(Minghui.org) “As the police turned on the switch, a strong electric current ran through my body. The excruciating pain was beyond description. Through the dirty cloth strip over my eyes, I could see blue flashes emanating from my body.

“I could also hear the painful screams from a fellow practitioner who was tortured in a close-by torture chamber,” said Ms. Zhang Jiqiu when she detailed the torture she endured for refusing to give up her belief in Falun Gong, a self-cultivation system being persecuted by the Chinese Communist Party.

The 47-year-old woman from Qiqihar City used to suffer from heart disease, back pain, and a severe form of hemorrhoids that caused her much bleeding and pain. She was always in a bad mood due to her poor health. However, her symptoms disappeared within a month after she took up the practice of Falun Gong in November 1999.

Having benefited so much from the practice, Ms. Zhang felt it was her responsibility to appeal to the government and seek justice for Falun Gong. She however became a persecution target and was constantly harassed and monitored.

She and another practitioner were sentenced to nine years in a hospital ward following their arrest in March 2006.

Though scheduled for an early release on June 1, 2013, she was transferred to the Qinglongshan Brainwashing Center that day on the order of the local political and legal affairs committee.

When she was finally released, the police refused to return her identification card, which they confiscated more than 10 years ago. As full-time jobs require an ID, Ms. Zhang is doing odd jobs to earn a living. In her own words, she is still a “prisoner” to the persecution, being denied most normal ways to make a living.

Barbaric Police Torture

“I was taken to an abandoned workshop on the 2nd floor of the Nanpulu Knitwear Mill in Qiqihar City by police at the end of March 2006. It was a very cold day, but I was only allowed to wear a jumper, tracksuit pants and no shoes or socks,” recalled Ms. Zhang.

She continued, “The police pulled my arms and cuffed my hands to two iron rings fixed to the wall. Then they covered my eyes with a dirty piece of cloth and tied my legs. I knew they were about to shock me.”

The police shocked her, hoping to make her betray other practitioners. They poured bottles of cold water into her collar and turned on the switch again because she refused.

She said, “I was transferred to the Shuguang Police Station. I was tortured with the Flying an Airplane and other ways by police officers Wang Wei, Hao Duo and Sheng. These officers kicked me hard in my shins with their leather shoes, leaving dark purple marks. Then, they slapped my face and used a wooden stick to scrape my ribs. The pain I suffered cannot be described in mere words.”

Sentenced to Nine Years in Hospital Ward

Ms. Zhang was taken to the Qiqihar No. 1 Detention Center on April 2, 2006, where she was monitored by guards.

Li Lijie, a guard, asked if she still practiced Falun Gong. When she responded in the affirmative the officer slapped her face.

She was next transferred to the Hepingchang Hospital ward. The Tiefang District Court held a secret trial at the hospital and illegally sentenced her to nine years in prison on December 15, 2006.

Determined to Keep Practicing Falun Gong

Ms. Zhang was transferred to Harbin Women's Prison (also known as Heilongjiang Women's Prison) on January 27, 2007 and held in the 9th Ward.

She was tortured by guards and inmates, forced to stand still for long hours and deprived of sleep.

“My feet and legs were swollen. When I could not stand upright anymore, inmate Wang Chunlan kicked my legs. When I could no longer endure the torture, I wrote a statement against my will to give up my belief in Falun Gong,” recalled Ms. Wang.

It was not long before she realized that she shouldn't have renounced Falun Gong and wrote a statement that she would continue to practice it.

The guards searched her personal belongings and found a hand-written Falun Gong article. As a result she was locked in a small cell. At meal time, she was given only a small bowl of cold rice porridge with some pickles.

“I was not allowed any personal hygiene, nor wash my clothes. It was so cold that I couldn't sleep,” said Ms. Zhang.

She was transferred out of the small cell after six months and forced to perform hard labor. She was locked in a small cell again on July 19, 2012 for not cooperating with the guards.