66-Year-Old Hebei Woman Detained and Tortured for Upholding Her Faith
(Minghui.org) A 66-year-old woman was repeatedly detained and tortured during the past 20 years for her faith in Falun Gong, a spiritual discipline that has been persecuted by the Chinese communist regime since 1999.
Ms. Ji Zhilan of Xingtai City, Hebei Province began to practice Falun Gong in 1996. Because she refused to give up her faith after the persecution began, she was frequently harassed, given a three-year labor camp term, held at a brainwashing facility, and had her home ransacked multiple times.
Ms. Ji set out on a trip to Beijing on July 20, 1999, to appeal for justice for Falun Gong. But she was intercepted halfway. When she returned home, an official from her workplace, the Xingtai City government, was waiting for her. She was taken to a hotel room and forced to watch videos slandering Falun Gong every day while being watched by three colleagues. Three days later, Ms. Ji was taken to Xingtai Second Detention Center and held there for an additional seven days.
Ms. Ji remained under close police surveillance after being released. Sometimes the officers stayed outside of her apartment building to monitor her. Her phone was also tapped and monitored by the authorities. Her uncle and a friend were both interrogated by the police after calling her.
Over a dozen police officers showed up at her home late at night on March 2, 2000, after she was reported for giving another practitioner a Falun Gong booklet. The officers ransacked her residence and took her to a hotel room again. While searching her home, they even looked into her sewing machine and curtain brackets.
They began to interrogate her after midnight and didn't allow her to sleep for four straight nights. They questioned where she got the material. Then she was taken to Xingtai City Second Detention Center and continued to be interrogated for 24 hours, She was deprived of sleep the whole time.
Brutal Torture at Labor Camp
Ms. Ji was given three years of forced labor on April 26, 2000, and transferred to Shijiazhuang Forced Labor Camp on the same day. She was first detained in the Fourth Brigade of the labor camp, where she was forced to do labor more than ten hours a day for more than three months. Sometimes she and other detained practitioners were forced to attend “brainwashing classes” by guest speakers invited by the labor camp. The guards didn’t allow her to take showers. Even a shower with cold water in the winter was a luxury for her.
Four officials from her workplace, Xingtai City government, visited her at the labor camp on June 30, 2000. Since she was a Chinese Communist Party (CCP) member, they demanded she sign a statement to renounce Falun Gong, saying that the CCP members were not allowed to practice Falun Gong. Ms. Ji refused. Later, she was expelled from the CCP and removed from her post.
Later, Ms. Ji and 98 other Falun Gong practitioners at the labor camp filed a criminal complaint against former CCP leader Jiang Zemin for initiating the persecution of Falun Gong. They were all severely punished. The abuse was further escalated after they held a hunger strike to protest. They were forced to sit on small stools outside against the wall during hunger strikes, exposed to the scorching sun in the summer and freezing wind in the winter.
Ms. Ji was subjected to brutal force-feeding. During a force-feeding session on March 5, 2001, her blood flowed backward along the feeding tube in her nose. She pulled the tube out, but the perpetrators pushed it back in. Pus flowed from her left nostril, and it smelled sickening. She was unable to get it out until ten days after her release from the labor camp.
Another round of persecution of Falun Gong practitioners was started in Shijiazhuang Labor Camp at the beginning of April 2001. Practitioners were forced to wear the labor camp uniform on April 10 and write the words “abide by the rules of the camp” on a piece of paper. Several policemen were brought in to carry out the persecution. When the practitioners refused to comply, the officers dragged them to the cafeteria to beat them up and shock them with electric batons.
Ms. Ji was dragged up to the fourth floor where four of the policemen forced her to write these words. Since she refused to do it, they handcuffed her to the window frame with her feet suspended in the air. Her left hand held onto the window frame but her right hand was unable to hold on to anything.
Soon, she was unable to balance her body and the handcuffs cut into her right wrist. They had to release her, but three policemen began to kick her with their big leather shoes. After they were exhausted, they cuffed her right hand. Two of them took turns shocking her with electric batons. One policeman put the baton on the root of her right thumb for a long time. As a result, she could not move her right hand for half a year.
To force Falun Gong practitioners to renounce their faith, Ms. Ji and other practitioners were forced to sit on small plastic stools for a long time every day to watch videos defaming Falun Gong. They were not allowed to talk, lower their heads or close their eyes. Ms. Ji was deprived of sleep for four consecutive days when being forced to write the repentance statement.
In order to prevent Falun Gong scriptures from circulating among practitioners, the labor camp guards searched everywhere and even tore up the stitches of practitioners' bedding. The practitioners weren’t allowed to keep any pen or paper.
Brainwashing Class and Harassment
Several police officers from Xingtai Qiaoxi Police Department, led by Song Jiaxi, the director of the Domestic Security Division, went to Ms. Ji's home on April 26, 2004. They ransacked the place and confiscated her desktop computer. She was charged with “disrupting public order.”
The police took her to a hotel and bound her to a metal chair for days. Then she was taken to a brainwashing class at Xingtai Legal Education Center.
The head of the brainwashing class, Liu Lixiang, and a few staff members surrounded Ms. Ji every day to brainwash her and force her to watch videos slandering Falun Gong without allowing her to sleep.
The deputy party secretary of Xingtai City, Wang Yanfei, who was in charge of persecuting Falun Gong in Xingtai, often came to inspect the progress at the brainwashing center. The director of the Hebei Province 610 Office, an extralegal agency specifically created to persecute Falun Gong, also came for an inspection once. Ms. Ji was summoned to be reprimanded by the director during his visit.
Ms. Ji's family was forced to pay 2,600 yuan on May 6, 2004, for her “tuition” for the brainwashing class.
Song led a team of police officers to transfer Ms. Ji to Xingtai First Detention Center on May 28, 2004. He extorted 10,000 yuan as bail from her family on June 4 and released her upon receiving the money. Ms. Ji later learned that Song did this routinely to extort money from the practitioners.
Song led seven police officers to harass Ms. Ji and ransack her home again on September 5, 2009.
Ms. Ji filed a criminal complaint against Jiang Zemin with the Supreme People’s Court in June 2015, only to be harassed by the local police and the residential committee personnel on August 4 and August 24, 2015, respectively.
The authorities also came back to harass her during the CCP’s other “sensitive days,” such as anniversaries related to the persecution and during major local events.