Ms. Zhang Yijie Recounts Nine Years of Persecution
(Clearwisdom.net) Recently, I heard that the Minghui/Clearwisdom website was seeking reports on incidents of persecution. I recalled the harsh and painful memories of the past nine years and have sorted them out to the best of my knowledge, to serve as evidence of the Communist Party's ruthless persecution of Falun Gong.Nine years of severe trauma
My name is Zhang Yijie. I was born in Changchun, Jilin Province, and graduated from Jilin University in 1977. Following graduation, I became an official at the former Ministry of Foreign Trade and Economic Cooperation, which changed its name to the Ministry of Commerce. I have worked both at the Liaison Office of the Ministry of Foreign Economics and at the Ministry of Foreign Trade and Economic Cooperation. I was assigned the position of Second Secretary for Economic Affairs at the Chinese Embassy in Romania in the mid-1980s and held the position for a long time. After I returned to China, I was a deputy division chief and later division chief at the General Office of the Ministry of Commerce, among other official posts. I had a successful career and a wonderful family.
I began practicing Falun Gong at the end of 1994. My son and daughter were very bright and outstanding students--until the Communist Party destroyed everything.
Between July 1999 and April 2000, officials at the Ministry of Foreign Trade and Economic Cooperation constantly pressured me to renounce my belief, and to stay in line with central Party policies. They turned my husband against me. I explained how Falun Gong benefits people and society, and further, since freedom of belief was guaranteed by the Chinese Constitution, I would never give it up. Over an eight-month period they coaxed, warned, and eventually threatened that I would lose everything. I refused to give up my belief because I had done nothing wrong by being a good person who follows the upright principles of Falun Dafa. At the end of eight months I was expelled from the Party, removed from my position as Party secretary and division chief, and my salary was reduced to the level of a clerk.
I left the ministry and went to work at the International Business and Commerce Research Institute. My daily job duties consisted solely of filling the tanks with hot water, sweeping the floor, and getting the newspapers while being under constant surveillance. The situation deteriorated quickly. Between 2001 and 2008 I was illegally arrested and incarcerated seven times. I lived in exile in Shandong Province, Guangzhou City, and in foreign countries. I was held at custody centers, shelters, police departments, schools, brainwashing centers, and labor camps. I was savagely tortured because I refused to renounce my belief. I was locked in a metal cage and brutally force-fed. I was tied to a bed and injected with unknown drugs. Former Deputy Premier and head of the central 610 Office Li Lanqing instructed the officials to sentence me to 18 months of forced labor. I never gave up my belief in the labor camps, so they extended my sentence by ten months when the first sentence was about to expire.
The Party has spared no means to try to coerce Falun Gong practitioners to renounce their belief. While at the labor camp, I was several times held in solitary confinement, a small, dark room. The first time, they did not let me sleep for 18 days, and the second time I was forced to stand continuously for 42 days and nights, while guards, collaborators, and prostitutes, nine people altogether, took turns torturing me and attempted to coerce me to write a guarantee statement. I also sustained severe injury in my lower back and legs from beatings. But I was determined to persevere in my belief, no matter what happened.
The guards eventually ordered three drugs addicts (who were also prostitutes) and a criminal to again pressure me, but I refused to write anything. They made an all-out assault against me until there was no intact skin on my body. "Will you write it or not?" they kept screaming the whole time. I eventually lost consciousness, and they put me in an isolated place for 17 days, during which time I nursed my wounds.
I relied on righteous belief in Master and Dafa and endured endless, unspeakable abuse: complete isolation, drawn-out starvation, toilet use restriction, sleep deprivation, beatings, and psychological abuses too numerous to count, that left me with wounds and near-blindness in both eyes, and stunted speech. My black hair turned white. I was beyond recognition. Yet, I never did and will never bow to the regime's pressure, a regime that ignores human rights and the law.
After I left the labor camp and was once again employed, officials from my workplace and residential committee kept watching me. The officials said, "You are different from the others because you did not "reform"." When I went to work, security officers would follow me onto the bus. My office phone and home phone were tapped. They followed me everywhere, especially on so-called "sensitive days" [Party Congress and national holidays], when they would stay so close to me that it almost looked like they were my bodyguards. The security officers even put a table in the hallway outside my office at work and manned it, to watch me eight hours a day. I was not allowed to leave Beijing. My requests for leave of absence were always denied, and my holidays and vacations guaranteed under labor laws were canceled without explanation. I was stripped of bonuses, medical care, and raises. Two Beijing police officers pried my office desk open during the two Party congresses in March 2005 and searched it without a warrant.
My family had not lived a day in peace for several years. In order to spare my family the omnipresent harassment that followed me everywhere, even into my home, I applied for early retirement, but it was denied. The officials told me, "You didn't 'reform!' We can't let you stay home, because then we'll worry about [you going out and talking to people about Falun Gong], so you must come to work." They came to my home and repeatedly rushed me to go to work and even threatened to terminate the pitiful salary I had left.
