Newly Released Sichuan Practitioner Recounts Brutal Torture in Prison
(Minghui.org) Ms. Tang Tianmin from Luzhou City, Sichuan Province recently returned home after enduring three years of torture in Sichuan Women's Prison. She was sentenced without due process in 2012 for talking to the public about the persecution of Falun Gong.
Prior to her latest ordeal, Ms. Tang, 60, was twice sent to forced labor camps for a total of three-and-half years between 2004 and 2010. She was arrested again in 2011 and subjected to intense brainwashing.
While incarcerated for her belief, Ms. Tang witnessed how the communist regime motivated its public security officials, police officers, and guards, and even inmates, to abuse Falun Gong practitioners like her. She felt sorry for her tormentors, who were just pawns used by the regime in its campaign to eradicate Falun Gong. In her mind, they are victims of the persecution, too.
Ms. Tang said, “I always treated them with compassion and took every opportunity to tell them how wrong the persecution is.” Quite a few guards and inmates stopped torturing her. One of them marveled at her kindness and resilience, saying, “You are truly remarkable for having endured all that you have been through.”
The day before she was released from prison, someone asked about her plans for the future. In front of the guards and many others, she declared, “I am going to sue Jiang Zemin for starting the persecution of Falun Gong.”
Having recently regained her freedom, Ms. Tang is recounting what she went through following her 2012 arrest–a first step in her effort to bring Jiang to justice.
Below is Ms. Tang's personal account.
Sentenced to Prison without Due Process
While talking to people about Falun Gong in Quba Township, Naxi County in April 2012, I was arrested and taken to the county detention center.
Several months later, out of the blue, I was told that I would be tried that day. I had no idea that a charge had been filed against me, and I was never given the opportunity to seek legal counsel.
In the courtroom, I saw about 20 strangers in uniform sitting in the audience. There was nobody I knew—my family had not been notified of the trial.
The prosecutor sped through the indictment; I complained that I couldn't understand what he was saying. I did not get a copy of the indictment prior to the trial and had no idea what the charge was. When the prosecutor called Falun Gong a cult, I immediately objected.
Talking to people about my belief and exercising my constitutional rights to freedom of speech and religion was described as "criminal." None of the six witnesses that the prosecutor called showed up. I had not been informed prior to the trial that, by law, I had the right to defend myself, nor was I given the opportunity to do so.
When the judge announced that I would be sentenced to three to seven years in prison, I declared that I was innocent and had not broken any law. I asked the judges, “How is this a fair trial?”
I was handed a verdict more than a month later and learned that I was sentenced to three years in prison. The court official who delivered the paperwork did not mention anything about my right to hire a lawyer or to appeal the sentence. I wrote on the document, “The Chinese Communist Party is the cult. Falun Dafa is a righteous cultivation way.”
I was suddenly transferred to the Sichuan Women's Prison in Yangmahe, Jianyang City. Again, none of my family members were notified. They learned about my transfer and my being on the verge of death through an article published on the Minghui website months later.
Tortured in Sichuan Women's Prison
I was placed in the No. 4 Ward. I made up my mind not to cooperate, because I did not commit any crime and did not belong in prison. No matter how badly they treated me, I refused to comply with the guards' directives.
I refused to copy and memorize the prison rules and regulations. I didn't answer when my name was called. I didn't ask for permission to use the bathroom as required—even if I had to relieve myself in my clothes. I never sang the propaganda songs praising the communist regime with other inmates.
The guards instigated inmates to torture me in an attempt to "transform" me and make me give up my belief. They were no amateurs at torturing Falun Gong practitioners—I suffered so much in the first five months.
1. Sleep Deprivation
I was monitored around the clock and deprived of sleep. The first five months, I stayed in the cell while others worked in the workshops during the day.
At night, I was made to stand or sit in the hallway or the stairway and was not allowed to sleep. I only slept for a few hours sometimes, and other times not at all. I was so sleepy one time that I fell asleep walking down the stairs and hit my head.
2. A Strait Jacket
Instead of handcuffs, a special garment was used for hanging practitioners up in the prison. It was made of leather and had long sleeves. After putting it on, the victim's arms are raised and the sleeves tied to a bunk bed. The arms start to hurt after just a little while, and severe chest pain is common.
I was hung up for an entire night one time when I didn't answer roll call. To put more pressure on me, a guard named Deng didn't let the rest of the division–more than 200 inmates–sleep. I told her not to implicate others, so she put the jacket on me and hung me up for the entire night. She refused to reveal her police ID number when I asked for it.
3. Physical Abuse
Several inmates once took me to the office and pushed me against a counter top. They separated my legs and kicked me in my private parts. It hurt so bad I felt as if my bones were broken. They twice grabbed my hair and pushed my head into a big bucket of water—it was the longest few minutes of my life. It was so horrible that I wanted to die.
Slapping and beating were common. Once, an inmate named Jiang Haixia pushed me into the bathroom and slapped me tens of times. A guard once ordered all my cellmates to beat me. One of them didn't want to hurt me, but was forced to do it by Peng Hong, the head of our cell.
The inmates assigned to monitor me once grabbed my neck and choked me nearly to death. Many times, they grabbed my hair and repeatedly hit my head against the wall. I'm still suffering the aftereffects now—I still get dizzy and have trouble remembering things. My mind is not as quick as it used to be.
They also sometimes stomped on my toes and ground them into the floor. Two inmates once lifted me up and then slammed me to the ground. My spine went numb.
I remember one cold day in November, when the inmates monitoring me took me to the bathroom and dumped cold water all over me. About a dozen of them took turns dousing me repeatedly. Many people from the building gathered and watched.
According to the prison rules, it is forbidden to physically abuse other inmates. All the inmates should know the rules by heart because they were required to memorize them. Yet, they openly broke the rules. An inmate monitoring me once said, “If the prison officials didn't consent to it, nobody would dare to do it.”
Guards who instigated other inmates to torture practitioners included Li Mingde, Zhang Qing, and one named Gao.
They starved me for a month after I got to the prison. The guards told me, “Are you hungry? All the food is provided by the Party. They don't have any for you.” I said, “The food is paid for by taxpayers.”
I was only given two meals a day—maybe two ounces of rice with no vegetables whatsoever. My weight dropped from 100 pounds to about 60. I was skin and bones. I had to muster all my strength just to get out of bed and use the bathroom. At one point, I was so weak that I couldn't even put my clothes on or walk. Even a prison official commented on how frighteningly thin I was.
I was not given any food or water for the entire day on one New Year's Eve. Another inmate, whom I had met while detained in Luzhou Detention Center, remembered how I took care of her when she was sick and slipped me a piece of candy when the guards were not watching.
To protest the ill treatment, I went on a hunger strike and that eventually ended the starvation. When I was made to work at the workshop after five months, I couldn't even walk—three inmates carried me to the workshop every day.
5. Blood Samples
My blood was drawn quite a few times, ostensibly for a physical exam. Despite my objection, they held me down and took the samples.
6. Tempted with Money
A city official once came to talk to me in prison. He told me that the building I lived in was going to be demolished and that, if I wrote a guarantee statement stating I would never practice Falun Gong again, I would be given a bigger apartment and 25,000 yuan in compensation. I told him I wouldn't write the guarantee statement.
I never yielded to the attempts to "transform" me. I stayed steadfast and always recited the Fa. No matter how much physical pain I was in, or how disoriented or even unconscious I was at times, I remained resolute in my belief in Dafa.
When my three-year prison term ended, I refused to sign the paperwork, because it was an illegal term.
I am writing down my experience to bear witness to the relentless persecution of Falun Gong.