Heilongjiang Woman's Experience of Brutal Torture in Forced Labor Camp
(Minghui.org) Ms. Yan Tingzhen, 44, from Yichun City, Heilongjiang Province, was a graduate student of the Northeastern Forestry University, who topped her botany class in 1998. Unfortunately, at just age 23, she developed severe anemia along with coronary heart disease. She became weak and was easily tired.
In 2001, Ms. Yan came across Falun Gong, also known as Falun Dafa, a spiritual discipline that has been persecuted by the Chinese communist regime since 1999. She started practicing and became healthy again.
However, because Ms. Yan refused to renounce her faith, she was repeatedly arrested and tortured brutally. Below is her account of the persecution that she has endured.
Ms. Yan decided to travel to Beijing to appeal after the Chinese Communist Party broadcasted the staged Tiananmen Square self-immolation on television on January 23, 2001. She was arrested and locked in a metal cage at the Tiananmen Police Station. To freeze her and other practitioners who were also arrested, the police opened all the windows, exposing them to the frigid January air.
That night, Ms. Yan and a few practitioners were taken to the Beijing Xicheng District Detention Center. Everyone was forced to squat down with their hands behind their heads upon arrival. As Ms. Yan's movements were slightly slower, a police officer hit her head twice, causing her to lose consciousness on the spot.
The next morning, Ms. Yan was taken to the Beijing Jingshan District Police Station.
After her arrest, Ms. Yan went on a hunger strike and refused to tell the police her name and residential address. On the fifth day of the hunger strike, the chief of the police station lied and told her that she would be released if she gave her name.
Ms. Yan believed the police chief. However, once she reported her name, she was taken to the Harbin Office in Beijing, where teachers from Northeast Forestry University and Captain Zhang Guofang from the Domestic Security Division of Harbin Dongli District escorted her back to Harbin City.
Ms. Yan was subsequently detained at the Harbin No. 2 Detention Center for 37 days and fined 2,500 yuan.
Second Arrest and Force-feeding
Ms. Yan was arrested for the second time on June 30, 2005, by Zhang, who instructed three officers to ransack Ms. Yan's home. Twenty-five copies of materials containing information about Falun Gong were confiscated.
Ms. Yan was then arrested, taken to the police department and later transferred to the Harbin No. 2 Detention Center, where she decided to go on a hunger strike to protest the unlawful detention.
The director of the detention center tried persuading Ms. Yan to stop the hunger strike. When Ms. Yan refused, the director told the inmates to force-feed her.
The detention center doctor used a pair of pliers to pry open her mouth while four inmates held her arms and legs and inserted a gas hose into her stomach. As the tube was thick, Ms. Yan was unable to breathe once it was inserted; she felt as if she were about to choke to death.
Transferred to Forced Labor Camp
On July 21, Ms. Yan was transferred to the Wanjia Forced Labor Camp. It was here where Ms. Yan was subjected to even more torture.
Ms. Yan was very weak at that time and was almost in a state of shock as she had just endured force-feeding sessions. Despite her condition, the police used various tactics to persuade the labor camp to accept her.
After the labor camp admitted her, Ms. Yan was assigned to the group training team (a team that held practitioners who refused to be "transformed)." The first thing Ms. Yan was told to do was to write a guarantee statement, which she refused to do.
The police then started torturing Ms. Yan by first forcing her to squat military-style while wearing high heels. Her legs quickly became numb, but she was forced to stay in the same position with inmates constantly monitoring her.
For four days, Ms. Yan had to stay in this position from 4 a.m. to midnight. Ms. Yan's determination surprised police officer Li Chunxia, as she said that she had seen only one practitioner who had endured this for over three days.
Li asked Ms. Yan how she felt, to which Ms. Yan replied, “Do you know how painful this torture is? Have you tried it? Every second is like a year. I never thought that I would make it out of here alive. Before going to bed every night, I felt lucky to have survived even one more day. I just can't understand why every one of you loses your humanity when you are in uniform.”
Later, Li always tried to persuade Ms. Yan to renounce her faith every time she was on duty, while Ms. Yan would clear up Li's doubts about Falun Gong. It was only later that Li told Ms. Yan she asked to speak with her so that Ms. Yan could skip a day of squatting.
Ms. Yan was later allowed to rest for 20 minutes for every two hours of squatting, a request that the police made to the captain after seeing that Ms. Yan was losing consciousness.
On the 10th day of squatting, Ms. Yan suddenly lost her feeling in her left leg and had to drag it along to walk.
They then handcuffed her to a metal chair on August 1.
This form of torture causes the victim to lose feeling in his or her legs after sitting in the chair for 24 hours. The legs usually become severely swollen after sitting in it for three days.
