Survivor of a Forced Labor Camp Relates Her Horrific Experiences First-Hand
(Minghui.org) In Chinese supermarkets in North America, you might often see see a particular well-known snack – Zhoucun Sesame Seed Cake. It's produced in the Zhoucun area in Zibo City, Shandong Province. However, those who enjoy this tasty snack would never know that the facility where it's made, in the ancient capital city of the Qi State with a history of over 2,000 years, has been turned into a place of horror since the persecution of Falun Dafa began in July 1999.
The notorious Wangcun Forced Labor Camp is located in Wangcun Town in the Zhoucun area.
I was illegally locked up there for three years. Even today, nine years later, I still shudder when I recall my days in this forced labor camp.
Performing official duties? Or thugs carrying out an abduction?
I was living in a residential building of our work unit at that time. On November 5, 2001, I was going home with colleagues on a bus. It was dusk. When the bus came to our destination, I got off. Immediately, a few people came at me and kicked me to the ground. I fell hard with my front teeth hitting the ground, and my fingers scratched.
I was shoved down from behind and could not raise my head to see who was attacking me. I heard the noise of a struggle going on between my colleagues and the thugs, then someone shouted, “We are the police!” Immediately afterward, I was pushed into a car.
In the car, one of my attackers said, “It's good that we were quick. More than twenty people were already gathering around.” He went on, “It's good that it's dusk, so they could not see us clearly.” Since I was pressed upside down in the car, I could not see anything, but I clearly heard what they were saying. I thought, “If these were police officers performing their official duties, why were they so afraid of being seen?”
I heard one of them being called Tao Zhifeng, deputy section head of the 610 Office in Yantai City. By organizational regulations, the 610 Office agents are not police and don't have the authority to arrest people.
My terrifying experience
I was taken to a basement office at a Zhifu police substation of the Yantai Police Department, and was cuffed to a chair. I asked them why I had been arrested, but no one gave me an answer or asked me any questions. The next day, Wang, section head of the political and security division of Laishan police substation, put me in a car and cuffed me to the seat. He and a few others took me to a hospital for a health examination. I refused to go in, but a few male police carried me in by force.
One of them grabbed the handcuffs and pulled them very hard, tightening them. I was in so much pain that I could hardly breathe and I almost passed out.
The “examination” was unusual and very specific; it was only a blood test and a check on my internal organs. I refused to have the blood test. The male doctor, with a dark, cold face, said if I did not cooperate, he would use a bigger and thicker syringe to take my blood. I became uncomfortable and felt something sinister was going on, so I refused to allow them to take my blood sample. In the end they gave up.
I was then taken to another ward for an internal examination. I was forced on a bed for a scan to check my kidneys. Seven or eight days later, the police said I had some health problems and needed another examination. They took me to the hospital again for a blood test.
Sent to a forced labor camp without any legal procedure
After we left the hospital, they took me to another place, and I was taken through an iron gate. When I asked where we were, the police remained silent. I asked others and was told it was a forced labor camp and that I had been sentenced to three years of forced labor.
There were no legal procedures followed, no hearing and no trial. When I asked, the police could not even be bothered to explain why I was sent there. I did not see any documents or have any opportunities to appeal. Even today, I have no idea if there were any documents, or what was written on them regarding my detention.
Laws that only serve as a false front
I asked the forced labor camp guards if I could take a look at the documents for my detention. They refused. When I asked them why I was detained, they said, “Didn't the police tell you? You're here because we don't like the way you think. You won't be able to leave here until you've changed your thoughts, and not until we are satisfied with your change.” They openly said that they were there to “transform” Falun Gong practitioners' minds.
I said, “Freedom of thought is a most fundamental human right. What you are doing is illegal. I want to see a lawyer.” Li Aiwen, No. 3 Division deputy head, said, “Lawyers only serve the Chinese Communist Party, not you.” I replied, “Then, I shall write my own complaint.” Chen Suping, head of No. 3 Division, said, “Whatever you write, we won't send it out. What's the point?”
Tortured in hell
During the three years of detention, I was locked up in a solitary confinement cell for 13 months, where I suffered various forms of torture: sleep deprivation (sometimes for months), force-feeding, my whole body tied up, being cuffed in a half-squat position (I could neither stand up nor squat down for four whole days), being locked up in restroom, standing inside a circle with a diameter of 50 cm for 24 hours, sitting on a narrow stool (a small round stool, with a diameter of 30 cm (the stool had three screws sticking out of the surface, causing extreme pain after sitting on it for long), coercive brainwashing (being surrounded by a number of people slandering Falun Dafa 24 hours a day).
