(Minghui.org) With increased international scrutiny of China's extralegal detention facilities in recent years, some notorious brainwashing centers that the regime has been using to detain Falun Gong practitioners were shut down one after another.

But that wasn't the end of the large, institutionalized brainwashing system. Falun Gong practitioners are still being held at various brainwashing centers for refusing to renounce their faith.

Brainwashing Centers Set Up at Unassuming Places

According to some Falun Gong practitioners in Hubei Province who were recently released from brainwashing centers, the authorities shut down some notorious sites, only to re-open them at more secretive locations and switch all operations underground.

For instance, after the Erdaopeng Brainwashing Center in Wuhan City, Hubei Province, was shut down in 2013, all of its staff were moved to Yusun Mountain Brainwashing Center located on a small hill in the Caidian District on the outskirts of Wuhan. This Center has a doorplate identifying itself a vegetable farm, but it is, in fact, a black jail that incarcerates Falun Gong practitioners with the sole purpose of forcing them to renounce their faith.

There was another new brainwashing center that set up shop at Xinmin Hospital in Huangpi District, Wuhan City last year. Ms. Wu Cuihua, a disabled woman, was taken there on December 17, 2018, for refusing to renounce Falun Gong. She went on a hunger strike in protest and was released nine days later when she was on the verge of death.

Arbitrary Detention at Brainwashing Centers

Compared with the labor camp system that had been abolished in late 2013, many brainwashing centers didn't even have any legal registration with government agencies. It can be at any place, such as a hotel, a school, or a random office building. It can be a long-term center or a temporary session. The flexibility only makes it more covert and hard to be tracked by the outside world.

The admission to brainwashing centers doesn't require any legal process, nor does it have any limit on detention period. Falun Gong practitioners can be arrested on the street, thrown into a brainwashing center and detained there as long as they refuse to give up practicing Falun Gong.

One Family's Fruitless Effort to Locate Loved One

One Falun Gong practitioner, whose name was omitted to protect her safety, was arrested in October 2018 by officers from Zoumaling Police Station in Dongxihu District, Wuhan City.

She was detained for 15 days at Erzhigou Detention Center. After the detention term expired, the police took her straight to a mental hospital and kept her there for five days before sending her to a secret brainwashing center. The officers covered her head with a black hood and tied her hands during the transfer, so she didn't know where she was taken.

Her family hired a lawyer to represent her. They visited the police station and detention centers but couldn't find her.

After her family heard about the secret brainwashing center, they went there. Before they got close to the door, they heard an automated voice: “Do not approach. Laser lights are being activated.”

Laser lights suddenly came from all directions and surrounded them. The lights followed them as they moved, eventually forcing them to leave.

Then her family found another place, which was an abandoned residence with no sign or door plate. The metal door was closed. No one answered as they called the practitioner's name.

The practitioner later told her family after she was released, that she was in the second place when they went there. The staff of the brainwashing centers were very nervous when they heard her family. They didn't allow her to make any sound or signal to her family that she was being kept there, as that was a secret location that the authorities didn't want to be exposed.

By late January 2019, the practitioner had become severely ill due to abuse suffered at the brainwashing center. She was soon released, but the staff from the 610 Office and residential committee harassed her at home every day and also forced her to write thought reports. They also threatened to monitor her for another five years if she didn't give up practicing Falun Gong.

Abuse of Practitioners Is Common at Brainwashing Centers

The aforementioned practitioner's ordeal is not an isolated case. According to Falun Gong practitioners who have been detained at various brainwashing centers in Hubei Province, they are subjected to non-stop verbal and physical abuses in attempts to force them to renounce their faith.

Sometimes they are forced to stand for days, and their feet became so swollen that they couldn't even walk. And yet the staff still forced them to watch propaganda videos attacking their faith and to curse the practice or step on photos of the founder of Falun Gong.

Many practitioners' families were also kept in the dark regarding their detention places. It was often after the practitioners were released that their loved ones finally learned of their ordeals.

Related report:

Four Practitioners Persecuted at Yusun Mountain Brainwashing Center