Persecution I Witnessed and Experienced at Heilongjiang Women's Prison
(Clearwisdom.net) On May 10, 2002, more than ten officers from Jinshan Township, Yichun City, Heilongjiang Province broke into my home. Officers Qi You and Kang Kai broke into my home ahead of everyone else. One handcuffed me, and the other pulled me to the car, while the others ransacked my home.
Upon arrival at the detention center, the officers took me to a pitch-dark room. After turning on the light, I saw that all of the windows were covered with curtains. On the floor was a square metal object. Qi You pointed to the blood stains on the floor and said, "That's your fellow practitioners' blood. Do you want to try this? You'd better wise up, or you will suffer the same fate. Either way is alright with us." That metal frame was a torture tool. Once the victim is pressed down on the frame, the torturers tether his neck, hands and legs to the frame with handcuffs. The frame extends into four directions when a button is pressed. This torture method is called "five horses splitting a body." The neck is the most vulnerable position and bleeds when restrained by the cuffs. That was the reason for most of the blood on the floor.
In the evening, a group of about five people brought in a thin, white nylon rope. Actually, both ends were white, but the middle section was stained with blood. The thugs held me to the ground and tied my hands and arms behind my back using the rope, and then pulled them upwards toward my neck. Kang Kai held the rope and pulled it up for about seven minutes before letting it go, and then pulled it up again for about ten minutes. The police said, "You are not so good. Ms. Zhu Chengxin (a practitioner) endured the pulling ten times. Generally the hands become numb and partially paralyzed after being pulled three times."
After that torture I was taken to Wumahe Detention Center that same evening. At the end of the year, I was transferred to Jinshan Township Detention Center, and then sentenced to a five and a half year prison term. My mother died from sorrow and fright twenty days after I was arrested.
In February 2003, another local practitioner and I were transferred to the Harbin Women's Prison, also called the Heilongjiang Women's Prison.
We were taken to the "Intensive Training Division," where we were forced to remain seated without moving for fourteen hours daily, or be brutally beaten. Inmates were assigned to monitor us. The division head's surname was Li and the second in command was Wang Xiaoli. They either beat us or forced us to squat. Guard Tao Dandan cruelly tortured practitioners. One day they claimed that I didn't cooperate, so Li slapped me in the face repeatedly. After she was tired, Wang Xiaoli continued beating me.
In July, I was taken to the No. 8 Ward and then transferred to the No. 2 Ward. The leaders there included Zheng Jie, Zhang Chunhua, Yang Hua, Zhang Xiuli and Li Guirong. The guards included Xiao Zhujian, Gui Nana, Huang Jing and Zhou Lili. The criminals assigned to torture practitioners included Zhao Yanhua, Song Libo, Zhao Yan, Zhu Yuhong, Li Guihong, Jin Zhenbi, Yang Ping, Li Guixiang, Wang Fengcui and Huang He. They collaborated with each other when torturing practitioners.
Division Leaders Zheng Jie, Zhang Chunhua and Zhang Xiuli were assigned to the No. 8 Ward after signing a pledge with prison warden Wang Xing. They agreed to torture practitioners at the No. 8 Ward until they renounced Falun Gong. At the time, practitioners were locked up in regular or isolation cells. They were pulled from the cells for torture. When I protested, the guards claimed that I had led the way for disobedience, so they decided to punish me as a warning to others. They forced me to my knees, handcuffed my hands behind my back and hung me up. The guards frequently came to check if I was still conscious. Guards ordered criminal Wang Fengcui to verbally abuse me and use the "drill practice" torture method. After being handcuffed behind my back for five days, I was subjected to the "drill practice."
Many areas at the prison, including the political, intelligence and riot prevention sections, cooperated with each other to torture practitioners. Dozens of people, including prison doctors, health workers, personnel from the service division and guards, as well as criminals, were wearing riot police helmets and brandishing electric batons, police batons, bamboo sticks, and water bottles. They encircled practitioner Ms. Piao Yingshu. Zheng Jie pointed at Ms. Piao and said, "Hey, look at her face! Isn't her face just like that of a giant panda?" The prison guards and the criminals all laughed. I saw that the practitioner's eyes were filled with blood and her face was deformed. All the practitioners were then forced to run inside the circle they formed. Whoever stopped would be beaten with whatever they held in their hands.
