(Minghui.org) I am Qian Youyun, a Falun Gong practitioner in Jiangxia District, Wuhan City, Hubei Province.
After the persecution of Falun Gong started on July 20, 1999, I was arrested and detained at Wuhan City No. 1 Detention Center for 15 days after going to Beijing to appeal for Falun Gong. I was detained again for 6 months in 2000 and later sentenced to 3 years in prison and was subjected to brutal torture.
In December 2003, I was given 1.5 years at a forced labor camp. When I finished serving my term in July 2005, I was taken to Yangyuan Brainwashing Center instead of being released.
In September 2013, I was arrested and beaten for attending a court hearing of another Falun Gong practitioner.
I was arrested and sentenced to 4 years in 2015 for distributing Falun Gong materials. While in prison, I was subjected to brutal torture and forced to attend numerous brainwashing sessions.
In 2019, I was arrested again for distributing Falun Gong materials and sentenced to two years. Below is the persecution I endured during my most recent illegal prison sentence.
Arrested for Distributing Falun Gong Materials
On March 23, 2019, I gave a Falun Gong booklet to a man who was with his acquaintance at a sports plaza near my house. The man’s face changed upon reading it and said to me, “Do you know what I do for a living?”
I replied, “Regardless of who you are, everyone should read the booklet. It is about Chinese traditional culture, and you will benefit...”
“I’m in the army.” he said, “I’ve been handling Falun Gong stuff in the army. Go away quickly or I’ll call the police.”
Another practitioner, Ms. Sun Zuying, was with me at the time. When we crossed the road, the two men chased after us and grabbed us. The police came shortly. That man twisted my arm so the police could handcuff me. I tried to resist with all my strength and demanded the police show their IDs. They said they didn’t have ID before dragging Ms. Sun and me into the police car. The handcuffs cut into my skin as one officer pressed my hands against the car seat with his body.
Upon arriving at the police station, officer Luo Hongze said to me, “It’s you again.” He was involved in my previous sentencing in 2015, together with police chief Peng Li.
The officers held Ms. Sun and me in separate rooms in the basement. Luo dragged me to a chair in the interrogation room and handcuffed my hands and legs. An officer was assigned to monitor me for a day and night, and I was not allowed to use the restroom.
Peng took out the twelve Falun Gong booklets from my bag and placed them in front of me to take a photo. I heard Ms. Sun telling him to release her when he went over to the room where she was held. Peng became infuriated and said to her, “Don’t talk about the law with me. I’m the law. I’m just going to send you to prison and make you suffer. I don’t believe in karmic retribution.”
Peng attempted to finish interrogating us and take us to the local detention center in one day. I urged him to release us, and he said, “We are still thinking about it. We are actually having a meeting upstairs discussing what to do with you.”
Not long after, a group of plainclothes officers came and asked us questions. I refused to answer. They lied that I can go home if I answered them. The next day at midnight, they dragged me by the shackles to another room and pinned me down to take my photo and fingerprints. I screamed from the pain. After it was done, they said to me, “If you had cooperated with us, we wouldn’t have used so much force on you.”
At night, Ms. Sun and I were taken to Jiangxia District People’s Hospital and had our blood drawn against our will. They used violence on me. When I shouted that the Chinese communist regime is persecuting Falun Gong, an officer kicked me, pushed me, and twisted my hand. We were not allowed to view the results of the physical exam. At this time, I had not eaten or drunk anything for 24 hours.
Humiliated and Abused at Wuhan City No. 1 Detention Center
It was nearly midnight when Ms. Sun and I were taken to Wuhan City No. 1 Detention Center. They dragged me by my handcuffs and I screamed in pain.
The detention center doctor told me to sign a document but the police said that Ms. Sun and I wouldn’t sign it. Ms. Sun said she had contracted severe tuberculosis during a previous prison term and was held in the prison hospital for a long time. The police grabbed my hand when I refused to let the doctor draw my blood. After a quick analysis of my blood, the doctor said my blood sugar was very high.
