The Persecution of Ms. Yan Hong and Other Practitioners at Hunan Province Women's Prison
(Clearwisdom.net) Falun Gong practitioner Ms. Yan Hong from Changsha City was illegally sentenced to six years in prison in 2001. She was incarcerated in the Hunan Province Women's Prison. Imprisoned Falun Gong practitioners safeguard their belief and stand up for the right to an unrestricted environment in which to practice their belief. Ms. Yan Hong was no exception. Because she remained steadfast in her belief, she was brutally persecuted in detention.
The Hunan Province Women's Prison is located at No. 528 Xiangzhang Road, in the Yuhua District, Changsha City. Several hundred Falun Gong practitioners from different areas of Hunan Province have been detained there since July 20, 1999. Most of them are over age 50. They committed no crimes and did not do anything that harmed others. They were incarcerated merely because they practice Falun Gong. Under incredibly harsh persecution, the practitioners were constantly pressured to give up their belief and write the guarantee statement. They were also required to "criticize" Falun Gong and its founder. This is the so-called "transformation" sought by the prison authorities.
Ms. Yan Hong lives in Changsha County. She used to be a staff member in the local residential community center. She began practicing Falun Gong in 1996. Within a month, her physical ailments, including headaches, miraculously disappeared. She told her friends and neighbors about the mental and physical improvements she experienced due to the practice. After the onset of the persecution on July 20, 1999, Yan Hong, like many other practitioners, decided to appeal and tell the regime of her own experiences.
After Yan Hong went to Beijing to appeal for justice for Falun Gong, she was sent back to Changsha on July 30, 1999. She was detained and the authorities extorted 480 yuan from her without issuing a receipt. She was detained twice more that same year. Ms. Yan decided to leave home in 2000 to avoid further persecution. However, she was arrested and taken to Changsha City on June 19, 2001 and again held at the Changsha County Detention Center where she was deprived of sleep for four days.
Officers from Changsha City and County Political and Security Sections, along with the local police interrogated Yan Hong. Six people pushed her to the floor and forced her to put her fingerprint on the interrogation document. On December 27, 2001, the Changsha County Court took Yan Hong's defense statement from her. Within less than 40 minutes of the opening of the hearing, court officials sentenced her to six years in prison. She appealed with the Intermediate Court. Without further investigation, the Intermediate Court upheld the original decision. Yan Hong was sent to the Hunan Province Women's Prison on April 9, 2002.
Pressure to Give Up One's Belief
A major focus of the Hunan Province Women's Prison is to force Dafa practitioners to give up their belief and write guarantee statements. They measure the "quality" of this task by the "complete transformation" of practitioners as well as whether or not they "repeat"-- resume practicing Falun Gong. Because there is no set standard for this measurement, the prison authorities try all means to achieve complete "reform." A common method to enforce "transformation" is to use inmates like drug addicts to closely monitor every practitioner. These inmates are urged to beat and verbally abuse practitioners.
On June 9, 2002 Yan Hong was locked in a solitary cell. Two inmates were assigned to monitor her, in addition to six guards working on her daily to "reform" her.
Yan Hong was found practicing the exercises one day. Team leader Li Chunhui ordered her to stand as form of torture. Yan Hong refused to follow the order. All of a sudden, three inmates - Gong Xiaohong (from Yueyang), Zhou Li (from Changsha) and Zheng Cuifan (from Changsha) suddenly pushed Ms. Yan to the ground and stepped on her. To prevent her from shouting, Gong Xiaohong held her head tightly, making it difficult for her to breathe. In the meantime, the other two inmates pulled her hands hard behind her, in order to handcuff her. She was handcuffed with her arms behind her back, with one hand reaching down from her shoulder and the other hand reaching up from the lower back. This torture method, often referred to as "carrying a sword on the back," is an excruciating torture. Yan Hong's left hand was injured immediately. In order to breathe, she instinctively bit Gong Xiaohong, which made Gong let go for a moment. Yan Hong was finally able to take a breath. Her face was red from the momentary suffocation. Gong Xiaohong and Zhou Li retaliated by beating and kicking her. Yan Hong was covered with bruises. Her left hand was also injured and swollen. She was handcuffed like this for three days. They did not release her, even when she needed to use the toilet. She was handcuffed to a metal bed for several days, soaked in sweat due to the pain.
