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Ms. Zhang Zhenmin Brutally Tortured While Imprisoned

November 18, 2010 |   By a Clearwisdom correspondent from Gansu Province, China

(Clearwisdom.net) Ms. Zhang Zhenmin, 47, lives in the New Railroad Village of the Chengguan District, Lanzhou City, in Gansu Province. She was employed by the Lanzhou City Meat Processing Factory. Since the persecution of Falun Gong started over eleven years ago, she has been imprisoned and brutally tortured numerous times. She was released on September 17, 2010.

After the persecution started in July 1999, Ms. Zhang decided to read Zhuan Falun, to help her understand why the Chinese regime-controlled media was propagating information contradictory to her husband Niu Wanjiang's experience of practicing Falun Gong. She then discovered that the state media's propaganda was falsified, and she decided to become a Falun Gong practitioner.

Ms. Zhang's bronchitis, migraine headaches, stomach problems, sciatica, rheumatoid arthritis, lumbar vertebral fracture, and a painful fractured hip were healed through the practice.

Below is an account of the persecution suffered by Ms. Zhang:

Incarcerated Numerous Times for Her Faith

Ms. Zhang went to Beijing to appeal for justice for Falun Gong in February 2000, July 2000, and early 2001. The first time she went, she was illegally detained in the Yanjiaping Detention Center for 13 days. On her second trip, she was detained at the Taoshuping Brainwashing Center for 15 days. During the thrid trip, she was detained in the Taoshuping Brainwashing Center for six months.

A group of practitioners sharing their experiences on April 23, 2000, at Ms. Zhang's residence, were reported to the Chengguan District Domestic Security Division. A group of policemen led by Weidong took the practitioners, including Ms. Zhang, to the Chengguan District Domestic Security Division and held them overnight. The next day, these practitioners were transferred to the Chengguan District Dashaping Detention Center, but officials there refused to admit them. The police then took them to the Taoshuping Detention Center, where they were held for 15 additional days. They were released only after paying for food and boarding.

Agents from the Lanzhou City Domestic Security Division arrested Ms. Zhang on May 3, 2002. They also ransacked her residence, confiscating 9,500 yuan in cash, her son's computer, her clock and watches, and her and her husband's salary cards.

Ms. Zhang was taken to the Xiguoyuan Detention Center that same day, and held there in the Fifteenth Division. She went on a hunger strike to protest the persecution, but was brutally force-fed. The guard inserted a nasal feeding tube and restrained her in heavy handcuffs and shackles that weighed about 80 pounds. Ms. Zhang could not move. When she had to be moved, five inmates had to take her and the shackles together. She was restricted like that for an entire day.

Tortured in the Hualingshan No. 2 Detention Center, Deprived of Family Visitation

Ms. Zhang was transferred to the Hualingshan No. 2 Detention Center on September 17, 2002, where she was subjected to forced labor. When she began a hunger strike in November to protest the persecution, she was tortured again with the "backward bending" torture method. The guards shackled her, handcuffed her hands behind her back, and then connected the handcuffs and the shackles with a one-foot-long metal wire, forcing Ms. Zhang to kneel in an arched backward position for a long time. This torture method, often used on practitioners, caused them to be unable to stand or squat.

The guards didn't unlock the handcuffs afterward, so Ms. Zhang had to rely on inmates to help her eat, drink, and use the restroom.

Ms. Zhang was tortured with the "backward bending" method for 39 days, until her whole body became swollen. The handcuffs cut into her flesh at the wrists and could not be removed when they were unlocked. Ms. Zhang could not straighten her back, move her legs, or raise her arms for several days. Some inmates applied hot towels to her arms to prevent the muscles from stiffening.

In the winter, practitioners at the detention center were forbidden from wearing coats, and were forced to stand in an open field, exposed to the howling wind.

Hualinshan Detention Center officials deprived Ms. Zhang of visitation rights, and her parents were not allowed to visit, even during the Chinese New Year holidays, as the detention center feared letting them see their daughter following the torture. Ms. Zhang was also not provided with the items that her parents sent her. The elderly parents repeatedly went to the detention center and asked the deputy head of the center to see their daughter, but were always met with refusal. Therefore, they did not know if their daughter was alive or dead.

Ms. Zhang never succumbed to the guards' attempts to "transform" her while in the Hualinshan Detention Center.

Sentenced to Eight Years in Prison

The Chengguan District Court conducted a trial for Ms. Zhang and a few other practitioners on July 3, 2003, but her family was not informed of the trial. Ms. Zhang was sentenced to eight years of imprisonment by that court on December 10, 2003. She appealed to the intermediate-level court, which upheld the original verdict on January 16, 2004.

Ms. Zhang was transferred to the Gansu Women's Prison on April 19, 2004, where she was detained in Ward No. 4 and subjected to daily forced labor. A few days later, someone reported Ms. Zhang for practicing the Falun Gong exercises. The guards handcuffed her hands to the heater radiator, so that she was forced to sit on the floor with her head leaning backward.

One day, Ms. Zhang erased the Falun Gong-slandering propaganda that the guards had posted on the blackboard. The guards slapped her face and tried to cover up her mouth when she shouted, "Falun Dafa is good!" Then they hit her with handcuffs, injuring her in numerous places and making her bleed, and hung her up with handcuffs in the washroom on the second floor for seven days.

When Ms. Zhang advised the political head and the head of the prison ward not to persecute Falun Gong practitioners anymore, they ordered the guards to hang her up in the washroom again for four days and three nights. She was provided with food, but was forbidden to use the toilet, as a result of which she lost control of her bowel and bladder. She lost the feeling in her right hand for six months from the hanging torture. Afterward, she began another hunger strike to protest the persecution.

Sent to a Brainwashing Center on the Day she was Released from Prison

Ms. Zhang was scheduled to be released from the Jiuzhou Women's Prison on May 2, 2010, and her family traveled overnight to the prison to meet her in the morining. They saw four police vehicles entering the prison at 4:45 a.m., and eventually learned that the cars were from the Lanzhou City Political and Judiciary Committee, the 610 Office, the Political and Security Section, and the Domestic Security Section of the Chengguan District Police Department. The prison's security section head then yelled at and pushed Ms. Zhang's elderly mother, her husband, and other family members away from the gate, and twelve male guards and eight female guards were positioned by the entrance to prevent the family from meeting Ms. Zhang.

Ms. Zhang's mother, who is in her seventies, started crying and pleading in front of the prison gate. The security section head then yelled, "Don't cry anymore. I'll punish you if you don't stop now."

Ms. Zhang's family searched for her whereabouts and later learned that she had been transferred to the Gongjiawan Brainwashing Center at around 5:00 p.m on the day she was to be released from prison. The guard at the brainwashing center told them that they couldn't see her because "orders from higher authorities prohibit Ms. Zhang from seeing her family." Ms. Shang was only allowed to see her parents and son a month later, but was still deprived of the right to receive anything from them.

Practitioners in the brainwashing center were prohibited from talking to each other or walking by themselves. Those assisting in the persecution followed the practitioners everywhere. Ms. Zhang and fellow practitioners Du Wenhui and Su Jinxiu began a hunger strike on September 2, 2010. On the fifth day of the hunger strike, the guards attempted to force-feed the practitioners but failed. These practitioners were subsequently released.