Woman and Her Family Subjected to Eighteen Years of Torture and Harassment Amidst Persecution of Their Faith
(Minghui.org) The authorities in Laishui County, Hebei Province, arrested and detained a local woman multiple times, and tortured her in a forced labor camp until she became comatose and couldn’t take care of herself. They forced her to go through brainwashing sessions and ransacked her place time after time over the past 21 years.
These atrocities occurred because Ms. Meng Qinglian is a practitioner of Falun Gong (also called Falun Dafa), a meditation practice that has been persecuted by the Chinese Communist regime since 1999. Her husband Mr. Cao Jiwei, also a Falun Gong practitioner, suffered repeated incarceration and torture as well. His elderly mother, constantly worried about the couple’s safety, was harassed and threatened by the police herself. The mental trauma took a toll on her health and she died in 2012.
Taking Up Falun Gong
Ms. Meng and her husband took up Falun Gong in 1996. Before that, she often had colds and coughs, and sometimes coughed so badly that she couldn’t sleep at night. Her poor health also left her in a constant bad mood. After taking up Falun Gong, Ms. Meng regained her health and became happier and more considerate of others.
Eighteen Years of Repeated Arrests, Detention and Torture
After the persecution of Falun Gong began, officials in Zhaogezhuang Town put Ms. Meng in a brainwashing center three times and extorted 200 yuan from her. They ransacked her home multiple times, confiscating her Falun Gong books and harassing Ms. Meng and her family.
In October 1999, the officials locked her up for seven days. As her husband worked out of town, their daughter was left at home alone with no one to take care of her.
The police arrested Ms. Meng four times in 2000. The first arrest happened in the spring, when the police arrested both Ms. Meng and Mr. Cao for talking to others about the persecution. They were held in the Laishui County Detention Center, where Ms. Meng was forced to watch videos slandering Falun Gong.
The guards tied her up so tightly that the rope cut into her flesh and the strain on her shoulders caused excruciating pain. They beat her with shovels, batons and shoes. In addition to the beatings, the guards forced Ms. Meng to stand, run or kneel on uneven surfaces for a long time. The torture lasted six months until her family borrowed 6,600 yuan and posted bail for her and her husband. The couple were in debt by then because of the authorities’ frequent extortion of money.
The second and third arrests took place on July 20 and October 1, respectively. Ms. Meng was detained for days both times.
At the end of November, the local police chief arrested Ms. Meng yet again and sent her to a detention center on December 27, 2000. The police tied her up and taped her mouth. They forced her and several other practitioners to walk along the street to be humiliated, before announcing her criminal detention in front of over 1,000 people.
At the detention center, Ms. Meng was handcuffed and shackled for four days. Her every move, including using the toilet, was closely watched by male guards. She was given little food and never received the money her family sent her. The guards also ordered her to make artificial flowers without pay.
To protest the abuse, Ms. Meng went on a hunger strike in April 2001. A week later, the authorities had her brother come to take her home.
The very next day the town officials took her back into custody and arbitrarily incarcerated her in the town hall. The officials also brought in her mother-in-law and her daughter and pressured her, “Which one do you want, your family or Falun Gong?” Ms. Meng refused to answer.
Town officials extorted 2,400 yuan, including a 2,000-yuan “tuition” and 400 yuan for food, from her financially strapped family. Ms. Meng still refused to give up her faith and went on another hunger strike. The town officials took her to Baijian Hospital and force-fed her three days later. They kicked and beat her during the forced-feedings. She was covered in wounds and suffered head and chest trauma as a result. Ms. Meng was transferred back to the town hall where the abuse continued until she escaped six months later.
A dozen town officials and police officers broke into Ms. Meng’s home on December 27, 2001. They again took her to the town hall, where they viciously beat her and burned her head and ears with cigarettes. She was released several days later, but by then she was too weak to take care of herself.
A town official arrived with two dozen officers and arrested Ms. Meng and her husband at their home on April 23, 2002. They beat her husband, rupturing a tendon in his leg. They burned his face and neck with cigarettes. The scars are still visible today.
After the couple were released a few days later, the village secretary harassed them every day at home and ordered them to renounce and slander Falun Gong. He also threatened to send the couple to a brainwashing center if they didn’t comply. They eventually decided to leave home to avoid future persecution, leaving their young child with a relative.
The police arrested Ms. Meng in May 2004. Her temporary residence was ransacked, and personal items worth more than 50,000 yuan were confiscated. The police interrogated her for three days without a break.
After that, the police sent Ms. Meng to Baoding Detention Center, where she had to do repetitive manual work such as making protective finger caps. She went on a hunger strike to protest the persecution and was force-fed and transferred to Balizhuang Forced Labor Camp, where she was treated even worse. She lost a lot of blood when a prison doctor stabbed her leg, face and palm with needles during a brutal force-feeding.
On one occasion, the guards shocked Ms. Meng with electric batons because she refused to wear a prison uniform. They also struck her on the top of her head when she defended her faith.
To force-feed her, the guards inserted a tube into her stomach through her nose and left it in for 19 days. Each time, an excessive amount of food was poured into her stomach. The painful torture caused her to lose consciousness. She was given intravenous injections and it was done so roughly that in 9 days her arms were covered in needle marks. She was released in late August 2004 after three months of torture.
When Ms. Meng moved to Zhuozhou City to avoid further persecution, the police found her and arrested her in August 2005. She went on a hunger strike again in the Zhuozhou Detention Center. While force-feeding her, the guards repeatedly inserted the feeding tube and pulled it out from her nostrils and trachea. She bled profusely from her mouth and nose and the feeding tube was covered in blood.
A prison doctor stabbed the sole of Ms. Meng’s foot, causing her to become incontinent. The police restrained her on the bed with handcuffs and shackles when she was hospitalized. A young police officer always stabbed her nostrils and ears with a stick when he was on duty.
Fearing that she would die in the hospital, the authorities put Ms. Meng on oxygen supply and sent her home. She was bedridden for two months and unable to fully take care for herself for two years.
When the police in Laishui arrested her husband, Mr. Cao, on February 21, 2007, Ms. Meng and other family members went to the police station to demand his release. The police threatened to arrest them, so Ms. Meng decided to visit the police chief at home. On her way there, plainclothes officers caught up with her and beat her to the ground. She and her sister were detained for two weeks.
The police ransacked Ms. Meng's and her mother-in-law’s homes in April 2008 and arrested her mother-in-law. Their Falun Gong books, TV and other personal items were confiscated. Ms. Meng and her husband had to leave home again and hide for three months, during which time the authorities harassed her parents and in-laws almost every day.
Armed police charged into Ms. Meng’s home on June 12, 2010, when no one was home. They ransacked the place and arrested a neighbor who happened to stop by. The neighbor was interrogated and her home was ransacked as well. The police ransacked Ms. Meng’s parents’ home and interrogated her father for hours. The next day, the police arrested a friend of Ms. Meng’s parents and harassed the friend’s employer. The endless harassment forced Ms. Meng and her husband to leave home yet again to avoid further persecution.
Three police officers harassed Ms. Meng at home one more time on September 6, 2017.