Torture of Falun Gong Practitioners in Xinjin Brainwashing Center
(Minghui.org) Xinjin Brainwashing Center, officially known as Chengdu Legal Education Center, was specifically set up to incarcerate Falun Gong practitioners and coerce them to renounce their faith. Ever since the Chinese government announced in 2013 that it was abolishing the forced labor camp system, brainwashing centers such as this one have taken its place in the persecution of Falun Gong.
Serving as extrajudicial prisons, these centers require no legal documents or procedures to admit Falun Gong practitioners, nor is there any limit on the length of incarceration. Some practitioners are directly taken to one of these centers when their prison terms expire, and some are taken there by police who have no intention of filing charges against them. Some practitioners have been detained in the Xinjin center for over five years.
Practitioners in Xinjin are subjected to constant verbal abuse, threats, and intimidation. Physical torture and drugs that damage the nervous system are commonly used to try to force them to give up their belief. Staff are not held responsible for torturing practitioners, even if the torture leads to death.
The following is a brief summary of the torture methods employed at the center.
Xinjin Brainwashing Center is located in a rural village 17 miles from the center of Chengdu. It occupies a three-story, plain-looking building with no visible signs outside. After entering the building and passing the security guards, there is an iron gate. Behind the gate is a very long hallway with doors on both sides. Behind each door is a room no bigger than 200 square feet.
Each room is like a prison cell, with three single beds, a desk, a couple of chairs, a toilet, and a sink. However, there is only one Falun Gong practitioner per room. The other two beds are for his or her peijiao (“accompanying educator,” a person assigned to guard and monitor the practitioner). The two peijiao stay with each practitioner 24 hours a day.
The practitioners are s completely isolated from other people. Every move is scrutinized under the close watch of peijiao, even in the middle of the night. One practitioner tried to meditate on her bed in the middle of the night. Within a minute, one of the peijiao yelled at her, “What are you doing? Lay down and sleep!”
Practitioners are not allowed to step outside their rooms. Even clothes have to be hand-washed in the sink in the room. A peijiao then takes the wet clothes outside to line dry. At mealtime, a peijiao goes to the cafeteria and brings food back. Without any freedom or rights, a detained practitioner is isolated from the outside world and subjected to various forms of brainwashing.
Killed for Their Belief
Ms. Wang Mingrong was the head nurse at an ankang hospital (psychiatric hospital under the local police bureau) in Chengdu. She was taken to Xinjin Brainwashing Center in September 2011 by local police and the 610 Office. She died in the center within 10 days. It was said she was severely beaten and force-fed; her body was covered with bruises at the time of her death. She was 53 years old.
Mr. Xie Deqing was a healthy retiree before he was taken to Xinjin Brainwashing Center. Within a month, he went into a coma and died. According to people who saw him before he passed away, his hands were pressed against his abdomen, as if he was in pain. After he died, the police forcibly took his body from the funeral home and cremated it.
Ms. Liu Shenlu, who was in her 50s, died in a similar condition as Mr. Xie. Right before she died, her head swelled, her chest was purple, and her abdomen was unusually large. She complained of aches all over her body. Her family suspected that she was poisoned.
Other Falun Gong practitioners who have died in the brainwashing center include Deng Shufen, Li Xiaowen, Yi Huafeng, Gao Huifang, and Jiang Yunhong. In addition, over a dozen practitioners died in Qingyang Hospital after they were detained at the center; they include Huang Min, Zhou Huimin, and Zhao Zhongling.
Forcibly Administered Unknown Drugs
According to a Minghui report, a government document that gives instructions and protocols for brainwashing centers states: “To transform Falun Gong practitioners, when necessary, officials can take medical and clinical approaches.” This has led to serious abuse of drugs to try to force practitioners to give up their belief.
Ms. Guo Lirong is an engineer in Chengdu. She recalls her experience at Xinjin Brainwashing Center: “One time, I was forced to drink half a bottle of orange liquid. Afterward, I felt my body was shrinking and I started panicking. It was very frightening and uncomfortable.”
