My Three Years of Suffering in a Labor Camp; Bearing Witness to Practitioner Mr. Chen Baoliang’s Death from Beating
Name: Wang Zhe (王喆)
Address: Now in France
Date of Most Recent Arrest: July 20, 2001
Most Recent Place of Detention: Qingbowa Forced Labor Camp (青泊洼劳教所)
City: Tianjin municipality
Persecution Suffered: Electric shock, sleep deprivation, forced labor, brainwashing, illegal sentencing, beatings, imprisonment, torture, fired from workplace, physical restraint, interrogation, detention
(Minghui.org) My name is Wang Zhe and I am 33 years old. I used to suffer from a very stubborn skin disease, but was cured of it after I began to practice Falun Gong at the end of 1997.
After the persecution of Falun Gong began, I was illegally arrested in November 1999 for going to Beijing to appeal for Falun Gong and was subsequently imprisoned at Tianjin City’s Beichen Police Branch Office for one month. My workplace fired me after my release. On July 20, 2001, agents from the Tucheng Police Department of Hexi District in Tianjin forcibly took me away from my new workplace. During my three years of forced labor, I witnessed the beating death of practitioner Mr. Chen Baoliang.
Personally experiencing the “Tianjin Incident” before the “April 25 Peaceful Appeal” in Beijing
On April 11, 1999, He Zuoxiu published an article attacking Falun Gong in “Youth Science and Technology Exhibit.” Many Tianjin practitioners, including myself, went to clarify the facts to the editor-in-chief of this magazine on April 21. Two days later, the local police illegally arrested forty-five of our local practitioners, some of whom were injured during the police’ raid. The next day we went to the Tianjin City Government to appeal and were told to take our case to the State Department’s Appeals Office in Beijing instead. What followed was the well known “April 25 Peaceful Appeal” by ten thousand practitioners from around the country.
Soon after the April 25 Peaceful Appeal, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) demanded that every Falun Gong exercise site in the country survey its practitioners on the health benefits gained from their Falun Gong practice. I also participated in the survey, but would never have imagined that the CCP was indeed collecting home addresses and job information of practitioners in preparation for later persecution.
Starting in June 1999, the police began to expel us from the exercise site near my home. On July 20, the CCP launched a country-wide mass arrest of practitioners. When I went with fellow practitioners to appeal for Falun Gong in Beijing in November 1999, we saw police from various parts of the country already waiting outside the State Department’s Appeals Office. I was taken back to Tianjin and detained at the Beichen Police Branch Office for one month. My workplace fired me upon my release. From that point on, the local authorities harassed me during every holiday or so-called sensitive date.
Sentenced to Three Years of Forced Labor
On January 23, 2001, the CCP staged the self-immolation incident on Tiananmen Square. Starting in May, my fellow practitioners and I began to make truth-clarification DVDs to disclose the truth of this incident. I was taken away from my new workplace on July 20, 2001, by several police officers from the Tucheng Police Department. Because I refused to cooperate with them, they put me through a torture dubbed “Flying Airplane” in which I was made to bend my back in front of a wall with my arms stretched out to touch the wall. They kept me in this position for several hours and it was extremely painful.
That night Chief Wang put some special shackles and handcuffs on me. A bit after midnight, officers tied me in between two beds and made me squat until 6 or 7 in the morning. At 9 a.m., a deputy chief came to interrogate me. I refused to answer his questions, so he slapped me hard on the face. I remained silent, and he kept beating me until my nose bled. It was highly probable that he also broke my left eardrum since the hearing in my left ear is now much worse than that of my right ear. The whole day they tried various ways to make me suffer. Sometimes they handcuffed me to a bed so I could neither sit down nor stand up. They also turned the air conditioner on high to blow directly at me for several hours. Eventually, the Hexi Police Branch Office sentenced me to three years of forced labor.
Witnessing Mr. Chen Baoliang’s Beating Death
In September 2001, the police sent me to Qingbowa Labor Camp before transferring me to Team Three of Shuangkou Labor Camp one month later. I was forced to labor for at least 15 hours a day, oftentimes from 6 in the morning to 11 at night. Since I refused to renounce my belief in Falun Gong, the guards had me do the so-called “written reflection” after each day’s forced labor. As a result, I only got 2-3 hours of sleep every might. In July 2002, they moved me to Team Two of the same labor camp.
