(Clearwisdom.net) I was shocked to learn recently that Xu Xiuju, who used to work for the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China in the Mine Area of Shijiazhuang City, Hebei Province, left her home suddenly in the middle of June. She had become mentally traumatized from being subjected to repeated brainwashing sessions during her sentence at the forced labor camp. Her friends and family are very concerned about her as she left without carrying any money during such a hot summer. She has been missing for almost one month and we are very concerned for her safety.

I am a classmate of Xiuju's and have had a very good relationship with her. She is a very friendly person and a little shy. She always worked very diligently in the bank. After her marriage, she was very resourceful and frugal in managing the household. Those who knew her well and seen she was not very happy. Her husband subjected her to severe domestic violence, which she endured for the sake of her child.

I remembered that she found me around 2000. She told me that she had started practicing Falun Gong and how good Falun Gong was. During the conversation I noticed that her temperament had become much more cheerful. She was able to tolerate her husband and mother-in-law, and she did not compete for personal interest with others. A smile had reappeared on her face. I could see that her life was full of happiness and promise. One time when she met me she told me that her husband was not happy about her practicing Falun Gong. Fearing the situation then, he often found excuses to get angry with her. He tried all kinds of methods to prevent her from practicing Falun Gong and beat and swore at her. One day he became so exasperated that he tore up her Falun Gong book. She told him, "This is not a good thing to do for your future. You should never destroy the book." He did not listen to her words. He kept beating and verbally abusing her for over two hours, as if he were insane. She had no way out but to go to her mother's home in the middle of the night and stay the night there. The next morning she was afraid that her husband's uncontrollable rage might exacerbate his high blood pressures. Upon her return the next day, Xiuju found her husband lying on the floor, partially paralyzed and unable to speak after suffering a stroke.

In the summer of 2000, Xiuju went to Beijing to appeal for Falun Gong. Later she was detained in the detention center in the mine area. Her employer's supervisor from the Industrial and Commercial Bank went to talk to her many times. This person had told her that the top government officials had given a quota allowing two persons to retire early and that the bank would not continue to sign an employment contract with her, even if she refused to retire early. The bank's director then was Ma Xinke and the deputy director was Zhang Yu. Xiuju had no choice but to retire early and took an early retirement settlement amount of over 70,000 Yuan.

Her mother-in-law was afraid that Xiuju, who was still young, would divorce her partially paralyzed son. To show good faith, that she was faithful to and cared about her family, her husband and mother-in-law, she handed all the family savings and her retirement money of over 70,000 Yuan to her husband. Every day, she led her husband outside and helped him to exercise. She also washed his face and feet every day, taking meticulous care of him. Nevertheless, her mother-in-law and husband still held grudges against her and complained that she lost her job for practicing Falun Gong and thus lost the family means of support. They often spoke sarcastically about her. While all this was going on, she was eager to find a job, but no employers would dare to hire her once they knew she was a Falun Gong practitioner.

People from the police department, the police station and from the Industrial and Commercial Bank often came to harass her and try to get her to renounce her belief. Although she already had no longer anything to do with her employer, bank director Ma Xinke still ordered someone to monitor her and her personal freedom was greatly restricted. Faced with these various unfair treatments, she had no choice but again to exercise her constitutional right to appeal against the injustice.

Police and her former employer escorted Xiuju again back to the detention center in the mine area. According to an insider, she was tied to a bed with arms shackled in an outstretched position for staging a hunger strike. She was not permitted to move at all for several days. The torture made her lose control of her bladder and bowel functions but she was not permitted to use the toliet. The authorities categorized her case as a "severe and special case." Mei Shijun, an associate police chief in the mine area and the "610 Office"(1) kept a very close watch on her (According to inside sources, Mei was actively persecuted Xiuju, including ordering that her home be ransacked and that she be arrested). Xiuju's elderly father, who was very worried about his daughter, kneeled down to beg a bank manager to help his daughter. However, during her detention in the center, which lasted over one month her family members and even her ten-year old daughter were not permitted to see her. Later, the authorities fabricated some groundless charges and sentenced her to two years in a labor camp. The police department and the bank dispatched a special vehicle to send her to the Shijiazhuang City Labor Camp.