Mr. Wang Zhuhong is an associate professor at the University of Electronic Science and Technology. He believes that he was poisoned twice in Xinjin Brainwashing Center. “The first time was in October 2008. I suddenly had difficulty breathing. I couldn't lay down to sleep. It was hard to breathe even sitting against a wall. Every breath took a lot of effort. This lasted a few days,” wrote Mr. Wang in a legal complaint against Jiang Zemin, the former Chinese president who launched the persecution of Falun Gong.
The second time was soon after Mr. Wang was released from the brainwashing center. He said, “I felt tightness in my chest and dizzy. The worst thing was that I could hardly eat. Even drinking soup was difficult. I lost over 30 pounds in a very short period of time.” Mr. Wang didn't know he had been poisoned until he read about another practitioner who had died with similar symptoms after being released from a brainwashing center.
Many practitioners have reported drowsiness, anxiety, inexplicable fear, and hallucinations while detained in Xinjin Brainwashing Center. Other symptoms include vomiting, diarrhea, muscle spasms, and protruding eyeballs.
Torture by Force-Feeding
When practitioners went on hunger strikes to protest the persecution, staff often force-fed them with eggs, highly concentrated salt water, or excessive amounts of water. The force-feeding was done in a way that would inflict even more pain.
Ms. Guo Lirong, who was detained in Xinjin three times, recalls, “Several people were involved in force-feeding me. One person held my hands, one held my head, and another pinched my nose so I had to open my mouth. They held my mouth open wide and fed me raw eggs and very salty food. I gagged from the smell. Afterward, my mouth felt dry, and I had a burning sensation in my chest. It was extremely uncomfortable.”
For a period of time, Ms. Guo was force-fed water every hour. Excessive water caused over-hydration. After three months, Ms. Guo's memory deteriorated and her muscles atrophied. She could barely walk, and her hair turned white. Her kidneys and other organs were close to failing.
Mr. Zhan Min was tied to a wooden bed for several days. He was catheterized, and a feeding tube was inserted through his nose and left there the whole time.
Ms. Huang Min was pinned to the floor for force-feeding. One of her teeth was knocked out, and the feeding tube was inserted so carelessly that her esophagus bled. The tube was re-inserted when Ms. Huang removed it. Those who administered the force-feeding told her, “You’re the one who’s suffering. We’ll just keep putting the tube in...”
One of the many rules at Xinjin Brainwashing Center is that TVs must be on from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sometimes they show videos that defame Falun Gong and other times just regular TV programs. If practitioners refuse to watch, the volume is turned to the maximum setting. Studies have shown that exposure to prolonged or excessive noise can cause a range of health problems, including hearing loss, stress, and fatigue. Many people who have been detained at Xinjin exhibited slow reflexes and signs of mental imbalance.
When Ms. Ye Qionghua's husband visited her 20 days after she was taken to the center, he noticed that she appeared lethargic, as if her eyes were fixed and couldn't move. He was told by staff that everyone detained there were like that. When questioned about her physical condition, Ms. Ye said she felt sleepy all day and her eyes felt dry and swollen. She also complained of feeling restless.
An employee once hinted to Ms. Ye that she might be given a heavy prison term if she refused to “transform.” The person even pretended to phone the police to put Ms. Ye's record on hold so that she would have time to write a statement renouncing her belief in Falun Gong.
Practitioners are often told, “You cannot leave here without being transformed” or “You will be sentenced to prison if you don't transform.” Sometimes, a peijiao would tell a practitioner, “So-and-so wrote a statement and is going home today” or “The police took someone away in handcuffs.” There is no way to verify their statements.
When Ms. Guo Lirong was detained, her son was graduating from high school. Staff at the center told her, “If you refuse to transform, we can make it so your son cannot attend college.” They also threatened to make her husband pay for all her expenses. Another practitioner was threatened that if she didn't transform, her elderly mother would also be detained.