Tan Fengjiang: Seven Years of Torture and Brainwashing
(Minghui.org) Mr. Tan Fengjiang, a Falun Dafa practitioner from Yichun City, Heilongjiang Province, was released from Jiamusi Prison on April 20, 2013, after 7 years of illegal imprisonment. On the day of his release, the Political and Legal Affairs Committee of Yichun City planned to abduct him and force him into a brainwashing center. Their plot was thwarted, however, when nearly a hundred people—family, friends and other Falun Gong practitioners—gathered to escort him home.
In prison, Mr. Tan was often beaten, shocked with an electric baton, and force-fed. His left ear was almost torn off during one beating. The following is his account of his ordeals in prison and the suppression he has been subjected to over the past 14 years.
My name is Tan Fengjiang. I am 45 years old. I was a truck mechanic at the Wuxing Lime Stone Mine, a subsidiary of Xilin Steel Plant. I began to practice Falun Dafa in 1997. I applied the principles of Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance in my work and life. I became one of the best mechanics in my work unit and was the “Model Employee” for several years. I even remarried my ex-wife, and we became a very happy family.
Incarceration and Show Trial
My older sister was arrested for passing out fliers about Falun Gong on April 20, 2006. Searching for the source of the printed materials, the authorities turned their attention to me. That evening, officers Wang Dongfeng and Sun Biao of Wuxing Police Substation held me captive in my house. Later, local 610 Office head Wang Rengui and five others arrived and ransacked my house, confiscating a computer, a printer/copier multifunction machine, a Fax machine, about 20 toner cartridges, several cases of copy paper, and about 600 DVD disks. I refused to sign the confiscation manifest.
I was held overnight in the Wuying Police Station and transferred to Wuying Detention Center the next day. During one interrogation, Wang Rengui poked me with a PVC pipe, cutting my face and lips. He then hammered the back of my hand with the pipe and broke several bones. It took about two weeks for those bones to heal.
I was charged and tried for “using a cult organization to undermine law enforcement.” I didn't have a lawyer, so I defended myself based on moral grounds and universal values. A few days later, our sentences were handed down: I was to be imprisoned for 7 years and my sister for 3 years. Fifteen days later, I was transported to Xianglan Prison Preparation Brigade. My sister was transported to Harbin City Women's Prison.
Tortured in Two Prisons
I was incarcerated in Xianglan Prison for 15 days. We were forced to work long hours every day. The trustee cursed and beat other prisoners every day. He often yelled at us, “You are blessed if I don't beat you or curse you today.”
One day I talked to another Falun Gong practitioner, Wang Jun, while waiting in the lunch line. Guard Wang saw us talking. He reprimanded the trustee, who then kicked and punched me.
Wang Jun and I were transferred to Jiamusi Prison about 10 days later. I was taken to the 3rd subdivision of the 4th division (third squadron of the fourth brigade). There were three Falun Gong practitioners in my squadron. We were closely monitored by inmates assigned by the guard. I went on a hunger strike to protest the persecution and wrote a letter to the warden requesting an immediate release, handing it to the squadron director, Wang Zhikai.
I was then force-fed and nearly died. On the 6th day of the hunger strike, I decided to stop and to allow myself to recover from the force feeding.
On the evening of August 6, 2007, I did the meditation exercise on my bed. Prisoner Cao Jian reported me to the guards. About 8 a.m. the next day, Han Jibo, guard and political adviser of our 2nd squadron 9th brigade, ordered me to the guards' office. He asked, “Did you do Falun Gong exercises?” I said I had. “Are you going to practice again?” he asked, grim faced. “Yes, I will,” I answered.
He stood up and slapped me across the face twice. I said, “Prison regulations state that a guard should not beat prisoners. You should apologize to me.”
Han Jibo got even angrier and punched and kicked me. Another prisoner, Wang Guoqing, was standing behind me. He delivered a hard blow to my left ear, knocking me to the floor. My left ear was torn almost completely off. Blood ran freely down my neck, soaking my shirt. During the entire incident, administrator Wang Kai from the 2nd brigade simply stood there, watching.
