A Former Doctoral Student at Tsinghua University Discloses Persecution and Torture in Sihui Prison of Guangdong Province
(Clearwisdom.net) I love China, but I have to leave. I believe in and live according to Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance, however, because of my belief I was treated with violence. In this article, I would like to expose the persecution I experienced for practicing Falun Gong, and call for help from compassionate people.
After being detained in the 2nd Detention Center of Zhuhai City for two years, three other practitioners and I were transferred to Sihui Prison in Zhaoqing City, Guangdong Province, in the early morning of December 17, 2002. The following is my experience there.
1. Persecution in the New Prisoners' Team
Once arriving at the "New Prisoners' Team," everyone must take off all his or her clothes. Falun Gong practitioners' papers, including private letters, are all taken away. Guards even hang a sign on the front of a practitioner's chest, "using a [slanderous term omitted] to break the law," and order four criminals to monitor the practitioner. This is the notorious "mutual monitoring system." (Normally in the prisons of northern China or detention centers, such a person is called a "personal monitor.") The purpose of the system is to incite criminal inmates to monitor and persecute practitioners by offering them personal benefits such as sentence reduction. If practitioners are caught doing the exercises or talking about the principles of Falun Gong, the criminal monitors are punished by the guards, and their sentences may not be reduced. Therefore, these criminals mistreat and abuse practitioners. Under this system, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) hurts not only practitioners, but also these criminals.
In addition to the "mutual monitoring system," there are many rules in the prison. Practitioners must wear a prison uniform and name tag, shave their heads, step aside for the guards, squat down to speak, recite the CCP regulations, repeatedly number off during roll call, watch Chinese state television news reports slandering Falun Gong, perform military drills, sing CCP songs, line up to walk, squat down to eat, and even fold their blanket according to regulations. Breaking any of the rules could be a reason for persecution. For example, I was beaten and criticized since I refused to wear a name tag or sing CCP songs.
In the prison, the guards use "criminals to manage criminals." They selected several criminals who had an educational background or relationships with CCP officials to manage other prisoners. These criminals always take the lead in persecuting Falun Gong practitioners. For example, around January 10, 2003, practitioner Fan Chenyu refused to wear a prison uniform or have his picture taken after transferring from the Guangzhou City Detention Center to Sihui Prison [Note: Because Falun Gong practitioners have committed no crimes and therefore should not be incarcerated, practitioners often protest their "illegal detention" by refusing to wear the prison uniform, wear a name tag, etc.]. He was seriously beaten by about a dozen of these criminals. After that, the guards beat him with electrical batons, but he still refused to wear the prison uniform. He was sent to the "Strict Discipline Team." During the 2003 Chinese New Year, he was temporarily released from the "Strict Discipline Team" to the "New Prisoners' Team." In March of 2003, CCTV broadcast a news show to defame Falun Gong. Fan Chenyu protested the show by refusing to count-off during role call. The guards ordered Mr. Fan to squat down. He not only refused, but started to do the sitting meditation on the ground. The guard verbally abused him, dragged him to the office, and beat him with electric batons. At the same time, they ordered all the prisoners to run in the rain. That night, the four criminals in charge of Fan Chenyu were deprived of sleep and forced to monitor him.
On the second day, Mr. Fan did the sitting exercise again and was discovered by a criminal inmate surnamed Li. Fan Chenyu tried to continue his practice but Li shouted at him and took him to the guards' office. After that, Fan Chenyu was transferred back to the "Strict Discipline Team." All the regular inmates who were close to Mr. Fan claimed that he was really a good person. He would take off his sweater and give it to others when the weather was cold. When there was not enough food, he would give his rice to others.
