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I Was Tortured 26 Different Ways during My Two Years of Detention in the Xishanping Forced Labor Camp, Chongqing City - Part 1

September 04, 2005 |   By Zhang Hongxu, a Dafa practitioner in Sichuan Province

(Clearwisdom.net) My name is Zhang Hongxu. I was born on October 1, 1966. I lived at No. 29 Wachangwan in Tongnan County, Chongqing City and worked for the Tongnan County Coal Company. I started smoking at age 11 and often drank and got into fights. I was diagnosed with Hepatitis B when I was 17. After I started practicing Falun Dafa on March 14, 1998, I quit drinking, smoking and fighting. The Hepatitis B disappeared several months after I started Dafa practice. Now my whole family practices Falun Gong.

In July 1999, former president Jiang Zemin started persecuting 100 million Dafa practitioners, and that was the end of my family's peaceful and happy life. My mother, wife and daughter were arrested, and to this day my wife and I live away from home to avoid persecution.

I was arrested and held at the Xishanping Forced Labor Camp for two years and was subjected to 26 different kinds of torture, summarized below:

I was tied up. The guard then elbowed my spine with brute force and punched my chest heavily with his fists. I had to stand in the military posture, sit upright and march using three different kinds of steps; I was exposed to mosquitoes, was forced to carry sandbags, stand against a wall, run on the drill ground, do push-ups, jump like a frog, walk like a duck and stand in sweltering heat; the perpetrators choked me and hit my face until my front teeth were broken; they force-fed me, pulled my ears, hit and broke my nose; they hit me with spiked clubs and jammed their knees into my sides; they starved me and forced me to squat. I was emaciated and was force-fed three times (twice the force-feeding caused hemorrhaging and I was rushed to the emergency room). I was on the brink of death. More than 50 different perpetrators personally tortured me. When they sent me home, one perpetrator said to me, "Zhang Hongxu, you probably only weigh 50 jin [55 lbs] now."

1. Twice arrested and sent to labor camp; the whole family suffers persecution

On July 20, 1999, Jiang Zemin and the CCP started persecuting Falun Gong. I felt I had to speak the truth, "Falun Dafa is good." On the afternoon of July 20, I took my newly born baby, my five-day-old daughter Zhang Yuanyuan, and went to the Xuetianwan Auditorium in Chongqing City to appeal. After I returned home, I was arrested twice in July and was sent to a labor camp each time.

At the appeal, it was raining, but many Falun Gong practitioners were there. The government refused to give us a clear response. In the evening, a dozen of us went to a local practitioner's home. About 15 minutes after we arrived, two male police officers broke in and interrogated me. They tried to arrest me. Fellow practitioners all said, "We are all good people." They took one practitioner's ID number before they left.

On the morning of December 19, 1999, three police officers including Li Hengyi from the No. 1 Section of the Tongnan Police Department and Zeng Zhiping from the No. 1 Police Station came to my home and tricked me into going to the police department. Zhong Ming, Deputy Head of the No. 1 Section said, "We'll fine you 200 yuan for practicing Falun Gong, or we'll detain you for 15 days." In the afternoon, Zhang Liang, the head of No. 1 Section not only asked me to hand money over to them but also told me to write a guarantee statement. I refused, and Zhang Liang said to me at the section office, "Zhang Hongxu, next time I'll have you arrested and sent to a labor camp." Later, Zhang Liang called a 110 Emergency Dispatch Police Car to take me away and I was detained me for 15 days. I was released on January 2, 2000.

About three months before my arrest, on September 14, my mother Ms. Fu Ruxian and my fifth aunt Ms. Fu Rufen set off on a trip to Beijing to appeal for justice for Falun Dafa. Zhang Liang arrested them at the Chongqing Train Station. Then they were brought back to Tongnan County and were detained for 35 days. The police extorted over 8,650 yuan from them. On the fifth day after my arrest, December 24, my mother-in-law Ms. Fu Ruhuan and my aunt were arrested in Tiananmen Square. The police struck my mother-in-law's head and violently kicked my aunt's chest. On the evening of December 26, my aunt and mother-in-law were held at the Tongnan Detention Center. On January 10, 2000, my aunt was one of the first in a group of Falun Gong practitioners to be sent to forced labor. One month later, my mother-in-law was transferred to a drug rehabilitation center and was released in early June 2001.

