(Minghui.org) A Chongqing woman recovered from cancer and autoimmune diseases after she took up Falun Gong, a spiritual and meditation practice based on the principles of Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance. Ms. Pi Zhong refused to renounce her faith after the Chinese Communist Party began to persecute Falun Gong in July 1999. As a result, the authorities arrested and detained her multiple times. She spent five years and three months in prison and forced labor camp.

Fearing being implicated in the persecution, her husband divorced her. Her daughter was disqualified for government jobs after graduation. While Ms. Pi was detained, the authorities refused to grant her bail and her terminally ill father passed away without seeing her for the last time.

Life-Saving Gift from a Friend

Ms. Pi used to work in an agriculture vehicle factory. She was hot-tempered and liked to fight with others. At the same time she suffered kidney inflammation, arthritis, and swollen joints. Her knuckles hurt when she touched cold water. She could barely lay down or squat. Her health problems prevented her from taking care of herself and doing house work. To make things worse, she was later diagnosed with breast cancer. She mentally collapsed and lived in misery.

A friend of Ms. Pi’s lent her a copy of Zhuan Falun, the book of the main teachings of Falun Gong, in 1997. After reading it, she understood why she came to the world and suffered various illnesses. She saw hope from the teachings and strove to live by the principles of Truthfulness, Compassion, Forbearance.

A few months later, her illnesses disappeared. She shouldered all the house chores since. Witnessing the miracles, her family members supported her decision to practice.

Detention and Brainwashing for Protesting in Beijing

After the persecution of Falun Gong started in July 1999, Ms. Pi refused to give up her faith. Consequently the authorities arrested and detained her multiple times. She was put in a brainwashing center once, and tortured in a prison and a forced labor camp for over 5 years.

After she exhausted all local channels of appeal, Ms. Pi decided to go to Beijing to voice her support for the practice in February 2000. The roads into Beijing were so heavily policed that she and two other practitioners couldn’t get to the National Appeals Office. They went to Tiananmen Square to protest instead. A dozen officers surrounded them, beat them, and took them to Tiananmen Police Department. One officer also kicked Ms. Pi with his leather shoes.

Three officers from Chongqing arrived in Beijing to escort the practitioners arrested for protesting back to Chongqing. They confiscated Ms. Pi’s cash (more than 1,000 yuan) and made her pay for their traveling expenses in Beijing, by forcing her employer to deduct the payments from her salary.

The trip back to Chongqing took five days. The police handcuffed her to the bunk bed and gave her one meal in two days on the train. The evening she arrived in Chongqing, the police interrogated her until after midnight and quickly transferred her to a detention center. Twelve days later, the authorities took her to a brainwashing center.

Extorted by the Police

When Ms. Pi returned home from grocery shopping on the morning of July 6, 2000, an officer waiting for her at the gate of her apartment complex approached her, “We’d like you to come with us to the police station for a few questions. It won’t take long.”

She was detained as soon as she got to the police station, where a dozen other practitioners had already been arrested before her. The practitioners were taken to a detention center that evening and not given any food.

The police were quick to ask the practitioners’ families for bail money, up to 5,000 yuan per person. If the families couldn’t come up with the money, the practitioners would remain in ill-conditioned cells in the hot summer days. Ms. Pi’s family couldn’t afford it as her child was in college. A friend of hers managed to pay 2,000 yuan in exchange for her release 19 days later.

Sentenced to 3.5 Years and Tortured in Chongqing Women’s Prison

The harassment continued. The police and local officials went to Ms. Pi’s home on New Year’s Eve in 2001 in an attempt to take her to a brainwashing center. She wasn’t home and they went to her husband’s workplace to find her. Without seeing her, the police and officials sat in her home every evening and called all her relatives to look for her.

Right before the Chinese New Year, the police forced her husband to sign a statement and promise not to let her go to Beijing to protest. To avoid arrest, Ms. Pi couldn’t go home for the holiday.

A dozen police officers broke into Ms. Pi’s parents’ home on July 20, 2001. They arrested her while she was helping her parents remodel the house. The police took her home and turned her place upside down. They confiscated her Falun Gong literature to use against her in court.

The police chained her to a pipe in the police department, interrogated her, and transferred her to a detention center around midnight. She was officially arrested a month later on August 27.

In the detention center, the director ordered to handcuff her for 10 days because she did the Falun Gong exercises. Later she was forced to do labor intensive work without pay. The work included gluing cardboard boxes, assembling storage boxes for medicine and needles, and removing impurities from pig hair. The foul smell from the pig hair was nauseating. The wounds inflicted by friction were infected and her fingers began to swell and itch. Without proper treatment, her knuckles festered and the bones were exposed.

