The Chain of Command in the Persecution of Falun Gong Begins with the 610 Office
(Minghui.org) “I have read your Falun Gong books, and I know that you guys are good, that you are being treated unfairly. But I'm just a pawn. There's nothing I can do if the authorities want me to persecute you.”
That was said by Wei Ming, an officer with the Xinhua Police Station in Hebei Province, when he arrested local Falun Gong practitioner Xi Lili in November 2000.
Wei Ming's fellow officer, Bai Jiyuan, added, “I have to do whatever the higher-ups tell me to, even if it means killing. It makes no difference if the person is good or bad. The policy to suppress Falun Gong is not going to change. Even if it does, that's a long time in the future. I'll be long gone by then.”
Falun Gong practitioner Fang Zhizhong heard the same thing. Fang, 70, passed out after intense torture in Tikou Police Station in Weifang, Shandong Province.
The chief of the station, Yang Nan, said, “I am doing what they ordered me to do. Even if it is a crime, it's their fault, not mine. If somebody is to be held accountable, it will be them, not me.”
These three police officers are not alone in their thinking: It is a typical attitude of Chinese police when it comes to Falun Gong. In these two examples, one from Hebei and the other from Shandong, the police are the bottom end of a chain of command that is ultimately controlled by the 610 Office—the Party-based security organization created expressly to coordinate and execute the persecution of Falun Gong.
The 610 Office was set up by former communist leader Jiang Zemin, who instigated the persecution on June 10, 1999--hence the name. The office has absolute power over all other branches of the government.
The persecution starts in detention centers, where practitioners are routinely taken after arrest. Under the supervision of the 610 Office, a local domestic security division will then process the cases, which usually results in the practitioner being prosecuted in the corrupt court system and serving time in prison.
Many practitioners, however, are taken directly to brainwashing centers, which are under the direct authority of the 610 Office. These centers are also called “black jails,” because a practitioner can be admitted without any legal paperwork.
This article illustrates each step in this criminal chain of command that starts with the 610 Office.
Criminals in Detention Center: “We Beat You, They Reduce Our Sentences.”
After being arrested in December 2000, Falun Gong practitioner Wu Suqiu from Shijiazhuang was sent to a detention center in the Chongwen District with other six practitioners. In the cell, six criminal inmates beat them for eight hours straight.
The criminals said, “We do this to many Falun Gong [practitioners]. It's routine: we beat you, they reduce our sentences. That's all we want, really. The authorities tell us to do it, so we do.”
Domestic Security Division: “You Can Try to Sue Me, But You Won't Win.”
Falun Gong practitioner Ms. Zhan Zhongrong from Yantai, Shandong Province, was arrested on July 4, 2011, and taken to the Second Detention Center. On July 11, her son and family went to the local domestic security division requesting her release.
The chief of the team, Zheng Suiyue, said, “We are just following orders. I have read your Falun Gong materials, and I know that Falun Gong is innocent. But I have no choice. You can try to sue me, but you won't win.”
On July 20, Ms. Zhan was given one year and six months of forced labor.
Labor Camp Guards: “Our Superiors Tell Us to Torture Them”
Before the dissolution of the forced labor camp system, the domestic security division sometimes sent practitioners to labor camps directly, without due process. The guards there claimed they were just following orders to torture practitioners.
Ms. Man Chunrong from Dalian, Liaoning Province, was tortured in the Dalian Labor Camp. She was suspended from a window frame so the guards could beat her with electric batons and rubber sticks until she passed out.
Her legs turned black and purple, and her muscles cramped. The guards then forced her to sit on a small stool. She overheard guard Sui Ziqiang say to the other guards, “Our superiors tell us to torture them.”
Labor Camp Inmate: "I Cannot Ignore Orders from the Authorities"
Criminals in the labor camp were often coerced to torture Falun Gong practitioners.
Ms. Chen Zhenbo, a practitioner from Pingdu, Shandong Province, was in the Second Provincial Women's Forced Labor Camp. Liu Wenrong, a criminal inmate in the same cell, tortured her. Liu stole her food, did not allow her to use the bathroom, and cursed and and beat her.
Liu once held Ms. Chen by her hair and slammed her head into the wall several times. Another time, Liu stepped on her after pushing her down and told the other prisoners to beat her.
In exchange for torturing Ms. Chen, Liu's sentence was reduced.
Before she was released, Liu held Ms. Chen and cried. “I am so sorry,” she said. “I didn't want to torture you. The authorities ordered me to, and I couldn't ignore them. You have suffered a lot.”
