"Sleep Torture" in China's Detention Centers
(Clearwisdom.net) I was held several times in the Changchun No. 1 Detention Center for clarifying the facts about Falun Gong and the persecution. One of the tactics officials in these detention centers use on detainees, including Falun Gong practitioners, is "sleep torture."
According to detention center regulations, a 25-watt light bulb in each cell stays lit 24 hours a day. Detainees are ordered to go to bed at 7:00 p.m. and get up at 7:00 a.m.
One key element of "sleep torture" is packing the inmates together tightly. Detainees are only permitted to wear their shorts and are compelled to lie on their sides, each one holding the ankles of the person in front him. This means that each person has someone else's feet on either side of his head. When the cell heads are still not satisfied, they hit the detainees with their shoes and kick them hard while yelling out, "Get moving and get closer!" Once I was made to lie down close to an inmate who had a festering sore the size of a pigeon egg on the back of his leg. It is common for inmates to develop scabies or contagious skin diseases in China's detention centers. On another occasion, we were squeezed so tightly together that I had a bad pain in my ribs for days. The inmates would often end up fighting with one another for space. If someone needed to go to the toilet during the night (with permission from the guards), he would find it nearly impossible to squeeze back into his original place.
After we are packed into these positions, four or five of us would have to share one quilt, using a second one as our mattress underneath. These quilts have not been washed for a long time. They are extremely filthy, and the cotton padding is threadbare in many places. Lice are crawling all over these quilts.
There are mosquitoes in the detention center all year round. Some cell heads order others to drive off the mosquitoes while they sleep. If the cell heads get bitten, they would beat people violently.
When we were asleep, our feet and ankles were always exposed. We often caught colds and had pain in the abdominal area. If you happened to lie down where two quilts were supposed to connect, then you would no doubt be cold. Ordinary detainees had to sleep while packed against each other, while the cell heads each had a one-meter-wide space, and each of them had two to four layers of quilts. The quilts they used were warm and clean. There were usually five to six such cell heads in each cell.
After the detainees were packed in, they often still could not fall asleep right away because of hunger pangs. The small corn flour steamed buns and the tiny bit of vegetable soup with hardly any cooking oil in it had long been digested. In addition, the five or six cell heads would sit around and enjoy a hearty meal. They would eat and chat loudly until after midnight, and only then could people have some quiet.
Close to 6:00 a.m. when people were still sleeping, the person on duty would yell, "Get up!" Then everyone had to quickly get up, pick up their clothes that had been rolled up to serve as a pillow, jump up, and then squat. Two people on duty would then fold up the quilts. The cell heads could sleep for another hour.
Sometimes during the night when people were asleep, the metal door would make noise. Whenever this happened, the cell heads would become excited, as they knew a new detainee had arrived for them to abuse.
Generally, the newcomer would be ordered to strip naked to check for contraband, even though he had already been checked a number of times earlier. Then the cell heads would pull the newcomer to the toilet and pour several basins of cold water on him. This was done regardless of the season. Afterwards, the heads would beat the newcomer violently before ordering him to squeeze into the middle of the tightly packed people on the floor.
Some detainees had connections who had secured good treatment for them. The guards would tell the cell heads to leave these people alone, while normal detainees were beaten without mercy, under the guards' full knowledge.
Sometimes, the guards would be told to try to get confessions from detainees. In such cases, the guard would call the cell heads to his office to give them instructions before he left his shift. At around 7:00 p.m. the cell would turn into a violent interrogation room. Some victims had their heads bashed against a wall; some had their eyeballs flicked forcefully; others were violently kicked in the back; some were deprived of sleep throughout the night and then forced to bend over, with the backs of their heads against a wall and their arms stretched out to the sides.
Because the Falun Gong practitioners had clarified the facts, most inmates who had learned the facts would not do such cruel things to practitioners. They knew that the practitioners did not commit any crimes, and that the guards tortured the practitioners many times more brutally than themselves.
When I was detained there the first time, the police from the No.1 division of the city police department colluded with detention center officials and tried to use the criminals to make me talk. However, because the cell head knew about Falun Gong, he did not hurt me and even shared his food with me. When we were forced to sit on a bench, he asked me to sit in front of him and passed me a newspaper to read after he had finished with it. When it was time to sleep, he asked me to sleep in a special place. Later on, many inmates became respectful of Falun Gong practitioners, saying that they would also start practicing Falun Gong after they were released. During the day, when I sat on a bench, some of them near me learned how to do sitting meditation.
When I was detained there the second, third, and fourth times, I was covered with injuries from torture. The fourth time I was detained there, I was bleeding from severe injuries, which even shocked the cell heads. They said, "The guards would not torture even a murderer like this." "We are all from Changchun. Don't they care how they would feel when they bump into you again in the future?" "When I get out and do big things, I will employ Falun Gong practitioners. They are capable, sincere, and honest." Some inmates simply shouted, "Falun Dafa is great!" Each time I was detained, there were inmates who learned to recite Master's poems from Hong Yin.
When I was brought in one night, a cell head ordered me to squeeze into the middle of the packed inmates. He asked about the injuries on my hands and legs and said viciously that he would "deal with me" the next day. The next day, when he saw me on a hunger strike, he came up and beat me violently. When I had difficulty walking, he said that I was putting on a show and began beating me and pulling me along. He physically abused me for a few days. When he saw that he could not get me to change my mind, he changed his tactics, telling other inmates to kneel down to feed me milk made from powder.
Later, the police dispatched a special agent. He was just over 20 years old and looked rather good-natured. When it was time to sleep, the cell head arranged for the two of us to sleep near him so that we would have more room. We were also allowed to chat freely. For the next few days I conducted myself well and did not fall into their trap. I could tell that he was a police agent, and he could not get anything from me. Instead, I took the opportunity to clarify the facts to him. It went on like this for several days. Gradually he lost patience and left.
The second time I was detained there, I was force-fed with corn paste mixed with a large amount of salt. Five inmates did this under instructions from the guards. I almost choked to death during the process.
Using criminal detainees to persecute Falun Gong practitioners is just one of the CCP's tactics. Especially during the night when the guards have gone home and there are only a few on duty, the criminal inmates are even more vicious in carrying out their persecution.