Shanxi Man Tortured for Requesting Information from CCTV
(Minghui.org) For requesting information from the China Central Television (CCTV), a mouthpiece of the Chinese Communist Party, Mr. Zhang Shuyong from Shanxi was arrested and detained for two and a half months. He was beaten, tortured, and denied the right to an attorney.
Mr. Zhang went on a hunger strike in protest and was hospitalized for two weeks. He was force-fed while cuffed and shackled to a bed for the entire time. When he was released on bail on April 3, he was emaciated, his limbs were numb, and he was so weak that he couldn't walk on his own.
In a CCTV news program broadcast on January 14, 2017, the anchor showed a still image captured from a video of Zhou Qiang, the president of the Supreme People's Court, giving a speech at a national conference. The caption added to the image indicated that Zhou was defaming Falun Gong. Different media outlets in China later cited this speech.
Unable to find the full video of or any written document about Zhou's speech on the Supreme People's Court's official website, Mr. Zhang and 18 other Falun Gong practitioners from Huairen County wrote to CCTV requesting the disclosure of relevant information on the speech and key persons involved in the production of the footage. The request was sent by mail on January 18 to the CCTV headquarters in Beijing.
Instead of a response from the state-run television broadcaster, Mr. Zhang was arrested at his home on February 16 by police officers from the local Domestic Security Division.
The following is Mr. Zhang's account of what happened during his arrest and detention.
I was arrested at home in the afternoon on February 16 and taken to the Huairen County Police Department. The five men in plainclothes who broke into my home refused to show their badges or any identification when I asked for them.
I found out later that they were from the county Domestic Security Division and included division head Zhang Xiangdong, officer Xie Junwei, and Li Hui.
One of them showed me a search warrant but took it away before I could finish reading the fine print. I noticed that there was no signature at the bottom of the warrant. I was not given or shown any other paperwork or legal documents.
At the police department, I asked again to see their identification but was ignored. I asked why I was arrested and got no answer.
I only realized later that it had something to do with the request I’d sent to CCTV, because Zhang, Xie, and Li asked several times whether I had written any letters recently. Writing a letter to a media outlet requesting information on their programs was my right as a Chinese citizen, so my arrest was in violation of the law. I didn't need to explain or reveal any other information.
The three officers went back to my home, broke down the front door, and ransacked the place. They confiscated many of my personal belongings.
When I was being interrogated, my rights and obligations were not made clear to me. I had to ask several times before I was handed a document. I then asked that my attorney be notified but was told that wasn’t going to happen. My right to a lawyer was denied.
I asked for the phone number of the Public Security Bureau and Discipline Inspection Department so I could file a complaint but no one ever gave it to me. My right to sue was thus denied.
The document explaining my rights and obligations was snatched away from me before I could finish reading it. The officers tore it into pieces.
Due to their repeated legal violations, I concluded that the three officers lacked the ability or qualifications to handle my case fairly, so I asked that they recuse themselves from the investigation. They ignored me. I therefore declared that anything the three officers did thereafter was illegal.
On the 17th, they read me the following statement: “According to the defendant's confession, ...” I had not made any confession whatsoever and did not give the police any personal belongings—they confiscated them without my or my family's consent. I had no reason to make such a confession or to provide evidence. That statement was entirely false.
Officer Xie twisted my wrists so Li could take a picture of me and get my fingerprints. It was very painful. I was taken to the county jail later that afternoon and was held there until March 3.
Abused at the County Detention Center
I was transferred to the county detention center on March 3. I was ordered to take off my clothes for a physical, to which I didn't respond. A stout police officer in his 50s had two inmates beat me until I fell, and then they continued to stomp on me. I was dizzy, and blood was coming out of my mouth.
The two inmates pinned me down on the floor and stripped off my clothes. Three other officers present at the time didn't do anything to stop the violence.
I was placed in Ward No. 6 after I was examined. I was only given one cup of water in the evening every day and didn't have a bowel movement for the next five days. My clothes were thrown away except for a long-sleeved undershirt and a pair of long underpants. I had nothing to protect me from the cold until two days later, when I was given an old jacket.
I was stripped naked in the morning on March 4, and an inmate dumped two basins of water over my head. I almost passed out from the cold.
Prevented from Seeing My Lawyer
My family hired Attorney Cheng Hai to represent me. When he submitted his request to see me in the morning on March 7, he was told that Director Li Changchun of the Huairen County Detention Center did not give permission for us to meet.
Attorney Cheng right away filed a complaint with section chief Chen of the county Procuratorate. In the afternoon, my attorney was told that all meetings had been canceled due to a two-day anti-terrorism drill.