From November 2001 to January 2012, I was often deprived of sleep and forced to stand with my face to the wall, while being subjected to coercive brainwashing. In the last ten days, I was forced to stand every day and not allowed any sleep.
My body kept dropping to the floor as I could hardly stand. I felt like I was asleep even with my eyes open and saw illusions in front of my eyes from time to time. The guards told those who had gone astray and developed crooked understandings to keep watch on me, three on each shift. They surrounded me and each time I fell down, they would pull me up to continue the standing punishment.
As I kept falling all the time, they had to change shift every three hours. Vicious guard Chen Suping also ordered them: You must not cause any obvious injuries on her body.
Later, guard Li Qian drew a circle on the floor 50 cm in diameter and forced me to stand inside the circle 24 hours a day. I was forced to eat and relieve myself in the same circle and was not allowed to wash myself. I felt extremely tired and all my energy was exhausted. My head felt heavy and confused.
Two months later, the guards brought me back to a cell which was over ten square meters in size and shared by over a dozen inmates. The guards assigned two inmates to keep watch on me around the clock. I was not allowed to talk to anyone.
At night, when the others were asleep, I was dragged out for brainwashing and not allowed to sleep until after 2:00 a.m. Then, I had to get up at 5:00 a.m. This lasted until May the following year.
One of the methods of brainwashing is forcing you to stand while being surrounded by a group of collaborators with crooked thoughts; they stand about 20 cm away from your face. This form of torture goes on non-stop, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The entire time they keep slandering Dafa, and they do this in shifts. You are not allowed to sleep and are closely watched the entire time.
When they see that you are getting sleepy, they use all kinds of wicked ways to keep you awake. Such torture can go on for many days, the longest for three or four months. Because of the intense and prolonged pressure the victim usually suffers a mental collapse in the end.
I was subjected to such brainwashing in 2002. It started on June 2 and went on till the beginning of August. I was locked in a basement cell. It was very small and only three or four people at most could squeeze in, sitting tightly next to each other. I was locked up there in complete isolation from the outside world.
For over 40 days, I was not allowed to sleep. Collaborators with crooked thoughts were assigned to brainwash me, three shifts a day. They kept staring into my eyes while they slandered Dafa. As soon as they saw me getting sleepy, they would pinch my body and arms hard using their fingernails. My arms were covered with bruises.
They also used sharp pen tips to poke my head. It was very painful and I often cried out due to the pain. Sometimes, they would grab my hair and pull me up and down the stairs. They also wrote words which slandered Dafa on my arms. Sometimes, they dragged me to the water room and hosed me with cold water.
Normally, if a person is deprived of sleep for a long time, she becomes very anxious and agitated, and will suffer a mental collapse within seven days.
I deeply believe that it was due to Master's protection that I was able to come through such evil persecution.
Crippled due to torture
I was locked up in isolation again in March 2003 when SARS broke out in China. I was put in a guard office. One day in May, guard Li Ying fabricated an excuse in order to force me to stand for punishment. I refused, so she called Liang Yan and a few others to put a piece of rag into my mouth and tie my legs together. I was tied up this way for an entire day. In the evening, guard Li Qian came to force me to stand up and told two inmates to keep watch on me.
I was forced to stand for nine days and nights, and was not allowed to sleep throughout the entire period.
After seven days, I could no longer endure it and kept closing my eyes. Those who were keeping watch on me would drag me to walk a few steps to wake me up, then force me to go back to stand where I was. They took turns keeping watch on me, to make sure that I did not close my eyes.
Finally, my legs became badly swollen and I could no longer wear shoes. So I had to stand in bare feet. The collaborators kept saying to me, “Your legs will soon become crippled; water will come out of your legs.”
Later, one of my feet became crippled and I could not keep my body straight any more.
When the guards were in a good mood, they would allow me to sit on a small stool for a couple of hours. When they were in a bad mood, they would not allow me to sleep at all throughout the night. Occasionally, I was allowed to sleep in bed for two or three hours. Such torture went on until August.
My body became badly lopsided, and no matter how hard I tried I could not straighten it. Others told me that one side of my face was higher than the other. When I touched it, it truly was this way. Guard Yin Guihua had not seen me for some time, and when she saw me again she was shocked by the way I looked.