An officer whispered something to the doctor and I was later called to a small room where a female officer told Ms. Sun to remove all her clothes and lie on the floor. She also ordered Ms. Sun to jump a few times but she refused. I went over to try and stop her but she still forced Ms. Sun to follow her commands. When it was my turn, I refused to remove my clothes and stood there for about 10 minutes.
Police officer Wen Chuang interrogated me later at night. I told him not to persecute Falun Gong but he threatened that I could be sentenced to at least seven years this time. He printed a copy of the deposition and ordered me to sign it. I refused to, as most of the content he put down wasn’t true. He laughed at me, “It doesn’t matter whether you sign it or not.”
I was then sent to Room 204 at the detention center and stayed there for a dozen days. It was difficult to sleep as the room was overloaded with detainees and many were sleeping on the ground.
The next morning, the doctor came to draw my blood and commented again that my blood sugar was very high. The detention center director, surnamed Lin, came to inspect the newly admitted people and to check if anyone had any scars on them. When the director saw my body and back were bruised, she asked what had happened. I said that the police hit me. She left without saying a word. Those who were detained with me said my bruises looked very scary.
As I refused to cooperate with the roll call or wear a prison uniform, I had no clothes to wear. I could only borrow a pair of shorts that were worn by previous detainees. Everyone was given four pieces of toilet paper to use every day. We had to sleep on our sides at night while being sandwiched by others.
Others had warm clothes to wear while I had only the thin pajamas sent by my friends. The cold April weather caused me to cough for nearly a month and I was in a lot of pain due to my injuries. As the food was poor, I could only drink soup. I did not defecate for 19 days. On the 19th night, I had abdominal pain. It took me five to six hours to relieve myself. As there was only one restroom shared with over 30 people, I had to keep letting others use it, and I nearly fainted from the pain.
My arrest was approved on the 36th day by the Jiangxia District Procuratorate. I told other detainees about the police beating me and they said they had similar experiences.
I was becoming emaciated as time went on, so my family hired a lawyer to represent me. The lawyer applied for me to be released on bail but the request was rejected. The lawyer told me that many people cared about me and told me to cheer up. I was encouraged and able to face the situation more positively. My older sister also sent some money and clothes to me, and I could buy daily necessities.
Once, the detention center told everyone to watch the television. An elderly woman appeared on the screen and was crying as she read something. The police told her to read it loudly. I recognized that she was a Falun Gong practitioner and was reading something to defame Falun Gong.
Later, I heard that guard Huang Wei deceived the elderly woman, surnamed Lu, telling her that she would be released if she renounced her faith, or she would be sentenced. Having believed Huang, Ms. Lu was forced to renounce Falun Gong and made a public statement about it on TV. But she was still sentenced to 2.5 years and her health began to fail.
Huang was in charge of transforming practitioners. Once, Huang and seven other guards handcuffed Ms. Chen Shengqun behind her back and taped her mouth. They then paraded her through the detention center and took her photos.
We were queuing up for lunch when they passed by. I shouted loudly, “You’re not allowed to treat Falun Gong [practitioners] this way!”
The detention center director came over and instructed the ones who shouted to step forward. Everyone was forced to stand and speak one by one. When I said that it was wrong to treat Falun Gong this way, the director said that I was obstructing them and that no one in the room would be allowed to have lunch that day. Everyone was told to speak about their impressions of me but everyone said that I am a good person, causing the director to become angrier.
I later learned that Ms. Chen was often handcuffed by the guards and beaten by the inmates. They once took her to a psychiatric hospital and pulled her two front teeth without anesthetics. She was constantly starved and the food she bought was eaten by the inmates. She developed a mental disorder due to the torture and was still sentenced to prison.
Once, the detention center gave a piece of paper to every Falun Gong practitioner and ordered us to write something defaming Falun Gong.
