Name: Wang Xuemei (王雪梅)
Address: Dandong City, Liaoning Province
Occupation: Nurse at the Women and Children's Hospital of Dandong City
Date of Most Recent Arrest: January 12, 2000
Most Recent Place of Detention: Hamatang Mental Hospital (蛤蟆塘精神病院)
Persecution Suffered: Detention, incarceration in a mental hospital, extortion, dismissal from job, salary suspended
(Clearwisdom.net) Falun Gong practitioner Ms. Wang Xuemei was a nurse at the Women and Children's Hospital of Dandong City. After Falun Gong was suppressed by the Communist regime in 1999, Jia Xueguang, head of the hospital, and Party head Fan Li, fired Ms. Wang Xuemei and stopped paying her basic wages as well as living subsidies. As a result, Ms. Wang and her daughter have been placed under severe financial hardship.
Ms. Wang started practicing Falun Gong in 1996. Before she started the practice, she suffered from many illnesses, including heart disease, rheumatism, and a brain disorder. On top of that, her marriage fell apart and she was left with a young child. She became very depressed from the pressure and loss of financial support. After she began practicing Falun Gong, Ms. Wang regained her health and changed her mental outlook. She again found joy in her life. Her friends and relatives saw the changes in her, and as a result many also started practicing Falun Gong.
When the persecution of Falun Gong began on July 20, 1999, Ms. Wang went to Beijing to appeal for justice. She was illegally arrested and detained in the Beijing Tiananmen Detention Center, then sent back to her workplace. Fan Li, the Party head of Dandong Women and Children's Hospital, called reporters from a local paper and had them interview Ms. Wang, who narrated the miraculous changes that happened to her after she practiced Falun Gong. However, several days later, the paper published an article saying that Ms. Wang had given up the practice after being “educated” by Party officials at the hospital. This was also reported on the Dandong City News. In November of the same year, Ms. Wang went to Beijing again and was arrested. She was sent back to the local detention center, where she was detained for over 40 days. Her workplace sent someone to bring her back from the detention center and tried to persuade her to write statements renouncing her faith. She refused to do so.
Detained Against Her Will and Maltreated in a Mental Institution
At 10:00 a.m. on January 12, 2000, Ms. Wang was working at the hospital. Party official Fan Li sent someone to bring her to the office and said to her, “Today we will send you to the mental institution for a checkup. If you are not mentally ill, then you will be allowed to work in the hospital.” She was thus forcibly detained in the Hamatang Mental Hospital in Dandong City.
Ms. Wang's family was prohibited from visiting her at the mental hospital. Her daughter, who was only a few years old, wanted to see her mother, and had to first obtain permission from Party officials. In the office of the mental institution hung a sign with the words, “Beware of Wang Xuemei escaping.”
Ms. Wang was detained in the mental institution for 64 days, from January 12 to March 17, 2000. She was detained with the most severely disabled mental patients. These patients were tied to their beds day and night and shouted non-stop. Although they were tied to their beds, these patients managed to move the heavy metal beds out of the room and rip up the mattresses. Some even hid under the bed. Ms. Wang could not sleep, day nor night, while detained in such an environment. After being detained for several days, she became too weak to get out of bed and lost a lot of weight. She asked to be transferred to another room several times, but the officials refused her request.
At every meal time, several mental patients dumped their leftovers into Ms. Wang's bowl of food as she was eating.
Ms. Wang was also not allowed to go home to be with her family during the Chinese New Year. She was forced to leave behind her daughter, who was only a few years old. On the fourth day of the New Year, her daughter was “permitted” to visit her mother. Ms. Wang rushed forward to hug her daughter but the little girl pushed her away. Her daughter cried and asked, “Why have you abandoned me?” Ms. Wang explained to her daughter that she was being detained against her will. When she tried to get closer, her daughter retreated. In order to incited hatred and fear of her mother, Party officials had told the child that her mother had gone insane and abandoned her. No matter how Ms. Wang tried to explain it to her daughter, she did not believe her and was afraid to go near her.
One morning, around the 15th day of the New Year in 2000, Zhao Chunlin, a doctor at the mental hospital, shouted at Ms. Wang, “I discussed your situation with Party official Fan Li. We will give you medication today.” She immediately questioned him, “I am not ill, I am a normal person, what right do you have to administer medication?” She knew that they intended to harm her. Thus, when the nurse tried to give her medication, she knocked the bottle of medicine down to the floor.
At her former workplace, Party officials spread rumors claiming that Ms. Wang had become insane from practicing Falun Gong. They said that she quit her job and abandoned her daughter. One Saturday in early March, Fan Li brought Ms. Wang's 70-year-old father and sister, who lived in the village, to visit her at the mental hospital. Her father said to her with tears in his eyes, “I am old, you must continue to live.” Her father was deceived by party officials who told him that Ms. Wang wanted to die. Ms. Wang told him, “I am very well now, why would I want to die?”
The next morning, doctor Zhao Chunlin came to Ms. Wang's bed and said to her, “Your father has signed a statement relieving the hospital from any responsibility if you die.” Party head Fan Li had intentionally arranged a meeting between Ms. Wang and her father so that they could deceive him into signing the statement. Thus, they could maltreat Ms. Wang, and if she died they would not be held responsible.
Ms. Wang went on a hunger strike to protest her detention. On the seventh day of her hunger strike, officer Huo Wenshan from the Linjiang Police Station came to visit her at the mental hospital. He wanted to send her to prison, but when he saw her on the brink of death after seven days without food, he decided not to take her. After 12 days of hunger strike, on March 16, 2000, party officials from the Women and Children's Hospital were afraid that they could be held responsible for causing her death and decided to send her home.
Wages Withheld and Expelled from Public Duties
On the morning of March 27, 2000, Ma Yu, chairman of the workers' union for the Women and Children's Hospital, along with Wu Jing, head of the human resources department, and Party branch head Ma Li came to Ms. Wang's home to notify her of the hospital's decision to terminate her position.
During her detention in the mental hospital, her workplace did not pay her a single cent. She was only given 200 yuan before she was fired from her job. She had to work at odds jobs to support herself and her daughter.
On December 2005, Ms. Wang went back to her workplace to request that they reinstate her position. She was threatened, and the administrators tried to force her to write statements renouncing her practice on many occasions. Party head Fan Li claimed that Ms. Wang was interrupting her work and ordered security personnel to drag her out of the office, from one end of the corridor to the other.
Mentally Persecuted and Personal Reputation Tarnished
Finally, on April 4, 2006, party officials at the hospital agreed to allow Ms. Wang to return to work on a temporary contractual basis. She was assigned cleaning duties in the newborn department and warned not to talk to anyone in the hospital.
Party head Fan Li also announced at a staff meeting that no one was allowed to talk to Ms. Wang. She even ordered Ms. Wang to report her whereabouts regularly or else she would be fired. She also asked supervisors and other head nurses to monitor Ms. Wang. Ms. Wang was not permitted to take time off during public holidays and had to work half-days even on weekends, without pay.
Ms. Wang was assigned the dirtiest and most laborious tasks in the hospital. Yet she was only paid the minimum wage of 500 yuan.
Later, as a result of her efforts, the hospital increased her wages to 700 yuan. However, this meager salary is barely enough for her to send her child to a university and resolve her financial difficulties. Even today, Ms. Wang still earns only 700 yuan each month.