Many practitioners jailed in Sihui Prison had a high educational background. For example, Lin Yang, illegally sentenced to three and a half years, was a Master's degree student at the Water Conservation Department of Tsinghua University. Zhang Yuhui, sentenced to 10 years, had graduated from the University of International Business & Economics, Beijing. Li Fengyou, sentenced to five years, was a regimental commander of the South China Sea Fleet, a military pilot, and pilot for the Sanzao Airport in Zhuhai City. Chen Xiaojun, sentenced to seven years, graduated from the University of Science and Technology in Beijing. Yuan Hua, sentenced to 10 years, was a Master's degree student from South China Agriculture University. Liang Gang, sentenced to 11 years, was a Master's degree student at South China Agriculture University. Feng Wentao, sentenced to six years, graduated from Guangdong University of Foreign Studies. Zhou Lei, sentenced to 12 years, graduated from the Computer Engineering Department of Tsinghua University and was a marketing manager for a high-tech company in Shenzhen City. Zhuang Wenshu, sentenced to seven years, obtained a Master's degree from the School of Water Resource and Hydropower of Wuhan University and was the chairman of the Student Association and the vice president of the Graduate Student Association. Zhao Hao, sentenced to nine years, graduated from Shenzhen University. In addition, Li Zhenming was sentenced to 10 years, Li Fulin to seven years, Tian Jianshui to five years, Huang Desheng to three years, and Zheng Zhichao to 13 years even though he was only 18 years old when he was arrested. He Binyang was sentenced to three years. Chen Shuxue, an employee of Zhuhai City Labor and Social Protection Bureau, was sentenced to three years, and Ye Weixiong was sentenced to three years.
In 2003, the "New Prisoners' Team" started to forcibly "transform" Falun Gong practitioners. I was forced to squat on the ground and was shackled to a steel chair. The guards constantly interrogated me and forced me to watch TV programs defaming Falun Gong until very late in the evening.
The guards not only tell lies, but also set up deceptions. In March 2003, visitors from the Hong Kong Correctional Service were allowed to enter Sihui Prison. There were at least 30 people jailed in the "New Prisoners' Team" even though there were only 12 beds and many people had to sleep on the ground. In order to show that the living conditions in this CCP prisons was good, only 12 people were left in the team on the day of the visit. The others were all forced to work in the prison manufacturing plan. In addition, only 12 sets of personal washing kits and prison uniforms were left to be seen. The others were all well hidden.
The work of overseas practitioners can greatly reduce the pressure on the practitioners in the CCP prisons. Once, after guards handcuffed me to a steel chair, they said that they had received a letter from a practitioner in the US. The letter asked them to stop persecuting Falun Gong practitioners, saying that otherwise, they would be investigated and sued by the "World Organization to Investigate the Persecution of Falun Gong." This letter shocked the evil guards profoundly.
2. The persecution that I suffered in the 15th division
After being jailed in the "New Prisoners' Team" for a period of time, practitioners are transferred to other divisions. There are18 divisions in the prison. Dozens of male practitioners were jailed in the prison. Using the prisoners' slave labor, different products were manufactured, such as shoes, hats, or clothes. In July 2003, I was transferred to the 15th Division of Sihui Prison. The products of the 15th Division were mainly made of cane, including cane chairs, cane tables, cane baskets, and even cane boxes for moon cakes. Later, jade processing and wool sweater manufacturing were also added. Air pollution problems were very serious in all the workshops. The smell of dyes and bleaches and the dust from the raw cane spread all over the workshops of the cane products. In the workshop for manufacturing sweaters, lint from the wool floated in the air. Some people fainted while they were working in the workshops. In addition, the rate of tuberculosis infection is high in the prison.
In addition to forced labor, practitioners suffered from "political brainwashing." Frankly speaking, "political brainwashing" is "party-loving education." Whenever there is an event, such as the "Shenzhou V Spacecraft Launch" or the "Beijing Olympics," all the prisoners had to write articles praising the CCP. Every month, prisoners had to take a "political exam" and the scores directly affected their personal benefits. Moreover, activities to praise the CCP are constantly held, such as singing prison songs and CCP songs, watching shows praising the CCP, and essay and lecture competitions to praise the CCP. In such a way, the CCP is controlling everyone's thoughts in every corner of China.
The physical and mental persecution against Falun Gong practitioners goes beyond what was mentioned above. For example, four criminals formed a "monitoring team" to monitor me all the time. However, all of them were monitored by other criminals. All my personal belongings could be searched at any time. Even when I went to the restroom, one of them followed me. I did not have any privacy. In addition, the head of the "monitoring team" constantly recorded my words and behavior. The guards also kept a detailed record of me. They reported these records to the 610 Office of the prison.
