The Persecution of Falun Gong Practitioners in Division 12, Beijing Qianjin Prison
(Clearwisdom.net) About 130 male Falun Gong practitioners are currently held at Qianjin Prison after being sentenced. They make up most of the male practitioners illegally sentenced from the Beijing area. Division 1, Division 8, Division 9 and Division 12 are divisions especially designated to detain Falun Gong practitioners. The administration tactics in these divisions differ. A local court in Beijing sentenced me to prison, and the officials held me in Division 12 of Qianjin Prison. I experienced and witnessed the brutal persecution of practitioners firsthand. I want to share my experiences as a way to expose the crimes committed against practitioners at this so-called "Bureau-Level Civilized Prison" in Beijing1. Physical Torture
a. Strict isolation
Practitioners who have recently been brought to the prison and have expressed their determination to return to Dafa practice, or who are deemed "uncooperative" according to the guards' control methods, are immediately isolated. Each division has one special, solitary confinement cell. The room measures only five square meters (54 square feet). A practitioner locked in this room is forced to eat, drink, sleep and [sometimes] relieve himself in this space. Four inmates take turns monitoring the practitioner and make sure he does not have contact with anyone. The practitioner is compelled to shout, "report" each time he enters or leaves a door. The practitioners do not have freedom of speech or action; they don't have any holidays or breaks, and they are forbidden to take showers or wash their clothes.
When the persecution is acutely severe, the practitioners are forbidden to leave the room to use the restroom. The number of inmates assigned to monitor each practitioner doubles to eight. Practitioners' every move is restricted. Furthermore, the inmates assault them verbally and physically.
When all solitary confinement cells are occupied, practitioners are sent to places with worse conditions, such as a storage room or washroom. Some of these windowless rooms are only two square meters (21.5 square feet) in size. These spaces are extremely hot in the summer and freezing cold in the winter.
b. Sitting on small stools
Every practitioner held at this prison was tortured with "small stools." The practitioner is forced to sit on a small plastic stool about 11 cm (4.3 inches) high and must sit up, look straight ahead, bend his legs and hold them close together, so his calves form a 90 degree angle with the floor. He also has to put his hands on his knees and cannot close his eyes or look around. He cannot speak or stand up without permission. He is required to hold this position between 5 a.m. and midnight, meaning the practitioner sits still for at least 19 hours each day. The buttocks' flesh and bone press on the hard stool surface, forming blisters within a few days that cause terrible pain when the practitioners sit. Sitting down again breaks the blisters, making them exude fluid. This fluid sticks to their underwear and makes it an ordeal to remove.
Some practitioners firmly refused to follow the officials' commands. They were held in solitary confinement for four months. They were made to sit on small stools until their buttocks had ulcerated and their underwear was blood soaked. The officials tortured these practitioners for at least 20 hours a day.
c. Verbal and physical abuse, including handcuffs and shackles
The guards exhaust their torture methods on practitioners who persist in their belief. They are afraid of taking responsibility, so they order inmates to verbally and physically attack the practitioners. Sometimes beatings take place when the guards are present. The practitioners are knocked unconscious. When other practitioners confront the inmates they scream, "So what if I hit you? Go ahead and sue me!" They have the officials' backing.
When practitioners try to stop the inmates from assault, the guards handcuff and shackle the practitioners. To shirk responsibility, the guards coerce every practitioner to write a statement saying he was never subjected to any physical or verbal abuse before their release.2. Mental torment
a. Sleep deprivation
This is one of the most often-used torture methods. Practitioners are permitted to sleep only two hours a day, and sometimes they are forced to stay up for several days without any sleep. According to prison policy, the time between 9 p.m. and 6 a.m. the next day is a legally protected rest time for detainees, yet practitioners are forced to sit until 3:00 a.m. and get up at 5:00 a.m. Over time, the practitioners often become dizzy and disoriented. The guards seize this opportunity to brainwash them.
Practitioners are compelled to study articles and watch videos that slander Teacher and Dafa. They are made to read through thick compilations of vicious fabrications and repeatedly watch slanderous VCDs for 12 hours a day. The practitioners have to accept the content and are never permitted to question the content of these materials. They also have to write essays to explain their "understandings" in line with the Communist Party's ideology. If the practitioner refuses to follow these orders, he is locked in solitary confinement or abused in other ways for two weeks or a month, until the guards are satisfied with the outcome of brainwashing.
This process is repeated once more before the practitioner is released. The officials call it "prison exit education."
The guards also require practitioners who are brainwashed to write articles to slander and attack Dafa. Usually, the practitioners are further required to "correct" or completely re-write the article more than three times, until the guards are satisfied. The guards then make the practitioner read the article at a Division Conference, which causes the practitioner great humiliation and anguish.
c. Creating an atmosphere of terror; implication policy
The officials suppress and retaliate against any practitioner who safeguards Dafa and whom they deem as disobeying their commands. The officials lock these practitioners in solitary confinement; force them to write self-criticism, and subject them to public self-humiliation by having them list so-called mistakes during division-wide meetings. If the guards think the self-denigrating statement is not "deep" enough, they hold many meetings and force the practitioner to repeatedly criticize himself until the guards are pleased with the results. If the guards think more than two practitioners in one class have "issues" [hold onto their belief], the entire class is placed under strict control--everyone's lunch break and free time is canceled and the whole class has to sit inside all day long; they cannot talk or walk without permission. Class 6 of Division 12 was placed under strict control many times, once for three months.