Slandering Falun Gong and Its Founder
To "reform" Falun Gong practitioners, the persecutors tried to break through practitioners' determination in the practice and their loyalty to its founder. Constantly attacking and slandering Falun Gong and its founder became the most effective method for "reforming" practitioners.
Guard Li Chunhui deceived Yan Hong on June 25, 2002 and had her come to a conference room. When she got there she realized it was a meeting to slander Falun Gong. The hall was filled with Falun Gong practitioners and inmates, more than 2,000 persons. Guards with electric batons guarded each exit, and more than ten armed police were present as well. The atmosphere was tense. Prison head Zhao Lan viciously attacked Falun Gong and its founder, tormenting all practitioners. Several guards held Yan Hong. Her face was covered with tears. She knew that this was poisoning sentient beings! Yan Hong could not stand it and she managed to shake free of the guards' hands. She stood up and shouted at Zhao Lan, "Shut your evil mouth!"
Yan Hong was locked up in a male inmates' solitary, dimly lit cell that was isolated from the outside.
There was a water faucet, one toilet and a roll of toilet paper and a concrete slab that served as a bed. Yan Hong was forbidden to wash her face, brush her teeth or drink water. They only turned on the water once or at most three times a day, for five minutes each. She had to cup her hands to drink. They forbade her to shower. She sweat much during this hot summer season, and there were many mosquitoes in the cell. The temperature outside was around 40 0C (about 104 0F).
A wall surrounded this solitary cell; the door had one hole, the only air vent for this room, which was opened only during meal times. No one knew the temperature in the cell. It was steaming hot, even on the concrete bed slab and the floor. When the water was on, Ms. Yan would put water on the bed and floor to help lower the temperature. She slept on the wet floor during the night. The cell lacked sufficient oxygen, making the place reek and sometimes making her feel suffocated. Ms. Yan had to lie on the floor to look for any small gaps along the bottom of the door to get any fresh air from outside.
The food consisted of only three pieces of potato or cucumber. The authorities would not let her die of hunger, but they never let her eat enough. The physical stress and lack of salt in the summer made Yan Hong's weight plummet from over 130 pounds to 100 pounds.
Yan Hong's first stay in a solitary cell in the Human Province Women's Prison lasted 75 days.
In August 2002, to protest the persecution, Yan Hong and other practitioners went on a hunger strike. Team leader Li Chunhui then persecuted Yan Hong and the other practitioners even more.
According to Prison Affairs Section officials, solitary confinement and "strict discipline" can only be utilized on an inmate once. However, after the 6th day of Yan Hong's hunger strike, she was again placed in a solitary confinement cell, shackled and handcuffed, and was subjected to daily barbaric abuse. When she protested, she was handcuffed in the "carrying a sword" torture position. When she shouted to protest, they gagged her with dirty rags and tied her with wires, even encircling her head.
Mr. Yan was dragged out of the solitary cell, handcuffed, and forced to sit on a single-legged stool under the hot sun all day. Summer in Changsha City is hot, with the temperature rising to more than 40 0C.
The single-legged stool is about one foot high, with a two-inch leg inserted in the center. Sitting on it requires precise balance of the feet and the body. One cannot move; otherwise, one can easily fall off. Since Yan Hong was handcuffed, she lacked balance and fell, but could not get up on her own. She lost consciousness on the scorching hot concrete pavement. Someone immediately poured cold water on her and woke her up. She had to continue sitting on the stool under the sun, subjected to the verbal abuse of the guards.
Ms. Yan was thus tortured daily from 8:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. She was returned to the cell around 5:30 p.m. when the sun was no longer so strong. They did not untie her or let her take a shower. She was deprived of sleep and of regular toilet use. The torture was endless. Ms. Yan only had one thought, "I have to get out of here alive."