On August 4, Ms. Yan was released from the chair after her legs became very swollen and she had lost feeling in her left leg once again. However, she was forced to sit on a small stool instead, which causes abscesses and calluses, from 4 a.m. to midnight. This torture lasted until October 30.
Shocked with an Electric Baton
On August 27, the assistant captain of the group training team tied Ms. Yan's hands and hung her up in mid-air on a window ledge before shocking Ms. Yan's sensitive body parts—head, fingertips, neck, and armpits—with an electric baton. Ms. Yan fainted twice.
Despite being tortured the whole morning, Ms. Yan refused to give in.
Handcuffed and Hung Up
From July 21 to the end of October, Ms. Yan wrote about five articles aboutt Falun Gong to the authorities at the labor camp, which was read by the director, Lu Zhenshan.
Lu then instructed the captain and assistant captain to abuse Ms. Yan on October 31.
They knew that Ms. Yan had severe heart disease, so they made her take pills for heart disease every morning before raising her arms and hanging her in mid-air. This form of torture would cause both her arms to become numb, and the person would also feel suffocated.
After enduring the torture for the day, Ms. Yan would then be handcuffed to a metal chair for the night. The authorities threatened to continue this torture until Ms. Yan wrote a guarantee statement.
To conceal what they were doing to Ms. Yan, the group training team would arrange for the other practitioners to work outside so that they could torture Ms. Yan indoors.
To make the practitioners renounce their faith, the labor camp authorities wrote documents and rules that slandered Master Li and forced practitioners to memorize and recite them every day. Many practitioners refused and were tortured.
On October 24, 2006, when the practitioners tried to get around reciting the rules that defame Master Li, the police made each practitioner recite the rules in turn. Ms. Yan refused and was punished by being forced to stand.
Ten minutes later, the assistant captain, Yao Fuchang, came over and told Ms. Yan to squat. She refused. Yao then grabbed Ms. Yan's hair and pulled backward, causing Ms. Yan to sprain her back. She only recovered after a week.
To persecute Ms. Yan further, the authorities arranged for her to sit at the front row of the class when a video that defamed Master Li was played. Ms. Yan was not allowed to move, even though the prison doctor had instructed the guards to let her get up and stretch her back every 30 minutes. After that, Ms. Yan could not bend down or sweep the floor as her back was in pain. She only recovered after she practiced the Falun Gong exercises at home after being released.
Handcuffed to a Metal Chair
On February 25, 2007, Ms. Yan was made to sit on a metal chair for 40 days when she refused to memorize the rules. Other practitioners who tried pleading with the captain to release Ms. Yan were subsequently handcuffed to the metal chair as well.
Though the weather was extremely cold, the practitioners were not allowed to wear winter clothes.
On April 12, 2017, the practitioners held in the group training team tried to resist the persecution. The authorities then assigned two male police officers to each practitioner to torture them with various methods—causing some practitioners to become disabled. Ms. Yan's hands were shocked with electric batons. She was also forced to slander Master Li in front of everyone.
Sentenced to Forced Labor Camp Again
Ms. Yan was arrested again on November 13, 2011, and sent to the Qianjin Forced Labor Camp to be imprisoned for one and a half years.
There, she was beaten, sworn at, doused with cold water, and forced to do sweatshop labor.
Every week, the police would force practitioners to write a report admitting that they had committed crimes. Ms. Yan later refused to continue writing such reports.
On the night of January 29, 2013, Captain Wang Min called Ms. Yan to her office and forced her to squat overnight between two desks.
The next day, Wang was about to shock Ms. Yan with an electric baton after Ms. Yan refused to give in. However, when Wang realized the baton had ran out of electricity, she started slapping Ms. Yan's face, causing her face to become swollen and her nose and mouth to bleed. At that moment, Ms. Yan suffered a heart attack.
Though Ms. Yan had fainted, Wang did not seek help, but instead dragged her to the bathroom, stripped her, and shocked her with an electric baton for an hour. Wang even poured water on her when shocking her, and kicked and beat her. She also stepped on Ms. Yan's hands.
It was only when Wang saw that Ms. Yan did not regain her consciousness that she called a doctor over, who told Wang that Ms. Yan had severe heart disease.
Despite her condition, Ms. Yan was forced to go to the workshop the next day. A 5-minute walk took 30 minutes as Ms. Yan was having difficulty walking.
When Ms. Yan finally arrived at the workshop, she fainted.
As it was breakfast time, many practitioners saw Ms. Yan faint and wanted to help. However, a guard did not allow them to do so, and shouted mockingly, “Have you never seen anyone with a heart attack before?”
Since then, Ms. Yan would vomit whenever she ate.
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