A Practitioner Recounts the Torture of "Desensitization" at Beijing Women's Prison
(Clearwisdom.net) I read the article "Beijing, a Hell on Earth" published on the Minghui (Chinese version of Clearwisdom) website on September 13, 2008. My name was mentioned in the article. I thought I should make public the tortures methods used, especially the one referred to as "desensitization" that I was subjected to in Beijing Women's Prison. Since the torture was carried out in isolation, only torturer and victim could know the details.
I began to practice Falun Dafa in June 1996. I was arrested by the National Security police in July 2003 and was sentenced to four years of imprisonment. On March 11, 2004, I was taken to the No. 10 Ward of Beijing Women's Prison. Nearly 50 practitioners were held there, in addition to regular prisoners. The prison guards used the criminal inmates and those who had abandoned Dafa under the persecution to torture us. I would like to describe the tortures I was subjected to.
1. General Situation
Arrival at the Prison
As soon as I arrived in the prison ward, I was surrounded by prison guards. They tried to force me to write the Three Statements, a declaration saying I wouldn't practice Dafa. Then a group of "assistants" kept me under constant surveillance. They tortured me day and night.
Since I refused to give up my belief, I suffered the most brutal tortures, both mentally and physically. Mentally, they forced me to watch video programs and read books that slandered Falun Dafa. They forced me to listen to the false statements made by former practitioners who hadn't been able to withstand the pressure of torture. They wanted me to write "confessions." Physically, they tortured me with sleep deprivation, forcing me to stand still all night in military postures or march in parade steps. They would punch and kick me whenever they were not happy with me. They even kept me from going to the washroom or the toilet. Sometimes I was only allowed to use the toilet once a day. Verbal abuse, humiliation, kicks and punches, and slaps in the face were common practice. They attempted to use force to press me into giving up my belief in Truthfulness-Compassion-Tolerance.
The ward often held "criticizing meetings" that would attack and slander Falun Dafa to create what they called "momentum." It was said that the No. 10 Ward was a special ward for practitioners. It was funded from above and it had more money than other wards. Therefore, the guards would concentrate on forcing the practitioners to renounce their belief. The number of practitioners who renounced their belief at the criticizing meeting were their "merits" to report to their superiors.
An Atmosphere of Terror
In the ward the criminal inmates enjoyed a little bit of freedom, but the innocent Falun Gong practitioners did not. They did not allow me to talk to others and did not allow me to speak in public places. If anyone dared to speak the truth, they would instantly be taken to one of the criticizing meetings. It was done to create "momentum" and establish an atmosphere of terror and fear. At these meetings, all the administrative staff as well as the fully armed guards were in attendance. The guards were scattered throughout the room, with handcuffs in one hand and electric batons in the other. At the meeting they would announce that the practitioner who spoke in public be placed in confinement in the "intensive training center." Anyone who dared to challenge the decision would be handcuffed and taken away. Shortly after my arrival in the ward, practitioner Ms. Yuan Lin was taken away like that. At the time, they confined me in a small isolation cell and did not allow me to watch the proceedings.
The Guards' "Special Concern for Individual Practitioner"
The section head often attacked Falun Dafa and verbally abused practitioners. He ordered the "assistants" to persecute the practitioners. Take, for example, the former section head, Tian Fengqing She ordered the prison guards to "Desensitize" me. Her successor, Zheng Yumei, verbally abused our Teacher and ordered me to step on a piece of paper with our Teacher's name written on it.
One deputy section head would sometimes talk to me alone in a room without a monitoring system. She said, "I am here to protect the Falun Gong practitioners. We will not force you to renounce your belief. If you don't want to, it's alright." Her hypocritical appearance was very deceptive and many practitioners had a good impression of her. One day her boss ordered her to force me to renounce Falun Dafa within a specified time, so she departed from her usual hypocritical appearance of kindness and revealed her vicious nature and ruthlessly tortured me. She told me before in private that she did not like violence and opposed the "reforming" of practitioners by coercion. However, when her own interest was involved, she did what she said that she did not like to do and did it with much enthusiasm.
Team Leader Shen used all her tricks to try to force me to give up my belief. She tried to make me believe that she was concerned about me. She often said to me, "Take a break and do some Tai Chi." "I'll give you a copy book so that you can practice calligraphy." However, when hypocrisy failed to work she used every method imaginable, including "legal interrogation". She studied a few years of law and thought that she would be able to force me into giving up my belief. One day she arranged for several guards to come with her to interrogate me around the clock. At the time I was extremely tired from being forced to stand still for a long period of time. She did not allow me to think and did not give me a break. I had to reply to her questions immediately. She said if I chose not to answer the question it meant I was "reformed." She tried to use this to subvert my righteous belief in Dafa.