On August 13, 2002, prison director Zhao Lan incited guards Li Chunhui and Luo Jian and several inmates to come to the male prisoners' confinement cell where Ms. Yan was detained. He urged them to use the straitjacket borrowed from the armed police to tie her up from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. They continued to deprive her of food and water and toilet use.
Reciting Prison Regulations
Falun Gong practitioners follow the principles of Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance. They have committed no crimes, broken no laws, and therefore refuse to accept being treated as prisoners. For this reason, they often refuse to wear a prison uniform, recite the prison regulations or shout, "Report, prisoner so-and-so is here," while squatting against a wall, listening to the guards' commands or directions. Some practitioners consider it an insult to eat the prison food and thus go on a hunger strike to protest. Forcing practitioners to "admit guilt" and follow the prison orders and regulations has become an important step to "reform" practitioners at the Hunan Province Women's Prison. If practitioners try to stand up for any of their basic human rights, it is considered "resistance." The prison environment puts all practitioners under constant mental pressure and physical torment.
Practitioners who refuse to follow the prison's regulations and orders are forbidden to have family visits. The officials withhold the parcels their families mail them. The practitioners are prevented from shopping for daily necessities or making phone calls. The more determined practitioners are persecuted even more severely.
In September 2003, team leader Li Chunhui, and Ao Chunling and Zhui Duanxiu from the prison education section invited special police to conduct over 20 punitive "military trainings" with 19 practitioners (most of them were over 50 years old) who refused to hold their heads with both hands and squat on the ground. The armed police forced them to march military-style to their commands - sometimes slow, sometimes fast. When the commands stopped abruptly, if a practitioner's position was not consistent with the commands, she was punished and had to do 20, 50 or even 100 push-ups. Sixty-year-old Luo Aizhen from Yuanjiang, Yiyang City was forced to do a hand-stand, with her feet leaning on a desk and both hands on the floor. The police timed her. Ms. Luo Aizhen's hands could not support her for long. She let go, and her head hit the ground. The police still forced her to continue the hand-stand many times; her head hit the ground many times, resulting in many bruises on her forehead.
The physical torment continued - squatting, jumping, standing, running, turning around, push-ups. After several days some practitioners' feet were swollen, and they could no longer run. The guards then incited two inmates for each practitioner, to drag them to run; or they handcuffed practitioners first and dragged them by the handcuffs. Some practitioners lost their shoes while being dragged; some had their pants torn and had bloody feet. It was extremely cruel, and painful to witness.
Yan Hong was forced to run. Having just drank a glass of water an inmate had given her, she suddenly experienced blurred vision and then could not see anything. She therefore refused to run. But the "punishment" for not running meant being handcuffed and hung up. As soon as she was dragged to an office, she was handcuffed with her arms behind the back and hung from a metal frame at the top of a bunk bed by the handcuffs. Her shoes were kicked off. Unable to straight her back made it difficult to breathe. Her body weight fell on her handcuffed wrists. If she moved, the handcuffs became tighter, making her sweat from the pain. Since then, Yan Hong's vision has remained blurry, impacting her normal daily activities.
Oftentimes, the abuse at the prison is not openly known. They often conduct it secretly in a prison cell, or on remote trails and grounds. No one besides the practitioners, guards or inmates who are directly involved knows. The inmates are forbidden to speak about this abuse.
Under urging from the guards, many inmates often verbally abuse and beat practitioners for no reason. On May 12, 2004, violent criminal offender Wu Fuying strangled practitioner Xuan Hehua and pushed her into a wall. Xuan Hehua's hands became red and swollen. Several practitioners in the same cell demanded the guards to investigate this incident but never received a response.
The next day, May 13, 2004, was a special day for all practitioners because it is the birthday of the founder of Falun Gong. It is also World Falun Dafa Day. Every practitioner in the world celebrates on this day. That day, several practitioners at the prison recited selections from Master Li's lectures together. It was considered an extremely serious incident of violating the prison regulations.