About an hour later, a guard took me to the prison clinic. The nurse said the tear was too long and complicated and needed to be treated at a larger hospital. Around noon, I was taken to a hospital to have my left ear reattached. Upon our return to the prison, we met brigade director Wang. I asked him to do the right thing. He just looked at me and said, “Who saw them beat you? You are the only one saying they beat you. I can always say that you cut your own ear off by yourself.” I told him, “You could investigate it, but I guess you already know they beat me up. You are protecting them. Being the brigade leader, you should uphold justice.” He said that he wouldn't promise me anything and that he might talk to me in a few days.
Back in my squadron, I talked to squadron director Wang Zhikai and demanded an apology from the assailants and a promise that this would not happen again. He had the same excuse as the brigade leader: “There's no evidence to prove anyone has beaten you.” I said I would go on a hunger strike to protest the mistreatment.
The next morning when I was taken to the hospital to have the bandage changed, my brother came to visit me. I didn't see him, but he saw my head was in bandages so he took a few photos of me with his cellphone. Later that day, an inmate told me that the guards saw my brother taking photos, so they knocked him down, took his phone, and deleted the pictures.
Hearing I was on hunger strike, squadron leader Wang Zhikai took me to an office instead of letting me go back to my cell after my return from the hospital. He handcuffed me to the radiator and shocked me with two electric batons. Blue electric sparks flew and burnt my skin. It felt like hammers were hitting me in the head whenever the current passed through my body. He kept asking, “Hunger strike or not?” I wouldn't yield. He continued for about 20 minutes. To stop him, I banged my head hard on the radiator, which scared him.
I asked to meet a representative from the Procuratorate office to report being mistreated by the guards. The guards told me to wait, but then began to force-feed me very salty food. I threw up. My stomach felt like it was on fire.
Later, the guards sent an inmate to negotiate with me, saying that I could continue to do the exercises as long as their superiors didn't reprimand them because of it. So I stopped my hunger strike and began to do the exercises in my cell. During my hunger strike, two other practitioners, Wang Jibin and Wang Haibo, had also gone on hunger strikes to support me.
Attempt to Force Me into a Brainwashing Center
Practitioner Dong Guangwen and I were to be released on April 20, 2013. The day before our release, a guard told me to get ready to leave at 5 a.m. the next morning instead of the normal 8 a.m. I suspected the authorities wanted to prolong my incarceration beyond the seven years I was sentenced to, so I decided not to passively comply.
Around 7 a.m., Dong Guangwen left the prison through the gate. I heard some fireworks meant to welcome him. A short while later I, too, walked through the prison gate. Nearly a hundred friends and family members were waiting for me, surrounding me and quickly driving me safely away.
Later I was told that the Political and Legal Affairs Committee of the Wuying District in Yichun City had planned to take me directly from the prison to a brainwashing center. The general secretary of the committee, Ma Liguo, and administrator Zhu Yanjie notified my family not to plan to meet me at the prison because the authorities would be giving me a 2-month “legal education” class. Everyone knows that a brainwashing center is more lawless than prison, so my family refused to cooperate. The committee then conspired with the prison to release me early so that they could abduct me before my family and friends arrived. To their surprise, my friends and relatives were already waiting at the gate at 5 a.m.
Incarcerations and Forced Labor Since 1999
Before I was imprisoned for 7 years, I had been subjected to multiple arrests, as well as 2 years of forced labor, just for practicing Falun Dafa.
Two days after the Chinese regime officially started the persecution of Falun Gong in 1999, officers Wang Dongfeng and Sun Biao of Wuxing Substation ransacked my house and confiscated many Falun Gong books and a poster of Li Hongzhi, the founder of Falun Dafa. The local authorities then began harassing me regularly.
I went to Beijing to appeal to the central government on September 11, 2000, and was arrested on Tiananmen Square. I was taken back to Yichun City and detained in the Wuying District Detention Center for 15 days.
The police searched my house a few days after I was released from the detention center and confiscated videotapes of the Falun Dafa teachings, and I was held in the police substation until midnight.