Without informing her family, the authorities put Ms. Pi on trial on December 6, 2002. She was subsequently given 3.5 years in prison. After she submitted an appeal, the authorities quickly transferred her to Chongqing Women’s Prison on December 11 to hinder the legal process.

In prison, the guards forced Ms. Pi to watch and listen to propaganda against Falun Gong every day. They wouldn’t let her sleep and tried to threaten her to sign the statements to renounce her faith. Her employer indefinitely suspended her pension and other benefits since her imprisonment.

The prison authorities forced her to do physically demanding work such as assembling flip-flops, making beaded seat mats, packaging products, loading and unloading boxed products over 100 lbs (50 kg). She often collapsed due to exhaustion.

In 2004, Ms. Pi was forced to undergo a physical examination and her blood drawn for tests for no reason. The prison never shared the result of the blood test with her. When she learned about the crime of forced organ harvesting later on, she realized that she could have become one of the victims.

Disfigured After Torture in Forced Labor Camp

Ms. Pi was arrested for the fourth time on January 26, 2007. The police interrogated her until after midnight and sent her to a detention center. An officer said to her, “You are a felon. We must give you severe punishment and make you miserable this time.” She went on a hunger strike to protest the arrest.

Six days later, an officer told her that she was given 21 months in a forced labor camp and she decided to appeal the decision. Three days after she submitted her appeal, the authorities transferred her to Chongqing Women’s Forced Labor Camp. She never received any formal document for the labor camp term.

When she arrived at the labor camp, a guard and an inmate stripped her naked and forced her to do squats before letting her put on the prison uniform. They discarded her warm clothes and violently grabbed her hair and cut it into a short mess.

The camp authorities forced her to have two physical examinations in summer 2007. A doctor from Army 324 Hospital drew two large tubes of blood from her, probably for organ harvesting matching.

After Ms. Pi refused to renounce her faith, the guards put her in solitary confinement, with six inmates watching her around the clock. The inmates, mostly drug addicts, wouldn’t let her sleep if she didn’t write a thought report for that day.

Her torture started at 5 a.m. and lasted till 2 a.m. the next day. The guards had her stand or sit still on a small short stool all day. Sitting on a small stool put a lot of pressure on her lower body, especially her buttocks. It didn’t take long before the flesh on her buttocks started to rupture and fester because the wound did not have time to heal. Her blood and flesh stuck to her underwear and caused extreme pain when she changed.

For 50 days she wasn’t given any water. She wasn’t allowed to change clothes, brush her teeth, or wash up. She had no drinking water and wasn’t allowed to use the toilet for a long period of time. The dehydration caused severe constipation and she often couldn’t relieve herself for weeks.

Some of the guards specialized in torturing Falun Gong practitioners and making them renounce their faith. The director of the labor camp ordered the guards to “transform” all practitioners. Every evening other inmates could hear practitioners screaming in pain. Later the guards taped up all the practitioners’ mouths.

The labor camp authorities placed Ms. Pi with a dozen inmates who were periodically trained by the guards on how to torture the practitioners into submission. The inmates had to pass certain tests before they were qualified to work on the practitioners. The measures they used on the practitioners were vicious. Ms. Pi witnessed them adding unknown pills into drinking water and food for the steadfast practitioners.

The guards punished Ms. Pi by having her stand in a windy hallway for hours on cold winter nights. She protested and as a result was put on strict-management for two days. During that time, she had to finish an excessive amount of work. If she couldn’t finish her work, there would be harsh punishment.

Ms. Pi is 5 ft 5 in (164 cm) tall and weighed 141 lbs (64 kg) before she was put in the camp. When she was released, she weighed less than 99 lbs (45 kg). She was emaciated and her hair turned gray. Her relatives and friends could barely recognize her.

Death and Suffering of Close Family Members

While Ms. Pi was detained after her arrest in July 2001, her father many times went to the police department and asked the police chief to release her, to no avail. Her father was a veteran with a crippled leg. The anger, worry, and sadness put much stress on his health and he died after a heart attack in April 2002. Her family members wanted to bail her out to see her father before he died. The police chief Wu Kelang said that he would have approved it, had she not practiced Falun Gong.

Ms. Pi’s daughter lost her qualification to become a public servant after she graduated from college, punished for her mother’s beliefs.

After multiple arrests and incarcerations, Ms. Pi’s husband couldn’t stand the pressure and didn’t want to be implicated in the persecution. He divorced her in 2006.

Ms. Pi’s 80-year-old mother passed out after learning that Ms. Pi was put in a forced labor camp in February 2007. After a major brain surgery and enormous medical expenses, the elderly woman became paralyzed and lost her memory and language skill. She died in March 2013.

Chinese version available

Category: Accounts of Persecution