Mr. Zhang Chuanli Recounts 10 Years of Incarceration
Name: Zhang Chuanli
Address: Jiamusi City, Heilongjiang Province
Occupation: Former owner and manager of a beverage plant
Date of Most Recent Arrest: July 5, 2009
Most Recent Place of Detention: Mudanjiang Prison
Persecution Suffered: Electric shock, sleep deprivation, forced labor, brainwashing, illegal sentencing, beatings, imprisonment, solitary confinement, torture, forced-feedings, extortion, fired from workplace, physical restraint, home ransacked, interrogation, detention
(Minghui.org) Mr. Zhang Chuanli is a Falun Gong practitioner in Jiamusi City, Heilongjiang Province. He and his wife, Ms. Zhu Wenfang, were arrested in Beijing 11 years ago. He was sentenced to 10 years in prison and his wife to five years. Mr. Zhang was detained in several places, including a brainwashing center in a nursing home for seniors in Beijing, the Beijing Tongzhou Detention Center, the Fengtai Detention Center, the Chaoyang Detention Center, Harbin Prison, and Mudanjiang Prison. Here is Mr. Zhang's story in his own words describing what he suffered during his detention.
Obtaining Dafa and Starting on the Path of Returning to My True Self
My wife and I were fortunate to obtain Dafa in the spring of 1995. At that time, my wife was very sick and had to take medicine and injections every day. We spent a lot of money on medical bills but all in vain. A friend introduced us to Falun Dafa. After practicing a few months, my wife was completely cured. I really appreciated Master Li and Dafa and became more determined to practice. My home became a Fa-study site and we tried to introduce more people to Dafa.
My wife and I went back to my hometown – Chengguan Township in Jingxiang County, Shandong Province – in the spring of 1997. We started a beverage plant that was very profitable. During the daytime, my wife and I were busy at work; at night we went to the villages nearby to play Master's teaching tapes that helped many people obtain the Fa.
Losing the Beverage Plant after the CCP Started Persecuting Falun Gong
The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) started the persecution of Falun Gong on July 20, 1999. At that time, the regime's agents from the township and the county came to us many times and told us to give up Falun Gong. We told them what Falun Gong was about through our own experiences – how it taught us to follow the principle of Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance to be good people, and the practice's wonderful effects in keeping practitioners healthy.
The police came to search my home and took away many Dafa books and Master's picture. I was illegally arrested twice in Jinxiang County. The first time, I was arrested by officers from the county police department when I participated in an experience-sharing conference and was detained for 15 days. The second time, I was arrested by the Chenggan Town Police Station for distributing Master's new articles. I was detained for one month and had more than 10,000yuan extorted from me.
We were told by the county police that if we gave up Falun Gong, we could continue running our beverage plant, otherwise we must leave the county. My wife and I refused to give up Dafa. We decided to transfer our plant to others and we suffered a big financial loss.
Appealing for Dafa in Beijing and Tortured in Detention
We went to Beijng to appeal for Dafa in September 1999 and got to know many other practitioners there. We worked with the local practitioners in Beijing and started a truth-clarifying materials distribution site. Later, many practitioners involved were arrested. My wife and I were arrested on January 2, 2002, in the Tongzhou District of Beijing. My cell phone and 6,700 yuan in cash were taken. The police found our address and searched the place. They took many of our belongings, including three laptops, a printer, 2000 yuan in cash, and a minivan. We were taken to a nursing home for seniors and subjected to brainwashing attempts.
I was bound to a chair with both hands and feet cuffed and was unable to move at all, day and night. I held a hunger strike to protest the mistreatment. More than 10 people took turns torturing me. I was not allowed to sleep. My eyes were forced to remain open. They sealed my mouth and pulled my ears. I was force-fed water. After being tortured for five days and nights, my whole body was numb without any strength. I couldn't control my limbs and I kept losing consciousness. On the sixth day, they grabbed my hand to sign a statement giving up Falun Gong. When I regained consciousness, I declared the statement void. Several days later, my wife and I were sent to the Tongzhou Detention Center.
The inmates in the Tongzhou Detention Center watched and pressured us. It seemed hard to even breathe, and every day was a torment. One day, police officers Wang and Song brought in photos of fellow practitioners. After I said I didn't know any of them, they took me outside and left me in the cold for several hours that morning.
