Ms. Liu Li Recounts the Torture She Experienced at Hebei Province Women's Forced Labor Camp
Name: Liu Li (刘丽)
Most Recent Place of Detention: Hebei Province Women's Forced Labor Camp (河北省女子劳教所)
Persecution Suffered: Electric shock, forced labor, beatings, hung up, imprisonment, solitary confinement, torture, force-feedings, physical restraint, denial of restroom use, sleep deprivation
Key Persecutors: Liu Ziwei (刘子维), prison guard
(Clearwisdom.net) Ms. Liu Li from Shijiazhuang, Hebei Province was tortured for one-and-a-half years while imprisoned in the Hebei Province Women's Forced Labor Camp between June 30, 2008 and October 19, 2009. Some of the more severe instances of persecution are as follows: She was tortured with hanging for nine full days. Prison guards ripped off her shirt and used an electric baton to shock her nipples. A guard struck Ms. Liu in the head with an electric baton, which caused severe bleeding. Ms. Liu was in critical condition by the time she was released in January 2010. Although she survived, her face was badly scarred from the torture. As stated in Ms. Liu's report, female prison guard Liu Ziwei conducted most of the torture at the labor camp.
The following is the English translation of Ms. Liu's letter of complaint against Liu Ziwei and other parties involved in the persecution.
Letter of Complaint against Liu Ziwei and Other Personnel at Hebei Province Women's Forced Labor Camp
My name is Liu Li. I am a resident of Shijiazhuang, Hebei Province. I was detained at the Hebei Province Women's Forced Labor Camp on June 30, 2008, because I practice Falun Gong. Between September and December 2008, I was repeatedly subjected to physical abuse, beatings, and torture by Liu Ziwei, a female prison guard of the No. 1 team of the forced labor camp. I lost my hearing because I was so badly beaten. My eyes would water so much that I could not see well and I was plagued with headaches. My face, arms, and legs were badly swollen. The left side of my body was constantly cold and swollen. I often had cramps in my hands and experienced chest pain. Nevertheless, Liu Ziwei denied my request to be released on bail for medical treatment. I have a badly scarred face from the injuries I received from being beaten. It is still traumatic for me to see my deformed face.
When my prison term ended on December 20, 2009, the labor camp refused to release me. I believe this was because the visible scars from my injuries would expose the torture inflicted on me by labor camp guards. Despite the many requests from my family for my release to receive medical treatment, the labor camp extended the prison term by one month. I was not released until January 19, 2010. Injuries from the brutal beatings and the lack of medical treatment over many months put me on the brink of death.
At first, I was afraid of the retaliation I would receive if I filed a complaint. But this thinking is incorrect, so I have decided to file a complaint against Liu Ziwei, and the others who tortured me at the labor camp. I want justice and financial compensation.
The following is an account of how I was tortured:
1. Beatings, Electric Shocks, Forced to Stand Still for Extended Periods of Time
One morning in September 2008, Liu Ziwei forced eight prison inmates and myself to stand still for a long time in a hallway and denied us the right to use the bathroom when we refused to do morning calisthenics. I lost control of my bladder from standing so long and a prison guard named Zhao Yali (female) was furious. She dragged me into a torture chamber by my collar and ordered me to squat with my hands behind one leg. She handcuffed me while I was squatting in that position. It was a very painful position to be handcuffed in.
When Liu Ziwei arrived, she ordered me to stand up, although my hands were handcuffed behind one of my legs. Naturally, I was unable to stand up. I was then forced to kneel down. Liu began to slap me and kicked me hard in the stomach. She became increasingly angry and started to shock me on one arm with an electric baton. I was wearing short-sleeves, as it was in the middle of September, and the electric baton had direct contact with my arm. She would shock one arm and then the other. As she shocked my arms with one hand, she slapped me with the other hand. To assist Liu with this torture, Zhao kept the chain connected to my handcuffs tight, which immobilized me.
