(Minghui.org) Illicit brainwashing centers, in conjunction with the notorious labor camp system, have been widely used by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) to persecute Falun Gong practitioners since the beginning of the persecution in July 1999.

The better-disguised brainwashing facilities have not been targeted as much as the forced labor camp system, which the Chinese authorities claim to have abolished earlier this year. In both cases, practitioners are arbitrarily arrested and deprived of their freedom without being tried, and are not treated any better in the brainwashing facilities than in the labor camps.

Nightmarish Treatment in Brainwashing Center

Ms. Xu Ying, an elementary school teacher from Hailin City, Mudanjiang, Heilongjiang Province, was arrested at her office on March 17, 2014. She was held in a local detention center for a month, then taken to a brainwashing center in Qiqihar City. She recounted the nightmarish treatment at the hands of CCP officers desperate to shake her belief in Falun Gong.

Torture re-enactment: Stepping on the face

“I was arrested at work on March 17, 2014, by Ding Yuhua and Wang Wei from the Hailin Domestic Security Division (DSD), as well as other police officers. I was held in the Hailin Forestry Detention Center and mistreated. The guards verbally abused me and stepped on my face when I was laying on the ground. They spit on me, viciously slapped my face, and poured water down my neck. Officers Wang Wei and Guan Jingwei interrogated me many times.

“I was transferred to the Qiqihar Brainwashing Center a month later, on April 16, 2014. Officers from the Hailin Political and Legal Affairs Committee told me that they were taking me home, but they instead took me to the brainwashing center.

“I was forced to attend brainwashing sessions and watch videos slandering Falun Gong daily. I resisted, but the officers handcuffed me to a cabinet, and held me down on a bench to make me watch the videos. Li Yuling and Shi denigrated Falun Gong. They once had my hands cuffed behind my back. My wrists were in intense pain because they were tightly cuffed.

“Gu Songhai, from the Heilongjiang 610 Office came to the brainwashing center in early May to pressure me to renounce Falun Gong. He slapped me 30 times, causing my face to become terribly swollen. He picked up a television remote control to continue hitting my face because his palm was sore from slapping me. He grabbed my hair and hit my forehead against the wall, and forced me to watch videos which slandered Falun Gong. I was tortured for a week, and was also deprived of sleep. Officer Qian made me stand for a long time, and hit me whenever I tried to bend my knees due to exhaustion. My face was numb, bruised, and swollen.

“Officers Zhang Yang, Cai, and Qian used handcuffs and a rope to restrain my hands. They grabbed my hand to try to force me to sign the three statements, renouncing Falun Gong. I resisted, saying, 'This will count for nothing, because I don't agree to sign it. You will ultimately have to pay for what you have done.' They finally gave up."

Ms. Xu was released two months later on May 24, 2014, yet the persecution of Falun Gong practitioners is still continuing in brainwashing centers.

Ms. Xu started practicing Falun Gong after the CCP began persecuting the practice in July 1999. She was sentenced to 18 months of forced labor in October 2012, and held in the Qianjin Forced Labor Camp. She was restrained in an iron chair torture device, and deprived of sleep. Her term was extended when she refused to renounce Falun Gong. She was released on August 17, 2013.

Torture re-enactment: Restrained in an iron chair

Background on the Brainwashing Center

The brainwashing center is located in Yushutun, Qiqihar, and is said to specialize in "legal education." Publicly it is known as the Qiqihar Compulsory Drug Rehabilitation Center. It was organized by several officers, including He Xiangxi, chief of the Qiqihar 610 Office, and Zhang Zhijie, deputy chief of the Qiqihar Shuanghe Labor Camp, under the direction of Gu Songhai, chief of the Heilongjiang Province 610 Office. Prior to this, these officers had run the Heilongjiang Qinglongshan Brainwashing Center, which was officially abolished when local attorneys protested earlier this year.