Drugged During Detention, Hubei Woman Continues to Be Harassed After Release
(Minghui.org) When Ms. Tao Xizhen, a resident in her 60s from Hubei Province, was released from prison on November 14, she was emaciated, her teeth were gone, her thinking was slow, and she could barely walk—almost a totally different person from what she was before detention.
Ms. Tao had been detained for over four years, the last two months of which was spent at a brainwashing center, Hubei Law Education Center, where she was often beaten, drugged, and sleep-deprived.
But officials did not stop after Ms. Tao's release. They ordered her son to keep watching Ms. Tao at home and to stop her from getting out of the house.
Both the mistreatment during detention and subsequent harassment at home by officials were intended to force Ms. Tao to give up her belief in Falun Gong. Also known as Falun Dafa, it is a spiritual practice based on the principles of Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance, and that has been persecuted by the communist party since 1999.
Arrest and Framing
Ms. Tao was arrested at home on August 8, 2014 and sent straight to Hubei Law Education Center, where two people who were assigned to watch her once slammed her head against the wall. She refused to yield, and officials transferred her to Xianning Detention Center 37 days later.
On November 12, 2014, Jiuquan City police escalated her case as criminal detention. But police's numerous attempts to charge Ms. Tao were all rejected by the Xianan District Procuratorial Office due to “insufficient evidence.” The local Domestic Security Division chief Liu Ning and 610 Office director Yao Xiong tried, unsuccessfully, to make a few practitioners testify against Ms. Tao.
Abrupt Sentence and Rejected Appeal
A hearing took place at Xianan Court one year later on November 13, 2015. Only Ms. Tao's son and her husband's siblings were allowed to enter the court room. After Ms. Tao refuted all the accusations against her, the judge adjourned the hearing.
The case remained dormant until one court official went to the detention center on November 8, 2016 to notify Ms. Tao that she had been sentenced to four years of imprisonment. She immediately appealed and the case was forwarded to the Xianning Intermediate Court on November 25.
Her family did not find out about her prison sentence until they went to the court to inquire about the case on November 14, 2016. They hired an attorney for Ms. Tao, but both judge Liu Ying from the trial court and Dong Wei from the intermediate court refused to discuss the case with them.
Ms. Tao's attorney and family were later told the original verdict was upheld and she had been sent to the Wuhan Women's Prison on December 27, 2016.
As nothing worked to weaken Ms. Tao's belief in Falun Gong, authorities sent her to the brainwashing center on September 14, 2018, two months before her release date. The Center guards often laced her food with unknown drugs. They also beat her on a regular basis and forced her to stay up from time to time.
Consequences of the Persecution
Ms. Tao is a retired employee of the Xianning City Construction Company. The practice of Falun Dafa helped cure her numerous illnesses such as stomach problem, heart disease, insomnia, and dizziness. The principles of Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance also improved her temperament, making her more easygoing and considerate.
Since the persecution started in 1999, however, she was detained multiple times including at brainwashing center and forced labor camp. During force-feeding at the Shuangheqiao Detention Center in 2001, one officer hit her chest hard with handcuffs and broke her ribs.
The lengthy persecution and financial extortion was a huge burden for Ms. Tao's husband, Ren Kuojun, who was also pressured by his workplace to give up the practice. He thus stopped practicing Falun Dafa and his health declined day by day until he passed away in 2007.