After the electric shocks, Liu grabbed my hair and began to slap me hard. The beatings did not end until after 1 p.m. I was taken by Liu to a warehouse at one end of the hallway, where I was hung from a heating pipe. I was not brought down until 10 p.m., when I asked another prison guard to let me use the bathroom. By then I had been hanging in the air for 9 hours. After I returned from the bathroom, I was made to join other prison inmates who were standing still in the hallway. It was not until Liu Ziwei went home that another prison guard let us return to our cell. Only then did that long day of torture finally end.
2. Hitting My Head with Shoes, Forced to Stay Still While Completely Bent Over Against a Wall, Hung in the Air for 9 Days
On November 3, 2008, the forced labor camp acquired a for-profit contract to wrap disposable chopsticks and ordered prison inmates to perform forced labor to fulfill the contract. According to prison regulations, inmates should not perform work for any business contract. Therefore, I told the prison guards that I would not do it.
Liu Ziwei had another prison guard and an inmate named Liu Juan take me to a room on the south side of the labor camp. Liu made me remove my shoes and started hitting my head and face hard with my shoes. Then she had me bend over completely and raise my arms up behind me, so that my head was pointed straight down and my arms and back were against the wall. I was made to stand still in this position, and then they kicked me hard in the area of my hip.
My hands were bound behind my back with a rope and I was locked in a storage room. They spread my arms and legs in an attempt to hang me between two windows. However, my arms were not long enough, so they handcuffed one of my hands to a window and the other hand to a heating pipe.
I told Liu that there were regulations posted on the wall that said any physical punishment, beating, cursing, and verbal insults against any inmate was prohibited. But Liu continued to beat me and curse at me. She said, "Who beat you? Do you have a witness? I will accuse you of attacking the prison guards!" She threatened to hang me up for 24 hours and deprive me of my right to use the bathroom and to sleep. Then she changed her mind and said that I would be hung for three days instead.
I was hung in the storage room on the afternoon of November 3, 2008. I urinated on myself while suspended in the air. That night the handcuffs opened by themselves. When Liu discovered what had happened, she took my shoes and hit my head with them again. She then hung me back up, and started kicking my lower back and hip area. On the third day, I had difficulty breathing and called for help. Liu summoned a prison doctor to take my blood pressure. Afterwards, I was hung up again.
Later, prison guard Wang Weiwei unlocked the handcuff on my right hand. Guard Shi Jiangxia loosened the left handcuff and cuffed it to a heating pipe at the height of my waist. On the sixth day, my feet were so swollen from standing that they looked like giant loaves of bread. On the seventh day, my left hand was the size of a loaf of bread. It was not until the ninth night that prison guard Wang Weiwei let me down. I was then able to sleep on the ground for a short while. I had been hanging for nine days. At that point I felt as if I would be better off dead.
In addition to the two prison guards, Shi Jiangxia and Wang Weiwei, five prison inmates also witnessed the hanging torture I was subjected to. They are Zhu Liying, Liu Juan, Hai Xia, Jia Haiqin and Dazhu (nickname). Several painting contractors who were painting the storage room also witnessed the torture I suffered.
Ms. Liu Binglan was subjected to the hanging torture during the same time period. She was hung up in Room 115 for 15 days. When I saw her, her feet were as swollen as mine and she could not fit into her shoes. Her complexion was dark and gray. She had blood stains on her eyelids from the brutal beatings by Liu Ziwei. On the first day of the hanging torture, Liu Ziwei had a prison inmate named Liu Juan grab Ms. Liu Binglan by her hair to keep her still, so that she could slap her face with a shoe. Ms. Liu Binglan's face turned purple as a result of the beatings.
3. Forced Labor, Electric Shocks, Beating with an Electric Baton, Force-Feeding
After Liu Binglan and I were released from the torture chambers, Liu Ziwei forced us perform a lot of forced labor. Initially we were made to clean the lobby, the hallways, the water room, the bathroom, the toilets, the laundry room, and the storage room once a day. Later, we were made to clean these places three times daily. In addition, we had to do outdoor labor. In the end, we had to take out the trash and clean the windows, fans, and light bulbs.
On December 10, 2008, Liu ordered us to hand-wash two large sacks of personal items belonging to the prison guards. Ms. Liu and I told the guards that we did not have time to do the prison guards' personal laundry. We hardly had enough time to sleep, as we got up at 5:30 a.m. and worked until 10 p.m. We did a lot more chores than the other inmates.