The persecution was still far from over. After she was sent to the labor camp, the labor camp staff members said confidently, "Don't worry. She will be reformed [i.e., brainwashed] within three days." During the past two to three years she had experienced her home being ransacked, arrest and detention, loss of her job, family disaster and constant pressure from the authorities, yet, she never renounced her belief. However, a little after 6:00 a.m. the day after she was sent to the Shijiazhuang City Labor Camp she called her family and told them, "I stopped practicing Falun Gong." There were also other noises in the background of her phone call. We have no way of knowing what she had experienced that night in the labor camp.

Later, she sent letters to the concerned departments of the mine area, to her family members and friends, which renounced Falun Gong. She was heard renouncing Falun Gong during the exposing-criticizing meeting in front of the entire labor camp. However, soon after that, she no longer wanted to trample her conscience, and she publicly announced to the labor camp authorities that the things she had said against Falun Gong in the past were due to the torture she had been subjected to and that what she had said and written against Falun Gong was invalid and void.

Her actions exasperated the labor camp guards. So what followed was even harsher measures of torture against her. She was sent to the Tangshan City Labor Camp, which was reported to have a "high reformation rate and speed," and a continuous brainwashing program. It is still unknown exactly what Xiuju experienced during her detention in the Tangshan City Labor Camp. While in labor camp she became mentally disoriented and suffered a complete mental collapse from the trauma she received. Being afraid of being held responsible for her condition, which continued to deteriorate, the labor camp informed the mine area police department and the bank management to take her back. People from the bank refused to take responsibility for Xiuju and claimed that was no longer working for the Bank. When she was first sent to the labor camp, the bank managers stated that they were "extremely responsible" for Xiuju. When her life was in great danger that was when the bank evaded their "extreme responsibility". In her poor condition and due to the Bank refusing to accept her release, Xiuju had to remain at the labor camp until her sentence was finished in 2003.

Upon her release, Xiuju was sent back to her mother's home. When I saw her again, she had become very thin and pallid. Her eyes were dull and showed panic and fear. She cried and laughed irrationally. Someone had to take care of her all the time. Witnessing that their daughter had been tortured to such a poor mental condition, her elderly parents were very upset and went everywhere to appeal, but no one would help them. Her elderly parents had no choice but to borrow money to get medical treatment for her. Through the medical treatment and the care of her parents and sisters, her condition bgan to improve. Her father passed away due to the excessive sorrow and worry over the past few years, and her mother's hair turned gray. The worry for their daughter who was tortured until she suffered a mental collapse, had a partially paralyzed husband, no income and a young child who had to attend school, was a great burden for them.

Her father's passing away made her condition worse. Her mother-in-law also requested that she be compensated for helping taking care of Xiuju and her disabled husband. Her daughter, who had not seen her for two years, also complained that she had not taken care of the family. Having not fully recovered from her trauma, Xiuju had to face all these difficulties. She saw her elderly mother whose hair had become gray and her partially paralyzed husband who was still cold toward her. She could not find a job and settle her life. Where were the government, the police department, the bank, and the neighborhood committee, all of which had once "cared" about her very much? She could do nothing but silently cry and talk to herself. She became desperate from the pressure and began to act irrationally again. Later she cut off her beautiful hair. In the middle of June she rode off on a bicycle and left home. She has not been seen since.

I could not write this account without crying from the injustice, cruelty, and indifference that the responsible parties have displayed toward a kind person. Over several years, Xiuju kept enduring the persecution against her. She was tortured to such a state, simply because she exercised her constitutional right of freedom of belief and to appeal. Her family, job situation and life was put into such terrible state.

A classmate of Xiuju

July 10, 2004

Chinese version available

Category: Accounts of Persecution