Guard Chen Jun often held "condemn and attack meetings" and searched the dormitory to create an atmosphere of terror. He resorted to "strict control and attack" to suppres practitioners' protests to uphold their rights.
d. Using practitioners' families to create conflict
In an attempt to destroy the practitioners' will, the guards sometimes invite the practitioners' families to the prison for "special" meetings. They ask the family members of the practitioners, who are brainwashed with government propaganda, to pressure the practitioners to give up cultivation. The guards also spread rumors and create conflict and misunderstandings among the practitioners' family members to increase the pressure on practitioners.
The guards' devious urgings led to practitioner Xu Huaquan's wife divorcing him. Guard Chen Jun tried to deceive and incite hatred in practitioners Huang Jian and Ma Ang's wives and other family members. These officials are the primary culprits responsible for the deteriorating relationships and breakups in practitioners' families.3. A Pattern of Persecution
a. Omnipresent restriction o practitioners
Practitioners are followed and monitored in everything they do, including restroom use, while the criminal inmates assigned to keep them under surveillance can roam freely.
The practitioners do not get credit [toward their release date] if they refuse to do slave labor, while the watchdog inmates receive full credit, regardless of whether or not they work. They are allotted credits even during holidays.
Inmates can talk face-to-face with their families; they can eat and sleep together in accordance with prison policy while practitioners can only talk to their families via a phone while separated by a glass partition. The practitioners are forbidden to eat or sleep together.
Inmates can take their personal belongings home at the time of release, such as books, notebooks and letters, while practitioners are forbidden from taking any item containing any writing, not even books they bought from the prison store.
Only those assigned to watch practitioners can take the position of class head or division head; practitioners are at the bottom of the prison hierarchy.
b. Deceptive sentence reduction
Inmates can earn sentence reductions as long as they earn enough points, even if they are placed under "strict control." Practitioners, on the other hand, must achieve "loose control" before they can qualify for sentence reduction. By the time they achieve loose control status there is not much left of their sentence. The discriminatory point system results in practitioners perpetually earning less points than inmates. Those who receive sentence reductions are almost exclusively inmates assigned to persecute practitioners. Practitioners who persist in their belief or practitioners who return to Dafa practice would be considered "incompletely brainwashed" and would never get a sentence reduction.
To my knowledge, only one practitioner received a sentence reduction since Division 12 started holding practitioners. Not a single practitioner ever obtained a leave of absence from the prison. Sentence reductions and leave of absence policies are meaningless for Falun Dafa practitioners.
c. Information blockade
The guards strictly limit practitioners' contact with the outside world. They permit only three immediate blood relatives to meet with the practitioner and forbid meetings between a practitioner and a family member who also practices Dafa. They prohibit the families from bringing anything, and guards pace back and forth during the visit; therefore, anything said during the visit can be overheard.
All of the practitioners' incoming and outgoing letters are inspected. The guards withhold any letter they deem suspicious. The guards also withhold practitioners' letters to the Procuratorate and Prison Administration Bureau in which the practitioners state persecution incidents and chronicle abuses. The officials try their best to prevent outside information from entering the prison, and the truth about the persecution from getting out.
d. Forced tai-chi practice
Since 2003, Qianjin Prison officials have required all detainees including Dafa practitioners to learn tai chi. They demand that everyone be able to do tai chi. The prison holds periodic tai chi contests. The Communist Party has the malicious intention of destroying practitioners by interfering with the Dafa cultivation principle, only a "single cultivation way."
I also must point this out: the prison subjected all practitioners to two blood tests and physical exams in July 2005 and August 2006. At that time I couldn't understand why they were carrying out these non-routine exams, but now I know it was a part of a set-up to get ready for potential live organ harvesting.
4. Dafa practitioners oppose the persecution and suppress the evil with righteous thoughts
"Coercion cannot change people's hearts," as Teacher has said. The vast majority of incarcerated practitioners never truly changed their belief in Dafa, and the guards knew it quite well. This is why they forbade practitioners from seeing each other and ordered inmates to closely monitor the practitioners' words and actions. Practitioners broke through all barriers with righteous thoughts and by helping each other.
In February 2006, several pieces of paper with Teacher's recent articles were passed around among the practitioners. The papers made their way from one group to another. Most practitioners read the articles, which greatly encouraged their determination and confidence in resisting the persecution and safeguarding Dafa. Soon, some practitioners publicly stepped forward and said, "Falun Dafa is the righteous Fa!" and said they would continue Dafa practice.