One day she heard that I had been "reformed" and she was very happy. She brought a bag of milk powder, a pear, and a pack of biscuits. However, when she came to the No. 1 Ward and found that I was not at all "reformed," she flew into rage and threw everything on the ground in front of me. When she saw that I was not moved, she became extremely annoyed. One day she rushed out of the room where I was held and into the hall, where more than 70 people were working. She cried and yelled, saying something bad about me to create an incident and incite hatred against me.
Team Leader Wu believed that I had mental illness since I refused to give up my belief in Falun Dafa. She and her mentor plotted to persecute me with a technique they used on mental patients. At the same time Team Leader Wu arranged for a criminal inmate to follow me around to beat and slander me whenever she wished. Team Leader Wu would believe any lie this criminal made up.
Collaborators' Lies and Deceptions
When those former practitioners enlightened along an evil path and renounced Dafa, they would actively cooperate with the prison guards and help them with ideas and plots. These collaborators used lies to deceive the steadfast practitioners. The following are some of these cases.
There were several collaborators. Sisters Li Xiaobing and Li Xiaomei worked the hardest. They had studied the Fa before and knew that practitioners all believe in their Teacher. They used practitioners' wish to read Teacher's new articles published after they had been imprisoned to deceive them. They tampered with the contents of Teacher's new articles and pieced them together at their discretion, compiling a set of articles with false reasoning and heresy. They called this tactic "using the Fa to break through the Fa." They used this to deceive the practitioners, saying "This is what Teacher said." They waved pages of what were purportedly Teacher's new articles to prove what they had said were from the articles. "Teacher said, 'We haven't arranged cultivation. Cultivation is finished. We must meet everything including the Chinese Communist Party with a benevolent solution. You talk about elimination which is not compassionate.'" Some practitioners who did not study the Fa well were deceived by their tricks.
One day they used the same trick on me. However, I was sober-minded at the time and said, "This is not right! You omitted part of the Fa. Give me the original!" I pointed at a paragraph and said, "Why didn't you mention this part?" They had nothing to say. I carefully observed their expressions and saw a dull look in their eyes, as if they had not seen this paragraph of Fa.
The Li Sisters took "reforming" practitioners as the most glorious thing. They not only tried to coerce the practitioners in their ward into renouncing Falun Dafa, but also deceived their mother and a son into being "reformed." When people from others parts of the country went there to "learn from their experiences," they were overjoyed. Before Li Xiaobing was released, she showed off and said, "The 610 Office has arranged work for me." They had already lost their sense of shame. Those collaborators also included Jin Hongwei, Wu Yueping, Huang Xiaohong, Zhu Baolian, Wu Dan, Li Cuiwen, and An hongbo. They also worked very hard in persecuting me and other practitioners.
2. The Torture of "Desensitization" -- Forced Brainwashing That Not Only Hurt Physically But Was Also An Insult to Human Dignity
The provisions of "Prison Law" ban law enforcement officers from physically harming the detainees or humiliating them. However, in Beijing Women's Prison, this did not apply to innocent Falun Gong practitioners.
On March 11, 2004, I was taken to the No. 10 Ward. At the time I was 65 years old. When I arrived at the hall there were nearly 100 people working. They all saw this old lady who was standing tall and her back was straight. Though I was the oldest in the ward, I walked like a young girl. Then I was locked up in the consultancy room alone. Besides the guards and "assistants," I was not allowed to have any contact with other people inside or outside the prison. One week later when I went to the toilet, the other prisoners now saw that I was limping and my back was bent. One month later when they saw me I had become a hunchback. Everyone was concerned about what had happened to me. Several months later they learned that it was the result of torture. My spine was broken in two places as a result of severe beatings.
When I first was sent to the ward, the evildoers were extremely unbridled. They fabricated lies, forced me to stand still for a long period of time, deprived me of sleep, slapped my face, did not allow me to use the bathroom, and swore at me.
One day Tian Fengqing gave the order for a group of "assistants" to torture me. They pushed me to the floor, pressed me down, stepped on my fingers, pinched me, and hit my face and teeth. An order came in telling them to change locations. Since I was still lying on the floor, they dragged me to the "consultation room."