I refused. The guards then told the inmates to put pressure on me and called me to the office. I tried to tell them that it is not a crime to practice Falun Gong but the inmates forced me to wear the inmates’ uniform. When I refused, the inmates said the higher-ups had instructed them to persecute me. If they failed to make me yield, they would be deprived of snacks since then.
The inmates monitored me around the clock. Every day, they twisted my hands, pinned me with their knees, grabbed my hair and fingers, and hit me. I was often beaten by at least three people, sometimes up to ten.
After about seven days, my lawyer came and I told him about my suffering. In the evening, the detention center director came and said, “You are making things up with your lawyer. Who beat you? Who saw it? Where are your injuries?” She said my lawyer was planning to sue them for the abuses I suffered.
She grabbed my clothes while a guard took photos. When she said that there were no injuries, I showed my swollen finger to her and other bruises.
The next day, the detention center distributed snacks to everyone, and they changed their attitude towards me. Later, my lawyer showed me a letter that he had written to sue the detention center and had submitted to the procuratorate.
Sentenced to Two Years in Prison During the Pandemic
The Jiangxia District Court later transferred my case to Hongshan District Court, without explaining why. I wasn’t allowed to meet with my lawyer. The judge also attempted to appoint a lawyer to enter a guilty plea for me, but I refused to accept it.
Due to the pandemic, the court held a virtual hearing of the cases against me and Ms. Sun at the detention center. There were some problems with the equipment. Ms. Sun and I could not hear clearly what the judge and the prosecutor were saying, but they could hear us clearly.
Our own lawyers entered a plea of not guilty for us and demanded our acquittal. They argued that no law has ever criminalized Falun Gong in China. Both the judge and the prosecutor remained silent.
I requested the prosecutor to exhibit the Falun Gong materials used as evidence against us, so everyone present could determine for themselves whether the materials were harmful or not. The judge rejected my request.
The judge rushed through the session and soon sentenced me to two years. I wasn’t allowed to meet with my family when I was transferred to the prison, while all the other detainees were allowed. The guards dragged me, as I refused to walk. One officer wanted to hit me but was stopped by another officer.
Tortured in Hankou Prison
I was taken to Hankou Prison on December 23, 2020. As I passed through the prison gate, an indescribable fear arose in my heart.
Newcomers had to be quarantined for a month upon arriving at the prison. They were then assigned to specific wards after they tested negative in a PCR test. There were twelve cells in No. 5 Division where I was sent to. I was in cell eleven, together with thirteen other inmates.
It was extremely cold that day. Everyone was given warm clothes, shorts, and sweatpants but no insulated winter pants. Even when we wore everything we were given, we still felt very cold and didn’t sleep well at night.
We had to get up at 5:40 a.m. and were given five minutes to wash up. We would be punished and allowed to eat only white rice if we were slow. There was very little free time during the day. We wouldn’t be allowed to sleep if we were slow to get to bed.
Newcomers were not allowed to buy anything for the first month. While most inmates received additional clothes and a box of apples, Falun Gong practitioners who refused to be transformed were not given anything and would be forced to stand from morning to midnight. Sounds of kicks and punches could often be heard. The inmates in charge verbally abused the practitioners at will.
I was ordered to write a statement criticizing Falun Gong, but I refused to comply. As many people in the cell disliked the head inmate, Shen Yongbao, she stopped talking after a while. However, she always called upon the same two inmates to do various things to persecute me, but these two inmates didn’t make things difficult for me.
On January 17, 2021, everyone was washing up when the head of the division came. She shouted at me and ordered me to slander Falun Gong. She ordered two inmates to dismantle my bed and stand beside me. Several of the inmates in charge who came in with her stayed back and one of them said that they each had 20 points deducted from them because of me, and instructed others to drag me to cell twelve where I was beaten up.
One inmate who got tired of beating me told me to write something on paper to slander Falun Gong, but instead I urged her not to persecute practitioners. Other inmates in the cell were ordered to stand by the restroom and not allowed to watch.
