Tortured Beyond Recognition in Forced Labor Camps and Mental Hospitals
"On March 30, 2001, I was injected with hormone-like drugs at a mental hospital. These drugs made me dizzy and I had convulsions. I was unable to stand and my entire body became swollen. With great effort I shouted my husband's name. Hearing my voice, he walked back and forth in front of me, searching for me. I told him that I was Gao Yan. He was shocked. He could not believe that I was tortured so badly that he no longer could recognize me within a just few days. He cried." [excerpt from the article]
I am Gao Yan, a Falun Dafa practitioner from Longchang County, Sichuan Province. After "April 25," 1999, local police officers and staff from the 610 Office harassed me, ransacked my home, and fined me. I was taken three times to mental hospitals and tortured for a total of over 130 days. I was detained in detention centers twice for over 170 days. I was sent to forced labor camps twice, once for one year, and another time for three years. The 610 Office extorted 25,000 yuan from me, and charged me over 5,000 yuan for drugs they forced me to take while detained in mental hospitals. My husband divorced me, as he could not bear such tremendous pressure.
I have suffered unbelievable mental and physical pain because of this persecution. Now, I'm telling the world of my suffering. I hope that all kind people of the world will hear the truth about the cruel persecution in China and become active in stopping the persecution.
1. Detained for Appealing, Family Members Threatened
I began to practice Falun Dafa on November 16, 1998. After "April 25," 1999, I appealed to the County Chinese Communist Party (CCP) Committee with fellow practitioners. Alas, the county "Eliminating Pornography Office" arrested and detained us for several hours. During that time, they threatened to kill me and forced me to turn in my Falun Dafa books. On September 10, staff from the local police station began to step up their pressure on me. Prior to January 2000, Song Dewen, the security section head of my work place, and company leaders came to my work station many times to threaten me. They did not allow my son Tong Yuanjie to attend the provincial key middle school, decreased my salary, and ended up firing me. They also threatened my husband, who in turn beat me many times because of the pressure he was put under.
On January 5, 2000, several police officers from the Longchang County First Police Station came to my work place. At that time, my husband was on a business trip, and only my 14-year-old son was with me. They tried to force me to write a guarantee statement to give up my right to appeal. I refused. One policeman waved a handcuff in front of me, and policewoman Qian Lanying put pressure on me. I clarified the truth to them. Realizing that I would not give up, they called the manager of my husband's company and asked me to hand in the key to my work place and my home. Knowing that my life belonged to Dafa, I was fearless. They illegally arrested me and took me to a detention center. They forcibly fingerprinted me, and demanded that I sign the detention certificate. I told them that I had not committed a crime. I asked them to state the reason for my arrest. The wicked officers said, "I have not come up with an accusation yet." Yet, they detained me.
Between January 5 and March 27, staff from the county 610 Office ordered my husband many times to beat me in order to force me to give up my belief in Falun Gong. They also told my son and relatives to persuade me to renounce my belief. They asked former practitioners who had renounced the practice under pressure to send me letters. But no one could change my belief in Falun Dafa. Before the Chinese New Year, they brought my husband to where I was detained and coerced him to write a guarantee statement on my behalf. They wanted my consent. I refused without hesitating. At the detention center, I clarified the truth to my cellmates. They quickly understood and believed in Falun Dafa. One girl said her mother practices Falun Dafa. One lady said that if she had known that committing bad deeds would result in retribution, she would not have committed bad deeds. They studied Falun Dafa and did the exercises with me. One day, the police head found out that I was doing the exercises so he put me in shackles for a week.
2. My Husband Was Unable to Recognize Me after I Was Tortured
On March 27, 2000, security officers and managers from my work unit and officers from the county 610 Office came together to trick me and my husband. They said, "The [work] unit has paid 4,800 yuan to bail you out. We came to take you to a hospital for a physical check up." I refused to go, and my husband did not agree either. But they forced me into a car and took me from the detention center to a mental hospital where I was injected with drugs and force-fed. Three days later, my husband came to visit me, but the doctors said that the 610 office did not allow me to have contact with anyone. They did not allow my husband to enter the ward. Some of the patients told me that someone was looking for me. At that time, I had been injected with a hormone-like drug at the mental hospital. These drugs made me dizzy and I had convulsions. I was unable to stand, and my entire body became swollen. With great effort I shouted my husband's name. Hearing my voice, he walked back and forth in front of me, searching for me. I told him that I was Gao Yan. He was shocked. He could not believe that I was tortured so badly that he no longer could recognize me within a just few days. He cried.