Helping Practitioners in Fengtai Detention Center
Later my wife and I along with several practitioners were transferred to the Fengtai District Detention Center and the No. 7 Division of the Beijing Police Department. We were under 24-hour surveillance. I was detained in Cell No. 7 and Wang Yinwei, a Beijing practitioner, was also there. When I shared my experiences with him, the inmate head reported me to guard Tian. Tian talked to me and told me I had to follow many rules. I told him that I was innocent of any crimes, so those rules did not apply to me and that I would appeal to superior authorities. Tian left me alone.
A few days later, I realized that I should not acknowledge the persecution. I should stand up to it and clarify the truth. I started to do the meditation exercise and talked about Falun Gong. The inmate head reported me to Tian again. Tian told the inmate head to keep watching me and they put me directly under the surveillance camera. I continued doing the exercises. Later Tian put me in a place where the surveillance camera couldn't reach and left me alone. I talked to practitioner Wang Yinwei again. At first, he was afraid to do the exercises with me. Several days later, he did. The inmates in the cell, including the head inmate, all admired our courage.
Three more practitioners were later sent to the cell: Ma Ang, a PhD student from the People's University, Lei Zhongfu from the Chaoyang District, and Li Ping from the Janjing District. We gathered together and formed a circle, reciting the Fa, doing the exercises, and clarifying the truth. Several inmates joined us. One of them said that if he had learned Falun Gong earlier, he would not be in prison.
I was later transferred to Cells 9 and 11. The guards tried to isolate me from other practitioners.
My Wife and I Are Both Sentenced to Long Prison Terms
My wife and I were transferred to the Chaoyang District Detention Center in September 2002. I continued to recite the Fa, do the exercises, and clarify the truth. Many people learned the truth through my efforts. People from the Chaoyang District Procuratorate talked to me twice and promised that I would be released if I would write the Three Statements to give up Dafa. I refused.
My wife and I were put on trial in the Chaoyang District Court. During the first trial, I defended my wife and myself. I denied the charges they tried to frame us with and clarified the truth. Everyone in the courtroom sat in stunned silence. Judge Cai announced a recess. We were sent back to the detention center. Several days later, during the second trial, I continued defending myself and denying the charges. Judge Cai announced that the verdict would be announced later. We were sent back to the detention center. Around November, we received the sentence letter from the court, which I refused to sign. I was sentenced 10 years in prison and my wife, five years.
At the end of November 2002, we were transferred to Beijing Nandalao, a temporary detention facility. On December 20, 2002, we were sent back to Heilongjiang Province. I was sent to Harbin Prison and my wife was sent to Harbin Women's Prison.
Facing Death in Harbin Prison
I was first sent to the Assembly Team in Harbin Prison. Xu Li beat me when I refused to face the wall and stand without moving. In the afternoon when I was told to recite the prison regulations in the classroom, I refused. Huang Zhimin, head of the ward, and Zhu Zhihong, the deputy, came to talk to me. I refused again. I was handcuffed, shackled, and put in solitary confinement. I became unconscious and fell into a coma for several days and was diagnosed with a heart problem.
I was assigned to the No. 3 Ward in March 2003. There were 11 practitioners and 415 inmates in that ward, which is the largest ward in Harbin Prison. There were 11 work teams with one practitioner in each. I refused to be “transformed” and refused to participate in slave labor. I insisted on doing the exercises at night. Two inmates were assigned to watch me and prevent me from talking to other practitioners. I talked about Falun Gong with them and gradually they changed. I did the exercises in the early morning and recited the Fa in the workshop during the day. The inmates protected us and pretended not to see or know what I was doing. Later they didn't even bother following me around closely.
I started to talk with other practitioners. When I found that practitioners were doing the slave labor to reduce their term, I shared with them not to cooperate with the evil. I told them that for the criminal inmates to reduce their terms by doing the labor, that was fine, because they had committed crimes. We were innocent but were being mistreated. We should stand up and oppose the persecution. A few months later, seven practitioners refused to work. They were all beaten and tortured. Practitioner Yi was put in solitary confinement for two weeks for writing a solemn statement declaring his intent to continue practicing Falun Gong. Practitioner Zhang Hongquan was sent to a hospital.
At this time the brainwashing movement started in the prison. I was named in a guard meeting. A “transforming” group was formed to brainwash three of us practitioners. There were six or seven people in the group led by the 610 Office head, Chen Shuhai. They took turns brainwashing us for three straight days.