Criminal Wang Fengcui, on orders by the guards, forced me to run. Since I was unable to run, the guards ordered two criminals to drag me to run. Then, they handcuffed me and hung me from a metal frame. Male guards from the riot-prevention section shocked my face and breasts with electric batons and slapped me on the face, causing blood to stream from my nose and mouth. Nonetheless, I still refused to run. Wang Fengcui used her knees to press down on my private parts. After she became tired, she asked her helper Huang He to "teach me a lesson." Huang He used an iron bar to beat my body, including my private parts. The guards and the criminals laughed uproariously upon hearing my painful cries. Zhang Chunhua, head of the division, said, "Aren't you suffering from a backache? Let Huang He give you a thorough treatment."
Xiao Lin, a male guard from the intelligence section, was the most ruthless of them all. One day he dragged me into a room and proceeded to slap and kick me in the face repeatedly. Two guards who had just been hired tried to pull me out, but Xiao Lin stopped them and kicked me until I lost consciousness. When I came to, I had difficulty breathing and could not turn over. I could only sleep in one position. I later found out that Xiao Lin had broken two of my ribs.
Despite my broken ribs, the guards continued to torture me. They ordered Wang Fengcui to intensify the torture. After they realized that I had difficulties turning over, they still kept me in handcuffs. Wang Fengcui then tied up my feet and sat on my legs. She beat my insteps with a bamboo club, and they swelled up within a short time. She then pricked my swollen insteps with needles. There were many tiny dots where blood was oozing out, and it was very painful. They tortured me day and night. The worst was the sleep deprivation, the longest being for eleven days. Four or five practitioners became mentally disoriented from the torture.
The prison environment was terrifying. You could hear the guards' laughter as they were torturing practitioners. Wang Fengcui asked me not to put blame on her, as Zhang Chunhua promised her 200 yuan per day if she tortured practitioners. She said that life was very hard in prison, so she had no other choice. The inmates envied Wang Fengcui and wanted to take her place. They competed for whose method was more cruel to earn merit points, which can be used towards reduction of their prison terms.
After the torture intensified, practitioners held a hunger strike. Criminals Song Libo and Shang Xiaomei, who were not trained medically, were placed in charge of force-feeding us during our hunger strikes. Song Libo was the one who force-fed me. When she couldn't insert the tube, Zhang Chunhua told her to be more forceful. Several people held me down and some even stepped on my head. They repeated forcing the tube down and pulling it out. They didn't care whether the tube was inserted into the esophagus or windpipe. A lot of times I lost my breath. We were force-fed four times daily with water, garlic and salt, as well as unknown drugs. Our hands and legs no longer functioned properly after we were force-fed. We were also very thirsty after the force-feeding because of the salt. One could even see a white layer of salt residue on the basin used for forced feedings.
Being forced to stand still for a long period of time was a very common torture. The inmates and the guards would suddenly hit our ankles from behind, causing us to fall, or hit our heads against the wall in front of us. When they were tired, they used the torture method "carrying a sword in the back." One day they caught me sitting in the double lotus position. They then punched, kicked and shocked me with electric batons. I don't know how long the beating lasted. They then tied my hands behind my back very tightly. They inserted a pole in between my arms and lifted me up. All of my weight was on my arms. While I was in excruciating pain, they asked me if I would cooperate.
One day a bunch of thugs rushed in and pushed me to the ground. One of my cheeks hit the ground and they put a foot on the other cheek. Then, they pinched my thighs. When I used the toilet that evening, I found that my thighs were covered with bruises. In several places, skin and flesh had been dug out by their fingernails. One inmate was so shocked from seeing my legs that she ran out of the room. It took four months before the scabs came off, but the scars were still visible a year later.
The windows of the prison cells were very high and there was no glass, just iron bars. The rain came into the cells and the floor was always wet. The criminals walked on the practitioners' legs, and didn't allow practitioners to use the restroom. Ms. Du Jinglan, in her sixties, wanted to use the toilet. She was not given permission, so she wet her pants. Ms. Wu Meiyan (who has passed away) didn't have stool for eighteen days because the guards wouldn't let her sit on the toilet long enough.
I did not have stool for over a month and I was perspiring due to the stomach pain. Zhang Chunhua swore at me and accused me of pretending to be sick. She locked me into an isolation cell. The guards thought that I was near death, so they called in a doctor. The doctor said that I needed an enema. They held me to the ground as soon as they entered my cell. They injected soapsuds twice. Then two of them held my arms to help me walk, with the soapsuds running down my legs.
