Liaoning Woman Recounts 18 Years of Severe Persecution
(Minghui.org) Since the persecution against Falun Gong started in 1999, Ms. Wang Xiaoyan, a 59-year-old Fushun City, Liaoning Province resident, had been arrested six times and incarcerated twice for a total of 18 years.
She almost died from the brutality she suffered at the hands of the authorities.
Ms. Wang has sustained tremendous physical and mental injury because she has refused to give up her faith. As a result of repeated torture while imprisoned, she became disabled. She developed severe pain in her joints, and her vision is chronically blurred.
At the worst point, Ms. Wang was unresponsive and would go in and out of consciousness. At one point, her whole body, including her head and arms, were beaten black and blue. Her muscles became necrotic, like a piece of hard board.
She also suffered severe financial loss. Her wages were withheld between July 1999 and July 2017. It was reported that this portion of her wages was taken by the 610 Office to pay the fines levied against her. After Ms. Wang's release in 2017, the wages she received from social security were reduced to barely subsistence level.
Below is Ms. Wang's personal account of the persecution she has experienced for the past two decades.
Gaining a New Life After Practicing Falun Gong
I suddenly felt a strange sensation one day in 1989, when I was only 28. I had a checkup at the hospital, and was diagnosed with thyroid cancer. I was overwhelmed by the grim news; it was like like being struck by a thunderbolt on a sunny day.
I had two operations, underwent chemotherapy and a variety of other medical treatments, but nothing worked. The suffering post-operation was so painful that I lost confidence in life and no longer felt like living. My temperament became very bad; I got angry at everything. I bickered with my husband all day and looked down on my mother-in-law. My once-happy family fell into shambles.
I was so fortunate to be introduced to Falun Gong during this low point in my life. After taking up the practice, I learned why people live, and why they become ill. I also found the purpose of my life.
I held myself to Falun Gong's principles of Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance. I no longer argued with my husband and I treated his mother with kindness. I always put other people first in my daily life and at work. As my cultivation improved, all of my diseases disappeared completely.
Seeing my changes, my mother-in-law also became a Falun Gong practitioner. Her heart disease vanished and she became more affable. My family was once again happy.
Numerous Arrests for Upholding My Faith
The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) under Jiang Zemin started a severe persecution of Falun Gong on July 20, 1999. Under Jiang's policy of “ruining practitioners' reputation, cutting off their financial support, and destroying their physical body,” hundreds of thousands of practitioners were imprisoned, and an unknown number were killed; millions more had their families destroyed. [Editor's note: Over 4,000 practitioners are confirmed to have lost their lives in the persecution, but because of the CCP's censorship and information blockade, the actual number is likely many times higher.]
I attended a group exercise session by a river on September 10, 1999. We were arrested and taken to the Jingyu Police Station, where we were treated like criminals. I was then taken to a detention center because I refused to give up my practice. They transferred me to a brainwashing center 15 days later.
I witnessed serious violations of human rights at the brainwashing center. I was physically and mentally tortured for over one month.
My phone was illegally tapped after my release. In March 2000, I was arrested and sent to the local detention center because I spoke with other practitioners over the phone about going to Beijing to appeal for Falun Gong. I was detained in Wujiapu Brainwashing Center for more than 80 days following my arrest. The weather in Fushun was very cold at the time; I was forced to sleep on a long bench without any blanket or covering.
In July 2000, I went to Tiananmen Square in Beijing, hoping to let people know that the CCP is violating our freedom of belief and that Falun Gong is a good practice. As I was doing the Falun Gong exercises on Tiananmen Square, I was arrested once again and taken back to Jingyu Police Station in Fushun City. I was detained at the police station for 15 days before being sent to a brainwashing center. Later, I was given two-and-a-half years in a forced labor camp.
The Falun Gong practitioners detained at Wujiapu Labor Camp collectively went on a hunger strike to protest the torture we underwent, which included beatings and being hung up by our arms. I was placed in isolation and severely beaten because I reported the brutal mistreatment to the chief of the labor camp.
On September 22, 2000, the labor camp transferred me and several other practitioners to the notorious Masanjia Labor Camp, which was a living hell for practitioners. To “transform” the practitioners, the prison guards slandered Falun Gong and Master Li (the founder of Falun Gong) every day. When practitioners refused to be “transformed,” they were deprived of sleep and subjected to severe torture.