Torture treated as a “game”
Another round of persecution started in September that year, and I was beaten every day. Zhang Fang and Xu Liyun, who had both developed crooked thoughts, thought up a “kicking game”.
They treated me as a ball and kicked me from one side to the other. While kicking me, they excitedly shouted, “This is really fun!” While all this was going on, guard Li Qian was sitting in the room, but she pretended to see nothing. When I asked her why she allowed them to kick me this way, she said, “Who kicked you? I didn't see anyone kicking you.” My thighs were red and swollen from the kicking.
One night, I was beaten so badly that I screamed. Many people were woken up by my scream. The guards then took me to a restroom which was exclusively used by them. Guard Li Qian said, “If you were to die in here, nobody would even know.” I was not allowed to sleep at night and could only occasionally doze off for a short while. I was locked up there until November.
Perpetrators are rewarded
The beatings were especially severe in October, and the perpetrators on each shift tried various ways to beat me. Xu Liyun called it the “keeping fit” exercise. Liu Xiaoyan told me that when guard Chen Suping called them for a meeting, she encouraged them to beat me and said if they did well, they would be rewarded with reduced terms.
I was not allowed to sleep throughout October. Occasionally I was allowed to sit on a small stool and close my eyes for five minutes. But this happened only a few times. The rest of the time I was forced to stand and not allowed to sleep at all. I was constantly beaten, around the clock.
There was a thick wooden stick in the restroom where I was kept. Liu Xiaoyan used this stick to beat me, hitting me hard on my kneecaps or the already injured areas on my thighs. Sometimes, she forced me to walk around the toilet and would beat me each time I stopped. My thighs and kneecaps were covered with bruises and I could hardly squat when relieving myself.
I was forced to do all kinds of slave labor from late 2002. I was mostly forced to wind enameled copper wires for the hot spring industrial zone in Weihai, Shandong Province. I heard the product was for export to South Korea.
We were forced to work from 5:30 a.m. to 11:00 p.m. every day, sometimes until midnight. Sometimes we had to work until 2:30 a.m. the next day, 21 hours. The meals were sent to the cells. We were initially allowed 10 minutes to eat, but it was later reduced to 5 minutes, and we had to work the rest of the time every day.
The surface of the wire is very shiny, and it's extremely strenuous on one's eyes if one has to look at it 17 hours a day. One day, an inmate named Wei Jinzhi, who was very quick with her hands, suddenly became blind.
After I got out of the forced labor camp, I went to an optical shop for glasses the next day. I could not see letters clearly even with glasses for high myopia of 1,000 degrees. The damage to my eyes was also caused by longterm sleep deprivation and the fact that my bed was next to a light that was kept on throughout the night.
Winding copper wires is also very strenuous on the fingers. Guard Li Ying had us wind thick wires (usually a job for males). The wires were very hard and inflexible and we had to try hard to wind them. The pain in my fingers frequently kept me awake. Later, my fingers became very rigid and I could not bend them, making it difficult for me to even unbutton my pants when I went to the restroom.
Later, I was forced to pack pencil lead into boxes. There was no protection of any kind for the job. I was also forced to stick labels on bottles of apple cider vinegar. In 2003, we were given additional work, cutting off unwanted threads on jeans and picking the fluff out of the pockets, or using a piece of stone to rub off the fluff balls on the pockets.
The fluff formed a kind of blue-colored dust floating in the air. We were not given any dust masks to wear and there were no fans to bring in fresh air. We could see the dust even in our corn porridge and in the phlegm we spit out.
A large workshop was set up after 2004, and we started to use electric sewing machines for garment production. The jeans I mentioned earlier and garments were made for Luyun Garment Factory in Zhoucun. The factory director is named Bi Luwei. All the garments were for export, and we were used as unpaid, or slave, labor. Bi Luwei often came to the workshop to supervise our work.
For a lengthy period of time, I was cuffed in a restroom, right next to the toilet bowl. Guard Li Qian would relieve herself right next to me.
During the period of “intensified” persecution, I was not allowed to even wash myself. When summer came, I was not allowed to wash myself for months, and I smelled badly. They wanted you to live in humiliation. When I needed to relieve myself, the inmates assigned to keep watch on me would bring a bucket and watch me relieve myself. Afterwards, I was not even allowed to wash my hands.