The winter temperature in Harbin dropped as low as 30 degrees below zero Celsius (-22 F). Practitioner Ms. Wang was locked up in an isolation cell, and the persecutors opened the windows and door. Then they stripped her, leaving her wearing only underpants. She was locked in the isolation cell for the entire winter, a period of almost six months in Northeast China. All of the practitioners planned to go on a hunger strike to support her. The next day Zhang Chunhua said, "If you stop the hunger strike I will let her come back." The practitioners went to fetch their meals, except for me. Zhang Chunhua asked me why I didn't go. I said that I would only eat when the practitioner was released from the isolation cell. Zhang thought that my action would affect other practitioners, so she called in some inmates and dragged me into a room. Criminal Li Guihong beat me until blood came out of my nose and mouth, while Zhang Chunhua was watching in the corridor through the window.
Because of the torture, I was running a high fever. Nonetheless, I was still handcuffed to the ladder of a bunk bed for eight to nine hours daily. My face was red and I felt as if I was on fire. My vision was blurred. When I went out of the cell, I could not find my way back. Some inmates reported this to the guards in the hopes that they would unlock my handcuffs. Guard Gui Nana did not agree. Later, I fell unconscious, and they took me to the hospital, where I woke up. The doctor didn't let me fully enter the room. He rolled up the bottom of my trousers and saw that my legs were covered with purple dots. Those parts that did not have purple dots were red. He asked me what had happened, and I told him that I had been handcuffed to the bed for a long time. My temperature was over 40 degrees Celsius (104 F). Guard Xu Meng talked to the doctor briefly and then dragged me back to the cell. The so-called treatment was ordering me to sit on the floor and raising my legs by putting something underneath them.
When my condition began to improve, Zhan Chunhua and Huang Jing ordered the criminals to torture me again. One inmate, Zhao Yan, was very cruel, and she often tortured practitioners on orders from the guards. One day she picked up a lid, whose edge was as sharp as a knife, and scratched my face. She told other detainees that if they didn't listen to her, she would make them bleed. With orders from Zhang Chunhua, Huang Jing and a group of criminals beat practitioners. The beating lasted the entire morning. Practitioner Ms. Wang Hongzhi's ear was almost bitten off by Zhao Yan.
Beginning in February 2004, the guards and criminals used all sorts of torture methods to persecute practitioners. Some of us were taken to an isolation cell, where practitioners were stripped. It was very damp in there. Because practitioners were not fed regularly and not told the time, they lost their sense of time and direction. Ms. Yu Yu became bedridden. Ms. Zhang Shuze kept shaking her head for no apparent reason. Outside the isolation cell, practitioners were handcuffed behind their backs and hung up. Forty to fifty people were hanging together. Practitioners were not of the same height, so the shorter ones suffered the most, since their toes could not touch the ground. I am tall but even so, my feet could not touch the ground. People of my height could only endure this torture for five to six hours.
In order to protest the inhuman torture, we went on a hunger strike on August 1, and it lasted until mid-December. Practitioner Ms. Li Yushu was on a hunger strike for more than three years. The guards used a cervical dilation tool for force-feeding. They pried open the practitioner's mouth and used the cervical dilation tool to open it as far as it would go. Even after the force-feeding, they didn't remove the tool. After they finally removed it, the practitioners couldn't close their mouths and had difficulties speaking. During the four and a half months of hunger strike, we were handcuffed and had to sit on the brick floor. December in Northeast China is freezing cold, nonetheless the criminals were instructed to open all the windows before they left for work at 8:00 a.m., and they didn't close the windows until they went to bed. During the day the room temperature was the same as that on the outside.
The prison authorities took money from our accounts when our families visited. Criminal inmates receive 12 yuan a month, but practitioners didn't receive any money. There were forty to fifty practitioners, and most of us were imprisoned for several years. We heard that Zheng Jie had pocketed all the money.
In early 2007, I was transferred to the No. 11 Ward. Wang Yali and Tao Dandan were the division leaders. Their torture methods were even worse than those at the No. 8 Ward. Tao Dan plotted the torture and ordered the criminals to carry it out. We were only allowed to sleep for two to three hours daily, and we were forced to sit on the ground. After sitting on the brick floor for a long time, we got colder and colder.
After four and a half years, I finally walked out of the Heilongjiang Women's Prison during the second quarter of 2007.
(Author's note: The names of the guards and the criminals were recorded from January 2003 to April 2007. )