Beginning on March 2, 2004, video programs defaming Falun Gong were played to all the prisoners in the evenings. In order to protest the evil activity, another practitioner, Zhuang Wenshu, and I started a hunger strike. (Later, we heard that practitioners in other divisions also started hunger strikes. These powerful actions successfully suppressed the evil activity and the video program was halted in a short time.) At the same time, we refused to do slave labor. The guards, the Politics Department and the 610 Office of the prison were afraid of our actions. Although we started to eat later, we still refused to perform labor. One day, a guard called me into an office. He forced me to squat down and started to criticize me and kick me. After several hours of squatting, I felt that my legs were almost broken. After that, I was transferred to the workshop producing light sweaters. I still refused to work. The guards forced me to squat down at the entrance of the workshop from the morning to the evening. After maintaining the same position for a long time, my legs were numb. The pain was beyond description. I was tortured by being forced to squat for three days.
Zhuang Wenshu refused to squat down and started a second hunger strike. The guards put shackles on him. The heavy steel rings rubbed on his ankle bones, which made it extremely painful to walk.
The guards ordered criminals to post materials defaming Falun Gong on two big walls in the prison division, including pictures to defame the founder of Falun Gong. Banners against Falun Gong and pro the evil were posted all over the division. Around lunchtime on April 21, all the prisoners were ordered to squat down on the exercise field of the division. Zhuang Wenshu and I were taken in front of everyone while Zhuang was still wearing the heavy shackles. We were handcuffed quickly by the guards. The guards tried to force me to kneel down. I refused and they immediately beat me with more than 10 electric batons, which made me convulse and twitch. The guards focused on shocking my sensitive body parts, such as palms and ears. At the same time, they asked, "Are you going to work or not?"
While beating me, they kept talking rhetorically and ordered the "representatives" of the prisoners to defame Falun Gong and attack the practitioners. This was a common CCP approach, to "use people to fight against other people."
In October 2004, the persecution method of "systematic transformation" started. In the beginning, guards had a "conversation" with me for a whole day. I sat on a little plastic stool with two criminals by my sides. They recorded in detail all my movements, even changes in the direction of my gaze. For example, "At 11:23, Huang Kui looked to his left side" or, "At 11:24, Huang Kui crossed his hands in front of his chest with left hand outside." This "record keeping" was designed to create mental pressure and make people feel intensely uncomfortable.
Apparently, in order to achieve the '"transformation" mission' (or transformation percentage) of the prison and the "610 system," the guards formed a special team, led by the Party secretary, to persecute me. Three guards were assigned to monitor me all the time. Their daily responsibilities were taken over by other guards. This made the other guards all hate me since I caused them extra work. It was close to the end of the year. If I refused to be "transformed," the guards would not receive any bonus and the chance for other prisoners to have their sentences reduced would be decreased. Therefore, the other prisoners all hated me. But if I compromised, the guards of the prison could receive commendations or awards, and the guards in charge of me could be promoted to perform office work (this is the work that the prison guards dreamed about.). In addition, the Party secretary of the prison might be promoted. Therefore, the pressure on me was extremely heavy and getting heavier daily. I was the focus of the entire prison.
The guards claimed that they learned their "transformation skills" from the Qinghe Prison in Beijing. The met frequently to discuss how to treat me. The guards put me into a room with eleven criminal inmates. Seven of them were in charge of monitoring me. All of the seven were also monitored by other secret "informers" to prevent them learning Falun Gong from me. Even different guards had their own "informers." They used "informers" to monitor "informers." Therefore, no one could trust anyone. If a group of prisoners wanted to frame a person, they could just conspire and report that the person was learning Falun Gong from me, then the person would be transferred to the prisons of Xinjiang Province for more persecution.
The techniques used by the guards alternated between threats and enticements. The guards threatened me if I did not "transform," either I would die or I be sent to brainwashing center or a forced labor camp. If I did not "transform," they would hold daily interrogation meetings, put a label around my neck saying "member of an evil cult," have me kneel down in front of everyone, and let everybody spit on me and say some words to defame the founder of Falun Gong. In term of enticements, if I decided to be "transformed," they would reduce my jail sentence and give me more freedom in the prison.