When Liang Cheng from the 610 Office came to see me, someone had asked him why they detained me in a mental hospital. Liang told them, "We wanted to crush her will." I told them, "I am as strong as diamond and will not be crushed."
One day in late May, my husband was hit by a motorcycle on his way home from work. Only then did the 610 Office agree to let me go home and take care of my husband. This time, I was detained at the mental hospital for over 60 days, and they had extorted over 1,000 yuan from me for medical expenses.
3. Appealing Again and Detained Again
On July 15, 2000, fellow practitioners and I went to Beijing to appeal. On July 18, local police officers and managers from my work unit arrested us and took us back home. On the train, policewoman Qian Lanying confiscated our money (about 2,000 yuan). We went on a group hunger strike on the train.
On July 21, we arrived at Longchang County. Police detained practitioners Lan Zhujiang, Yi Bin, Wang Youbi and I in a mental hospital. The 610 Office staff forced our families to pay 5,000 yuan each to cover the travel expenses to Beijing. This time we went on a hunger strike for 13 days. On July 31, police officers insinuated that we would be released on August 1. We were not released. On September 8, staff from the 610 Office sent us to the Sichuan Province Women's Forced Labor Camp in Zizhong County, where collaborators tried to brainwash us. I rebuked them for betraying Dafa. After returning to Longchang, I was detained a second time and they extorted 2,000 yuan.
In mid-December, my former work unit forced me to accept a compensated layoff. I had lost my job. Hearing that I received money from my former office, staff from the 610 Office forced my family to pay 20,000 yuan before allowing me to sign the paperwork with my former work unit. My husband and mother had to borrow money from a number of sources. This was a huge sum for my family.
4. Lawyers Dared not Take on My Case
My husband knew that staff from the 610 Office had acted outside the law in their treatment of me. He found a friend who is a lawyer and asked him to sue the 610 Office. But the lawyer dared not take the case. Some lawyers said, "No matter how much money you pay, nobody dares to take Gao Yan's case. The CCP let it been known, and documented that whoever takes such cases would lose their business."
On January 19, 2001, my husband came back home immediately after leaving for work. He cried and told me that he wanted to divorce me. To force my husband to stop me from practicing Falun Dafa, the 610 Office did not allow our son to take the college entrance exam. He beat me. His parents and sisters said, "If Gao Yan continues to practice Falun Gong, you should break her legs."
I had compassionately clarified the truth to my husband, but was not surprised when he asked for a divorce. Clerks in the civil service center said, "Chinese New Year is coming, don't divorce at this time. We need approval from your community office first." So my husband said at least we could write a divorce agreement. I told him, "OK. Anyway, you have suffered so much pressure from the 610 Office. I agree to the divorce, but in your mind, you should know who you should side with."
On the afternoon of January 20, officers Ye Lin and Liang Cheng from the 610 Office came to my home to arrest me. My husband said angrily, "I used to believe that police officers protected people. Now I realize that you are the worst people." Ye Lin instantly defended himself, "Do not be angry. We are just following orders. It has nothing to do with us." Then they arrested me and sent me to a one-year detention at a forced labor camp. I saw the date on the sentence paper. It was dated December 4, 2000. That was before the 610 Office asked my family to pay the 20,000 yuan deposit.
5. First Term in a Forced Labor Camp, Forced to Divorce
On January 20, 2001, I was sent to the Sichuan Women's Forced Labor Camp. At first, police officers forced us to stand up with both hands raised high and the head touching the wall for three entire days. Many of us had swollen feet and hands, and our faces were pale. We were given no water. Police officer Zhou beat up practitioner Ms. Luo Meng, and forced her to stand under the yard wall. Police officers beat us with electric batons and extended our terms at will.
After the staged Tiananmen Square Self-Immolation incident, police officers and criminal detainees tortured practitioners more than usual. One time, police officers Zhang Xiaofang and Liao Xiaolin used electric batons to shock practitioners Ms. Peng Shiqiong and Ms. Han Guangrong. I saw the burn marks on Ms. Peng's face. Ms. Peng remained resolute and said that there is nothing to be afraid of since Dafa is in her heart.
