Abuses in the No. 8 Ward, Heilongjiang Provincial Women's Prison
(Minghui.org) The No. 8 Ward (formerly the No. 11 Ward) in Heilongjiang Women’s Prison detains Falun Gong practitioners who have been illegally sentenced to prison. A captain, a deputy captain, an instructor, and five prison guards were assigned to the ward. There are 11 prison cells in the ward numbered from 9 to 19. One prison guard is responsible for two cells. Their duty hours are from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Six Falun Gong practitioners were taken to this ward after they were sentenced by the local courts in 2018. They were held in the No. 10 Group, which is also known as the strict management group.
The six practitioners arrived at the prison in the morning. At 11:00 a.m. before lunch, the prison guards locked the practitioners in a small dark room and subjected them to brainwashing. They were not allowed to come out to eat lunch. They were given the inmates' leftovers of a steamed bun and a bag of pickled vegetables. After they ate, they had to go through more brainwashing sessions until 5:00 p.m. Young practitioners were not allowed to leave the room to return to their cells until 9:00 p.m.
Guards and designated inmates (criminal inmates selected by the guards to supervise and “re-educate” practitioners) also force practitioners to sit in the dark room to watch daily videos which slander Falun Dafa.
Sun Jing, the group leader, is a local resident who was sentenced to death for drug trafficking. Her term was later reduced to serve a fixed-term. She still has 25 years to serve. She goes into the darkened room every day to pressure practitioners to "transform" and sign the “four statements” (a pledge to give up practicing Falun Gong, an affidavit promising not to practice Falun Gong again, an “implication” statement reporting on other practitioners, and a “repentance statement”).
Even if a "transformed" practitioner has signed the statements, she is still not off the hook. She has to then pass the “interview” (a question and answer session). If a “transformed” practitioner does not give answers that meet the prison official's requirements, she will not pass the interview. After the interview, there is a written test.
Practitioners are also monitored when they use the restroom. They have to wait for their assigned number. When prisoners line up, the guards and the designated inmates pay particular attention to the Falun Gong practitioners. If practitioners meet in the restroom, they are not allowed to talk to each other or to even look at each other. If a practitioner accidentally looks at another practitioner, the designated inmates will immediately force that practitioner to turn her head or block the practitioner’s sight by putting their hands in front of the practitioner’s eyes.
Prison officials have enforced regulations: 10 minutes to wash one's face, 10 minutes to wash dishes, and 13 to 15 minutes for taking showers (including getting dressed). Later, everyone complained that the shower time was not long enough, so it was extended to 25 to 30 minutes.
Practitioners are also being monitored around the clock. The collaborators are inmates chosen by the prison guards and are usually serving prison terms as fraudsters, thieves, drug addicts, or criminals. One collaborator from Hongxinglong Farm was sentenced to 12 years in prions for filing complaints against local officials.
Some Falun Gong practitioners have a collaborator assigned to them. A steadfast practitioner may have several collaborators monitoring her. When the prison routinely conducts physical examinations, each practitioner has two collaborators on either side to monitor them.
Among the Falun Gong practitioners held in the No. 10 Group of No. 8 Ward:
Ms. Zheng Shumei was sentenced to four years in prison. Ms. Gao Shuying, an English teacher from Heilongjiang Province, was given a three-and-a-half-year prison term.
Ms. Zhang Chenghua, in her 70s, from No. 8511 Farm, Mishan City in Heilongjiang Province, was given a one-year prison term for talking with people about Falun Gong.