As a result of the abuse, I began to cough and vomit nonstop, to the point that I could not speak. I was released on medical parole on New Year's Eve.
Between 1999 and 2002, I was followed and my phone was tapped. I was arrested and incarcerated five times; my home was also ransacked. My teenage son was at home when I was arrested the fifth time. He was also taken to the police station.
Since this incident, I left home and lived by myself so that my family wouldn't be threatened or arrested.
On April 10, 2002, I was again arrested while in hiding. The police officers confiscated my personal belongings, including two cell phones and 20,000 yuan in cash. I did not give in during the interrogation and was then sent to Fushun Detention Center.
Sentenced to 15 Years After One Year of Detention
I went on a hunger strike in the detention center to protest the arbitrary detention. Twenty days later, I was in critical condition. The detention center sent me home and stationed both uniformed and plainclothes policemen around my house to monitor me.
One day, my mother and younger brother came to visit me. The officers broke into my house when I opened the door. They ordered me to give up Falun Gong. I told them that Falun Gong saved my life and that I will continue practicing. I told them not to be deceived by the CCP. Consequently, I was taken back to the detention center.
Six months later, officers from Fushun Public Security took me to their office for interrogation. To manipulate me into answering questions, officer Quan Yong told me that a fellow practitioner named Zou Guirong (who was later confirmed to have died as a result of the torture at the detention center) had thrown herself down a flight of stairs and killed herself.
“Our Master taught us that suicide is a sin,” I said. “A genuine Falun Gong practitioner would never commit suicide. You must have pushed her down the stairs and killed her.”
Quan Yong was angry at my response. He tied both of my hands together behind my back and then hung me up by my arms. “Let me down!” I cried.
When another policeman helped me down, I said to him, “Practicing Falun Gong does not break any law. I only help people understand the facts of the situation. I follow the principles of Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance to become a good housewife at home, a good employee at work, and a good citizen in society. What is wrong with practicing Falun Gong?”
Quan Yong also tried to sexually asault me. I fiercely resisted. He then deprived me of sleep for three days and tortured me with various means. He tried to force me to sign a preprinted statement renouncing Falun Gong, which I refused. After every effort failed, he sent me back to the detention center.
The verdict came one year after I had been incarcerated. I was given 15 years in prison without any legal basis. Even the prison guards agreed that the persecution was too cruel. I made an appeal, but the intermediate court upheld the original judgment.
Brutal Torture in Shenyang Dabei Prison
On April 10, 2003, I was transferred to Shenyang Dabei Prison. The prison refused to accept me at first because I had cancer. But they accepted the bribe of 1,000 yuan that the 610 Office had confiscated from me – the money that my family had given to me to cover living expenses, and then agreed to take me.
The SARS epidemic was widespread at the time. Fresh food and daily necessities were not supplied. The prison fed us with moldy cornmeal that gave me heartburn every day and damaged my health.
Every day, the guards slandered Falun Gong nonstop and attempted to force me to give up practicing. I was mentally traumatized and was often in a state of shock.
The new team captain had two inmates harass me in the prison workshop. I went on a hunger strike to protest the inhumane torture.
“I was a dying cancer patient,” I shouted. “Falun Gong saved me from the verge of death and gave me a healthy life. I follow the standards of Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance to become a better person. My practice does not violate any law. Why did you arrest me and wrongfully sentence me to 15 years?
“You have tried to force me to 'transform' all day long. I have been severely injured physically and mentally. I will not give up cultivating Falun Gong under any circumstance.”
Facing the brutality, I still stood my ground. The prison guards then came up with another form of torture: they forced me to do hard labor.
Long Hours of Toil
Prisoners are not treated with human dignity and are deprived of human rights. Corporal punishment was common.
We had to get out of bed at 5:30 a.m., go to the field at 6:30 a.m. and finish work at 8:30 p.m. every day, including weekends and holidays. The work hours were often extended so that we did not have enough time for washing and dinner. Sometimes, the extension would last throughout the entire night and into the following day, making people dangerously tired. Some inmates could not stand this maltreatment and committed suicide. But the guards would report that they died from natural causes. Also, whoever did not finish their allotted work quota would have to hand-copy the prison rules five times, which would often take until midnight or later.