Within two months of my release, on the morning of February 29, 2000, police officers Li Hengyi, Zeng Zhiping and Liu Yong broke into my home and took me to the police department. Zhang Liang asked me, "Zhang Hongxu, are you still practicing Falun Gong?" I said, "Of course I am; why wouldn't I practice since Falun Gong is so wonderful?" Zhang Liang cursed me and ordered Liu Yong to record my words; then he sent me to a custody center to be detained for an open-ended time, without any due process. They didn't inform my family. My wife Wu Yongmei asked many people about my whereabouts before finally learning that I was being held at a custody center. She was not allowed to visit me.

On the afternoon of April 9, the custody center head Liu Zhongming told me to pack my things, and Zhang Liang's subordinates sent me to a detention center. Zhang Liang insisted on sentencing me to forced labor. On the morning of April 10, fellow practitioner Ms. Huang Xiuqiong, wife of the deputy head of the Tongnan County Court and practitioner Dai Xiaorong were sent to a labor camp in Chongqing City. The three of us were the second group of practitioners in Tongnan County to be sent to forced labor. At the time, my mother-in-law was being held at a drug rehabilitation center and my aunt was being held at a custody center. My unemployed wife and my nine-month-old daughter were left at home alone. Five months later, my sixth aunt Fu Rufang was again arrested and sentenced to one year of forced labor.

The first group of Dafa practitioners from Tongnan County were sent to forced labor on January 10, 2000. They were: Zhou Jian, Wei Xiaojun, Liao Xiaoying, Cao Hui, Fu Rufen, and Wang Jianguo. Wei Xiaojun and Cao Huiwere sent to forced labor on two occasions. Right now, Zhou Jian, Fu Rufen and Wang Jianguo are living in exile to avoid recapture and persecution. Wei Xiaojun was sentenced to seven years in prison.

2. Xishanping Forced Labor Camp: The So-Called "Drill" is Torture

On the afternoon of April 10, 2000, I was sent to the group drill exercise field at the No. 11 Team of the Xishanping Forced Labor Camp. Right after we got off the bus, six inmates on duty and the guard on duty screamed at us, "Squat and put your arms around your head!" They beat and kicked us whenever we didn't do something exactly as they wanted. The inmates searched me and threw my things on the ground. They took one bag of detergent, one bar of soap, four ballpoint pens, three pencil leads and one notebook from me. The guards didn't stop them. The inmates then took me to the No. 7 Cell and forced me to say, "reporting" on entering the door. The No. 11 Team is used to torture Dafa practitioners and it is also the "exemplary" team at the labor camp that is inspected by government officials. Newly arrived practitioners are tortured there.

The guards and inmates shouted, "We have 108 kinds of 'medicine' here at the Xishanping Labor Camp, so we can fix any problem." They meant that they could break any detainee's spirit by using 108 kinds of torture and would cause injury using these torture methods if the detainee didn't obey the guards. They named some of the tortures after Chinese medicines such as the Chuanxiong Rhizome, and also others: fritillaria, lotus through the chest, kick-flower soup, peanuts, dumpling, spicy chicken, hot pepper, small cell, fist combination, slapping, forced sitting and standing, starvation, riding an airplane, etc. For the "lotus seed " torture, we were first forced to stand up straight while the perpetrators violently struck our chests with their fists. They kept counting the number of times they struck us; each strike was called "one time through the chest." After that we were forced into the "bent over" position. In this torture, the perpetrators jumped up and elbowed our spines with brute force, and each strike was called a fritillaria. [Translator's note: The pronunciations of these "medicines" are similar to "penetrating one's chest," "penetrating one's heart," etc. The perpetrators were making fun of the victims by using the pun, which was to name the torture method after these herbs.]

The bent over position meant our heels were touching and we were bent at a 90-degree angle. Our fingers reached down to our toes (sometimes we folded our arms on the back of our necks). We were not allowed to bend our knees although our legs were touching each other. We were forced to stay in this position for hours at a time. To make it more agonizing, the perpetrators sometimes forced us to hold a book between our legs and sometimes they put a glass of water on our heads. If the book fell or the water spilled, we were beaten and kicked.

