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My Experiences in Tianhe Detention Center in Guangzhou and Songjiang Women's Prison in Shanghai

January 17, 2008 |   By a practitioner from Shanghai

(Clearwisdom.net) I started to practice Falun Gong in 1997. After practicing Falun Gong, my serious arthritis went away and my weak constitution became strong. I enlightened to many cultivation truths and realized the true purpose of life.

In July, 1999, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and Chinese government started the persecution of Falun Gong and arrested practitioners everywhere. The following is an account of the persecution I experienced at the hands of the CCP.

I. Detained illegally in Tianhe Detention Center in Guangzhou

At the end of 1999, many Falun Gong practitioners and I went to Tianhe Park in Guangzhou and sat on a lawn for Fa study. We were suddenly encircled by police who claimed that Falun Gong practitioners couldn't study the Fa openly. I was illegally detained in Tianhe Detention Center, under the charge of "disrupting social order."

1. Working as a slave laborer

At the detention center, we were forced to make different kinds of dried flowers and plastic flowers for export. My fingers were often pierced and bled and I would be punctured again repeatedly before the wounds had a chance to scab over. All of my fingers were covered with bloody cuts. We were only allowed two meals that consisted of porridge and wilted, old vegetables cooked in water without any salt. There was lots of sand at the bottom of the bowl.

2. Beaten and force-fed

At that time we Falun Gong practitioners got up very early to practice the Falun Gong exercises. Some of us were handcuffed and beaten as a result. An older auntie had been struck until her legs were black and blue and she could hardly squat. Many Falun Gong practitioners went on a hunger strike to protest the persecution. A guard (a section chief) and a group of male prisoners broke in and force-fed Falun Gong practitioners, including practitioners Wang Hua and Zhang Chunmei. They put half a kilogram of salt into a cup of cold water. With seven or eight strong male prisoners pinning down a practitioner and prying their teeth apart, they force-fed the practitioner with the salt water. Afterward, the practitioner's teeth might be loose or chipped and their lips torn. The practitioner often spit out or vomited blood. Stepping on a practitioner's feet, a guard said with a vicious grin on his face: "This is to benefit you. We are feeding you salt water for your sake." A male practitioner named Gao Xianmin who studied the Fa with us at Tianhe Park choked to death while being force-fed with salt water like this.

Since I was a good worker and highly regarded in my career, my company leader wanted to rescue me as early as possible. They turned to an official at the Public Security Department in Guangdong Province through an acquaintance and asked him to help with my release. The official said, "Even if the person is a murderer, I have ways to help. But for a Falun Gong practitioner, I can do nothing. "

Under the CCP's lies, the people were blinded. Even my own family was afraid that I would commit suicide in Beijing because the CCP told the lie that Falun Gong practitioners would commit suicide together at Xiangshan [Fragrant Hill Park]. They even phoned the public security department and ordered them to arrest me.

II. Arrested by the 610 Office and persecuted in Songjiang Women's Prison in Shanghai

Not long after, I was arrested by the 610 Office in Shanghai and they interrogated me for three days straight, not allowing me to sleep. Afterwards I was sentenced to prison and was sent to Songjiang Women's Prison in Shanghai.

In court I pleaded with the judge to investigate the cases reported in our fliers of practitioners being persecuted to death, but the judge dared not respond. I was told later that they never carried out any juridical investigation or listened to any practitioner's defense but simply determined the prison term according to how many fliers a practitioner had distributed. I knew that a Falun Gong practitioner in Songjiang Women's Prison in Shanghai was sentenced to ten years in prison because she distributed more than a thousand fliers. She held a master's degree, and now her youth would be spent in prison even though she had committed no crime.

1. Forced labor

In Songjiang Women's Prison in Shanghai, I was first forced to do various kinds of work, making pants, miniature British national flags, knitting sweaters, sewing Korean clothes, doll clothes, coverlets, covers for quilts, small cotton mats, etc. The guards' bonus is directly connected with our production profit, so prisoners become their tools for making a profit. Each prisoner has a production quota and must fulfill it in the stipulated time. If the quota isn't met, the prisoner would be punished by having to copy the rules of the prison all night, put in isolation or forced to do aerobic exercises under the burning sun, prohibited from buying some of the relatively better food items, restricted in buying commodities, not be allowed to take a bath, etc.

We were only allowed several minutes to have a meal. After the meal, we had to resume our work immediately. At bedtime, we still had lots of work to do. But the lights were turned off and we had to work under dull lamplight. The prison officials claim that prisoners only work for eight hours per day but in fact, prisoners work over 16 hours or even overnight. I sometimes fell asleep while working, standing or eating. If someone stays too long in the restroom, people outside might knock on the door loudly, thinking the person inside the restroom might have fallen asleep. Many people developed hypertension, spondylitis and their eyesight deteriorated. They are afraid of being exposed to light and their eyes water easily, and they could hardly stand because of backache.

