Qiqihar Woman Recalls Abuse in Heilongjiang Women's Prison for Her Faith
(Minghui.org) Ms. Li Aiying, also known as Ms. Li Erying, of Qiqihar City, Heilongjiang Province, was arrested on November 4, 2015, and later sentenced to four years for her faith in Falun Gong, a mind-body practice that has been persecuted by the Chinese communist regime since 1999. Ms. Li was incarcerated and tortured in Heilongjiang Women's Prison, where she ended up near death.
Since the persecution started in 1999, Ms. Li, who started to practice Falun Gong in 1996, has been arrested five times and sent to forced labor camps twice. Her family was implicated as a result of her faith. Her husband was in bad health and couldn't work due to pressure from the authorities; in order to survive, her son had to leave home and was nearly conned a few times while looking for work; her brother nearly lost his life while trying to rescue her; her sister had hallucinations when she saw her emaciated and had an accident that injured her head.
Ms. Li was harassed again in December 2019 by the authorities during the “zero-out” campaign and pressured to write a guarantee statement, which she refused to do. In September 2020, the authorities harassed her via phone and ordered her to the police station. She refused to comply, so they went to her home on October 27, 2020, to get her to sign the statement. She wasn't at home, so her husband signed it on her behalf. Signing the statement upset her husband terribly and he became more depressed.
Below is her personal account of what she endured in prison:
Sitting on a Small Stool
I was taken to prison on June 8, 2016. An inmate, Fan Xiumei, took me to the room and tried to make me put on the prison uniform. I wouldn’t. Later, a police officer entered and started slandering the founder of Falun Gong and my faith. Before leaving, the officer instructed Fan to make me sit in military-style.
Fan made me sit on a small, square, uneven stool about five inches high. I had to put my hands on my thighs, sit upright, and look forward. “Don't blink, don't open your mouth, don't move. You can't even blink once,” Fan said.
If I moved even a bit, I was kicked and beaten. I was forced to sit until 10 p.m. and not given any food nor allowed to wash.
Beaten, Pinched, and Kicked in the Head
I had to sleep on the upper bunk bed with Fan watching me. When I woke up at 3 a.m. to meditate, inmate Xiao Lili took a stool and started beating me. I was pushed off the upper bunk.
All nine people in the room started beating me and wanted to tie me up. They tried to cover my mouth but failed. They pushed me into a room with no CCTV and beat me. A group of people would show up, beat me for a while, and then leave. Then another group came and beat me again. I can't remember how many times I was beaten that day. Those people were well-trained thugs who did this as a profession.
A slightly kinder woman told me to eat or else I might not be able to endure. I then ate one meal the next day.
I was not allowed to wash up even though it was hot. On the third day, Fan told everyone in the room to really take it out on me or risk having points deducted from them or getting their sentences extended.
To show she was serious, inmate Li Huafen started to pinch me. She pinched me all over, especially my nipples, bruising me all over.
Another inmate, Tao Yucui, used a shoe to hit me in the face and made my nose bleed. Xiao wore thick shoes and kicked my head countless times. At night, Xiao gave me a bun and said it was from the Chinese Communist Party and told me not to eat it. I said I wouldn't eat starting the next day.
Unable to Care for Myself, Forced to Wear a Straitjacket
I went on a hunger strike on the fourth day. At the captain's instigation, the inmates made things increasingly worse for me. They found 15 or 16 inmates and declared that they will have me “transformed.” They stood in two rows and started beating me. Some pulled my hair, some twisted my arms, and some slapped me until I was knocked to the ground. I fainted.
When I came around, it had turned dark. I found a shoe on my face and the floor was wet. I realized that my hands were swollen and I couldn't move my right arm or lift my legs.
I lost the ability to take care of myself anymore, but the inmates refused to stop and forced me to sit on the stool. When I shouted “Falun Dafa is good,” the captain put me in a straitjacket and tied me to the bed with a few people monitoring me around the clock. I was tied up for three days and two nights and not allowed to close my eyes.
I insisted that they release me, and they put me down on the condition that I eat. I slept for a night and continued my hunger strike.
Then it got even worse. The police took two straitjackets and tied my hands, legs, thighs, and waist tightly and put a small stool under my buttocks. Whenever I shifted, the stool would go over on its side. It was unimaginably painful. Then I was hung up for eight hours, until nighttime when I was force-fed. By this time, I had no feeling in my limbs and my heart beat erratically. I didn't have the energy to open my eyes.
Poked in the Eyes with a Broomstick
When the captain came to see me, I hadn't washed or eaten for several days and smelled so bad that the captain backed up and went away.
I was bruised all over but still forced to sit on the stool. When I couldn't, an inmate would pull my hair while another stomped on my feet to force me to sit upright. I couldn't close my mouth as it was so swollen from the beatings, so Fan rubbed my teeth with her shoes and used a broomstick to poke my eyes. When I refused to count off, the inmates kicked my back. I couldn't move my right arm or wear my clothes. My arm was dislocated.
I was force-fed when I went on a hunger strike. The feeding tube broke my nose and caused excessive bleeding.
In an attempt to force me to give up on the hunger strike, the police instructed the medic to put the tube into my trachea. I nearly suffocated. Several people pinched my nose and force-fed me.
Instructed by the police, the inmates in my cell played a DVD that slandered Dafa. I said it was all lies and told them not to believe it. The inmates started hitting me. I then recited Falun Gong's teachings aloud. After that, they never played the DVD again.
When my son and family came to visit me and saw that I was emaciated, they requested that I be seen by a doctor. I was taken to a hospital, where the doctor said that I had high blood pressure and severe heart disease and should not be beaten any more, that I could die at any time, and that I really should be admitted to the hospital.
I was taken to the prison hospital and the warden and hospital chief often came to see me. I told them that I didn't commit any crime and should be released unconditionally.
On the Brink of Death
I was emaciated and malnourished due to the long-term force-feeding and torture, both physical and mental.
I was in the hospital for six months. When I was returned to the prison, the captain instructed Fan to torture me again. As a result of the long-term abuse, I had hallucinations.
One day, I wanted to scoot down into the bed but instead moved the other way and fell out of bed. Several inmates carried me back to the bed and I couldn't move anymore. When I wanted to go to the restroom, they had to pull and carry me as I couldn't walk. The pulling fractured my femoral head.
I was once again taken to the hospital and told that I had to have surgery or my femoral head would decay. The captains told me to have a bone marrow puncture but I refused. When my sister came to visit me, she told me to stay strong.
I was in the hospital for over 40 days before I was taken back to the prison.
In my heart, I had always felt that those who persecuted me were very pitiful. Maybe it was due to my inner kindness, but some inmates started to help me secretly and inmate Li even apologized to me.
Due to the long-term force-feeding and being malnourished, I didn't move my bowels for half a month and also had difficulty urinating. This caused an intestinal obstruction, which led to stomach pain and pain in my ribs. In the end, my whole body was cold even during the summertime. The inmates had to wrap me up in a blanket and put a hot water bottle on me, but my temperature remained the same. Anyone who saw me thought I was going to die soon.
However, I was very alert and had a very strong faith. I told myself that I wouldn't die. And then a miracle happened. I could feel a warm current coming out of my heart and spreading all over my body. I thought to myself, “I didn't die. I've come back to life.”
The next day, I started meditating. The captain saw me and told me to stop. I said, “You're violating the law.”
She walked off without saying a word. From her expression, I could see that she sincerely admired Falun Gong. After that, I got better with each passing day.