Chinese name:
Date of Death:
Date of Most Recent Arrest:
Most recent place of detention:
Heilongjiang Women’s Prison
Case Description:

( Ms. Miao Xiaolu, a Qiqihar City, Heilongjiang Province resident, was arrested in December 2001 for refusing to renounce her faith in Falun Gong. She was later sentenced to five years in Heilongjiang Women’s Prison, where she suffered from forced-feeding, beating, freezing, and many other types of physical abuse.

Ms. Miao became incapacitated due to torture, but she wasn't released on medical parole until November 2006, barely one month before her term was about to expire. Her health continued to deteriorate after she returned home, and she died in March 2008 at the age of 43.

Ms. Miao Xiaolu

Falun Gong, also known as Falun Dafa, is a meditation system based on the principles of Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance. The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) started to suppress the practice in July 1999 and over 4,300 practitioners are documented to have lost their lives as a direct result of persecution, many by torture in custody.

More than eleven years have passed since Ms. Miao's death. New details have emerged about how she was abused in detention while serving time for her faith.

Arrest, Sentencing, and Imprisonment

Ms. Miao Xiaolu, a government employee in the Angangxi District, Qiqihar City, was arrested on December 27, 2001 for refusing to renounce Falun Gong.

While held at the Qiqihar Second Detention Center, she and four other Falun Gong practitioners, including Yang Yanqiu, Wang Shufang, Zhang Shuzhe, and Liu Yongjuan, protested their illegal detention by refusing to have their pictures taken or wear inmate badges. The guards retaliated by punching and kicking the five practitioners.

On April 10, 2002, the five women were all convicted for their faith, with Ms. Miao given five years. They were sent to Heilongjiang Women’s Prison after their appeals were rejected. Upon arrival, they were separated and taken to different offices to be tortured. The prison guards handcuffed Ms. Miao's arms behind her back and kicked and beat her and shocked her with electric batons.

Ms. Miao and the other four practitioners were held in solitary confinement over the next 26 days. Each day, they were taken out to be tortured before being returned to the confinement cell.

On the twenty-seventh day, the five practitioners were moved to a lounge area on the third floor, where 610 Office agents forced them to watch videos defaming Falun Gong. They were ordered to sit on the cold concrete floor during the day, and they had to sleep on the same cold floor at night. Their handcuffs were not released even when they went to the toilet. The five practitioners went on a hunger strike in protest and were sent to a “training team” the following day.

Later, the five practitioners were separated, with Ms. Miao moved to Division 7 (renamed Division 4 in 2006).

In Division 7, all imprisoned Falun Gong practitioners were closely monitored. Four inmates were assigned to watch one practitioner. If the practitioner was suspected of “inappropriate” behavior such as talking or doing Falun Gong exercises, the four inmates would have points deducted as punishment.

Once when Ms. Miao exchanged Falun Gong teachings with Ms. Chen Weijun – another practitioner who later died due to torture, the guards slapped both of them in the face and threatened to deduct points from the other inmates. This resulted in fierce verbal abuse of the practitioners by the inmates.

Torture: Sitting Motionless for an Extended Time

In April 2003, because Ms. Miao and other imprisoned practitioners refused to do forced labor, team leads Kang Yazhen and Cui Yan ordered guards as well as inmates to physically abuse them. Every day, practitioners were forced to sit motionless on small stools from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. or later. On April 14, 2003, about a dozen armed police officers were dispatched to the prison to force the practitioners to do hard labor.

Practitioners in Division 7 staged a protest on October 16, 2003, when they refused to wear prisoners' name badges or answer roll call. Inmates were ordered to beat the practitioners, who were then forced to stand motionless until midnight. This punishment lasted for several days.

Ms. Miao and several other practitioners who still refused to wear badges and answer roll call were subjected to another round of abuse at the end of November 2003. Inmates dragged them outdoors and forcibly removed their winter clothing including with hats and gloves. One practitioner, Ms. Zheng Hongli, lost consciousness while other practitioners shivered in the cold. This freezing torture lasted 7 days.

Forced to Stand Still

Because of refusing to wear the prisoner name badges, Ms. Miao and two other practitioners were taken to team leader Kang’s office on December 4, 2003. Kang slapped them in the face one by one. She then instructed an inmate to tie up the three practitioners and left them in the water room where inmates usually came for water. Three other practitioners were soon brought to the water room too. The six of them were forced to stand in the water room 24 hours a day, while several other practitioners—also tied up—were held in a storage room.

By the fourth day, Ms. Miao’s left leg was severely swollen. Due to extreme fatigue, she lost consciousness. Two other practitioners also passed out after her. One inmate assigned to watch them splattered water to their winter coats.

Later on, these practitioners were kept in the water room during the day and ordered to sleep on the cold concrete floor inside the storage room at night. Their hands were cuffed behind their backs except for meals or scheduled bathroom times. One time, inmate Yang Shuhua wrote their names on a piece of fabric and stitched it to their clothes. After practitioners tore the badges away, Yang was furious and pricked their heads with needles one by one.

Freezing in the Winter

On February 7, 2004, prison director Liu Zhiqiang discovered Ms. Miao and six other practitioners studying Falun Gong teachings in the storage room. Liu confiscated the teachings and Ms. Miao and other practitioners were sent to solitary confinement.

It was in the bitter cold days of winter, and the guards stripped the practitioners to only their undergarment and cuffed their hands behind their back. There was no heat in the room, and the guards opened the windows to freeze them. The food was soup made of corn bran used in chicken feed. The practitioners were given two meals per day and the corn bran was too rough to swallow. The solitary confinement lasted 19 days.

Team lead Kang then asked these seven practitioners again on April 6, 2004, one by one, if they would wear badges. As the practitioners said no, the guards took them to the cells, where they handcuffed the practitioners' hands with one arm pulled over the shoulder to meet the other arm twisted behind the back. Ms. Miao lost consciousness due to the excruciating pain. Practitioner Zheng Jinbo had a heart attack due to the torture. She fortunately survived.

Torture reenactment: handcuffing behind the back

Handcuffed and Hung Up

On July 27, 2004, Kang and other team leads carried out a renewed campaign against practitioners—about 30 of them—for not wearing inmate badges and prison uniforms. Ms. Miao was handcuffed with her hands behind her back and hung up with only her toes touching the floor. Her arms became numb and she lost consciousness. As the guards put her down, the handcuffs had cut into her flesh, causing her wrists to bleed. The torture led to incontinence and her lower body was soaked with urine.

Torture illustration: handcuffed and hung up

At the time, Ms. Miao had not eaten for four days and the guards began to force-feed her. They tried to insert the feeding tube twice, but it would not go in. Blood and a sticky substance came out instead as the tube was pulled out. A doctor said that Ms. Miao could die at any minute. After an intravenous injection, she was sent to get an X-ray and was then taken back to her cell. Emaciated, she lay in bed all the time.

In autumn 2006, Ms. Miao was sent to a hospital outside the prison for examination and was diagnosed with tuberculosis. She was released on medical parole in November 2006.

Upon returning home, Ms. Miao learned that her family had spent a lot of money over those five years hoping that she would be treated well in prison. The family, however, did not know of the torture and pain she suffered during her detention.

Ms. Miao's condition continued to deteriorate, and she died on March 11, 2008. She was 43.

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