Letter from Torture Victim of Gangbei Prison, Tianjin
(Clearwisdom.net) Located on Xuehai Road in Dagang District, Tianjin, the Gangbei Prison (currently named Binhai Prison) has tortured more than 100 Falun Gong practitioners. With instructions from the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), wardens persecute practitioners with various methods, either directly or through manipulating inmates. Warden Zhang Shilin is the major suspect for murdering practitioner Mr. Li Xiwang.
Another practitioner, Mr. Zhou Xiangyang, was an engineer at the Third Railway Survey and Design Institute Group Corporation in Tianjin. Illegally sentenced to nine years imprisonment, he was kept at the Gangbei Prison, where he was severely tortured. The torture he experienced included being shocked with electric batons for the whole night, resulting in serious burns and scars to his hands, legs, and behind the ears; being deprived of sleep for 30 days and nights consecutively; and being tortured with the “floor anchor” for extended periods of time, of which the longest period was four months.
Practitioner Mr. Fan Jianming, who had direct experience of being tortured by warden Zhang Shilin, including the floor anchor, was recently released from Gangbei Prison, where he was tortured for nine years. The following is his appeal to the Justice Division.
To whom it may concern at the Justice Division:
My name is Fan Jianming and I live in the Wuqing District, Tianjin. Because of practicing my right to freedom of belief, I was imprisoned at the Gangbei Prison for nine years. In the last several months, news about the prison has made me remember the disturbing torture that I experienced there. Falun Gong practitioner Mr Li Xiwang was tortured to death from being shackled to the floor anchor for ten days (I was a victim of this torture myself). Mr. Zhou Xiangyang's family was trying to appeal to the local justice department about the torture he was experiencing in the prison, but they not only refused to investigate, but connived with the prison to obstruct a lawyer's visitation to Mr. Zhou. Mr. Zhou's wife Li Shanshan, who was honored with the award of Good Daughter of Tangshan (a government award for outstanding women), was sentenced to two years of forced labor because she had been working on her husband’s appeal.
I signed an appeal letter with nine other Falun Gong practitioners who had experienced similar torture at the Gangbei Prison. My description of the persecution and behavior of warden Zhang Shilin in the prison was factual. However, we have not heard from the procurator to whom we submitted our appeal through our lawyer two months ago.
Warden Zhang Shilin has committed terrible crimes, but no legal action has been taken to stop him or punish him. It has been said that he was re-appointed to a new job, which leaves us to wonder whether the prison is trying to protect him, a murder suspect.
The latest news about Mr. Zhou Xiangyang is that he is on the verge of death and has been hospitalized for 15 days by the prison. However, the prison still won’t release Mr. Zhou on medical grounds. I feel obligated to speak out again and to do whatever I can to expose the details of the torture at Gangbei Prison in order to stop these crimes from being committed.
Following are more details about the numerous tortures I have experienced in Gangbei Prison. Warden Zhang Shilin was the main person responsible. Regular daily torture included being forced to stand still for an extended period of time, deprivation of washroom use, and being forced to sit on a small stool for long periods of time without moving.
Basic human needs of Falun Gong practitioners were taken away to torment practitioners, in hopes of coercing them to give up their spiritual belief. For example, daily washroom use was limited, and the time that one could stay in the washroom was restricted – one and a half minutes for urination and three minutes for a bowel movement. Wardens would force victims to leave the washroom once time was up. The purpose was to wear down the practitioners' willpower.
I also experienced a typical torture method of the Gangbei Prison, the floor anchor, the one that killed Mr. Li Xiwang, and for which the prison has been sued by Mr. Zhou Xiangyang's family.
During a family visitation in 2005, I talked about being a good person by following the principles of Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance. Warden Gao Peizhi overheard me and stopped our meeting immediately because I had talked about Falun Gong. Zhang Shilin also yelled at me, saying, “Fan Jianming, you crossed the line!” Actually, their irrational behavior had crossed the line. I was dragged away by six inmates, who were ordered by the wardens to take me to an isolated small cell.
This isolated cell was only a few square meters in size, and its walls and floor were wrapped in Styrofoam and rubber. In the middle on the floor there was a big metal ring, the so-called floor anchor. My hands and feet were cuffed to the anchor in a position of half-lying and half-sitting, and actually not being able to sit, stand, or lie down. I did not know how long I would have to remain cuffed like this. Every minute seemed like a lifetime and the pain caused by being in this position made one want to die. The inmate perpetrators pulled my legs forward to increase the already overwhelming pain, while swearing at me. The head of the inmates, Sun Honggang, told me, “Director Zhang Shilin said that we are not worried that you won't give up your belief. If you are not transformed in the first year, we will torture you for another year, and then a third year. We have lots of time to deal with you.” They didn't stop torturing me until midnight, and I was then woken up before 5 a.m. and put back on the floor anchor. This lasted for about 10 to 14 days.
I started a hunger strike to protest the torture, but was brutally forced fed and threatened. “If you don't cooperate with us, we will cut your belly open a the way that won’t make you die, only suffer.”
There are many more torture cases in the Gangbei Prison. I hope the Justice Division can uphold justice and investigate the crimes committed by Zhang Shilin, Li Guoyu, and other wardens.