On May 14, 2004, angry guard Li Chunhui, armed with an electric baton, arrived in the prison cell. Urged on by Li Chunhui, more than 20 inmates dragged the five practitioners who recited Master Li's lectures to another room and separated them into corners and along a wall. Guard Li Chunhui shouted and shocked practitioners with the electric baton. Practitioner Chen Chujun was beaten to the ground. She got up and was beaten down again. She got up again and was beaten down again. This was the first time Li Chunhui had personally beaten practitioners in many years. Her "kindness" in the past was merely a mask.
Following that, the five practitioners - Yan Hong from Changsha, He Lijia from Changde, Xuan Hehua from Yuanling, Chen Chujun from Huaihua, and Xiao Ruilin from Yuanjiang - were forced to sit on a single legged stool and also stand. They were locked in a room with the doors and windows covered with cardboard, so nobody from the outside could see them. Inmates monitored each of them. They had to sit on the single legged stool and were forbidden to stand. Whatever they were doing, they had to stay on that single legged stool. They had to sit on it for a week; after that, they had to stand for a whole week without sitting. Due to the hot weather and sitting still for a long time, the practitioners' skin became stuck to their pants. When they removed their pants for a shower, their skin would peel off and bleed. After standing for a long time, their feet were swollen badly.
Chen Chujun and Yan Hong refused to sit on the single-legged stool or stand. These practitioners then suffered from daily handcuffing and being hung up for a long time. The temperature in the new solitary cell was high. The inmates monitoring the practitioners were outside the cell and had a fan blowing on them. Yan Hong was intentionally hung up right under the skylight in the roof. The hot sun burned her every day. She could barely move her body. The heat made it hard for her to breathe.
These five practitioners decided to go on a hunger strike to protest the abuse but were force-fed three days later, once daily, while the physical punishment continued. Seeing the practitioners being tortured and experiencing rapid weight loss, some inmates wept for them.
Yan Hong's hands and feet are still numb from the frequent handcuffing and being hung up. There is a permanent a dent on her lower back. She often feels as if something is pressing from her back to her chest, which makes it hard for her to breathe. As a result of many huger strikes, her stomach has been injured badly. When she eats just a little too much, she feels very uncomfortable and gets sick.
The Cheapest Labor
During the whole time Falun Gong practitioners were incarcerated at the prison, they were compelled to do manual labor, without any compensation, working like slaves. The work included picking beans, peeling broad beans, making cloth dolls, doing embroidery, and making summer sleeping mats and other items. The prison cells are the workshops. As soon as the practitioners opened their eyes in the morning they were forced to work. To finish their assigned quota, they have to work 15-16 hours every day. The young women may be able to finish their daily quota by 9:00 pm. The older ones who work slower have to work until one or two o'clock in the morning.
The cell smells from the work they do - peeling broad beans is an example. The water-soaked beans were processed in the cells, filling the whole cell with a terrible odor, making the air humid and the bed blankets mildewy.
Guards Li Chunhui and Xue Fang abused practitioners who refused to obey instructions, did not comply with roll call or recite the prison rules, by having them do extra work. After the practitioners finished their normal daily work quota, they had to continue picking beans in the evening and sorting them from dust and other debris. Each practitioner had to pick one bag of beans, which weighed more than 100 Jin (1 Jin equals approximately 1 pound). If the picked beans did not meet the requirements, the practitioners had to redo the work.
Practitioners Mao Siyuan (from Yueyang), Li Nianchun (from Yueyang), Zhao Lianqin (from Changsha), Luo Aizhen (from Yiyang) and Jia Cuiying (from Huaihua) were in their 60s. Being nearsighted, they had to check the beans one by one, to pick out the bad ones. They had to work as late as two to three o'clock in the morning. Some fell asleep while picking the beans and were immediately jolted awake by the monitoring criminals. The practitioners were forbidden to close their eyes, even for a couple of minutes of rest.
