Chinese name:
Date of Death:
Date of Most Recent Arrest:
Most recent place of detention:
Tongzhou Detention Center in Beijing
Case Description:

( A 40-year-old woman died on April 2, 2017, after years of abuse suffered while detained for her faith.

Ms. Xu Xiuhong was imprisoned between February 2001 and March 2005 for refusing to renounce Falun Gong, a spiritual discipline being persecuted by the Chinese communist regime. Police targeted her again in January 2016 and detained her for more than three months.

The resident of Fangshan District, Beijing was abused on a regular basis during both episodes of detention. Her family noticed obvious symptoms of her being drugged. She had frequent panic attacks and also suffered from other forms of health problems. When she died, her wrists still bore marks of injuries sustained during her imprisonment more than a decade ago.

“Bracelet Torture” Resulted in Permanent Wrist Injuries

Ms. Xu began to practice Falun Gong in 1996 and soon regained her health. Her complexion became rosy and her thin hair grew back. She participated in the April 25th peaceful demonstration outside the central government compound in 1999 when she heard some Falun Gong practitioners in Tianjin were arrested for their faith. Three months later, on July 20, when the Chinese communist regime openly launched the persecution of Falun Gong, she again went to appeal on behalf of the practice that changed her life.

The local police seized her at home in February 2001, shortly after the Chinese New Year holiday. She was first held at Fangshan Detention Center, before being transferred to Zhengding County Detention Center in Hebei Province one month later.

The guards at Zhengding County Detention Center devised a special torture tool dubbed “the bracelet.” Each bracelet was made of wire with a diameter about the size of an adult’s wrist.

Ms. Xu was once made to wear one such bracelet for seven straight days. The guards squeezed both of her hands into the bracelet, causing excruciating pain. Ms. Xu lost feeling in both hands by the time it was removed.

The guards forced her to wear the bracelet again not long afterwards when they learned that she taught another inmate the Falun Gong exercises. This time they left the bracelet on for more than three weeks.

The bracelet had cut into her flesh by the time the guards decided to remove it. They had to use pliers to remove it, leaving permanent injury marks.

Bathroom Restrictions Led to Incontinence

There were more than a dozen inmates in Ms. Xu’s cell, and together they were given 15 minutes during each bathroom break. Because Ms. Xu refused to renounce Falun Gong, the guards often denied her use of the bathroom situated outside the cell.

The guards instead ordered her to use a potty inside the cell and then charged her a fine for not using the outside restroom. Even so, Ms. Xu was often given insufficient time to relieve herself. She developed incontinence after such repeated abuse.

Drugged in Hospital and Continual Vaginal Bleeding

Ms. Xu was later sentenced to five years in prison and admitted to Shijiazhuang Second Women’s Prison in Hebei Province.

One day the guards hit the back of her head with a rubber club fitted with a metal tip. She bled profusely and passed out. The guards took her to a hospital, where she remained for one month.

While she remained in a coma in her first few days of hospitalization, she was given some unknown drugs, which caused her to have abnormal vaginal bleeding that lasted for four months.

A Totally Different Person when Released from Prison

Ms. Xu was released from prison in March 2005. Her family welcomed back home a totally different person. Her legs were badly swollen, and she complained about other health problems. She told her family that she was forced to do hard labor for extended periods of time while in prison. Her loved ones noticed that she had trouble falling asleep at night and often appeared to be in a daze.

Liu Yonghong, the local officer in charge of identification card application, refused to renew Ms. Xu’s ID. In order to avoid further arrests, Ms. Xu lived away from home. Liu then forced her family to pay 20,000 yuan for a new ID card.

Arrested Again 11 Years Later

Ms. Xu and her husband, whom she married in 2011 and who is also a Falun Gong practitioner, were arrested together on January 21, 2016. Both were sent to Tongzhou Detention Center in Beijing, where they were held for more than three months.

The medical examination required for detention center admission showed that Ms. Xu had unusually high blood pressure, but police pressured the detention center to take her.

Ms. Xu was forced to take pills to lower her blood pressure. One detention center doctor threatened her, “You refuse to renounce Falun Gong? In that case I’ll give you a pill to help you end your life!”

Her husband once saw her when she was taken to a room for interrogation. He noted that her head was badly swollen. He learned later that she fell on the third day of her detention center admission while cleaning a restroom as required by the guards. She injured her ankle badly, which eventually led to infections to her legs and the rest of the body, including her head.

The guards restricted the practitioners’ restroom use, which aggravated Ms. Xu’s incontinence problem. There were two weeks when she didn’t have a bowel movement. One night she felt the urge to go, but the cell head refused to let her use the restroom. She moaned in pain and was scolded by the cell head. Another Falun Gong practitioner detained in that cell protested her mistreatment, and it was only then that she was allowed to use the restroom. By then she had soiled her pants.

Ms. Xu’s health kept deteriorating after she and her husband were released months later. She had frequent panic attacks and felt better only when her husband was with her. She also suffered from chest pain, high blood pressure, insomnia, and incontinence.

She passed away on April 2, 2017. The cause of her death was ruled “cardiac arrest.”

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