82-Year-Old Sun Yanxia Nearly Blind Due to Torture in Prison
(Minghui.org) Ms. Sun Yixia, an 82-year-old Falun Gong practitioner in Suzhou City, Jiangsu Province, was sentenced in 2017 to one and a half years in prison for refusing to renounce her faith in Falun Gong. She was released on April 4, 2019 after serving the full term in Nantong Women’s Prison. However, due to torture she suffered in prison, she is nearly blind, her spine is curved, and her back is hunched.
Illegal Detention Without Due Process
Ms. Sun went to the Suzhou Municipal Police Station on the morning of November 16, 2017, to request the return of her laptop that was confiscated a few months earlier. This was her fifth time making this request. The director refused to see her but told her to wait. Not long after that, two plainclothes officers came and carried her into a police vehicle. They took her straight to the fourth detention center (women's branch) in Huangpi, Suzhou City, where she was held for over a month without due process.
Ms. Sun was later taken to Suzhou Industrial Park Court on the morning of December 26, 2017, for a secret trial arranged by the 610 Office and the National Security Bureau. Neither her lawyer nor her family were notified of the trial.
The trial authorities were Judge Chen Jie, jurors Su Yulin and Ren Yuhua, and clerk Gao Junjie. There was no one in the gallery. Judge Chen read out the verdict after a five-minute hearing.
Ms. Sun refused to pay the fine. She was escorted to Nantong Women’s Prison. A few months later, Ms. Sun received a receipt for a 2,500-yuan fine and learned that the court had forced her daughter to pay the fine for her.
Tortured in Nantong Women's Prison
Ms. Sun was escorted from the detention center to Nantong Women's Prison Hospital on January 10, 2018, for a physical examination. Though she was found to have very high blood pressure, the police still took her to the 10th cell of the second ward of Nantong Women's Prison.
The 10th cell had a total of 16 beds and 17 prisoners. Ms. Sun had to share an 80-centimeter wide bed with an inmate. They slept sideways for three months so as not to fall off the bed.
All the inmates in the cell took turns monitoring Ms. Sun around the clock. Prisoner Zhu Renhong, who called herself a “transformation expert,” banned Ms. Sun from opening an account to purchase food in prison. When another prisoner, Napu, gave Ms. Sun some snacks, the head prisoner Sun Mengyang stopped her and yelled, “You can throw the snacks away, but you can't give them to her!”
The second ward was a high-density labor supervision unit. Prisoners got up at 6 a.m. and worked in the production plant until 5:30 p.m. They were body searched every time they entered and left the plant. Ms. Sun refused to do forced labor, so she was made to sit on a “small stool” until 9:30 p.m.
The prison intensified its campaign to “transform” Falun Gong practitioners in November 2018. The inmates who were assigned to watch Ms. Sun were not allowed to sleep until 11:00 p.m. They became resentful of Ms. Sun and used various means to abuse her. Sun Mengyang scolded Ms. Sun, “Because you won't “transform,” we have to stay up late to watch you. You can't sleep either!” In wintertime, when Ms. Sun's eyes were closed, the inmates took her quilt. Ms. Sun's eyesight deteriorated during that time.
Liu Delan was convicted of murder. When it was her turn to watch Ms. Sun, she cursed and insulted Ms. Sun, threatened her, and maligned Falun Gong. She also attempted to force Ms. Sun to sign statements to renounce Falun Gong, but Ms. Sun refused.
Wu Chuanlian, a woman in her early 30s and the political instructor of the second ward, thought of ways to “transform” Ms. Sun. Wu often hysterically criticized Ms. Sun through the prison’s public address system.
Ms. Sun was transferred to the “hardcore” group in May 2018, which was also known as the “black heart center.” Its primary task was to torture practitioners who refused to be “transformed.” There, prisoners who were involved in prostitution and human trafficking intensified the abuses and monitored Ms. Sun around the clock. About a dozen of them took turns abusing Ms. Sun and forcing her to watch propaganda videos that slandered Falun Gong.
Ms. Sun's daughter went to visit her one morning in June 2018 but was instead detained. Prison authorities demanded that she collaborate with them to “transform” her mother. She was terrified and had no choice but to cooperate. When she saw her 82-year-old mother, she wailed, “Mom, if you don't 'transform,' what would happen to you when you're released?” Ms. Sun replied firmly, "What should I transform into now that I have Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance with me? I'll be fine once I’m released.”
The day before her release, the guards still demanded that she sign the “transformation statements,” but she firmly refused.
Ms. Sun was released on the morning of April 14, 2019. Dong Mou Village Community Fee Director Hong Mou and two other officials from the Suzhou Industrial Park Judicial Office escorted Ms. Sun's daughter to pick up her mother.