In order to keep me from meeting with my lawyer, I was going to be sent to the Pinglu District Detention Center in Shuozhou City about 70 miles away. I went on a hunger strike on the 9th to protest, and the Pinglu Detention Center refused to admit me.
I was then taken to the Shanyin County Detention Center but was again turned away when the officials heard that I was on a hunger strike. Director Li Changchun eventually had me admitted at the Ying County Detention Center, where I was held from March 9 to March 20.
I went on another hunger strike from the 14th to the 20th. Ying County Detention Center officials notified director Li Changchun, and I was taken to the Huairen Chinese Medicine Hospital.
Force-Fed at the Huairen County Chinese Medicine Hospital
A guard named Liu from the Huairen County Detention Center picked me up in the afternoon on March 20 and took me to the Huairen County Chinese Medicine Hospital. My clothes and the 45 yuan that were taken when I was admitted were never returned.
I was placed in the emergency unit's observation room on the first floor. There were six beds in that room, a row of metal chairs under the window, and a wall-mounted air conditioner on the east wall.
With my hands cuffed and my feet shackled, I was pushed onto the bed and restrained by five police officers while a nurse force-fed me through a tube inserted into my nose, which made my nose bleed. Because I hadn’t eaten or drunk for seven days prior to that, I threw up everything they fed me.
Our of fear that food might get into my trachea, they stopped feeding me through a tube and switched to IV fluids. I pulled the needle out of my right hand. An officer grabbed my right hand, and the nurse put the needle into my left hand. I managed to pull the needle out again, but it was quickly replaced.
Within a few moments of having the IV fluids in my bloodstream, my whole body started to spasm, and my blood pressure went up to 170. I sweat profusely and ran a high fever. I wondered if I was going to die. As if in a dream, I heard the police officer say that I was dying. A male doctor checked my pupils and ordered an oxygen mask.
The foul-smelling gas emitted from my stomach was very offensive, since I had not eaten for days. Director Li Changchun was present during the entire process, and he is fully responsible for what I was put through.
13 Days in the People's Liberation Army 322 Hospital
Division head Zhang Xiangdong, Xie Junwei, and other officers from the county Domestic Security Division escorted me to the People's Liberation Army 322 Hospital in Datong City in the evening on March 20.
I was placed in Ward No. 0513 on the fifth floor where I remained for the rest of the two weeks I was there. Division head Zhang had officers shackle my feet with heavy chains fixed to the foot of the bed. My hands were cuffed separately to the rails on either side of the bed. I was not able to turn over. Doctor Guo Hongri and nurse Pan Lixia fed me through a tube. Since I could not move or turn, I got very stiff and was in a lot of pain.
March 21, 2017. Each of the five divisions of the Huairen County Police Department took turns sending a team of six men to monitor me around the clock. Director Li had my handcuffs and shackles changed to a smaller size because my wrists and ankles are small and he didn't want to risk having me slip out of them. The cuffs and shackles were very tight and hurt my wrists. The marks left by the cuffs didn't go away for a long time even after I was released.
I was given IV fluids 24 hours a day. Since I had not eaten for more than a week by then, my veins were very small, and the solution they gave me caused excruciating pain.
March 22, 2017. I was still cuffed and shackled to the bed and could not move. The pain had become unbearable.
I overheard Doctor Guo tell the police that, if I didn't urinate in the next two days, I would have kidney failure. The police said that if that happened, they would take me back to the police station and give me some type of drug. That night, I had a stomachache and wet the bed.
March 23 to 27, 2017. I was still cuffed and shackled to the bed. Doctor Guo, Doctor Li Xuejun, and nurse Pan continued to give me IV fluids, which they increased from five to seven units.
My arms swelled and hurt. I asked them to stop the IV but was ignored. I removed the needle from my left arm with my teeth, but nurse Pan quickly put another one in my right arm. When I took it out with my teeth again, she had four officers hold me down and inserted the needle into my right leg.
She didn’t insert it correctly, and the solution went into my muscle tissues. My right leg swelled up and became very painful. The officers again held me down while nurse Pan switched the needle to my left leg. It was really awful. I was tired and sweaty. I wasn't sure what I was given except that at one point the nurse mentioned that they were drugs that stimulate blood vessels.
Doctor Guo Hongri, Doctor Li Xuejun, and a young doctor also force-fed me water with the help of division head Zhang Xiangdong. Director Li Changchun visited almost every day, hoping that I would give in. He made the nurse speed up the IV fluids, which caused more pain.
