Persecution of a Teacher: 11 Arrests Within 20 Years of Refusing to Renounce Falun Gong
(Minghui.org) A 75-year-old woman has been repeatedly arrested and once imprisoned for three years, since the Chinese communist regime began to persecute Falun Gong in July 1999.
Ms. Mu Zhihong, a retired teacher from Shizuishan City, Ningxia, was most recently targeted for her faith on May 10, 2018. Five police officers came to her home, along with seven people from the neighborhood committee. They called a locksmith to break into the residence. They ransacked the place and confiscated Ms. Mu’s personal belongings. Officers then arrested her, took her to the Qingshan Road Police Station, and released her that night.
Ms. Mu's health quickly deteriorated after her latest, eleventh, arrest. She is now being treated at the Ningxia Heart Hospital.
Ms. Mu spoke of her ordeals for refusing to renounce Falun Gong.
“Since 1999,” she wrote, “Yan Chengwei, He Honglin, and other officers from the Dawukou Police Department ransacked my home and confiscated my personal belonging countless times.”
Ms. Mu's Recollection of Her Ordeals
My name is Mu Zhihong, and I am a retired teacher from the Shenhua Ningxia Coal Industry Group. Because of arthritis, heart disease, stomach problems, and other ailments, I was very weak and weighed less than 90 pounds. I tried all kinds of medicines and spent about 10,000 yuan on medical bills every year. Nothing helped me get better, so I had to take early retirement.
After six months of practicing Falun Gong, I recovered from my ailments and gained weight. Witnessing my changes, some friends and relatives also began to practice Falun Gong.
Arrests and Detentions
When I was at a group practice site to do the Falun Gong exercises on July 21, 1999, two police officers took practitioners home. Several days later, Yan Chengwei and He Honglin from the Dawukou Police Department arrested me and detained me for 15 days. That was my first arrest and illegal detention.
These two officers arrested me again soon after that and took me to a detention center, where I was held for one week. I was detained because Jiang Zemin, the former Communist Party head who banned Falun Gong, was coming to Ningxia. I was detained three or four times in 1999, mostly during major holidays or when a highly-ranked government official came to my city.
To prevent further arrests, I stayed away from my home for over six months. After I returned home in August 2000, Yan and two police officers arrested me and took me to the Shizuishan Second Detention Center. This was my sixth detention. I was then taken to the Ningxia Women's Labor Camp, where I was detained for one year.
Mistreated in the Labor Camp
I arrived at the labor camp on August 30, 2000. Guards assigned drug addicts and the worst inmates to “transform” practitioners, in an effort to have us renounce our belief. We were ordered not to interact with other practitioners or do the Falun Gong exercises. In addition, we were ordered to read materials that slandered Falun Gong and write a thought summary every day. Two inmates were assigned to monitor me around the clock. One slept in the same bed as I, while the other slept on the upper bunk bed.
Practitioners were forced to work from 5:00 a.m. until after 10:00 p.m. daily. When practitioner Ms. Feng Jianying greeted me, an inmate reported this to the guards, Ms. Feng was transferred to an isolation cell and deprived of food and sleep. Other practitioners and I went on a hunger strike to protest this injustice until Ms. Feng was released a week later.
Guard Ma Li mistreated us. We were forced to stand motionless outside for hours, barely dressed despite the freezing winter, or in the burning sun of summer. We had to run for hours on rainy days. We were not allowed to change into dry clothes afterward and had to immediately start working.
After the staged self-immolation incident in early 2001, guards treated practitioners worse. They tried to brainwash us daily. Because I refused to give up my belief, my labor camp detention was extended by 105 days, and I was not released until November 20, 2001. By then, I was emaciated and weak.
My seventh arrest occurred in April 2002. When I took some money to my niece for medical bills, officers Yan and He followed me. They arrested me the next day and took me to the Shizuishan Second Detention Center.
Upon arriving there, I learned that my niece Ms. Li Ailing, also a practitioner, was detained in the same center. The Dawukou police reported to the provincial 610 Office and the police department that a major case that undermined state security had been resolved. Police officers involved in this case received awards and prizes. One guard in the detention center saw the awards and thought it was funny—how could an old woman, a middle-aged niece, and two ordinary citizens, undermine state security?
My niece and I were released on bail 30 days later.