I left home alone in September 2006 and went to Thailand. One month later Bo Xilai, then-Minister of Commerce, issued an official document in which he pronounced me fired, citing "impossibly stubborn, thereby creating a huge impact inside and outside China" as the reasons for his action.
I was granted United Nations asylum while in Thailand. In October 2007, the US government accepted me to live in the US after international NGOs and my relatives and friends had pleaded my case. Today, I am glad I have a chance to expose the Party's crimes against humanity to the world. I will use my personal experiences to expose the unprecedented brutal tortures and abuses that have taken place in China and continue to this day.My seven arrests
1. I went to the Beijing Appeals Bureau on July 21, 1999, to appeal for justice for Falun Gong after the persecution started. Armed police arrested me and took me to the Beijing Stadium from where they transferred me to a custody center in a suburban area. The next day they sent me to a city police department and later on to the local police station in my home district. Three days later, officials from my workplace escorted me home.
2. A year later, on May 12, 2000, I went to the Central Appeals Office on my own. Right after I uttered the words "Falun Gong," the police there immediately arrested and took me to the Chaoyang District Custody Center affiliated with the Beijing Police Department. I held a hunger strike there to protest the illegal detention. I saw how they killed Falun Gong practitioner Mei Yulan through savage force-feeding that caused massive internal bleeding. I went home on May 25, 2000.
3. Eight practitioners and I went to Tiananmen Square to appeal on June 22, 2000. The police arrested us and sent us to Division 13 of the Beijing Police Department that handles major criminal cases. I went on a hunger strike and was tied up and force-fed twice. They also injected me with unknown substances. I refused to give my name and was released on the ninth day of the hunger strike.
4. Local police arrested me from home on July 21, 2000, only because this was a "sensitive day." They locked me in a metal cage at the police department and then sent me to a vacant room at a school where two other practitioners were also held. The police and 20 other people watched me around the clock. I went home on the fourth day.
5. Plainclothes agents from Beijing Public Security Bureau arrested me early in the morning on January 3, 2001, right after I arrived at work. They put me in a car and drove me to a brainwashing center held at the Xinan Labor Camp, sponsored by the Office of the Party Working Committee, a central regime agency. I refused to "reform." They kept me in isolation from the first day, and many people attacked me on a daily basis. I went on a hunger strike to protest the brainwashing and said, "Falun Dafa is good! Truth-Compassion-Forbearance is good!"
On the ninth day I was taken to a hospital where they tried to give me an IV infusion, saying that I was suffering from kidney failure. I pulled the needle out and drained the drug from the IV bottle. Agents from the 610 Office had a policy that "Falun Gong practitioners should not be released if they do not 'reform;' instead, they should be kept in labor camps and transferred to brainwashing centers and back to labor camps if they still persist." My determination and my family's visits helped loosen me from their iron grip.
I went to Changchun to celebrate the 2001 Chinese New Year with my relatives, and the police followed me home. They even demanded a 4,500-yuan "monitoring fee." I did not want them to harass my relatives, but I could not return to Beijing because the same persecution awaited me, so I went south to Shandong and later to Guangzhou.
6. I was shopping with a fellow practitioner in Guangzhou on March 15, 2001, when plainclothes agents suddenly appeared and arrested me. They held me in the Tianpingjia Custody Center in Guangzhou for 45 days and found my name and address. The Guangzhou police hastily sent me to the Guangzhou City Legal Education School, a brainwashing center.
7. Three officials from the Beijing Police Department came to the Guangzhou Legal Education School around May 10, 2001, and flew me back to Beijing. They sent me to the Paoju Custody Center in Beijing where I was held for a month. They never stopped prodding me to renounce my belief. In the end they said, "You have to 'reform,' or we'll send you to a labor camp." I confronted them regarding their ignorance of state laws, which protect freedom of belief. A month later, in June 2001, Li Lanqing, then Deputy-Premier again instructed officials to sentence me to 18 months of forced labor. The sentence was later extended by 10 months.
Below is a summary of the harassment and abuses I have personally experienced.
Record of harassment and abuses
- At first I was not allowed to write letters. Over a period of two years and four months, I was only allowed to write three letters to my husband and children.
- My family was allowed to visit me only a few times.
- I was allowed to make only two phone calls over 28 months.
- They ordered me to speak when I had been forced to stay awake for an extended period of time, and when I said something wrong they told me, "You are under our control, and you have lost your mind. If you don't 'reform,' you'll end up a schizophrenic."
- I was held in complete isolation for 28 months, during which time I had no one to speak to. When I was occasionally let out of my cell, they would not let me talk to anyone, and they would not let anyone talk to me. They would not let me participate in any activity with other people, including meals and morning exercises. They tried to destroy my willpower through alienation.
- I was not allowed to read books of my choosing or to write letters, but I was forced to read and watch slanderous propaganda they had fabricated against Falun Gong. They tried to make me write "reviews" after reading those vicious texts, and when I refused, they would resort to torture.
- They tore my clothing and searched under my bedding. They took my money and personal items.
- They coerced my husband to file for divorce and tried to turn my family against me.