The guards constantly attacked me with virulent words. In their own words, they would "behave like flies to stay around me all day long to irritate me." During a cold evening, I was forced to sit inside the guards' office. After making some hot tea, the guard in charge of the evening shift started to criticize Falun Gong and me. His voice so loud that other prisoners could not sleep. Sometimes, patrol guards or even the prison director would come. Then, the guard would accuse me more viciously in order to let others know how hard he was working. Once a guard berated me nonstop for 10 hours without letting me drink, eat, or use the restroom. Sometime, the "political commissar" of the prison or the head of the 610 Office, Ling Liezhou, would come to see me. Ling Liezhou was very sinister and deceitful.
Sometimes, the guards would use dirty words and force me to watch pornographic movies. A guard threatened me once, "If you were a woman, I would tear off your clothes and hang you from a tree. You would definitely be 'transformed!'" The guards forced me to watch videos and books defaming Falun Gong. I refuted them. They ordered criminals to read into my ears and forced me to write regular "reports of thoughts."
Once, I entered the guards' office without shouting, "Report." The guards ordered other inmates to take me out of the office and force me to squat down. I refused, so they then forced me to lie down on a cold concrete floor until the end of the day. Another day, I was ordered to watch a DVD program defaming Falun Gong. I refused to cooperate. The guards ordered other criminals to force me to watch it. During the struggle, my forehead was injured and bled. Another time, the guards came to the room to have a "conversation." They criticized the Master of Falun Gong. I said loudly, "Stop blaming our Master!" Two criminals grabbed my arms and lifted me up, which was extremely painful. Sometimes the guards poured water on me in order to insult me. Abuses similar to this were too many to describe.
Because of the pressure from the guards, the criminals in charge of monitoring me hated me very much. They even threatened to kill me in order to gain some personal benefits. However, whether good or evil, people are rewarded for whatever they've done. On January 1, 2005, two criminals in charge of monitoring me severely wounded another criminal. Thereafter, their jail sentences were extended and the leaders of the prison divisions were rearranged. After this incident, the 15th Division was on the list for bad performance. Therefore, the head of the 15th Division wanted even more for me to be "transformed" in order to gain his promotion.
Beginning in December 2004, the guards ordered the members of the "monitoring team" to wake me up every 10 minutes. Sometimes they removed my blanket during the cold winter nights. While I was sleeping, one member of the "monitoring team" often pressed my knee caps with his elbow and hurt me seriously. From the middle of March 2005, the guards had conversations with me throughout the evening in order to deprive me of sleep. I was forced to sit on a small stool inside the observation room and forced to watch programs or read books defaming Falun Gong. I was allowed to go back to my room around 5:40 a.m., ten minutes before the wake up time of 5:50 a.m. I could only sleep for several minutes a day. Sometimes, I could not sleep for even one minute. If I closed my eyes, the members of the "monitoring team" would wake me up. I was persecuted this way for an entire month. The guard claimed, "No matter what methods we use to treat Falun Gong, we are always legal," and, "Go ahead and sue us. The CCP governs China!"
Another practitioner, Zhuang Wenshu, was also jailed in the 15th Division. He had a Master's degree from the School of Water Resources and Hydropower of Wuhan University. He was the chairman of the Student Association and the vice president of the Graduate Student Association. After graduation, he worked for the Audit Bureau of Shenzhen City. He was sentenced to seven years in prison for spreading Falun Gong truth-clarifying materials during the 2000 China Hi-tech Fair in Shenzhen City. The guards tried to defeat Zhuang and me individually. They isolated me and let him "work" normally. Or, they transferred Zhuang Wenshu to another division and gave me the impression that he did not exist anymore.
I did not have any opportunity to meet with Zhuang Wenshu. The guards thought it would ruin their brainwashing to let two practitioners meet and encourage each other, so they completely isolated us. One morning, Zhuang Wenshu was in a line waiting to go to work. At that time, I was brought to the entrance, not far from his line. Zhuang Wenshu knew I was there. He stood up and turned toward me. And then he waved, smiled, and nodded to me. I also saluted him. By that time, I had been isolated for several months. I was severely short of sleep. The guards made very big efforts to create a false image for me that "only I still believed in Falun Gong and no one else in the whole world." However, all of this disappeared in the eye contact between Zhuang Wenshu and me. It is the power of belief. However, after this perfectly normal behavior, a prisoner reported Zhuang Wenshu to the guards, which caused him to be tortured beyond imagination.