The eighth arrest occurred shortly after the 2005 Chinese New Year. Officials first held me at a police station, then a detention center. Because I had not eaten anything for six days, my health had deteriorated and I was taken to a hospital. When I did not see any of the guards I escaped and went to another city.
Yinchuan Detention Center
I was arrested for the ninth time in December 2006. Police officers climbed to the second floor of the building with a ladder. They broke into my place, covered my head with my pants and ransacked my home before telling me that they were police officers from Yinchuan City. They demanded that I sign a document. When I refused to do so, an officer signed the document.
In the Yinchuan Detention Center, I was taken to a small cell designed for seven inmates, but housing fourteen detainees. Without a blanket, I kept shivering at night. We were also deprived of sufficient food.
Nevertheless, we had to work every day from 5:00 a.m. until midnight. When all the doors were shut in the summer, the room was like an oven. The workload was heavy, and if one did not reach the quota, all inmates were punished.
To protest our illegal detention, two practitioners, Ms. Jiang Hongying, Ms. Zhang Xiaoping, and I went on a hunger strike. We were all taken to a restricted cell, and we heard that Ms. Zhang was force-fed with feces.
The long-term intensive labor, malnutrition, and lack of sleep made me dizzy, weak, and I had an irregular heartbeat. The guards ignored it.
Despite my poor health, I had to attend a hearing at the Xixia District Court in late May 2007. Officers interrogated me again about a month later and told me that I had been sentenced to three years of imprisonment. My family hired an attorney and I appealed to the Yinchuan Intermediate Court, but the original verdict was upheld.
I was at the detention center for 260 days and then transferred to a prison in August 2007.
Prison: Rampant Torture
Yinchuan Women's Prison was used for homicide criminals, drug addicts, prostitutes, and thieves. Many of them had received the death penalty or lifetime detention.
The workload was heavy. I was assigned to work on clothing, one day after arriving there. Some of the cloth contained toxic substances, such as formaldehyde, and I had an allergic reaction. A rash gradually spread over my entire body. It was itchy and painful. Because I was a practitioner, the guards ignored my repeated requests for a job reassignment.
I was in Division 2, where quasi-military management was implemented. Mealtime lasted less than 20 minutes, and I often had insufficient time to eat as I received the food too late. My physical condition thus deteriorated even further.
Several guards from the Beijing prison system came in February 2009 and trained local officers on how to “transform” practitioners. Six trustworthy inmates were assigned to monitor me around the clock.
I was tortured throughout my time in that prison. I was forced to sit straight and motionless on a small stool for over 20 hours a day, and inmates beat me from time to time. Sometimes, all six removed all my clothes and searched my body.
I was forced to read articles and watch videos that defamed Falun Gong and its founder and write a thought summary every day.
I was deprived of sleep during the three months and was allowed to sleep only about one or two hours. An inmate made sure that I did not recite Falun Gong articles.
The team that aimed to “transform” me was reorganized on and off. Officials often attacked me in front of the large gatherings. They claimed that practitioners in Yinchuan and Beijing had renounced Falun Gong.
I finally succumbed and renounced my faith under the immense pressure. However, I regretted it very much and was often in tears. I returned to Falun Gong after I was released.
I was arrested the tenth time on June 17, 2016, when I went to visit my cousin. Police officers took me to my apartment, ordered a locksmith to open the door, and confiscated Falun Gong books and other personal belongings.
My cousin was detained for almost an entire day during my tenth arrest. Police searched his residence, videotaped the scene, and threatened his family members. His wife was terrorized, his three-year-old son was frightened and in tears, and another elderly relative living in the same community developed heart disease after the ordeal.
My family members, even children, were affected. One time, only my 14-year-old son was with me at home. Yan and other officials pushed both of us into a police van. I protested strongly and they released my son.
When I visited my father in Anhui Province after the 2000 Chinese New Year, four police officers from Ningxia traveled 1,000 miles to arrest me at my father's place, causing severe harm to him and other family members. My father passed away several months after I was sentenced to a three-year prison term in 2006.
Police officers ransacked my home to search for Falun Gong materials while I was in the labor camp. They even dug up the flowerbed and dismantled heating pipes.
Many years have passed since Falun Gong was banned, and the suffering to me and my family is beyond the understanding of a regular citizen. But nothing could and will change my belief in Falun Gong.