Practitioner Wang Dayuan from the No. 2 Prison Ward died on April 5, 2004. The guards and inmates were informed in a meeting that he died of a heart attack. I was very sad when I heard about it. Just a few days before, I had sat with him at mealtime. Wang Dayuan, 36, was a teacher in the Computer Science and Technology College, Harbin Institution of Technology. The next day when I contacted practitioner Zhang Yuming in No. 2 Ward, I learned that Wang Dayuan was beaten to death when he refused to sign on the “transformation” statement. After the practitioners in all the wards learned the truth about his death, we acted as a whole to protest the persecution. We wrote to the prison authorities, demanding that those responsible be punished and that a memorial ceremony be held. The prison authorities panicked.
When Mr. Wang's family learned what had really happened, they demanded an autopsy. The prison authorities realized that their role in Mr. Wang's death had been leaked, and they tried to settle the matter privately. His family refused to go along with it and took the case all the way to Beijing. The autopsy showed that Wang Dayuan died as a direct result of being beaten. His skull had been fractured and there was a large amount of blood inside his head. His fingers were broken. His legs were bloody and swollen. His entire body was covered with bruises and cuts. The head of Ward Two was fired. The inmates involved had their terms extended, and some were sentenced to death.
On July 1, 2004, all the practitioners in Harbin Prison, nearly 100, were transferred to three other prisons: Mudanjiang Prison, Tailai Prison, and Daqing Prison. Nineteen of us, including me, were transferred to Mudanjiang Prison.
Tortured in Mudanjiang Prison, My Teeth Knocked Out
Mudanjiang Prison is the largest prison in Heilongjiang Province with a capacity of 5,000 inmates. I was sent to Ward 15. Upon my arrival, my belongings were searched thoroughly. My appeal letters, my pen and eyeglasses were all taken away.
The first night when I started to do the meditation exercise, the team leader didn't say anything. After breakfast, we went to the work place. The group leader was a criminal inmate and he wanted me to tie steel poles, but I refused to do it. He reported me to the team political head, who came and told me to do it. I told him I was innocent of any crime and should not do the labor, and that I should be released. He said he didn't have the power to release me. The next day I was reported to the ward head because I refused to do the labor and I did the exercises at night. Deputy head Yu came to talk to me. I talked to him for a long time about Falun Gong. At last, he asked, “Do you interfere with other people's sleeping when you do the exercise?” I told him that I did not make a sound and did not interfere with anyone's rest. He said, “Then do your exercises.” This was the first time an officer had ever said that to me. I continued to do the exercises at night and to recite the Fa during the day.
A week later, the team political head and the group leader moved me from the upper bunk to the lower, and two inmates were charged with preventing me from doing the exercises. These two inmates followed me everywhere. They were not required to work during the day and slept beside me at night. At night, more inmates watched me. A total of seven of them took turns watching me, changing shifts every two hours at night. When I got up to do the exercises, they took me to the bathroom and beat me. I reasoned with them, and they told me they were told what they had to do. They would hold me down on the bed to keep me from doing the exercises.
I wrote down Master's new articles and passed them to other practitioners. The guards once found one of them. Later, more practitioners stood up to protest the persecution and refused to do the slave labor. Practitioners Li Baohua and Gong Guidong were beaten by guard He and inmate Cao Hongliang. Gong Guidong was covered with bruises and unable to walk. He was carried to the workshop and forced to work. He was later sent to solitary for 20 days and was emaciated when he came out of there.
After a while, I started a hunger strike to have the right to do the exercises. After nine days, I was silently given permission. During the hunger strike, I had been force-fed three times, which loosened all my teeth. Most of them fell out later. After I was released, I had to replace all of them with false teeth.
I was detained in Mudanjiang Prison for seven and a half years and brutally tortured: five times in solitary, shocked with electric batons, frozen outside, deprived of sleep for long periods of time, brutally beaten, and many other tortures. In such a brutal environment, I still continued doing the exercises and clarifying the truth. I advised many inmates to withdraw from the CCP and its associated organizations.
Life after Prison
I was released on January 1, 2012, and returned home to Jiamusi City. The local police often come to harass us. The financial situation at home is not good. My two children have been under so much pressure these years. When we were arrested years ago, one of them had just graduated from a Beijing university but still hadn't found a job. My younger brother helped them a lot. The house we live in was also purchased with the help of my brother. We had to work as temps to survive. After being persecuted for years, our family almost had no place to live and no home to return to.