A Non-practitioner: Inside Stories about the Hewan Forced Labor Camp's Persecution against Falun Gong Practitioners
November 15, 2003
I was sent to Wuhan City Hewan Forced Labor Camp's Second Grand Team for theft. My hometown is not Wuhan. My term was one year and 6 months. Because I behaved well, I was released 4 months earlier. Not long after arriving at the Hewan Labor Camp's Second Grand Team, I was assigned to the First Unit as an informant, and my assignment was to monitor every single move of Falun Gong practitioners. At that time, Han Liulong (head of the Second Grand Team), Chen Yong (vice head of the Second Grand Team), and Lei Changwen (vice head of the Second Grand Team) focused their job on how to control Falun Gong practitioners. Head of the First Unit, Li Jing, frequently called the informants together to meet, and told us not to speak with Falun Gong practitioners, not to let them have any activities, and write down their status in detail in notebooks everyday. He also implied that if Falun Gong practitioners "made trouble," we could get away with "overdoing it" and our terms would be affected if we did not. "Overdoing it" meant that we could beat them up, and "our terms will be affected" meant that our terms in the labor camp would be increased.
I am from a remote mountainous area. My family is very poor and my parents could not afford to buy me any term deduction (prisoners can get one-month deduction if they pay 1,000 Yuan [500 Yuan is the average monthly income for an urban worker in China.], calling tuition for learning hairdressing or computer skills). Grand team and Unit authorities often lectured us informants that as long as we followed them and did what they said, we were in accordance with the government and would get our terms reduced. Those who did well could get an extra 5-day deduction per month, and "outstanding" ones can even get one month or two months deducted. I am from a low-income family so such a favorable deal is very tempting to me. Vice head of the Second Grand Team, Lei Changwen told us to report Falun Gong practitioners' "disobedient behavior" to him and he would write down the number of times that each one of us reported as a voucher for term deductions. So I had to side with the perpetrators and join the persecution of Falun Gong against my conscience. The promise of term deduction was not simply an option; it was either comply with the persecution or be persecuted. The following are three things that impressed me most.
There were about 120 Falun Gong practitioners detained in the Second Grand Team at that time. Early last year, some of them started hunger strikes to protest the persecution. Gradually more and more joined and eventually about 80% were on hunger strike. The practitioners who first started were from our First Unit. As the large-scale hunger strike went on, although Grand Team heads and policemen seemed to be calm on the surface, but they were all full of anxiety. As soon as someone started a hunger strike, we would feed him some food by force. I became the main perpetrator of forced feeding and did this from 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. One day at noon in mid April 2002, we were feeding a Falun Gong practitioner in his 50's. That day a very brutal policeman Gao Junan was on duty. He held a centimeter-wide bamboo stick and kept saying, "Anyway persecuting Falun Gong (practitioners) doesn't break any law. They can't even sue me since the government ordered that no Falun Gong cases will be accepted." He asked us to pull the elderly Falun Gong practitioner's head, arms and legs in five directions so that he could feed him by force. He thrust a tube in his throat, pulled it out, thrust it in again, pulled it out again, and repeated like that again and again. His excuse was he didn't inserted the tube right. He was satisfied only when he saw blood on the tube. After the elderly Falun Gong practitioner was stuffed with 100-milliliters of rice paste, Gao Junan asked us to beat him. However, none of us moved, not only because of the Falun Gong practitioner's age, but also because he had earned our respect as he was a truly courageous man who didn't even blink his eyes when brutally tortured. Seeing us disobeying his order, Gao Junan was furious and whipped two of us with the bamboo stick. Gao Junan then started to beat that elderly Falun Gong practitioner by himself. He put his hands on the practitioner's lower back, and shoved his fingers in very hard in order to damage his kidneys. He tortured the elderly practitioner for at least 15 minutes. That still didn't calm his anger, and he ordered us to pin the elderly practitioner to the ground so he could sit on his legs and shoved his underarms with all his strength. Gao Junan didn't stop until his shirt was soaked with sweat. After a long time, the elderly practitioner slowly got up from the ground. Gao Junan asked us exaltedly, "Did anyone see me beating him?" How could we dare speak the truth, given that we could also get beaten up by one or more policemen? We had to say no. Gao Junan exaltedly said, "That is right. Our Communist Party's police don't beat people."
One day in early July 2002, policeman Li Jing was the orderly officer in charge of forced feeding on that day. He required us to make paste from 2 or 3 cloves of garlic, half of a cucumber, 3 pieces of cabbage and some water and that was the amount for one person. One of us said that Falun Gong practitioners could not stand that since their stomachs were empty. But Li Jing shouted out ferociously, "They deserve that. Even if it kills them, it doesn't matter." None of us dared to speak out. Li Jing made a subtle threat that we had to follow his orders "or else," and then left. The first one coming in was a young man in his 20's. After feeding, he held his stomach with his hands, and could not stand up nor sit down. His face turned pale with pea size sweat beads on his face and head. Seeing him suffering like that, my heart started to melt and I started to regret getting on this "pirate ship" (meaning the group of perpetrators) and becoming a brutal hangman in the persecution of Falun Gong. I started to calm down and reflect. Comparing the reality with the government's self-compliment that it rules the country by law and its propaganda that human rights situation today in Communist Party ruled China is the best in history, I felt the humiliation of being cheated.
There are three places in the Second Grand Team used to torture Falun Gong practitioners: the backyard, psychotherapy room, and civil administration committee's office. They easily took Falun Gong practitioners to these 3 places, covered them with a coat or quilt cover, and beat them up without rhyme or reason. After the beatings, the practitioners were dragged to isolated cells, information was blocked and we were not allowed to leak the news to other Falun Gong practitioners. Policemen who instigated us to beat practitioners included Zhang Yi, Zhang Lei, Zhang Hao and Gao Junan. Sometimes they didn't do it by themselves, and sometimes they did. Li Jing was snakier than others, as he would only suggest that we beat them, saying we would be "sorry" if we did not, and then he left.
One day, Li Jing was on duty again. He wanted us not only to follow his cruel force-feeding method as the last time, but also to add pepper powder. This was even more malevolent than last time. I couldn't stand to look at the miserable scene and shouted out within myself, "Falun Gong practitioners, please quit the hunger strike." When Li Jing didn't notice me, I sneaked out of the civil administration committee's office.
We were compelled to commit these wrong deeds. During the time Han Liulong, Chen Yong, and Lei Changwen were very busy, and met very often to study how to deal with current actions of Falun Gong. What they are afraid the most is their persecution of Falun Gong practitioners being exposed. Especially Han Liulong, whenever Clearwisdom.net reported crimes of Hewan Labor Camp Second Grand Team police, he would deny the charges and the exposed names by all means. But it is always this kind of person who gets awards from higher-up.
During the ten months when I was in the Hewan Labor Camp Second Grand Team, scenes of Falun Gong practitioners being tortured made my heart flutter with fear. We all knew very clearly about Falun Gong practitioners' situation, but none of us dared to say a word. At that time, I had a wish: after I left there I would find a Falun Gong practitioner who has internet access, and expose to the world about how Chinese government treats Falun Gong practitioners and let all conscionable people in the world know China's justice and human rights situation today.