In April 2001, my husband, his lawyer friend Liu, a judge and a lady clerk came to the forced labor camp. The judge told me, "Your husband has paid us a 600-yuan court fee. Today, you will be divorced, whether you agree or not."
My husband cried and did not want to divorce in his heart. But he said, "I have no other choice. Our son needs to go to school. My parents are old now. They do not want to suffer together with us. I had to choose a divorce." I said, "Don't cry anymore. I understand your choice." The judge asked, "How about your property?" I told them, "All will go to him. It's not easy to support my son." Soon after, I received the divorce certificate in the mail. The court verdict says, "Tong Kaihua and Gao Yan were married of their own free will. They have a son Tong Yuanjie. Husband and wife have enjoyed a good relationship. Now the wife practices Falun Gong and will not change her belief, even after being brainwashed by police officers over a long time. She is currently detained at the Sichuan Women's Forced Labor Camp. The judge granted the divorce and the real estate property belongs to Tong Kaihua, to be used to support his and Gao Yan's son."
On January 9, 2002, I was released and went back to Neijiang City. I stayed with my parents. On May 13, 2002, I went back to Longchang and rented a room from a fellow practitioner. On June 20, my parents' home was searched and I was arrested while there. Police officers detained me at a transition station. I went on a hunger strike. The policewomen handcuffed me to a steel door.
6. Detained in a Mental Hospital the Third Time, and Sent to Forced Labor Camp the Second Time
Four days later, I was detained in a mental hospital for the third time. I was bound to a steel bed from morning until between 8:00 to 10:00 p.m. daily, and injected with unknown drugs. Receipts from the Neijiang City Second Mental Hospital prove this. One 400 yuan receipt indicates that I was injected with "protective drugs." Another receipt is acknowledged by the Management Section of Sichuan Women's Forced Labor Camp and dated July 17, 2002. The Longchang County 610 Office sent me directly from the mental hospital to the forced labor camp. After a physical check-up, the labor camp refused to take me, but the 610 Office forced the camp to take me. Then the labor camp asked them to pay 500 yuan before they would accept me.
By that time, I had been on a 20-day hunger strike, had been injected with large doses of drugs, and been bound up for a long time. I had no control of my legs. Squadron Captain Luo Wei told me, "The police paid 500 yuan for you. The management section added 200 yuan to your account, and 300 yuan was kept by the management section." Later I asked police officers at squadron eight about the 300 yuan issue. They said that they knew nothing about this money. Three years later, my mother told me that the 610 Office had extorted this money from my mother. I learned later that my landlord was arrested for renting a room to me and was fined 5,000 yuan before being released. Another fellow practitioner was sent to forced labor camp for a three-year term because she helped me find a room.
On August 21, 2002, I was transferred from squadron eight to the group specialized in persecuting Falun Gong practitioners. As soon as I entered the steel door, I saw that several practitioners were handcuffed to several big trees, with arms twisted behind their backs and their mouths sealed with tape. In the courtyard, practitioners were forced to watch videos that slander and defame Falun Dafa. Some practitioners were handcuffed to trees because they shouted things like "Falun Dafa is good!"
7. Cruel Physical Tortures
During the CCP's 16th Congress, police officers took turns monitoring us and tortured us more viciously. Tortures included beating, force-feeding, strapping on a bed, beating after being stripped naked, gang beatings, deprived use of the toilet, forced to drink urine, sleep deprivation, handcuffing, being shocked by electric batons, etc. Taking a bath or shower was out of the question.
One time, we heard that people from Australia were asking if there was a "water dungeon" in squadron eight. It was noon that day. We were forced to stand in there as usual. Squadron Captain told the visitors that we stood there out of our own will. Peng Shiqiong and Luo Teng replied, "No, it's not true!" Later, criminal detainees rushed at me, Peng and Luo, knocked us down and beat us viciously. Then Peng and Luo were hung on a big tree with rope.
After the beating, before dawn the second morning, the three of us were detained in a small room. Ms. Peng was handcuffed with one hand to the rear window. Luo Meng was handcuffed with both hands at the front window. I was forced to stand against a wall. We were not allowed to sleep for fifteen days. I don't know how often I fell unconscious. Each time, criminal detainees kicked my face or stepped on my ear to wake me up. My head was covered with injuries and swollen.
