities. During each practitioner's detention, the basic right to having three meals a day was taken away. When the officer was in a good mood, a practitioner would receive a small and nutritionally poor meal consisting of a bun and a few pieces of salted vegetables to go with it. However, if the officers were in a bad mood, the practitioner would have her already tiny food rations reduced by half. Any Falun Dafa practitioner protesting this mistreatment by going on a hunger strike was targeted for even more brutal treatment. The authorities would force-feed them with highly concentrated salt-water, which caused extreme agony and potential poisoning.
2. Restricting food, water, sleep, visitation, and severe brainwashing
The Disciplinary Zone authorities took additional measures to restrict practitioners from using the toilet or drinking water to promote extreme discomfort. Brushing one's teeth and washing one's face or clothes were strictly forbidden, including the use of a shower for personal bathing.
Female Dafa practitioners were not permitted to sleep for extended periods, and they were forced to stand with their eyes open around the clock. If any practitioner dozed off, the two criminal assistants, under orders from the officer-in-charge, were standing by to beat her.
To further erode the Dafa practitioners' willpower, the officers constantly incited hatred against Falun Dafa among the criminals enlisted to help persecute the practitioners. This environment of hatred encouraged the criminals to use violence against the practitioners. Whenever a practitioner was beaten by these convicts, the officers simply turned a blind eye to it. At times, they would bring in a practitioner's relative, a friend or a former colleague from work - someone that did not know very much about Falun Dafa, and pressure that person to defame and slander Falun Dafa in front of the practitioner. As Falun Dafa practitioners practice the principle of Truthfulness-Compassion-Tolerance, watching these innocent people being pressured by the authorities into repeating propaganda and lies was agonizing. Mentally these women felt helpless, isolated and pressured, on top of all the physical abuse they have to endure. In addition, they were not allowed to receive visitors under normal circumstances.
The most unbearable times for these practitioners were the continual brainwashing sessions. These practitioners were forced to listen to propaganda tapes, watch propaganda videos containing fabricated articles and lies, and forced to read magazines, newspaper and other publications that defamed their belief and Teacher. The authorities would even go so far as to strip these women naked and write defamatory words against Falun Dafa all over their bodies to further humiliate them.
3. Subjected to grueling military style drills
The third type of torture these practitioners were subjected to was more extreme. The women were subjected to a combination of disciplinary routines, consisting of grueling military style drills. Although during these drills the practitioners were not required to wear chains on their hands or feet, the effect in breaking down their spirit was greater.
The military drills included repeated squatting, frog leaps, single and double hopping, marching drills in the knee-high stepping style, running laps, and holding excruciating positions with names such as "riding a horse" and "flying the airplane", as well as various movements imitating animals. For example, the "flying the airplane" posture required the practitioner to hold her arms at 180 degrees behind her back, until both arms, outstretched, were touching flat against the wall, while the head was forced to bend down towards the ankles and stay in between both knees. Meanwhile, the arms and the buttocks were required to form a straight line against the wall. A normal person would have difficulty holding oneself in that posture for longer than a couple of minutes. But the practitioners were forced to remain in that position from ten minutes to sometimes two or three hours on end. It is difficult to imagine the suffering these women were forced to go through.
The drills were grouped in sets, and the practitioner was required to perform a set at a time, with a five-minute break in between.. Starting from 5 am until 2 or 3 am the next day, a practitioner actually went through 20 hours of physical torture. At the end of the 20 hours, every ounce of energy was sucked out, and physically and mentally, these female Falun Dafa practitioners were pushed to the limit. Many of them fell asleep in the middle of carrying out these drills. After the training, they were further punished by being forced to stand against a wall for two to three hours in the chilling wind. At times, these practitioners were not allowed to sleep for several days at a time.
To hide these atrocities from the public, all of the torture was carried out either inside the practitioners' cells or in a sealed off location.
The temperature in Beijing during the winter generally falls below zero during the day, and towards dusk, it gets even colder. The extreme temperature is brutal for a person in poor physical condition, covered only by thin cotton clothing as was required by the authorities. To create intolerable conditions so that Falun Dafa practitioners would agree to renounce their belief, the camp officers purposely left the vent doors open to let the chilling wind into the women's cells. The accumulation of constant sleep deprivation, forced starvation diet, brutal physical torture and exposure to extreme cold made the practitioners appear unrecognizable.
During the summer, the high humidity created a breeding ground for mosquitoes, flies, moths and other insects, which were attracted to the salt accumulated on the women's bodies left over from sweat of the torturous exercise drills. There was an unbearable odor, which resulted from the women not being permitted to wash for a prolonged period.
During spring, the yellow sand and dust is everywhere. Often, the practitioners were forced to stand facing the wind. By the end of the day, they were covered with sand and dust all over their clothing, hair and bodies. They look like statues of mud from a distance. Even the rice they were given was covered with sand and dust.
For the whole year round, Dafa practitioners imprisoned at the above camp have been suffering extreme brutality and torture. The authorities do not seem to care whether they were dead or alive once they are taken to the Disciplinary Zone. Today, there are still some female Dafa practitioners imprisoned inside these cells.