This brutality was kept under wraps. The inmates did not dare to speak out for fear of being killed. The released inmates also kept silent to avoid being harassed or arrested again.
In 2011, we were moved to a new ward, which was far from the workshop. Each person was only limited to one pair of shoes and had to wear the same shoes, which got wet on rainy days. At the end of each work day, everyone had to take off their shoes and stand barefoot for a search, no matter how cold the weather was. Three persons shared one faucet and only had ten minutes for brushing their teeth and washing their face. We were only allowed to have a shower once every few days, and the shower water was ice cold in the winter.
Administration of Unknown Drugs
In 2009, the prison established a “Correction Ward” to “transform” Falun Gong practitioners who'd just arrived at the facility, as well as those who still remained firm in their faith.
While I was not sent to this correction ward, the persecution I experienced in my ward was just as bad. When I was ill, the prison obtained drugs from the Correction Ward and forced me to take them.
After taking the drugs, I became weak and was afraid of even a slight breeze. My bones felt tender and my joints swelled in pain. I often had hallucinations and my vision would go out of focus; my memory also deteriorated. As I noticed these problems and refused to take the drugs, the guards forced me to sign a statement asserting that I would be accountable for anything that happened afterwards.
The guards also drew my blood once a week. I asked them why. They lied that the blood would be needed to be tested in an outside hospital to monitor the progress of my illness. I later learned that they were building a data bank in order to more efficiently harvest organs from living Falun Gong practitioners.
I was listed as a stubborn person who must be given “special treatment.” The guards did not allow anyone to talk to me. Whoever violated the order would be verbally abused and would not be eligible to have their sentences commuted. So I did not talk to other prisoners to avoid causing trouble for them. After an unknown period of time, I found that I couldn't speak anymore––that I had developed aphasia.
The guards discreetly abused me in the workshop. On hot days, they put me in the hottest spot between two iron tables to do sewing work alone for long hours. They forced me to keep pedaling on the sewing machine for hours on end; consequently, my legs swelled up. The workload exceeded the limit that my body could endure. I became weak and my legs became unbearably painful. They then forced me to take medicine to relieve the pain.
After taking the medicine, I became confused and experienced hallucinations. My blood pressure shot up to a dangerously high level and I started to show symptoms of stroke. Under this condition, they still forced me to continue sewing. When I wasn’t able to pick up my wash basin, the inmates made fun of me.
I complained about the persecution to the captain. She said the only way to avoid being tortured like this was to give up my faith.
In October 2011, my ward set the goal of 100% transformation rate. They started to work on me, saying that I had to be “transformed” regardless of whether I wanted to or not. They lied and told me that my family had asked them repeatedly to “transform” me so that I could go home earlier.
The guards then placed me in a small, dark room, which was used specifically for steadfast Falun Gong practitioners. They ordered inmates to take turns making loud noises. The noise was so loud even the inmates themselves were not able to stand it. The stress raised my already-high blood pressure even higher. I felt that my blood vessels were about to burst and my head was about to explode. I came close to having a mental breakdown.
They had tried every possible trick to trap me, but I did not give up my belief. I was taken back to the workshop after more than 40 days of inhuman torture. They then falsified the “transformation” statement, forging my signature and fingerprints. When I denied the statement, they found excuses to slander and frame me every day. They even rewarded the people who bullied me.
The guards have done too many vicious things. They tried every means to make me lose my coherence because they were afraid that I would reveal their crimes after I was released.
A Family in Pieces
The persecution broke my family apart. My mother-in-law was a practitioner. She had been arrested three times and brutally beaten and subjected to brainwashing during those detentions. Her wages were suspended and she couldn’t afford heating in the freezing winter.
She could not take the grim news when I was given 15 years in prison, and she suffered a stroke. She passed away in 2014.
My husband could not bear the pressure from all sides and divorced me. My son has repeatedly seen me arrested and our home ransacked since he was a child. That shadow of persecution has lingered on his young mind and affected him psychologically.
He once said to me, “Mom, as soon as I hear police sirens, I think that the police are coming to arrest you again. It makes me really scared.” He left me after he grew up.
Under the deceit of the CCP's propaganda and lies, my relatives and friends do not dare to contact me for fear of being implicated. They have all avoided me.