Once they tried to force us to read books that defamed Falun Dafa. We refused. Therefore, criminal detainees cruelly beat us. Criminal Chen Qi bound and hung practitioner Ms. Tao Yuqin to a bed, which caused Tao to sweat profusely and her face went pale. Squadron Captain Li used a flashlight to check Tao's pupils to see if she was still alive, and released her when he thought her to be near death.
Criminal detainees Deng Ailing, Li Hong and Chen Qi are all very cruel and tortured us with many methods. They force-fed us water until we were close to death. Squadron Captain Li shouted, "I'll kill all of you and have your blood spill everywhere!" Police officer Yang and Jiang frequently held electric batons in their hand and threatened us.
Ms. Wang Huiying was also detained in the small room with the three of us. Ms. Wang also refused to read books that defamed Falun Gong. She was bound by rope into a double crossed-leg position for many days, and she had no choice but to relieve herself in her pants. In the cold winter, the skin on her buttocks festered because of sitting on the ground for a long time. Doctor Chen had to put medicinal ointment on Ms. Wang and Ms. Peng Shiqiong every day.
8. Beaten for Clarifying the Truth
Before the 2003 Chinese New Year, Communist Party Secretary Hai from Longchang County and Ye Lin from the 610 Office visited us at the forced labor camp. As soon as Ye Lin saw me he asked, "Gao Yan, why is your face swollen and blue?" I told him that it was because Squadron Captain Li beat me. Ye Lin then introduced me to Hai. I clarified the truth to Hai.
Police officers and criminal detainees monitored us. Seeing I that was telling the truth to Hai, they called me back. Criminals took turns beating me three times, and did not allow me to use the bathroom or sleep.
In 2004, our squadron was forced to do labor. Police officers were ordered to forcibly "reform" practitioners within two weeks. Crying and noises of beating were heard every day from the intensively monitored rooms. Collaborators such as Yao Jianhua, Qiao Jianqun and Huang Xuefen helped the evil people to brainwash us, asked criminal detainees to beat us, and forged our names on a repentance statement. Practitioner Jiang Xianfeng was restrained and her neck held tightly by several people. They took her hands to put her fingerprint on the repentance statement. Huang Xuefen wrote a letter and said that this was in my name. I warned her and told her that she had no shame. Huang said if I did not give my fingerprint, they would force me to do it. One day, Wang Dabi, Li Ruiying and others tried to brainwash me. Li Ruiying grabbed me by the hair and smashed my head against a wall. Wang Dabi kicked me with heavy leather boots. When I was brought back, the inmates were startled, "They really beat people!" Li Ruiying coerced inmates to force me to stand as punishment. Since I refused to be "reformed," my term was extended for 45 days.
I was ordered to do embroidery. Determined practitioners were forced to complete almost 1 kg. (2.2 lb.) of thread each month. We were forced to get up at 5:00 a.m. and work until late at night. We could go to sleep only after midnight. Older practitioners were unable to finish the quota, so they were allowed to sleep only three to four hours daily. Almost 20 hours of intensive work damaged my vision. They came up with "A, B, and C" meals as a means of punishing those who did not obey orders. Determined practitioners could only eat C meals, which were inferior food products. We were not allowed to buy food from the labor camp's grocery store.
My term was to end on June 13, 2005. The Longchang county staff did not pick me up until June 15. After my release, everyone could see that my hands, feet, and legs were swollen. Intensive work had damaged my vision. Embroidery work requires that one bend the neck down for long periods of time. Both Liu Fengxia and I had neck pain. Doctors said my neck ligaments were injured.
People Involved in the Persecution:
Chen Jiamin, an officer from the county 610 Office.
Cai, a policeman from Gaosishan police station in Neijiang City.
Wang Youfen and Dr. Huang from the 2nd Mental Hospital in Neijiang City.
Li Xia, Kang Feng, Liu Ping, Yin Dan and others from Sichuan Women's Forced Labor Camp.
Criminal detainees: Zeng Guirong, Tong Zifen, Chen Jia, Mai Zonglian, Liang Quan, Zeng Qimei, Lu Juan, Zhang Shangyi, Song Li.
Collaborators: Cai Huarong, Wan Qing, Li and others.