When arriving at the cell, the inmate on duty shouted, "Stand up! Bend over!" Right after we bent over, five inmates barged in and took turns hitting my chest. Zhang Bojun hit me ten times and nearly knocked the wind out of me. Chu Ming hit me twice with even greater force. They forced me to stay in the bent position for 30 minutes after the beating.

Several bumps as well as swelling appeared on my back, and later the skin turned black and blue. I couldn't straighten my back for two months. I felt pain when walking and sleeping. The next day Zhang Bojun came in and asked, "Who still practices Falun Gong?" I said, "I do." He struck my chest and the skin on my chest turned black and blue. I had chest pain for three days. In May 2001, Chu Ming struck practitioner Chen Shuangfei's chest seven times. Chen Shuangfei's face turned pale and he had difficulty breathing.

About 17 people are held in each cell. Each cell contains six metal double-bunk beds. The cells are very crowded and only the hallway remains clear. One bunk is used for storage, and it is also where the toilet bucket is placed. We had to defecate and urinate in the bucket. Falun Gong practitioners usually shared bunks and were only allowed to sleep on a lower bunk because it was easier for the perpetrators to monitor the practitioners this way.

The guards "drilled" us. They forced us to squat, bend over, stand, sit and march during the first ten days. We squatted, sat (on small stools) and stood in military posture. While sitting, we had to have our feet and knees close together; our calves vertical to the floor and our fingers together and placed on our knees; we had to keep our backs and necks straight, our eyes had to look straight ahead; we couldn't close our eyes or speak; we had to stay in this rigid posture for hours without the slightest movement or we would be beaten and kicked. We walked various military marches incessantly for hours. We stood in military posture for one hour at a time. My weight dropped to around 40 jin [54 lbs.]. The inmates on duty were in charge of drilling us and the guards only sat outside their office. Sometimes we didn't even see them.

In June 2000, the guards took practitioner Jiang Zaihong's Dafa books, and more than 20 practitioners held a group hunger strike in protest. Two days later the guards sent the practitioners to different groups. Practitioner Cao Xianlu and I were sent to a shoe-making workshop at the No. 12 Team. I was sent to Workshop 5 and Cao Xianlu was held at Workshop 3. The team leader, in his 40s, is nicknamed Steel Chen. He is well known for his insidiousness and cruelty. A group of inmates sentenced to forced labor, who were held at the Xishanping Forced Labor Camp before 2001, were taken elsewhere. The inmates on duty in the No. 12 Team included Liu Song from Chongqing City, who is in his 30s, Wu Yong in his 20s, and Wang Xiaochun from Shapingba who is about 30 years old.

The next day a fellow practitioner and I got up at 3:00 a.m. and did the Dafa exercises. Inmate Liu Song saw us and made us stay outside, where lots of mosquitoes swarmed, until dawn. From then on, six guards would ask us each day, "Will you still do the exercises tonight?" We always said, "Yes." We were forced to stand until 11:00 p.m. If they saw us doing the exercises at 3:00 a.m. they would force us to stand until breakfast. We were tortured this way for one month. One day in June, Steel Chen stopped practitioner Cao Xianlu at the restroom and stripped him of his clothes to expose him to the mosquitoes.

In the daytime we were forced to walk a military march and carry sandbags, each weighing 300 jin [150 kg/approximately 320 lbs]. The guards issued orders and the inmates carried them out. At first, Cao Xianlu and I were forced to carry the sandbags and walk around the basketball court eight times. After we were discovered doing the Falun Gong exercises, we were forced to carry a bag around the court 18 times. We were then forced to stand against a wall with the tip of our nose, our chest and toes touching the wall for long periods of time. We stood until 11:00 p.m. Steel Chen would scream at us if we didn't stand upright.

Because of the grubby condition at the labor camp, many bedbugs bred freely and bit us. Their bites caused redness, swelling, itching, pain and other symptoms, similar to scabies. The lesions they cause don't heal for many days and oftentimes new bites lay on top of old ones, sometimes causing ulceration and infection.

While I was in the No. 12 Team, my whole body developed scabies that caused unbearable itching. The more I scratched, the more they itched. They first grew on my lower body and under my nails; then they spread to my abdomen, thighs and the rest of my body. Pea-sized white pus exudations were all over my body and increased in number and proximity. A hole would appear if I scratched the pus. In the end, I did not have a single spot of intact skin on my body. Usually we were tortured for several months, half a year or longer. After the scabies healed, finger-sized black scars would remain. Many practitioners including Liu Wenxue, Zhou Jian and Xie Jin had scabies. Whoever was to sit on a stool used by someone who has scabies can get it, as it is highly contagious.