As the articles continued their circulation, one practitioner after another stepped forward and said they would continue to practice Dafa. Most of the 40 practitioners held in the prison at that time affirmed their belief in Dafa. Some practitioners wrote solemn announcements and gave them to the guards. Even a few collaborators who had assisted the guards in "reforming" practitioners said they would return to Dafa practice. It was something unprecedented--righteous words safeguarding Dafa. Resistance to the persecution surged in all groups, and the inmates couldn't do anything about it.
The officials were shocked and terrified at Dafa practitioners' righteous thoughts and protests. In order to contain the protests, the guards pretended to ask for a meeting with practitioners' representatives while they secretly discussed how to turn the tide and suppress the division struggle.
Seven practitioners, including Huang Jian, who had been sentenced to 12 years in prison; Wang Yi, sentenced to 14 years; and Wang Yu, sentenced to seven years, represented all the practitioners held in the prison. They told the guards, "There is nothing wrong with Dafa practice." They requested an immediate end to the persecution of practitioner Wu Yichang and several others held in solitary confinement and called for guaranteeing practitioners' human rights in accordance with the law. The guards stated they were only following official documents from higher up, but were unable to present the documents when the practitioners requested them. Division head Meng Fanguo was furious. He pounded on the table and accused the practitioners of disrupting order and creating a riot. He also threatened the practitioners. That was the end of the dialog.
A large division of fully armed police officers arrived at Division 12 at 8:00 a.m. on March 9, 2006. Two officers blocked the door to each group and viciously glared at the practitioners. They also soon barged inside the cells and carried the seven representative practitioners out. They announced that these practitioners would be isolated and interrogated for disrupting prison order. An atmosphere of terror shrouded the place.
Chen Jun, a division political head, held a meeting where he threatened he would make an example of the seven practitioners and vociferously boasted of eradicating Falun Gong within the division. Subsequently, a six-month "strict control" order was issued for the entire division. The seven practitioners were held and persecuted at Division 8. Thirteen inmates closely followed each practitioner.
The practitioners' protest for those held at Division 12 greatly suppressed the evil. This incident sent a clear message to the wicked Party: Practitioners' righteous belief in Dafa will never waver! All of the Party's lies and acts of persecution will eventually end in disgrace and complete failure.5. Some practitioners severely persecuted at Division 12
Practitioner Wu Yichang was held in solitary confinement for more than four months. Official Chen Jun ordered inmates to beat him until he lost consciousness. He also suffered from sleep deprivation and restriction of personal freedom for a long time and had become skeleton-like. Mr. Wu was later transferred to Division 9, to be further persecuted.
Practitioner Xu Huaquan has a master's degree from Beijing University. He was held in solitary confinement and persecuted for several months. He was later on transferred to Division 8, to be further persecuted.
Practitioner Tang Jichang has a disabled right hand and could not work. He was held in solitary confinement for several months.
Practitioner Liang Minghua was first held in solitary confinement where the inmates beat him. Chen Jun later handcuffed and shackled him because he tried to stop the inmates from beating him. He was locked in solitary confinement for three months and was forced to read a self-condemning statement during three Division meetings, which wounded him psychologically.
Practitioner Ma Ang was held in solitary confinement for several months. He went on a hunger strike to protest the persecution. Official Chen Jun lied to his wife and made her pressure Ma Ang, which almost resulted in divorce.
Practitioner Zhang Yanbin used to serve in the military. He said, "The Communist Party is so rotten!" The inmates reported him. He was sent to solitary confinement. Zhang Yanbin, Xu Huaquan, and several other practitioners refused to write Dafa-slandering articles. Official Chen Jun accused them of disrupting prison order and forced them to do a self-critique during several division meetings.
Practitioner Liu Fujiang was first held at Division 1. He was savagely tortured for firmly practicing Dafa and resisting the persecution. He was sent to the Drill Division, known for its notoriously bad human rights record. Liu Fujiang was forced to repeat the same bodily movement 108 times a day as corporal punishment. He was completely deprived of freedom and dignity.
6. Names of some officials at Division 12, the Qianjin Prison
Chen Jun is a political head, a vicious person, extremely venomous toward Dafa. He used various cruel methods to torture practitioners. He verbally attacked Dafa during division meetings and unscrupulously insulted practitioners on numerous occasions. He ordered inmates to beat the practitioners and personally planned and carried out many persecution incidents.
Guard Meng Fanguo, head of Division 12, personally participated in the persecution; he is very arrogant.
Guard Zhang Honghai, deputy head of Division 12, actively persecutes practitioners in different ways. He is a hypocrite.
Guard Chen Hongbin, the former deputy head of Division 12, was later appointed deputy head of Division 8. He is cruel and spares no effort in persecuting practitioners. He personally carried out many incidents of persecution.
Guard Cheng Jianhui iw deputy head of Qianjin Prison, in charge of persecuting Falun Gong. He is the prison's ringleader and therefore responsible for the persecution that goes on in the prison. He ordered the carrying out of many persecution incidents.