2. Inmates assigned to monitor and abuse practitioners

Besides the forced labor mentioned above, the guards also assigned several inmates to monitor each Falun Gong practitioner. We had less freedom than that of ordinary prisoners. No matter where we went, we were always followed by two people. They ordered us to write a report for them every day and arranged for us to be on duty at night. The assigned inmates followed us everywhere, tried to prevent us from practicing Falun Gong, from talking with others or being spoken to. In fact, all the prisoners watched us as ordered by the guards so that they might be released earlier as a reward.

If practitioners did the exercises, they would be tortured, such as being shocked with an electric baton, confined in a small dark room or forced to wear very small tight clothes, etc.

3. Spiritual persecution--intensive brainwashing

As I persisted in practicing Falun Gong, I was transferred to a special group for intensive brainwashing.

At that time there was a No. 5 Division which was more like a brainwashing center in Songjiang Women's Prison in Shanghai. They tried to force Falun Gong practitioners to give up their belief in Falun Gong through all kinds of deceitful and abusive methods.

While there I was kept in a separate room, watched 24 hours a day by three or four assigned inmates who were first trained by CCP personnel. The inmates would often investigate everything about a particular practitioner, recording information about her character, hobbies, thought patterns, menstrual cycle, every movement, even whether or not she turns over during sleep. They would then discuss the recorded data with prison guards and the education captain so as to pinpoint some weak points through which to lure practitioners away from their belief in Falun Gong.

The most common way is the "implication and alienation" method. For example, if Falun Gong practitioners persisted in their belief and refused to be "transformed", guards would punish all inmates by making them stand for long periods, do aerobic exercises, or subject them to sleep deprivation, or other punishment. Whatever ways Falun Gong practitioners were punished, all inmates were punished in the same way. They used this method to incite hatred on the part of the inmates toward Falun Gong practitioners.

Every day practitioners are required to "study" brainwashing materials, with no sleep or little sleep, and the inmates constantly force Falun Gong practitioners to watch videos slandering Falun Gong. After that, practitioners are forced to discuss it. The assigned inmates would hurl curses at Falun Gong and try to force us to give up cultivation and write a "repentance letter."

They said abusive things and broadcast audio recordings that slandered Falun Gong at various times throughout the day. They tried to humiliate those who refused to be "transformed" by forbidding them to take a bath and then accusing them of being filthy and mentally ill.

They staged all kinds of activities so as to "transform" us, such as "law" lectures, "mental health" lectures, "The Same Song" singing competition and other performances paying tribute to the CCP. They also subjected us to various "criticism" meetings.

It was hard to stay sane under the long-term mental and physical torture. Many Falun Gong practitioners, including me, were deceived into writing a guarantee statement. That was really a shame and agony for me, which traumatized me greatly. After my release, I made a solemn statement on the Minghui/Clearwisdom website to declare that all words and deeds affronting Dafa under the persecution of the CCP were null and void.

III. Blood test and physical examination

In 2003, all Falun Gong practitioners in the prison were made to undergo blood tests, even those confined in the guardhouse. Once there was a large vehicle for medical treatment driven into the prison. All Falun Gong practitioners were forced to get in the vehicle and stand before the equipment, with all body organs being inspected, but other prisoners weren't examined at all. At that time we didn't realize what this meant until the CCP's crime of harvesting Falun Gong practitioners' organs was exposed. Now I think that the blood tests and organ examinations were related to their setting up live organ banks. Many Falun Gong practitioners had been threatened that if they refused to be "transformed", they would be sent to a "remote place." The "remote place" must have been a concentration camp for secretly harvesting and selling Falun Gong practitioners' organs.

We also found that some very steadfast Falun Gong practitioners were sent away after being held in the "special detained group" for only a short time and their whereabouts have been unknown ever since. For example, Falun Gong practitioner Dong Jian, who shouted "Falun Dafa is good," was blindfolded, carried away, and never returned. Falun Gong practitioner Xi Jiao was driven to a mental collapse and sent away by prison police from the special detained group. She has been missing ever since and even her family does not know whether she is alive or dead.

The prison leadership clearly knew what abuses took place in the "special detained group," as everything done there was under their control. Falun Gong practitioner Yang Manhua's prison term was extended nine months under the direct involvement of the leadership.

I write out these experiences of being persecuted as a witness to history.

December 12, 2007