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Exposing Gross Mistreatment and Abuse of Falun Gong Practitioners at the Shandong First Women's Labor Camp

June 17, 2010 |   By a Clearwisdom correspondent from Shandong Province

(Clearwisdom.net) Numerous practitioners have been detained in the Shandong First Women's Labor Camp, Jinan City, and have been subjected to gross mistreatment.

Suffering cruel torture and brainwashing

As soon as practitioners arrive at the labor camp, the guards try to force them to renounce their belief. Practitioners have to watch videos that slander Falun Gong and its Master, every day, then they are ordered to write the three statements, promising to renounce their belief. If practitioners refuse to cooperate they are forced to sit on a small plastic stool for up to 20 hours a day. They have to sit upright on the stool, and look straight ahead. Their legs, knees and feet have to be closed together, with the hands resting on their laps. If they make the slightest movement the guards would beat them. At meal times, food and water would be brought to the practitioner, as they are forbidden to leave the stool. Some practitioners are forced to sit on the stool for several days in a row, with their bottoms starting to bleed and fester.

Unable to bear such excruciating pain, and against their better judgment, some practitioners cooperated with the guards instructions and wrote the three statements.

Forced labor

Officials from the labor camp, 610 Office and the Domestic Security Division have used the detained practitioners to make money. Practitioners were arrested, one after the other, and sent to the labor camp. Sometimes there were so many practitioners there that the cells could not accommodate them all, so some of them had to sleep in the hallways.

All detainees at the labor camp, practitioners and non-practitioners, were forced to make toys from 7:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. every day, and were only allowed 30 minutes for meal times. Many had to resume work before they could finish their meal. The Shandong First Women's Labor Camp was actually an illegal toy factory, with most of the toys being made for a businesswoman called Bai, from Zibo City. When completed the toys would be exported to other countries.

Every detainee had a quota and had to work non-stop to complete it. Cosmetically, the toys looked very nice, but they were filled with contaminated cotton, which was stuffed inside the toys without the use of any protection on their hands. Many people that had handled the cotton had unbearably itchy skin and developed skin problems, with the most common complaints being the festering of both hands and feet. After leaving the workshop at 10:00 p.m., all detainees had to continue working in the main hall, where they would pack various different types of products, such as milk, drugs, cakes, liquor, lottery tickets, and other gifts. From finishing in the workshop to starting in the hall, no one was allowed to take a break to wash their hands, use the toilet or drink water.

Many tall buildings outside the labor camp overlooked the compound, and so the guards always had the curtains drawn and all the doors and windows closed in the hall, even during the hot summer. They feared that people from outside would be able to see what was happening in the camp.

Everyone was simply worn out after a whole day's work, and they would not even notice if they stepped on human excrement when they used the dirty toilets. Unable to wash or clean themselves, many people working there contracted all kinds of illnesses, and some of the non-practitioners working there were prostitutes who had sexually transmitted diseases. The conditions were extremely unhygienic, with the spread of viruses and bacteria everywhere. One can only imagine how much harm these products could bring to its consumers.

If the guards thought someone had not done enough work that day, they would make them get up at 4:00 a.m. and have them work in the hall until 7:00 a.m. At that time, they would join the others in the workshop for the rest of the day.

Some detainees managed to inform their family and friends of the atrocious conditions in the camp, who then filed complaints with the Bureau of Labor Camps, the People's Congress, and the Women's Association. Occasionally these supervisory agencies would inspect the camp, but would always give advanced warning of their visit. When inspections took place, it was nothing more than a formality. Practitioners would be sent to their cells and the products were hidden from sight.

Mistreatment and abuse of practitioners in division two

Division two was a "Strictly Controlled Team", whose detainees were mostly Falun Gong practitioners. The division head, Sun Juan, in her 30s, was a cruel woman who often extended detainees' terms at will, and would curse at anyone who failed to complete their daily quota. Practitioner, Wu Yanhua, in her 50s, was a bit slow in her work, and was always being picked on by Sun Juan. Ms. Meng Fanxiu, also in her 50's, had poor eyesight, and once glued a label upside down. Sun Juan immediately extended her term by half a day. When Ms. Meng reported the incident to Xu Hong, the deputy division head, Xu shouted at her, and extended her term by two more days.

When Ms. Meng fell down the stairs and fractured one of the bones in her feet, guard Wang Xiaowei only allowed her a day's rest and did not allow her to receive any medical attention. The next day Wang ordered several young women to take turns in carrying Ms. Meng to the workshop on their backs. Thirteen days later, when Xu Hong realized that Meng's injury was really severe, she allowed her to be taken to the Armed Police Hospital.

Zhou Yonghua, 45, was once force fed as a punishment. She was kept in solitary confinement all day long and became emaciated. No one knew exactly what torture she had been subjected to.

Liu Lijie, 58, had her term extended by a few months and was kept in solitary confinement. She also suffered from brutal torture, though the full details are unknown.

Toilet and washing privileges restricted

Practitioners were not allowed to use the washroom to clean themselves until they had finished all the jobs assigned to them. Anyone who failed to meet their quota had to work extra and was only allowed three minutes to clean themselves. With only five out of twelve taps in the washroom working, and up to 17 people using the washroom at any one time, people were lucky to get to the basin within the three minutes, let alone wash themselves. Being unable to wash after working 18-19 hours a day, especially during the summer, was unbearable.

If someone was able to finished their quota for the day, the guards would increase it the next day, and keep on increasing it if that day's quota was also met. In the end, very few people could finish their quotas. The guards would shout at them, and either extended their terms, or deprived them of their washing or toilet privileges.

Sometimes the guards would allow practitioners to take a 20-minute shower, but would refuse to provide hot water, even in the winter. They would also call you out in 10 minutes or less, and if you did not get out immediately, they would shout at you and sometimes just turn the water off.

The most despicable act by the guards was to deprive practitioners the use of the toilet, and intentionally keep them waiting, taking turns to watch the toilet entrance. No one could go in without permission. When practitioner Li Yuhua was not allowed to use the toilet, she was bent over in severe pain trying to hold it in, with sweat dripping down her face. Sometimes the guards would allow a group restroom break and gave each person only 3 minutes. When their time was up, the guards would drag people out of the toilet, even if they had not finished. Practitioners were treated worse than animals in the camp.

These accounts are only a small portion of gross mistreatment and abuses that continue to take place at the labor camp. Many more facts remain to be investigated, and we believe one day they will all be exposed for the world to see.