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Falun Gong Practitioners Subjected to Forced Labor in Tianshui Prison, Tianshui City, Gansu Province

March 13, 2009 |  

(Clearwisdom.net) Tianshui Prison, located in Tianshui City, Gansu Province, holds about 1,700 prisoners. The prison is divided into five sections, with each assigned to a different labor task. The prisoners held in the first section produce blankets and forge metal, the second section makes wigs, the third manufactures lathes, the fourth produces blankets and the fifth constructs buildings to expand the labor camp. In addition to these sections there is the Re-education Section, the Health Section, the Internal Discipline Section and the so-called Anti-Cult Section. Prisoners held in the Re-education Section are relatively better educated, so they are assigned to give classes to other prisoners. Prisoners from the Internal Discipline Section are in charge of patrolling and security. The Health Section contains prisoners from the prison clinic, elderly and disabled prisoners, and prisoners in charge of cooking.

The "Anti-Cult" Section is unique to Tianshui Prison. It is in this section that Falun Gong practitioners are relentlessly abused. Falun Gong practitioner Mr. Liu Zhirong was beaten to death in Tianshui Prison, and this was witnessed by some inmates. A prison guard made a direct kick to one of Mr. Liu's ears and he died immediately. However, prison officials announced that Mr. Liu had committed suicide (see http://www.clearwisdom.net/emh/articles/2006/5/31/73944.html). Practitioner Xu Feng has been held in solitary confinement under close monitoring for five years. Prison officials lied, saying that Mr. Xu had some mental problems, but people around him knew that he was completely normal. Practitioners Tian Runhai and Yin Tianxiang said "Falun Dafa is good" out loud when they were sent to the prison, and for that the prison guards beat them so viciously that their faces were bloodied. Later on, the perpetrators said that they did it because the practitioners had tried to escape.

Prisoners from the five labor sections are forced to do heavy physical labor for more than 10 hours daily. They are not allowed to take a break, even on weekends. All prisoners are assigned working quotas that can only be filled by working day and night. If someone fails to fulfill his task he is not allowed to take a rest. The prison guards often shock prisoners with electric batons. They will shock a prisoner with several batons until the batteries run out.

Making blankets is the most primitive physical drudgery. The prisoners knit woolen blankets of all kinds of patterns, and the finished goods are exported abroad. This is a violation of international law, as products produced in prisons are not allowed for export. The work environment of the blanket section is extremely poor; the air is badly contaminated with wool debris. Many prisoners suffered from tuberculosis after several years of working here, but the prison has not taken any measures to protect the workers. The work environments of the metal forging section and the wig section are even worse, and extremely heavy labor is involved. Many guards force prisoners to produce more than their quota, because more products bring them more of a bonus at the end of the year. Because of excessive labor and mistreatment by prison guards, sudden death of prisoners happens frequently.

The quality of food is also extremely poor. Prisoners receive three meals a day but it is always vegetables boiled with plain water. Throughout the years, the only vegetables given have been potatoes and cabbage. During the winter of 2007, the prison stored a large amount of potatoes. Because of such a long storage time the potatoes germinated, but the prisoners were still given them to eat. Fearing that the germinated and rotten potatoes might be poisonous, a prisoner in charge of cooking even requested to change his prison work because he could be implicated if someone died.