Prosecutor: "I Have to Do What the 610 Office Tells Me To"
Practitioners not sent to labor camps are prosecuted.
When Mr. Li Jianhui from Shenzhen, Guangdong Province, was arrested in September 1999, the prosecutor in Shenzhen told him, “You are innocent, but we have to prosecute you. It is necessary politically. It is an order from the authorities.”
In most cases, the prosecutors ignore the law and bend to the will of the 610 Office. In another example, Wang Mingxiang and Yu Peiling were arrested by the 610 Office and local police in Lianyungang City, Jiangsu Province. They were turned over to the county prosecutors.
Wang was sentenced to three years and Yu to four. The prosecutor admitted to the defense attorneys, “We really had no legal basis to charge them. But it was a direct order from the 610 Office, and we have to do what the 610 Office tells us to.”
Judge: "I Have to Follow the Orders from the Authorities"
How do the judges handle Falun Gong cases?
On August 6, 2013, the family of practitioner Wang Jinbo from Yitong County, Jilin Province, went to the Ningjiang District Court in Songyuan City to find out when Wang would be tried. They were told that a secret trial had already been held.
They asked the judge why they were not informed. The judge, Lu Ping, said it was not necessary. He also refused to tell them when the trial was held.
When the family questioned the legality of such a trial, Lu said, “There is no rule of law. The Party pays me, so I have to follow whatever orders it gives me.”
Prison Warden: "We Must 'Transform' 90%—That Is an Order."
The prisons are expected to "transform" Falun Gong practitioners—force them to renounce their belief and sign a document certifying they are non-practitioners.
In 2012, Fanjiatai Prison in Shayang City, Hubei Province, upped the "transformation" rate. Warden Chang Jinfu announced that 90% of the practitioners had to be "transformed." He assigned police officers to each division of the prison to carry out the order.
The police were awarded 10,000 yuan for every practitioner that renounced Falun Gong. The ones who "transformed" the most practitioners would be considered for promotion. Motivated by rewards and benefits, many officers tortured practitioners brutally to try to get them to sign the documents.
A policeman in Jiamusi Prison told a practitioner, “Our orders say that we will be fine even if we beat you guys to death, as long as the number of deaths is below a set number.”
The police in Jiamusi Prison killed three practitioners in two weeks by beating them to death. The prison has never released the body of one of the victims, Qin Yueming.
Brainwashing Center Staff: "The Constitution Means Nothing. The 610 Office Lays Down the Law."
Besides prison and, in the past, forced labor camps, practitioners are sent to brainwashing centers set up by the 610 Offices, which are governed by no laws.
The 610 Office in Hubei Province, Hubei Law Education Institute, has a rule that the staff can do anything they choose to get practitioners to "transform." Officers that were successful were rewarded with cash or a promotion.
The chief of the center claimed, “We are above the law.”
Elementary school teacher Mr. Li Shouwo, 65, from Pingshan County, Hebei Province, was taken to a local brainwashing center on July 17, 2001. Zhang Xingang and six others from the 610 Office took Mr. Li to a small cell on the morning of October 9.
Zhang asked Mr. Li to give up Falun Gong. Li said, “Falun Gong healed me. How can I give it up?”
Zhang said, “If Falun Gong healed you, I will beat you today until you are sick again.”
Mr. Li said, “That would be breaking the law.”
To which Zhang Xingang replied, “I just graduated from law school. Of course I know that is against the law. But I'm telling you that you cannot get out of here. Even if you get out and file a lawsuit against me, you cannot win. We're untouchable. The Party tells me to beat you. Jiang Zemin and the 610 Office gave the order.
“Nowadays, the 610 Office makes all the rules. I am with the 610 Office. The Constitution means nothing. What the 610 Office says goes. If you quit Falun Gong today, we will send you home now. If you refuse, I am going to beat you with this stick.”
Mr. Li Shouwo refused to comply, so Zhang and other six officers struck him with batons until he passed out. After he came to, Zhang sprayed pepper powder into Mr. Li's eyes. The pain made Mr. Li pass out again for seven hours.
The 610 Office Is the Ultimate Authority
The 610 Office controls the police, who torture and oversee the torture of Falun Gong practitioners. This has gone on for 16 years. The police and the criminals are merely links in the chain of command. When those responsible for the persecution are brought to justice, neither the 610 Office nor Jiang Zemin will be excused.