3. Other incidents of persecution I witnessed in Sihui Prison
Practitioner Mr. Fan Chenyu from Hunan Province had been persecuted in a "strictly monitoring" environment for a long time. He was detained alone in a cell of two to three square meters. He had all his daily activity in the small cell. He was handcuffed and shackled all year long. The living conditions were very bad. He was allowed to buy some personal items and eat meat. Occasionally, the guards allowed him to come out to see the sunlight. The 610 Office personnel often ordered him to write so-called "thought reports." Mr. Fan formerly worked at a bank in Guangdong Province. Under such inhuman torture, his mind was badly harmed. Two years later, he was transferred to the "specific monitoring division." He had difficulty talking and his mental ability was quite reduced. Nonetheless, the guards had come to admire his strong faith in Dafa.
Liu Xifeng from northeast China was a teacher in Shenzhen City. He was once awarded the "Excellent Teacher of Shenzhen City" award. He was repeatedly arrested and sent to forced labor camps. In September 2002, he and his wife were arrested together. His wife was sent to a forced labor camp and tortured to death. Mr. Liu was sentenced to ten years of imprisonment. In December 2003, he was sent to Sihui Prison. Since he was held in the detention center, he had been on a hunger strike for a long time. He would not wear the prison uniform. He always shouted Fa-rectification words when a TV played programs to defame Falun Gong. He was shackled for a long time. As a result, he was very weak and almost lost his ability to walk. Even without shackles, he walked like a toddler or a bowlegged disabled person. Mr. Liu always refused to wear the prison uniform. The guards still forced him to work. He just wore white underclothing to work, which stood out among the blue prison uniforms.
Mr. Zhantai Dongdong is from Beijing. He worked at the Shenzhen Sculpture Creation Institute. When he was newly arrived at the Sihui Prison, he refused to wear a prison uniform. About a dozen guards beat him. Three of his ribs were broken and his private parts were injured. However, since he resisted the persecution with righteous thoughts, he fully recovered from all his wounds two months later. Mr. Zhantai almost lost his ability to speak due to the long-time confinement. Later on, he re-learned to speak with others' help.
Mr. Rao Chaoyuan from Guangdong Province and I were once detained at the same division. Around August 2002, his younger brother, Rao Zuoyuan, was tortured to death in the Guangzhou City First Forced Labor Camp. Because of the long-term persecution, one of Mr. Rao's legs is disabled, which makes him limp.
Beside the practitioners mentioned above, the following practitioners were or are still in Sihui Prison: Wu Shiyu, Zhou Xiaohui, Xu Shuhua, Mai Yuefa, Hu Guisheng, Liu Qingshen, Ding Xiangzhong, Hao Xuesen, Guo Hangzhou, Chen Wusheng and his two brothers, Guo Yue, Li Qiaosen, Hu Jianhua, Wang Yanfa, Yu Lian, Lin Qing, Lin Zhengui, Yan Jiabin, Zhang Yuanbo and his brother, Gao Dandi, Zhang Yucang, Sun Zhongwen, Wen Jianmin, Liang Xiaoyong, Lin Gang, Wu Yongjin and Yu Xinhui, and others.
Since June 2004, Sihui Prison officials have set up a "specific monitoring division" that focuses on "reforming" practitioners. As soon as a practitioner arrives at the prison, the entire arrival procedure is videotaped. The videotape is used to analyze the practitioner's characteristics. He also has to take "psychological tests." The guards use the test results to design tactics to torture them mentally.
In a word, Sihui Prison closely follows the 610 Office and Judiciary to brutally torture and "transform" detained practitioners.
4. Concluding remarks
On December 15, 2005, two guards from Sihui Prison escorted me out of the prison and put me on a train heading north. They transferred me to the Beijing 610 Office. They did not issue the release document to me in case I escaped on the way. For the first time in five years, I wore ordinary clothes and shoes. I saw the sky of "freedom," but I was under the watch of two guards. On the way, I had to endure their dirty words. An added irony was that on that night, I saw that the train cafeteria was decorated with plastic flowers we had made at the Zhuhai Detention Center.
In order to expose the persecution, I have to recall all the pain. However, words are limited. What's most painful is beyond language. At the most difficult moments, it was very hard to live through each second. I felt huge pressure to make it through every step. Finally, I walked out of the devil's den and came back to the free world.
The persecution described in this article is less than one part in ten thousand of the whole situation of the persecution in China.