Torture of Falun Gong Practitioners in Hebei Province Women's Prison
(Clearwisdom.net) Hebei Province Women's Prison is located southwest of Shijiazhuang City, near Luquan City, and at the base of Taihang Mountain. To the north of the prison is the Hebei Province Women's Detention Center. The prison is divided into 17 sections, including a Juvenile Detention Center. There are a total of 3,000 prisoners, among which are more than 200 Falun Gong practitioners. Forced labor mainly includes clothing production, and much of it is the production of police and army uniforms. The prison claims a "transformation rate" (of Falun Gong practitioners) of more than 95%. I'd like to provide an account of the persecution here.
I. Section 14's "Newcomers Group," otherwise known as the "Lock-down Group"
New arrivals are forced to wear a prison uniform and have their hair cut. If the practitioner refuses to wear the uniform, she is assaulted by several team leaders. In the evening, the section instructor comes to talk to the practitioner. He will act very pleasant, asking the practitioner about where she lives, her family situation, etc. Then he will say things like, "If you follow the rules and behave well, then we will shorten the sentence for a Falun Gong practitioner more than the regular prisoners, and so you can get out sooner." Meanwhile, the guards arrange prisoners to monitor the practitioner 24 hours a day, and these prisoners have to report back on the situation each day. Practitioners are not allowed to go outside or join any group activities.
From 5:00 a.m. to 9:30 p.m., practitioners are often forced to sit on tiny stools and are not allowed to talk to anyone. If the practitioner refuses to give up her faith, the persecution gets escalated. She will be watched by more prisoners and forced to stand still facing a wall. Other than meals and going to the restroom, she will have to stand the entire time and will be beaten and cursed at if she does not follow orders.
In its literature for outside consumption, the prison states that in Section 14, prisoners do not do labor and only "study and attend classes." However, the prisoners are made to do forced labor, including putting beads on strings, folding shower curtains and shower caps, folding magazines, etc. If more labor is assigned than what they can finish, they are forced to work overtime. If a Falun Gong practitioner refuse to do the labor, she is made to stand still or sit on a tiny stool for long periods of time. After several days of sitting, the hip area swells up, causing severe pain.
I personally saw the torture of a Falun Gong practitioner who looked about 35 years old. She refused to cooperate with the prison authorities, and was punished with being forced to sit on a tiny stool every day. She was not allowed to speak and sometimes was not allowed to go to bed until midnight. She was constantly cursed at and beaten. Frequently she would have nightmares and scream in the middle of the night. As a result, she suffered even more brutal beatings. Many times she was dragged by guards into a restroom and brutally beaten. She was also dragged into a lobby, where she was forced to stand for a long time. On more than one occasion, her mouth was taped shut and she was dragged along the ground while completely naked.
She resisted the persecution with a hunger strike. In response, the authorities took her to the prison hospital to be force-fed. They force-fed an unknown drug to her, causing her mental condition to deteriorate. When she returned, prison guards continued to torture her behind closed doors. She became expressionless, lost much of her memory, and could only talk very slowly in a weak voice. Her face was swollen and she had trouble walking. The torture caused her to look much older than she was. Later she was sent to Section 11, designated for prisoners with mental illnesses, where the torture continued.
Chengde City Falun Gong practitioner Liu Xiaorong, over 40 years old, was once a doctor at a hospital. After she was put in the prison, she would not give up her faith and went on a hunger strike that lasted between 7 and 8 months. During that time, the police would not allow her to buy toilet paper or any other living essentials, and would not let her use hot water. When her period came, the blood would soak her pants and she could only use the cold water to wash it off in the restroom. She was not allowed to change underwear and was constantly cursed at by the prisoners monitoring her. The guards forced her to stand outside in the winter wearing very little clothing, causing her body to become numb. She was tortured so badly that her weight dropped to 35kg (about 77 pounds). Her blood pressure is only 40-50mm. She is in critical condition.
II. Former Practitioners Used to Undermine Steadfast Practitioners
If practitioners in Section 14 are not "transformed" after a period of time, they are sent to a group of former practitioners who had betrayed their faith. Usually there are 7 to 8 of these former practitioners in the group, and two prisoners who are responsible for monitoring the practitioners. The leader of the team, who has the surname Du, was transferred from Taihang Prison. At least two collaborators are responsible for each practitioner, and they place the practitioner in a room with a TV playing anti-Falun Gong videos. The collaborators attempt to engage the practitioner in conversation and use faulty logic and Communist propaganda to try to convince them to stop practicing. They bring out books that slander Falun Gong, books from other religions, and even excerpts of Falun Gong teachings taken out of context, in order to achieve their goal.
From 5:00 a.m. to midnight, practitioners are forced to be either reading or listening to the materials given by the prison. After their minds are filled with this content, they are forced to write their "feelings and experiences." For those who do not know how to write, they are forced to talk out loud. Some of the practitioners become physically and mentally exhausted, and unknowingly sign the "three statements," renouncing Falun Gong. Afterwards they are forced to undergo a so-called "consolidation period." The environment becomes a bit more loose and the practitioners are allowed to take a little break at lunch time. Then the practitioners are allowed to go back to the regular section, if they have renounced their faith after being bombarded with brainwashing and propaganda for extended periods of time.
After a lot of Falun Gong practitioners return to their regular sections, the mental pressure is slightly alleviated and they realize that they made a mistake, so they write a statement declaring that the "three statements" they wrote are invalid. Most times when this happens, no further action is taken against the practitioners. But there have been cases where the practitioner gets sent back to get brainwashed again.
Shortly before and after the Beijing Olympics, as there were more and more Falun Gong practitioners arrested and sent to the prison, this group of former practitioners could not do all of the brainwashing, so each section had their own people to do the brainwashing, in addition to physical abuse. If they were not successful, the practitioners were then sent to this team of former practitioners.
III. Persecution in the individual sections
While being held in their individual sections, Falun Gong practitioners are not allowed to contact each other. Even when performing forced labor, practitioners have to be separated by regular prisoners. Practitioners are not allowed to study or recite the Falun Gong teachings or do the Falun Gong exercises. Every week the prison cells are searched and practitioners are the main targets. If Falun Gong books or lectures are found, the practitioners are either fined or punished; usually they are made to stand still. Each practitioner has 1-3 monitoring prisoners who closely watch the practitioner and report to team leaders whenever they see anything not in line with prison rules. Because prisoners are awarded points for their cooperation, which may allow them to get out of prison sooner, they often beat and curse Falun Gong practitioners at will.
In Section 4, there is a practitioner who is about 50 years old, an intellectual likely from the Zhangjiakou area. Because he went on a hunger strike to resist the persecution, every day he was dragged by several monitoring prisoners to the prison hospital to be force-fed. There were carts available for transportation, but they chose not use one, so as to inflict more harm on the practitioner. As a result, the practitioner's pants were torn and ripped, his hip area was bloody, and she was covered in sand and dirt.
Practitioners are also forced to have their meals outside year-round, and those who are on hunger strikes have to watch the others eat on the side while standing.
Work in the various sections starts at 7:00 a.m. and lasts until 9:00 p.m.-- around 13 or 14 hours of hard labor. There is no time off on the weekends and rarely time off on holidays. Even with this kind of work schedule, the prisoners often have to work overtime. On one occasion, sections 4 and 5 did not allow the prisoners to go to bed for an entire week. They fell asleep at their work benches and continued to work after waking up.