Another time, the police from my local substation climbed over my neighbor's fence and broke into my home to search for Falun Gong books and audiotapes. I was handcuffed and taken to Wuying Police Station. My work unit bonded me out of the police station and drove me home about an hour later.
Deputy director He Jun of Wuying Police Station came to my house before New Year's 2001 with some gifts and 200 yuan for the holiday. The next day, my wife and I returned the gifts and money to the police station. The policeman on duty (on New Year's day) was one of those who had come to my house the day before. We talked a few minutes and I explained to him that Falun Gong practitioners only wanted to be good and honest people and we don't have a desire for material and monetary gain. After that, his attitude toward Falun Gong practitioners became more positive.
One day, police deputy director He Jun visited me at work. He said that the central government had ordered the eradication of Falun Gong. The then general secretary of the Communist Party and president of China Jiang Zemin had given the order to annihilate Falun Gong by “defaming their reputations, bankrupting them financially, and destroying them physically.” He told me to give up my belief in Falun Dafa because it was hopeless.
Four other practitioners and I decided to appeal for Falun Gong again in 2001. We unfurled banners that said “Falun Dafa Is Good” and “Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbeaerance Is Good” on Tiananmen Square. We were arrested immediately. I was taken to a detention center in Changping City. Other practitioners and I were detained in a large building that looked like a hospital. We were separated individually into small rooms.
Two policemen interrogated me in my room. I refused give them my name and address. One of them stripped off my clothes, poured cold water over me, and then turned an electric fan on me. I still refused to give them anything that could be used to identify me.
Another policeman put on a pair of boxing gloves and punched and kicked me. When he got tired, he rested for a bit and then punched me again. This went on for about an hour. Seeing that it had no effect on me, the first policeman, who had been watching from the side, slammed a steel folding chair against me, knocking me to the floor. When I managed to stand up again, he punched me hard in the stomach, knocking the air out of me.
I refused to yield. They tore up the photo of Master Li Hongzhi from the book Zhuan Falun that they had found on me. They tried to shove the photo underneath me and said lewd things. I moved and twisted to avoid disrespecting Master. After a while, they got frustrated and one of them said that they should try the same tactics on some female Falun Gong practitioners. Soon I heard a woman screaming from another room.
Finally, they got my identity out of me. I was put in a corner near the stairs, waiting to be claimed by the local authorities. There were over 10 practitioners waiting in the corner, all of them injured in some way. One young man lay on the cement floor with a very bloody face.
I was held in Wuying Detention center for 15 days. A policeman whipped me with his belt, leaving bruises on my face. Later I was sentenced to 2 years of forced labor. At first, the authorities wanted to send me to Yichun City Forced Labor Camp. However, because practitioner Lu Chenglin and another practitioner had died from being tortured there, they had transferred all their prisoners to Ruihua Forced Labor Camp to avoid the negative publicity. I was sent directly to Ruihua instead.
Ruihua Labor Camp held about 100 Falun Gong practitioners from nearby cities and counties. Besides long hours of daily forced labor, we were forced to watch videos and news slandering Falun Gong. The authorities used many torture methods to try to “transform” the practitioners, including sleep deprivation, verbal abuse, beatings, forced standing for hours, being locked in a small cell, sitting on an iron stool for hours, electric shocks, and being restrained spread-eagle to the four corners of a bed. I was also subjected to some of these tortures.
Besides the tortures that I experienced and witnessed personally in the prisons and forced labor camps, I also heard about many other forms of torture. I also heard that at least 3 practitioners died. Practitioner Qin Yueming died of force-feeding in Jiamusi Prison. The food went into her lungs. Practitioner Liu Chuanjiang was severely injured in a beating and died shortly after in the hospital in 2011. Practitioner Yu Yungong died in Jiamusi Prison seventh brigade—I don't know the details.
Practitioners don't hold grudges against guards or inmates who have tortured and persecuted them. However, it is a universal principle that good is rewarded with good and evil is met with evil returns. For those who have participated in the persecution of Falun Dafa practitioners, their fate will surely be miserable. I hope everyone can make a righteous decision at this historical moment and have a beautiful future.