Sitting on a Small Stool: How the CCP Turns an Ordinary Piece of Furniture Into an Instrument of Torture
(Minghui.org) There is a torture method used by the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) that sounds relatively “civilized” in name. It is called “sitting on a small stool”. The stool is around 20 cm (about 8 in) in height and 8 cm (about 3 in) in width . The shape of such stools used for torture varies from place to place.
For example, in Shanghai, either in forced labor camps or prisons, victims were usually forced to sit on stools covered with wires. These wires were thin, so when people sat on them, their body weight made contact with the stool. Prison guards also instructed inmates to kick the stool from behind, causing the victim's flesh to rub roughly against the wires. After sitting on such a stool for even one hour, the victim's buttocks begin to blister and then break open and fester. Blood seeps through the pants and stains the stool. Victims were often forced to sit still on such stools for up to 22 hours a day, day in day out, for a year, two years, or even three years.
This torture method started in Masanjia Forced labor Camp in Liaoning Province, where it was given another name “Kaqi”, meaning that those sitting on the small stools should be as orderly and neat as objects packed together. This method is called “Ma Da Pai” (stacking a big row for several victims) at Jiamusi Forced Labor Camp in Heilongjiang Province.
Masanjia Forced Labor Camp also altered the torture method a bit, and called it “sitting on a small board”. Falun Gong practitioners were forced to sit on a brick floor, within a square space of 60 cm by 60 cm (about 2 ft by 2 ft). The victim's body has to stay within that little space. Sitting this way for a long time, their buttocks would become ulcerous with pus.
The labor camp often combined such torture with their so-called “education”. While practitioners were forced to sit this way, guards would turn on a record player to its maximum volume. Being subjected to continuous noise at high decibel levels can cause serious damage. Falun Gong practitioner Ms. Mi Yanli was tortured this way for over 20 days in a row, without being allowed any sleep.
Masanjia Forced Labor Camp also promoted this torture method to other labor camps and prisons as a way to force practitioners to renounce their belief. In June 2000, a “helping team” from Masanjia Forced Labor Camp came to Hewan Forced Labor Camp to pass on their “experiences” in persecuting Falun Gong practitioners. Officials at Hewan Forced Labor Camp immediately put what they learned into practice, and the form of torture they used most frequently was “sitting on a small stool.”
In 2005, Yunnan No. 2 Women's Prison sent a team to Masanjia Forced Labor Camp to learn how they “transformed” Falun Gong practitioners. “Sitting on a small stool” was one of the methods they brought back with them.
They forced Falun Gong practitioners to sit upright on small stools from 6:30 a.m. until 11:00 p.m., beating them if they moved even a little, until their buttocks became ulcerous with running pus. Yang Mingshan, head of the prison said shamelessly, “... regarding your complaints about Falun Gong practitioners being forced to 'sit on small stools' as corporal punishment. How would you define this? It's only a form of study. Do you have any evidence of corporal punishment? I take legal responsibility for this. If you want to complain, feel free to report to my superiors.”
Yunnan Women's Prison not only confused “sitting on a small stool” with “study”, they also combined it with forced labor. Ms. Han Junyi, a 73-year-old woman, was arrested and taken to Yunnan No.2 Women's Prison in 2009 and detained in unit 9. She was not allowed to come out of her cell and was forced to sit on a small stool from 6:30 a.m. till 10:30 p.m. She was only allowed to get up occasionally when there was work to do. She was forced to sit on a small stool in the same cell for three years and her buttocks were covered with thick calluses. Can you imagine what it was like for a 73-year-old woman to sit on a small stool in the same cell for three years?
As a form of torture, victims were also forced to sit in a particular posture. Gangbei Prison (later changed to Haibin Prison) in Tianjin forced Falun Gong practitioners to keep their head, chest and back straight and their eyes wide open while sitting on the small stools. Zhao Gang from Nankai District, Tianjin, was arrested and taken to Gangbei Prison. He was forced to sit on a small stool for twenty hours, from 4:00 a.m. until midnight.
The perpetrators also used cigarettes to burn holes in the plastic stool from underneath, so the surface became very rough with sharp edges. Zhao Gang was forced to sit on such a small stool and to hold a piece of paper between his arms and legs. If the paper fell out, they would curse, beat, and spit on him. When he could not sit straight and tilted his body, they used two shoe brushes to rub his ribs harshly.
There is another form of torture even crueler than “sitting on a small stool.” One practitioner who was detained at Tuanhe Forced Labor Camp in Beijing was around 6.3 feet tall and was forced to sit on a small stool for several months. Seeing that he still did not give up his belief, the guards sawed 10 cm off the rear legs of the stool, so he had to sit on the front edge of the stool. This caused him even more pain.
Practitioner Mr. Liu Huijiang, 44 years old, from Fujinon Tianjin Optical Co. Ltd used to be a battalion rank officer in Section 2 of the PLA's General Staff Department. After sitting on a small stool for nine days, his buttocks became ulcerous and festered, and his condition was getting worse and worse, with rotten pieces of flesh stuck to his pants. When he took off his pants, big pieces of skin were also peeled off and the wounds bled badly. His pants and padded trousers were soaked in blood and pus, which even ran to the floor, and the whole room was filled with an awful smell.
How do the perpetrators force Falun Gong practitioners to sit on small stools? Engineer Mr. Zhou Xiangyang from the Third Railway Survey and Design Institute Group Corporation was arrested and taken to Gangbei Prison. As soon as he got out of the police car, four inmates grabbed him, took him inside and shaved his head. Then they forced him to sit on a small stool by pressing against his knees in the front, his thighs from the sides and his back from behind.
On September 23, 2009, still at Gangbei Prison, practitioner Mr. Wu Dianzhong was forced to sit on a small stool by inmates Zhang Suo, Zhang Xiaoyue, Zhang Di and Zhang Jianmin. Mr. Wu refused to do so. The four thugs forcibly pressed him onto the stool. Mr. Wu resisted, so they grabbed his feet, bent his body forward, and pressed his head down hard with force. Suddenly, there was a cracking sound from Mr. Wu's back and his whole body collapsed. He lost all feeling in his upper body and since then Mr. Wu has been disabled.
Practitioner Mr. Lin Shusen from Anqing County, Heilongjiang Province got a job in Beijing after graduating from the university. He was detained at Qianjin Prison. Around 5:00 p.m. on January 17, 2007, after Mr. Lin had been sitting on a small stool for an entire day, inmate Yang Jingtao came over to him again. He grabbed hold of Mr. Lin's shoulders roughly and pressed his knee against his back, saying he was “correcting his posture.” When Mr. Lin stood up and resisted what he was doing, Yang Jingtao got very angry and kicked him so hard his right ankle was broken from the violent attack.
Sometimes, the guards used “sitting on a small stool” and “stewing the eagle" (torture by sleep deprivation) together to persecute Falun Gong practitioners. Ms. Wang Jinfan, a teacher from No. 1 Railway High School in Qiqihar, Heilongjiang Province was sentenced to 10 years in prison. She was detained in Unit 9 of Harbin Women's Prison, where she was forced to sit on a small stool and forbidden to close her eyes 24 hours a day. If she did, perpetrators would spray water into her eyes and kick her hard. After sitting this way for a long time, her buttocks became very painful. After four or five days of such physical and mental torture, she started to have hallucinations: marks on the wall turned into little human figures and they could even move, her padded shoes seemed to grow hair as long as one inch, and the whole room turned into something else.
Even a small, ordinary looking stool became a torture instrument for innocent people in the hands of the CCP.