Woman Recounts Release from Prison on the Brink of Death
(Minghui.org) “You are a time bomb,” said a prison guard to Ms. Zhou Xiuhui. Ms. Zhou had just regained consciousness.
She had passed out for more than 20 minutes on the way to receive a medical evaluation. “It does not matter to me if you die as soon as you walk out of this gate,” said the guard. “Each day you remain here is a day I have no sleep.”
Ms. Zhou, a Falun Gong practitioner from An'ning City of Heilongjiang Province, was arrested in April 2008. She was sentenced to seven years in prison for refusing to renounce her faith.
After three years of severe physical and mental abuse, she contracted tuberculosis in the chest and had tumors in her neck and breasts.
A doctor at a local hospital pronounced, “This person can die at any time or become a paraplegic.”
Only then did prison officials decide to release Ms. Zhou to avoid responsibility. She was released on medical parole on November 18, 2010.
The following is Ms. Zhou's account of her experience.
Tortured in Police Custody
I was arrested along with three other Falun Gong practitioners on April 22, 2008 for giving out Falun Gong materials to the public. We were taken to Erzhan Police Station. The director of the district police bureau personally drove over and oversaw our interrogation that evening.
During the interrogation, a policeman twice my size beat me with a rubber baton. He hit me so hard that I could not stand. My hands were cuffed behind my back. When he pulled on the handcuffs, they cut into my wrists. Two other policemen slapped me in the face repeatedly.
We were chained together and left standing the rest of the night after the interrogation. The next day, we were taken to Chengling District Detention Center.
I showed the bruises on my back to a policewoman there. She said in surprise, “Who did this to you? Was this just for practicing Falun Gong?”
Force-fed at Detention Center
We were transferred back to An'ning Detention Center after 12 days at Chengling District Detention Center. During my nine months at An'ning Detention Center, I went on a hunger strike three times.
On my first hunger strike, police force-fed me with salt water to punish me. My second hunger strike was for eight days, and the next one continued for 12 days.
Police once tied me up so that my four limbs were stretched out for nine hours in solitary confinement.
After nine months at the detention center and three hearings, I was sentenced to seven years in prison.
Developing Severe Health Problems in Prison
I was taken to Heilongjiang Women's Prison along with three other practitioners on January 21, 2009. Police forced us to sit on small stools and watch videos that defamed Falun Gong. We were not allowed to talk to anyone. Everywhere I went, someone followed me.
Soon after I arrived at the prison, I started to suffer back pain, My neck hurt, too, and I started to lose control of my right hand. I vomited frequently.
I asked to see a doctor. Prison guards refused at first, until other inmates told them that I was not going to make it.
I was taken to the prison hospital. The hospital director saw my condition and said, “Take her to an outside hospital for examination as soon as possible.”
I was given an MRI and ultrasound tests in a regular hospital. Hospital exams showed that I had tuberculosis in the chest and tumors in the neck and breasts. As soon as the MRI report came back, the doctor said to police, “Why did you bring her here so late? This person can die or become paraplegic at any time.”
Upon hearing about my condition, prison officials were afraid that I would die in prison and started medical parole procedures. They tried to put me into the prison hospital, but the hospital would not admit me.
On November 18, 2010—two years and seven months after my arrest—I was released on the brink of death.