A few practitioners recorded the happenings at the prison in their diary during the night. When the guards searching the cells found these, they destroyed the writings. The pretext: writing any phrases close or related to Falun Gong practice was prohibited. Then, an additional workload to produce 5 Jin of finished product was added to their daily work quota as punishment. Practitioners were forbidden to sleep or take a bath until their quota was finished; if unfinished, and if the practitioner could not finish her quota during the day, she had to keep working through the night until the next day without sleep. But the next day the practitioner still had her second day's quota to finish, making it impossible for the practitioner to sleep. Practitioner He Lijia from Changde was tormented many times like this, which completely exhausted her, causing her weight to drop from 120 Jin to 80 Jin.
Practitioners unable to complete the daily quotas were prevented from bathing or washing their hair for a whole week. One day during the winter, Luo Aizhen and Chen Chujun, both in their 60s, finally finished their quota after three o'clock in the morning and went to wash their hair. They fell asleep before their hair had dried. The hair could be seen steaming in the cold air.
One day the prison guards suddenly transferred all the practitioners to the prison education building to watch TV in the classrooms; all the items related to the forced labor were gathered up and hidden. Practitioners asked around and found out that people were coming to inspect the prison. Prison officials were afraid to have their large-scale work operation in the prison exposed.
Blood Drawing and Testing
The medical service at the prison is another form of unimaginable torture. For example, the prison has a system of "release on bail for medical treatment," but not for Falun Gong practitioners who needed medical treatment. Many practitioners could not be released on bail for medical treatment until they were at death's door. Sixty-eight-year-old practitioner Jia Cuiying from Huaihua had a large tumor next to her ear. The officials did not release her for a long time, and when they finally did, it was clearly too late. She died soon after her release.
Practitioners were frequently made to see a doctor and were force-fed with medicine. Criminal inmates occasionally dissolved crushed pills of unknown substances in the practitioners' drinking water cups. One time, four criminals held onto practitioner Zhang Lanhui from Yueyang; two held her hands, and two held her feet. They carried her away, saying that they were taking her to treat her hypertension. Strangely enough, criminal inmate Xu Mingyan in the next cell had requested many times to see a doctor but was ignored. She cried bitterly in her cell because of her illness. Healthy practitioner Zhou Yunxia from Ningxiang County was isolated against her will with the excuse of treating her "tuberculosis." She was tied to a bed and injected with unknown substances and became mentally disordered after several months of such "treatment." The guard said, "This is because she practiced Falun Gong."
In recent years, under the pretense of checking for AIDS, the prison took blood samples from the inmates for regular testing almost every year. Many Falun Gong practitioners had blood drawn more than once. The seven-member blood team arrived in a mobile van. Several people in white gowns, guards and the head of the Education Team took part in the blood drawing. Criminal inmates dragged and carried practitioners off to have their blood drawn. The team drew large amounts of blood from certain practitioners, whose arms became numb. Why did they take blood samples, and why draw such large quantities of blood? Organ harvesting from living Falun Gong practitioners was exposed to the world in 2006. These atrocities have existed since the start of the persecution.
During the forced blood drawing and blood testing, a rumor spread in the hometown area of a practitioner that she committed suicide at the prison. Then, was the frequent blood drawing and testing looking for an appropriate organ? What did the coincidence of the rumor with the period of blood drawing and testing tell? After the organ was harvested, the body was cremated, then the victim was said to have "committed suicide." No evidence would exist to prove anything.
The manner in which officials at the Hunan Province Women's Prison treat Falun Gong practitioners is common practice in all prisons, labor camps, detention centers and other facilities such as brainwashing centers that are organized under the guise of "legal education." During the ten years that Falun Gong has been persecuted, more than 3,000 practitioners are verified to have died as a direct result of persecution in 31 provinces throughout China; Hunan Province is listed in the top ten provinces.
The Hunan Province Women's Prison, just one cog in the regime's oppressive system, has recklessly committed violence and fabrications, to "reform" Falun Gong practitioners under the fallacy of executing the law. This prison is a precise miniature of the Chinese Communist Party's evil regime.
July 26, 2009