- They lied to me and said my husband had an affair and that my marriage was over.
- They said my belief would negatively affect the future of my husband and my two children, in an attempt to make me "reform."
- They threatened to send me into exile in the northwest, where I would live away from civilization.
- They attacked me verbally around the clock and would not allow any breaks or moments of respite.
- After curfew, they woke up all 130 detainees in the division and forced them to stand in front of me. The detainees got angry and turned on me. They attacked me and tried to coerce me to "reform."
- They took slips of paper on which vulgarities had been written and taped them to my face and body.
- They forced me to sit upright all day long while looking straight ahead without the slightest movement. When I got tired, they claimed I was "mentally deranged" and had "animal possession."
- They did not allow me take a shower or wash my clothes for a long time.
- They did not let me purchase any daily necessities.
- They did not allow me to use toilet paper when I used the restroom.
- They forced me to kneel on the floor when I got my food. I had to fold my arms, lower my head, and stomp my feet when I walked.
- I was incarcerated in a room equipped with surveillance cameras and taping devices. Four prostitutes and drug addicts followed me 24 hours a day.
- They extended my sentence by ten months because I refused to "reform."
- My family in Beijing and relatives in Changchun were persecuted for my belief.
- They strip-searched me.
- They had the prostitutes verbally assault me with the filthiest words. They not only castigated me but also Master and Falun Dafa.
- A list of physical torments
- Force-feeding in Division 13 of Beijing Police Department
- Countless brutal beatings
- "Riding an Airplane" (forced to hold the painful position of bending over while stretching both arms out to the sides)
- Injected with unknown drugs
- Forced ingestion of drugs
- I was handcuffed with my arms behind my back for a long time
- Forced to stand for extended periods of time
- Forced physical examination following police beating at a hospital
- Sitting on a wooden board or a small stool while reciting labor camp policies
- Forced to run at night in the snow after long-time sleep deprivation and starvation
- I was given only a small corn bun and several vegetable leaves for each meal
- I was often not given any water at all for days at a time. They would not even let me drink the water from the restroom pipe.
- They often refused to let me use the restroom for 12 hours, a whole day, or even several days at a time, and used my "reform" as a precondition for restroom access.
- I was only allowed to sleep two hours a day, during the time I was held in Group Drill Division. I was allowed to sleep for four hours a day at most.
- They slapped my face trying to coerce me to write a "guarantee statement".
- They hit my head with the soles of their shoes.
- Two collaborators stepped on my knees while a third person grabbed my shoulders and forced me to bend over. This torture caused me lower back and knee injuries.
- They grabbed my arms and wrung them back while rapidly lifting them. This caused dislocated elbows and excruciating pain.
- They forced me to kneel on the floor and put my head on the ground between my knees.
- They forced me to put my arms around my head and bury my head between my legs in the sweltering heat.
- Standing all night
- "Military drills" in the heat of summer
- Once, after several days of not being allowed to use the restroom, I finally lost control of my bladder and soaked my pants, urine pouring out onto the floor. They knocked me down and dragged me back and forth in the pool of urine, saying they were using me as a mop.
- They put me upside down.
- They forced me to stand in a military posture with my head upright and eyes staring straight ahead.
- They had a man weighing more than 250 lbs sit on my stomach while moving back and forth. They called it "the human chair."
- They poured cold water on me in a cold winter, and when I fell asleep, another bucket of cold water was poured on me. I shivered in my icy clothes but the guards refused to let me change.
- They hit me with acrobatics instruction baton.
- They drew a small circle around my feet on the floor and forced me to stand inside it for a long time.
- Several collaborators and prostitutes attacked me by grabbing my head and holding my hand to write a guarantee statement. They stuffed my mouth with a dirty mop so I could not cry out.
- Once they did not let me sleep for 18 days and nights, during which time I was forced to sit on a small wooden stool. Another time they forced me to stand up and stay awake for 42 days and nights while they tortured me incessantly.
- They forced me to clean the toilet, remove garbage, dig tree holes, carry heavy boxes, and clean the cells. In addition, I was forced to knit gloves, sweaters, hats, scarves, and mats, wrap chopsticks, glue slippers, and make crafts.
- They forced more people to sleep on the same hardboard bed than there was space, so that if one person made a small movement, a whole row of people had to squeeze and make room for her.
- Once, I was forced to wash hundreds of clothes, including those of scabies patients. Scabies is contagious.
- They threw open the window in the summer to let the bugs and mosquitoes bite me, and they threw me outside in the winter.
- They wrapped my head in a quilt in the middle of the night and screamed at me to write guarantee statements, at the same time sadistically kicking my private areas.
- They ordered prostitutes carrying Hepatitis B and C watch me and stay close to me 24/7.
- They instructed four prostitutes to beat me until I lost consciousness. Then they locked me in a secret room for 17 days while I recovered.
- They tried to suffocate me at a brainwashing center in a suburban labor camp near Beijing.
- I was tortured to near blindness after extended torture, malnutrition, sleep deprivation, and overwork. For a while, I could not see someone standing a foot in front of me.