On August 15, 2002, all detained practitioners went on a group strike. The guards ordered criminal detainees to hit us with sticks. They next gathered us in the workshop and resumed the beatings. Two practitioners were severely injured as a result. One elderly practitioner, named Chen Baoliang, tried to stop the brutality and Team Head Zheng Junhong ordered detainees Wu Guoliang and Li Wenhong to hit Mr. Chen with wooden planks, while his hands were tied behind his back and his mouth taped shut.
Mr. Chen was knocked down and Wu Guoliang stomped on his chest hard. He was extremely pale and picked himself up with great difficulty. The thugs, however, stopped those who wanted to give him a hand, yelling, “We’ll see who dares to help him?” Mr. Chen managed to walk a few steps but soon collapsed. The guards became nervous and called in an ambulance. In the meantime they kept us away from Mr. Chen and ordered us back to our dorms for the afternoon.
When I inquired about Mr. Chen’s condition that night, a guard surnamed Meng replied, “Chen Baoliang just died of a heart attack.” I was furious at his answer and rebutted, “You’re lying! He was beaten to death!” I remember clearly that Meng said to me casually, “I’d say mind your own business.”
The next morning, the guards filled the hallway and called out me and three other practitioners. After I was taken to the office they asked, “Are your hands healed yet? Let’s take a look.” Due to poor hygiene, I had scabies on my hands and many patches of skin were broken. As soon as I held out my hands, they cuffed them behind my back and took me outside to a waiting car where another practitioner was already detained. They sat us back to back and warned, “Behave yourselves; otherwise we’ll tape your mouths shut.”
Tortured at Qingbowa Forced Labor Camp
The guards took me back to Team Seven of Qingbowa Labor Camp where most detainees were drug addicts. There were only a few practitioners. I didn’t know how evil it was until I got there. There was never a shortage of drugs; even the guards helped smuggle drugs in and made money off it. Because I refused to cooperate, the guards revoked my family’s monthly visitation rights.
In November 2002, the labor camp took blood tests of me, yet without specifying any reasons. Now in hindsight, I realized that was during the peak period of the horrific practice of live harvesting of practitioners’ organs.
According to a detainee head, the guards experimented with electric shocks on pigs and found that four electric batons would result in the death of a pig. Yet they eventually used 6-8 batons on practitioners.
After I went on a hunger strike for one month, the guards sent me to a brainwashing center in January 2003. They designated a whole floor to conduct forced brainwashing of determined practitioners. Every session targeted four practitioners. When I was taken there, I was first given a savage beating and then knocked down with six people standing on my limbs and body and shocking me simultaneously with 6-7 electric batons. They intentionally targeted sensitive areas, including my palms, foot arches, head, neck and mouth. I was already very weak due to my hunger strike, yet they didn’t stop until I couldn’t move at all. After several days of electric shock, a huge pus-filled wound appeared on my back. I needed people’s help to walk.
In June 2003, I was diagnosed with pulmonary tuberculosis and was later released on medical parole. After I returned home, I only became weaker. The wound on my back grew bigger, and, eventually, recurring pus dissolved one section of my rib. The wound extended to my neck and led to paralysis from the neck down. The several years of persecution had rendered my family penniless. We had to sell our house to pay for my surgery.
Many hospitals in Tianjin refused to accept me, as they were worried that I could die at any time. Eventually one hospital admitted me upon my parents’ insistence, but they asked us to sign a waiver to relieve them of any responsibility should I die during or after the surgery. I had a total of two operations. The first one on my neck lasted for four hours. They didn’t administer anesthesia at the beginning out of concern that a total anesthesia might diminish my chance of survival. As a result, I was alert and felt excruciating pain at every step of the operation. Eventually they gave me some anesthesia when they administered muscle clamps.
The second operation involved transplanting a bone from my pelvis to my spine. I miraculously recovered after the two operations. By the time I was discharged from the hospital, I was already able to get out of bed and move around. After returning home I studied the Fa and practiced the Falun Gong exercises. In just one month, I was able to go downstairs and shovel the snow outside my apartment building. My neighbors said behind my back, “It’s truly amazing that he recovered this well! He was a dying person just a while back!”
Escaping to France
Upon arriving in France on February 2012, I attended a meeting by the International League for Human Rights (ILHR) to expose the CCP’s persecution of Falun Gong. I recounted my own experiences and everyone was shocked. They showed support for Falun Gong and invited me to come back to Bordeaux, a southern French city.
In retrospect, I am full of emotions. I will continue to reveal the CCP’s brutality against Falun Gong until the day the persecution ends.