I had to urinate into a cup in bed, and the cuffs never came off during my stay at the 322 Hospital. It took me a long time to urinate each time and I did not have a bowel movement the entire time I was there.
March 28, 2017. The officers monitoring me changed shifts at around 9 a.m. I was told an hour later that I would be getting a physical exam. Since I had not eaten for 10 days straight, they were worried that I might die. I was carried onto a stretcher, still cuffed and shackled, and wheeled out of my ward.
It had just snowed the day before and was very cold outside. All I had on were my undergarments, and I was not covered with a blanket. I was shivering as we went up and down the stairs and through the courtyard.
The officers pushing me walked very quickly, and it was not a smooth ride. It added to the pain and discomfort since I was cuffed and shackled to the stretcher. An officer recorded everything on video.
After waiting for a long time, I was given three tests including a color ultrasound and an electrocardiogram. I was cuffed and shackled the entire time. After returning to my ward, they started the IV again.
March 29, 2017. Xia Zhitian, a high school classmate of mine and now chief of the Legal Section at the Huairen County Police Department, came to visit. He tried to convince me to go through the legal process and go to court. All six officers monitoring me were present, and one of them recorded our conversation.
Xia said, “[Going to court] is not a bad deal. You have already hired a lawyer and can defend yourself.”
I told him, “This is retaliation. All because I wrote a letter. Anyone, even with no knowledge of the law, knows that writing a letter is a citizen's basic right. I did not break any law and shouldn't have to go to court for anything. If I have to go to court, it's an insult to China's legal system, to the court of law, and to the judges. I do not acknowledge it. All I have is my life, and whoever dares to take on the case is welcome to.”
Seeing that I was not going to change my mind, he left without saying anything else. I was given IV fluids for 24 hours straight that day.
March 30, 2017. Doctor Guo wanted to insert a feeding tube into my stomach because I hadn’t eaten for so long and ran the risk of gastrointestinal failure. When I told him “no,” he had six officers hold me down with nurse Pan standing by with the tube in her hand, ready to insert it through my nose.
I resisted with all my might and shook my head so violently that they couldn't insert the tube. Afraid that the tube might end up in my trachea, they gave up. Guo later force-fed me water, and the IV never stopped. My arms and legs were swollen and very painful.
March 31, 2017. Xia Zhitian and another high school friend came to visit and tried to convince me to eat something. I said, “I have made the decision and will not change my mind. As long as I'm detained, I will not eat or drink.” Seeing that I had lost a lot of weight, they were very sympathetic. I was given IV fluids for 24 hours straight that day.
April 1, 2017. I overheard Doctor Li Xuejun talking to director Li Changchun of the detention center on the phone, telling him that I was still the same. I think I heard her say that there was nothing else she could do.
The IV continued. When the fluid came in a glass bottle, I got all sweaty and extremely uncomfortable. I suspected that they were purposely causing me more pain.
I was in great pain when the young doctor popped in and said sarcastically, “Check you out. So courageous.” The doctors had tried everything they could up to this point, but I did not give in.
April 2 , 2017. My classmate Xia Zhitian, Director Li Changchun, division head Zhang Xiangdong, and officer Xie Junwei of the county Domestic Security Division came that night and told me that they would release me on bail.
The half dozen officers monitoring me tried to get me to sit up, but I couldn't even move. I was weak because I hadn't eaten anything for three weeks and my limbs were numb from being cuffed and shackled to the bed for two weeks. I had not had a bowel movement since the 20th of March and was very close to having gastrointestinal failure. I was pushed to the police car in a wheelchair and carried into the car.
An officer recorded me being transported back to Huairen County. My stomach and intestines really hurt, and my whole body was weak and numb. We arrived at the county police department at around 10 pm. By the time my wife finished all the paperwork and I was released, it was 1 a.m. on April 3.
Interrogation by County Prosecutor
Prosecutor Cao of the Huairen County Procuratorate interrogated me twice while I was detained. The first time, I was in the Ying County Detention Center. I filed a complaint with Cao about division head Zhang Xiangdong, officer Xie Junwei, and Li Hui of the county Domestic Security Division for violating due process. I requested that Cao exercise his power and exclude the three officers from further investigation of my case.
The second time I met Cao was during my hospitalization at the 322 Hospital. I refused to cooperate or answer any of his questions and insisted that he resolve the issues I raised during our first meeting first. I requested that he let the three officers from the county Domestic Security Division know that they were no longer involved in my case. Cao did not respond.
I told him, “Since my request was not honored, we should not proceed.” Cao recorded what I said and asked if I would like to request that he, too, be excluded from my case. I put that request in right away, and he left.