Chongqing City summers are known for their scorching heat. The ground temperature in Chongqing reached 400 C [1040 Fahrenheit]. When standing, pus, blood, sweat and yellow fluid seeped down my legs. My pants formed a hard crust against my legs, and some areas festered so severely, they left thumb-sized holes in my legs. Even now I have many scars on my legs. My legs were so swollen that the inmates called them elephant legs. I couldn't fit my feet into the slippers. The swelling went down slowly in late July but the scabies remained.

After my feet became swollen, they forced me to carry the sandbags and circle the court 20 times, sometimes 25 times. I faltered and the muscles on my shoulders turned black and hurt terribly when touched. Once, Steel Chen saw me doing the Falun Gong exercises at 3:00 a.m. He forced the other four detainees in my cell to carry sandbags and walk around the court four times along with me, in order to incite hatred against me. They tortured me this way until late July.

Soon after I arrived at the No. 12 Team, Liu Song shouted my name when I went to the restroom. When I came out of the restroom he violently struck my chest and I saw stars. I held my chest and squatted. My chest hurt and I had difficulty breathing. I almost passed out from the pain.

On August 10, 2000 the central Chinese Communist Party (CCP) government issued orders to "reform" Falun Gong practitioners. Cao Xianlu and I were transferred back to the No. 11 Team where we were abused and persecuted even more severely. Cao Xianlu was not allowed to attend his father's funeral, even though drug addicts' same requests were approved. Group head Xu Guangfu, deputy group head Le Kejin and guards Liu Qidou, Li Yong and Tian Xiaohai were especially vicious in persecuting the practitioners. Tian Xiaohai was later promoted to be the deputy head of the No. 11 Team and specialized in persecuting Falun Gong practitioners. After a Strictly Controlled Team was established to persecute practitioners, Xu Guangfu remained at the No. 11 Team; the other guards were transferred to the Education Division.

I was forced to run around the perimeter of the basketball court 100 times a day, do 75 push-ups and stand in military posture for one hour. Moreover, I was also forced to jump like a frog, do high-steps and waddle like a duck. Sometimes I was forced to stand motionless under the sun for one hour. The concrete ground was very hot in mid-August. In May 2001, practitioner Xiao Zeju in his 60s fainted after standing on the ground in 380 C (approximately 900 F) heat for one hour.

It should be noted that the inmates on duty are usually drug addicts. Their privileges include better food, sentence reductions, contact with the outside and access to extra food, alcohol and even illicit drugs. Drug abuse is prevalent among the inmates on duty. The guards use and protect them. The guards at the No. 11 Team let the inmates carry out almost all of their orders and the head inmates rule over the other inmates from dawn to dusk. The guards rarely issue orders themselves. The inmates in charge are sometimes related to the guards, and some have bribed the guards. Inmate Long Haibo, around 30 years of age, was sentenced to forced labor for using drugs. From 2001 to 2002, he was in charge of the No. 11 Team and is the nephew of Xu Guangfu, the head of the No. 11 Team. Zeng Qingliang, 20 years old, lives in Qinggang, Bishan, Chongqing City. He was sentenced to forced labor for robbery. He was the head inmate at Group 2 of the Education Division in 2002, and is related to Lei Kejin (or Lei Keji), a guard at the Education Division. Other inmates are not allowed to report to the guards directly but only through the head inmates. They would be punished for "skipping over" if they tried to talk to the guards directly. The head inmates extort money and other things from the other inmates and often used physical and verbal abuse to control them. Their persecution of Falun Gong practitioners reveals their nature, but they also follow the guard's orders. They, too, are afraid of being sent to the production group for "poor performance."

The Civil Administration Committee that exists at the labor camp is a fa├žade that the labor camp uses to fool the detainees' families. The perpetrators claim this committee is made up of detainees who monitor and report unlawful incidents at the labor camp. The guards make up a list of "Members of the Civil Administration Committee" many of whom are head inmates. Sometimes they also write down Falun Gong practitioners' names while in fact the practitioners are deprived of all personal rights and are followed and monitored everywhere they go.

(To be continued)