While working, we were allowed to use the restroom twice a day in groups during the day. Around a dozen people lined up to use the toilet; each time we were given five or six minutes in total. Because our restroom use was so limited, we didn't dare to drink much water. If one needed to take a little bit longer, one had to report and ask for permission from the guards, who would very often force you to slander Dafa; otherwise you would not be allowed to go to use the toilet.
When there was not enough work, we were forced to write “experiences”. Very often, we were dragged to watch the so-called “transformation” videos, which were full of slander against Dafa. Those who were “transformed” had to believe in atheism and oppose all traditional ethical values. They were even forced to criticize truthfulness, compassion, and forbearance.
For human beings, nothing can be more painful than being forced to say things against their conscience and watch their own conscience being destroyed.
Using the persecution of Falun Gong practitioners to make lucrative profits
When I was taken to the forced labor camp, I was first sent to the labor camp hospital for a health examination. I heard a doctor say, “This one has poor health.” Section head Wang from Laishan police substation and who sent me there said, “This one has money. So long as she is transformed, her family has heaps of money.” On our way out, I heard Wang say to another police officer: “These doctors are making big money. At New Year's time, gift boxes from police stations everywhere were piled up in the corridor, almost to the height of your waist.”
As soon as I was admitted to the forced labor camp, Xiao Aihua, head of the discipline section, demanded 2,000 yuan from the police, saying it was for my “nutrition expenses”. Later I head that the police had extorted money out of my family.
Force-feeding was also used to extort money. I was force-fed four days after I started a hunger strike to protest the persecution. They tied up my hands and inserted a tube through my nostril; after the force-feeding, instead of pulling out the tube, they kept it in my nostril and fixed it to my head across my face for use the next time. It was extremely uncomfortable. For each force-feeding, they would demand 70 yuan from me, saying it was for saving my life.
Sowing discord among my relatives
I was not allowed to write letters in the three years of my detention. If I wanted to write a letter, I had to ask for permission and have the content checked. However, they turned around and told my relatives that I had become cold and uncaring after practicing Falun Gong and I never missed or thought about them.
They also refused to give me the letters from my family, but lied and said that my relatives and friends had written to them, strongly urging them to “transform” me.
Because my family kept persistently requesting, I was allowed two short meetings with family members in three years. Each meeting was strictly watched by the guards who sat in on the meeting.
In May 2004, my term was up and my family was ready to take me home. But guard Li Aiwen refused to release me because I still had injuries and she was worried about being exposed. She lied to my family, saying she could not release me because I resisted “transformation” and so on.
In September 2004 when I was finally released, people from the 610 Office came to pick me up. One of them was a section head, with the surname Yang. He said they had originally planned to send me to a brainwashing center, but decided to let me go this time. He asked me to give him the release certificate for household registration and claimed he would give it back to me later. But it was never returned to me.
Later I heard this happened to other practitioners, too. Even as early as 2004, the 610 Office had already started to destroy evidence.
Forced labor camps will continue
I've recently heard that the Chinese regime is planning to abolish the forced labor system. I think that as long as the CCP exists it will continue the persecution, but only in an even more hidden manner.
In fact, as early as 2004, Shandong No. 2 Women's Forced Labor Camp had two names—the other was the “Women's Drug Rehabilitation Center”. Inmates included some drug addicts and people from underground religious groups. It had seven divisions in 2001, each with around 120 inmates, and the total number amounted to eight or nine hundred. By 2004, the number of inmates had gone down to around five hundred.
However during this period, at least five new buildings were built, including the police building (which contains “strict control” rooms – torture chambers), production building, reception building, a new hospital building and a dormitory building.
One may ask: What is it that has turned these once loving mothers and wives into such cruel police officers and guards with little conscience? It is the CCP's brainwashing education. After undergoing this brainwashing education, they regard torture as their job and get promoted and rewarded for doing so.
The CCP also allocates huge amounts of funds to expand their workplace. Vicious guard Chen Suping once told me that she went to a training class run by the Ministry of Justice, where they were taught some torture methods even beyond her imagination, including piercing through someone's calf with metal wire.
Bi Hua, a former head of a male labor camp (later promoted to the position of deputy head of the bureau of reeducation through labor) said that at the beginning they did not know how to deal with Falun Gong practitioners because they are all kindhearted people. So the Ministry of Justice allowed them to be trained at Masanjia Forced Labor Camp, where they were told that one effective means of torture was using electric batons on practitioners.