(Clearwisdom.net) Zhang Gonghua was studying for a Masters degree at Fudan University, but he was forced to discontinue his studies in 2000 because he practices Falun Gong. Since then he has been arrested several times. In November 2002 he was illegally sentenced to fifteen years in prison in Shenyang Province. This is his account of his experiences in prison.

When the persecution of Falun Gong began in July 1999 I approached the Party Committee at Fundan University and clarified the truth to them, but I was detained for over a week. In October I went to the petitions office in Beijing, and also wrote them a letter. But I had barely posted my letter before I was taken away by officers from the Shanghai Government Liaison Office. On the day I went to Beijing, the University sent two officials to abduct me. I was sent to the Liaison Office's brainwashing center and detained there for three months.

When the new school year was about to start, my father was deceived by the university officials into persuading me to take a year's leave from study.

In June 2000, I went to appeal for justice for Falun Gong again. I was arrested when I was clarifying the truth in Tiananmen Square. I didn't tell them my name and address [editor's note: because the the Chinese Communist Party's practice of implicating and harassing family members, friends, and associates of Falun Gong practitioners, practitioners often refuse to reveal their name or address when they are arrested]. I was detained at a custodial station in Daxing County for one day and at Qingyun Road overnight. After being taken to Shanghai, I was detained there for one month. Police from the University Police Station, Yangxin County, Hubei Province and the local Shanghai County Mayor all conspired to force me to sign the "Transformation Statement" [a statement renouncing Falun Gong]. But I refused to stop practicing Falun Gong and wrote a statement affirming my stance. I was sent back to my hometown. After being home two days, I left home to avoid further persecution.

In Shenyang, Liaoning Province I worked as a laborer, and in Dalian and Fushun as a salesperson. Later on I rented a house and shared it with a middle-aged Falun Gong practitioner by the surname of Liu. He was first detained at a labor camp and then at a custodial station. He went on a protest hunger strike for over twenty days and was not released until he was close to death.

When I returned home I was arrested by police from the First Department of the Fushun Police Station and was detained for five days and nights, during which time I was not allowed to sleep. They severely beat me and tied my hands behind my back with thin ropes for long periods (the scars have remained). A policewoman made up an interrogation record, and tried to force me to answer questions about whether I practiced Falun Gong and/or browsed Falun Gong-related websites. A doctor refused to treat me when he saw the bruises and injuries all over my body. Later I learned that the hospital's director was told by the police that it didn't matter if I died.

The police handcuffed and shackled me and ordered inmates to beat me and to stop me from doing the sitting meditation. They force- fed me for thirteen days at the custodial station and then I was transferred to another cell and tortured there. One month later I couldn't bear the torture any more. I went on a hunger strike again and didn't drink for six days. I was force-fed again with mixtures of salt and hot chilli pepper. My esophagus began to bleed, and I passed blood for several days. I was not allowed to go to the toilet or to wash and brush my teeth. I was not given any winter clothing. Several days later they deceived me into going on a hunger strike, but once I had started they beat me and other inmates ferociously.

Suddenly in November 2002 I was sent to the court. But the trial was a farce, my lawyer was not allowed to be there and I was not given any chance of defense. The court disregarded the torture and persecution I had suffered, and minutes into the trial they brought out a printed verdict and gave it to people. I refused to sign it. They said it had the same effect if somebody else signed it for me. I appealed the verdict ten days later but it was ignored.

In April 2003 I was sent to the Fourth Prison in Shenyang. The local government assigned special inmates to persecute me ( the so-called special inmates were those who were given light jobs through family connections. If the inmates effectively persecuted us, they would receive special rewards). I sat there with eyes closed and I was beaten by inmate Wang Guangsong. Inmate Zhang Zheng and others organized many so-called "education" meetings and made speeches. If I didn't recite the prison regulations, I would be forced to sit on stools with thin bamboo strips. We were treated as slaves, and the only food we received was leftovers with flies and mouse droppings in it.

Later in 2003 the Fourth Prison moved to Yuhong District in Shenyang City and merged with the Second Prison. The money my family sent to me was taken by the guards. I asked for it several times before they gave it to me. A new supermarket was opened and we were charged sixty yuan for a card and a deposit. When the market went bankrupt we lost all our money, but nobody cared.

In 2004 I refused to do any more forced labor. I went on a hunger strike and was force- fed again. My internal organs were damaged by this time, and I vomited all the time, and just lay in bed, too weak to eat or get up for over three months. Guard Zhao Jidong, who previously worked in the Fourteenth Prison Cell, Second Prison secretly ordered inmates Wu Daming and Zhang Lixin to set up a torture room and a brainwashing center. They strapped me on a plank and severely beat me when everyone else was eating. Somebody discovered me and saved my life.

In order to recover my health, I got up at night and practiced the exercises. Inmates Wei Guoqiang and Zhang Zheng constantly shoved and beat me They received orders from the guards and were solely in charge of monitoring me. I didn't obey them. Guards in the Sixteenth Prison Cell sent me to the Xiangjiao Sixth Prison Cell on the excuse that I was disturbing the peace. Once there, two inmates, Chen Haitao and Xia Rongri were instructed to monitor and persecute me. Chen saw that I was not able to walk properly and he took advantage of it and cheated me out of money. Soon Chen and Xia were rewarded and they were released. Articles I had hand-written about teaching people to be good were taken away by the guards. They regarded them as "harmful qigong articles." So far they are still in the Xiangjiao Seventh Prison Cell.

Ever since Tang Tiejun, the Presiding Judge of the Shuncheng Court in Fushun City sentenced me to fifteen years in prison for logging onto the Internet in 2002, I have been appealing my sentence. I asked the Government and the Court: How can you see me as bad? Who is my victim? What regulations did you rely on when you illegally detained me, beat me and forcibly put me into jail? Where is the law? None of the above were answered.

Since 2007, officials in the prison have persecuted me in more secretive ways and forced me to do slave labor and recite the prison regulations. They also shaved my hair. Some guards didn't allow us to do the exercises. They have told me that the prison is an "instrument of the law," and they didn't care whether we were guilty of any crime or not. They said they represent the government, "maintaining the law." The prison officials said that they didn't represent the police; the police passed responsibility to the court; while the court passed responsibility to the Procuratorate; and the Procuratorate passed responsibility to the police department. Each department pushed the responsibility from one to the other.