When Liu Ziwei heard the news, she came to us and with guards Zhu Liying and Liu Juan. She immediately beat Ms. Liu Binglan to the ground. While Liu Ziwei was beating Ms. Liu Binglan in the water room, two prison guards, Wang Jinzhen and Niu Kunxia, looked on. Liu Ziwei had Ms. Liu Binglan and myself dragged into Room 108, where she ripped our shirts off. Ms. Liu Binglan and I were naked from the waist up. Liu Ziwei grabbed Ms. Liu Binglan's shoes and began to hit us, which left us bruised all over our bodies. Liu Ziwei began to shock my nipples with an electric baton. To keep us still, Liu Ziwei had to handcuff us to the bed rails. Liu Ziwei repeatedly shocked my nipples and my back over a long period of time.
After being shocked with the electric baton, Liu hit my head with the baton until my face and my nose began to bleed. The blood ran down to my stomach and onto the ground. Liu Ziwei then announced that she would torture us by force-feeding. Ms. Liu Binglan and I were not on a hunger strike, so the force-feeding was meant to inflict pain and not for nourishment. We were taken to the labor camp hospital, where a tube was inserted into our noses and salt-water and milk formula were poured into the tube. Ms. Liu Bingland and I were charged 60 yuan each for being tortured by force-feeding.
After the force-feeding torture, Liu Ziwei made us stand still against a wall until dawn. An inmate named Wang Jinzhen from my cell was also forced to stand still with me in Room 106. Niu Kunxia was also forced to stand still in Room 108 with Ms. Liu Binglan. Not surprisingly, Wang Jinzhen was angry about having to stand still with me and pounded me against the wall.
I had injuries all over my face, head, and body from the beatings that day. I felt as though my left cheek bone might have been fractured and I could feel internal bleeding on the left side of my face. Liu Ziwei locked me in my cell for three days and I had to relieve myself in the cell. During those three days I was given only two steamed buns a day and a few vegetable stems. Three days later, when I saw my face in the mirror, the left side of my face was swollen and distorted. There was blood in my left eye and it was bruised purple. It was an unbearable sight.
4. Denial of Medical Treatment, Disfigurement, Extended Prison Term
After the brutal beatings on December 10, 2008, it took a long time before I began to heal. I kept having headaches and dizziness. I had difficulty keeping my eyes open. I felt nauseated and uneasy. I felt great discomfort at the back of my head and on the left side of my face, particularly my cheek bone, nose, eyes, and eyelids. I lost nearly all of my hearing, and my general health was deteriorating. After the swelling was gone, a visible divot appeared on the left side of my face. I asked Liu Ziwei to release me so that I could go to the hospital for an X-ray, but Liu Ziwei denied my request. I believe she intended to conceal the physical abuse and torture I had been subjected to.
When Liu Ziwei took a vacation day in November 2009, a prison guard summoned a prison doctor named Ma to check on me. When Liu Ziwei heard that I had told the prison doctor that I was tortured and that the torture caused the injuries, she was furious and denied that she had ever used physical abuse.
Despite my deteriorating health and lack of medical treatment, Liu Ziwei continued to subject me to forced labor. I was once forced to stand still for two days. Shortly before my prison term ended, my health took a turn for the worse. I felt dizzy, I could not open my eyes, and I felt cold and trembled often. I coughed all the time. In the end, I could not get out of bed, and I could not digest anything. A drink of water or a bite of food would send me to the bathroom. When Liu Ziwei noticed my increasing trips to the bathroom, she ordered me to limit the trips to the bathroom to three times a day. For three days I avoided eating to reduce the trips to the bathroom. Finally my prison term ended, but Liu Ziwei arbitrarily extended the term for one more month.
On January 19, 2010, I was finally released. I survived, but the human rights violations against me have not been revealed until now. Feng Kezhuang, the Deputy Warden who Liu Ziwei reports to, was fully aware of the torture Liu inflicted upon me. She is also an accomplice to Liu's crimes.