The consultation room only had visual surveillance equipment, no audio feed. This way the guards could get away with many forms of abuse. This room was specifically used to persecute Dafa practitioners. They dragged me there because they were afraid that my screams would be heard in the prison's main supervision control room. This was what they did to cover up their crimes at the different levels. In the consultation room they beat me even more unscrupulously. They chanted, "You have spirit or animal possession. We will help you by beating them out. We are here for your own good. Only when they feel the pain will they really leave."
The severe beating failed to make me submit. When they saw that it was not working, they tried their most vicious tactic, which was to insult my belief and my dignity. They attempted to destroy my righteous belief in Teacher and Dafa. They took out several photocopies of Teacher's image. I guessed they were about to do something bad, but I was held down on the ground so I could not move even a little. They waved the photocopies in front of me, took off my shoes, stuffed one copy into each shoe and then put my shoes back on. They said shamelessly, "You have stepped on your Teacher's portrait. Your Teacher does not want you anymore. You must renounce Falun Gong as soon as possible." It was beyond the limits of forbearance, so I shouted, "What you have done does not count!" When they realized their tactic had failed, they flared into rage and shouted, "We'll help you stretch!"
The "stretch" they talked about was the cruelest torture they had in dealing with steadfast practitioners. It would be extremely painful for a young person, not to mention for an old woman like me. The effect was devastating.
The "assistants" pulled me up from the floor so I was in a sitting position. They pulled my legs into a straight line in opposite directions, then grabbed my collar and pressed me downwards. It was extremely painful. That was not all. Then they punched and kicked me. When they pressed me downwards with great force, I heard a "click" sound twice from my waist and back; my spine was broken into three pieces. I was out of breath and felt like I was dying. When I was about to die of suffocation, they pulled me up. When I caught my breath they asked, "Do you still want to practice the exercises?" I answered resolutely, "Yes!"
They began to press my body toward my left leg, which was even more painful. It not only caused injury to my spine but also to the muscle in my thigh. When they saw that I was suffocating, they pulled me back and asked the same question. I gave them the same answer. Then they pressed my body toward my right leg. I lost count of how many times they repeated this. During the pain I lost control of my bladder many times and was almost suffocated many times. I was drifting between life and death. However, I was quite conscious and thought, "I must get out of here alive--I will not die in here. I must get out and expose their crimes." The torture lasted for more than five hours.
A month later when I was taking a shower I bumped into a practitioner who had arrived at the prison with me. Normally I had to shower and wash alone under the supervision of the "assistants." That was why no one had yet discovered what had happened to me. The practitioner asked, "What happened to your back? A large area of your back is black and blue". That was the evidence left by the torture. Even one month later the bruises were still visible.
After that I had terrible back pain and could not take care of myself. Several times I asked to have an X-ray exam, but the prison authorities turned a deaf ear to my request. After I was released I went to the hospital to have an X-ray and only then learned that my spine was bent sideways and there were two fractures. After the torture they would not let me rest, let alone see a doctor. As a result, the fractures could not be set in time and became deformed. The fractured parts bowed. Falun Dafa made it possible for me to become a healthy person after years of suffering from various illnesses. However, torture at the hands of the Chinese Communist Party turned me from a healthy person into one deformed and disabled.
3. The Persecution Must End Immediately
Countless tricks and torture methods are used at the Beijing Women's Prison. My experience is proof. The torture is a combination of corporal punishment with fabricated lies and deception. All this would confuse the practitioners who did not study the Fa well. As for the steadfast practitioners, the evildoers would extend the torture beyond the limits of forbearance. This would force some of these practitioners to compromise. When all this failed to work, the evildoers would extend the time of torture to bring the practitioners to the brink of physical and mental collapse. Those practitioners who made solemn statements declaring that they had come back to Dafa would suffer even worse torture.
Before 2004, several groups of practitioners stated that they had come back to Dafa. Each time, they were subjected to even more unbridled torture. One of the tortures was to endlessly copy the Prison Regulations. A practitioner would have to copy them dozens of times. Since there were so many, it was impossible for the practitioner to finish. The evildoers would shout at them, "If you fail to finish copying them, you must renounce Falun Gong!" I had compromised with the evildoers before. A little more than a month later I declared my compromise null and void. As a result I suffered from even worse torture, which lasted for four months.
Over the past years, the persecution of practitioners has never stopped. Numerous practitioners have suffered inhuman torture. The Beijing Women's Prison is indeed a hell on Earth. The crimes committed in the prison are just too numerous to record. When their crimes are exposed, the evildoers just change their tactic, but the persecution itself has never stopped. We appeal to everyone to show concern for the ongoing persecution and help bring it to an immediate end.