When everyone saw I remained unmoved, the group dragged me back to cell eleven and two inmates were told to stand with me until midnight. However, the inmate in charge allowed us to sleep 20 minutes earlier, and she was punished the next morning.
After breakfast the next day, one inmate came over and grabbed my hair. Other inmates started kicking and punching me. When I screamed from the pain, they stuffed a towel into my mouth and stepped on my neck. They also banged my head.
My face became swollen instantly, One inmate reminded the rest that they had all been told not to hit the face but to cause internal injuries only. When they got tired from kicking me, one of them took a big water bottle filled with water and beat every inch of my body with it. She said to me, “I used to specialize in beating prisoners. There are many more advanced methods I can use on you.”
I couldn’t move my right hand at that time. It still hurts now. Others guarded the door from 6 a.m. to noon as they were afraid that I would escape. The beatings only stopped when I picked up the pen to write a statement according to the template that they had given me. I told them that what I wrote was against my will but the inmate in charge said they did not mind even if it was fake. Before the beatings ended, the inmates grabbed my head and banged it against the wall and the floor, causing my head to swell. The other inmates kicked me. When I tried to sit up, they kicked me again. The inmates stepped on my ribs, hands, and legs, causing bruises and swelling. My middle fingers and tailbone still hurt now. It was brutal.
I became incapacitated and unable to move. Then some kindhearted people helped me to sit up and lean against the wall. They fed me, took me to the restroom, and washed me. A young woman said, “I never did this even for my mom. This is the first time.” Another two young women also helped care for me. They gave me a pack of instant noodles they had saved, but I returned it to them. I was really touched by their help.
The pain often caused me to wake up at night. I wanted to move a little but it hurt too much. I had to ask for help to move me around. As I didn’t want to bring trouble to them, I minimized my drinking or eating. The inmate in charge saw others helping me and said I was faking my injuries, but when I lay down, I felt very dizzy.
A few days later, the head of the division took me to the hospital. I trembled as I walked. When we reached the hospital, the head of the division whispered something to the doctor. The doctor took my temperature, listened to my heartbeat and quickly gave me some medicine. I told them I wanted to take an X-ray but the head of the division said the equipment was broken. Upon returning to the cell, the inmates forced me to take the medicine. As I didn’t have the energy to resist, I hid the pill under my tongue and spit it out later.
The inmate who beat me was later transferred to another cell. When I accused her of beating me, the guard on duty claimed that the inmate told them she was only having a quarrel with me and didn’t beat me. After the inmate was transferred away, the guard asked if I was satisfied with how she had handled the situation.
I was later transferred to No 3. Division, where the captain of the division talked to me and assigned two inmates to monitor me. Despite the fact that I had tremendous difficulty eating, I forced myself to have something, fearing that they would force-feed me. Then I would vomit everything later in the restroom because I had trouble keeping food down.
At the No. 3 Division, I was ordered to hand-copy materials that slandered Falun Gong. I refused and was made to stand for long hours. They threatened to send me for another brainwashing session. I told them that the head of No. 5 Division had used brutal methods to torture me but failed to change my heart. They refused to let me speak further and ordered the inmates to not let me talk to others. Because of the prolonged standing torture, I suffered prolapse of the anus, which was very painful.
In addition to being forced to copy propaganda that slandered Falun Gong, I was ordered to copy propaganda heralding the Communist Party’s history and its success at battling the pandemic. I was also denied family visitation.
When I returned home, my husband said that I was so emaciated that I looked like someone nearing 60 years old. My family and many people who knew me said they almost could not recognize me as I was a bag of bones and had a hunched back.
My husband said that they did not receive any verdict and had not been informed of the trial. Moreover, the social security office stopped paying my pension. I argued that it is illegal for them to do so, but to no avail. After my husband appealed with the district community and the mayor’s office, the mayor agreed to give me 900 yuan per month to cover my basic living cost.
The torture in prison caused much damage to my health. Although I regained the ability to take care of myself after resuming practicing Falun Gong, my vision has become poorer, my memory has declined, and I still ache all over.
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