Falun Dafa Minghui.org www.minghui.org PRINT

How I Escaped Death at Shandong Province No. 2 Women's Forced Labor Camp (Photo)

November 27, 2010 |   By Chen Zhenbo

(Clearwisdom.net) My name is Chen Zhenbo. I was illegally arrested on December 25, 2008 after being reported to the authorities while handing out fliers about Falun Gong. I was held at the Shandong Province No. 2 Women's Forced Labor Camp for one and a half years. In attempts to "reform" me, labor camp officials used mental and physical torture on me. The torture made me disabled, and I was carried home on July 2, 2010.

I discussed the brutal torture, in particular the three rounds of savage beatings, in an article titled "Disabled As a Result of Repeated Beatings and Torture: Personal Account of the Horrific Persecution Endured by Ms. Chen Zhenbo." (http://www.clearwisdom.net/html/articles/2010/8/20/119384.html) I now write to expose other methods the labor camp used on me to make me suffer, while keeping me alive.

Photo taken after Ms. Chen Zhenbo was taken back home

Guards Stealthily Added Drugs into the Meager Amount of Food I Was Provided

During the two months of being subjected to three rounds of brutal beatings, and the seven days when I was handcuffed to a window, camp officials provided meager food rations that barely sustained me. Most days they offered me one meal, but sometimes I had to endure several days without any food. When the single steamed bun and few pieces of vegetables were delivered to the restroom or the office where I was held, the monitors (detainees assigned to watch over me) only gave me a small bite of the bun, and they ate the vegetables.

I was already skin and bones before they handcuffed me to a window. I sensed they had added some unknown substances to my food because my hands and arms turned blue, my lips swelled, and my head spun after every time I ate something. My whole body ballooned in just one night. I felt like I was about to die. I told detainee Wang Fuqin that the guards probably intended to poison me to death.

My suspicion was confirmed not long after. Once I asked for dough twists (a kind of Chinese-style fried dough). Right after I ate a bite of what I was given, I felt numb, swollen, and lacked strength. My face, hands, and feet turned dark several days later. I felt my lips swelling, my nostrils were swollen, and I had difficulty breathing. My swollen feet couldn't fit into my slippers. Cellmate Liu Hailan, a convicted robber, ate two of my twists and developed the same symptoms.

Since the swelling persisted, the guards kept me in the restroom or the office, so other detainees couldn't see me. If I had to get out, I was made to wait until everyone went to the workshop, or after they lay down to sleep. Two monitors had to accompany me.

After a few days, deputy director Zhao Lili suddenly offered to make red bean soup for me. She had me drink her soup twice in three days. My swelling abruptly disappeared. I had no idea what drugs she put into the soup.

After the third round of brutal beatings, the guards kept me in a consultation room. By then I was no longer able to walk. Zhao Wenhui and newly appointed team lead Xia Li ordered I be given one third of a regular sized steamed bun with a little vegetable soup at every meal. I didn't get enough to eat for about six months.

On the eve of the 2010 Chinese New Year, Team Two gathered all detainees for a meeting in the conference room, right next to the consultation room where I was held. I used all my might and shouted "Falun Dafa is good." Since the two rooms were adjacent, they heard it very clearly. Liu Yulan immediately rushed in and gave me two steamed buns. About two months before my release, they finally began to offer me enough food to eat.

The Guards Forbade Me to Clean Myself for Long Periods

I was forbidden to clean myself even once, for 117 days, from the day of my arrest, December 25, 2008, to the end of the second round of brutal beatings on April 19, 2009. I was extremely smelly and filthy.

One day in June 2009, Zhao Lili suddenly agreed to have me clean myself and ordered Wang Qian to bring in a basin half full of water. But even before I had a chance to scrub myself, Xu Jin claimed time was up. She kicked the basin over; water went everywhere in the office.

When the third round of beatings ended in mid-August 2009, Zhao Lili said I could wash my hair. Detainee Xue Lianxi brought a half basin of water, only to have Xu Jin knock it over. The second night Xu Jin supplied me only enough water to clean my upper body.

During the one and half years of my detention, they never allowed me to wash myself in the washroom or the bathroom, nor did they allow me to wash my dirty clothes. My underwear became extremely filthy during my menses. I had no choice but to change into used underwear left by people who were already released. Detainee Hou Baoqin swapped her pants with me when a monitor stepped out for a moment. When I took off my pants, the skin that shed from my legs formed a thick layer on the floor.

One winter day in 2009, when inmate and monitor Zhang Xiaoli was sleeping, I turned on the tap water to wash my hair. The sound awoke her, and she reported me to Xia Li. When she came back in, she turned the water off when my hair was still full of soap.

When I requested to wash my hair the day before my release, Xia Li initially refused but changed her mind when she had her video camera ready. It turned out she and Song Min secretly filmed me washing my hair. I pressed one hand against the bottom of the basin to support myself, using the other hand to lather my hair. Occasionally I rubbed my head with both hands.

After I returned home disabled, my husband filed a complaint with the Shandong Province Forced Labor Education Bureau, which then sent an investigation team to the labor camp. After spending five days there, the team reached the conclusion that I was never beaten, and that I was not disabled. The evidence they cited to validate the investigation team's findings was the secretly filmed video of me lathering my hair, using both hands.

The Guards Forbade Me to Clip My Nails

Since I had not been able to clip my nails for more than two months, I asked detainee Su Xiuhui in May to report this to the guards and get me a nail clipper. Xia Li was sitting at a desk and said no, without even raising her head. Eight days later I asked another detainee, Liu Changai, to make a second request for me. The next morning I was finally able to clip my nails.

The Guards Cut Off My Communication with My Family

During the one and half years of my detention, camp officials denied me family visitation. When my daughter and two of her classmates came to visit me in January 2009, Zhao Lili said, "You can't see her without a letter from your local 610 Office." My husband came in September 2009. Zhao told him, "Because of the H1N1 epidemic, you need permission from the provincial government." My younger brother and my parents' requests to see me were also denied numerous times. Zhao told my family that no visitation was allowed if I refused to give up my belief. She also refused to let my husband talk to me on the phone. The whole time of my detention they only mailed one letter I wrote, asking my family to send in money to treat one of my injured cervical vertebrae as a result of the brutal beatings. The rest of the letters I wrote to my parents, husband, and daughter were confiscated because the camp simply wanted to sever my communication with my family.

My husband sent me a letter in June 2009, but by August Zhao Lili still claimed she had not received it. My husband then sent another one with the same contents via certified mail. Zhao didn't tell me until September, "We got the letter. It happened to be stuck at the bottom of the mailbox." Xu Jin snatched away this 5,000-word, eight-page letter after 5-6 minutes, before I was able to finish reading. She later told me, "I've read this letter numerous times and also shared it with everybody." In this way they violated my privacy and right to communication.

The Guards Ordered Me to Do Hard Labor Despite My Paralysis

When I arrived at the labor camp in January 2009, everyone had to get up at 5:30 a.m. and was given only 3 minutes to wash their faces and brush their teeth. We normally worked 16 hours a day, with only five minutes for lunch and two minutes for a toilet break. Sometimes we had to stay up all night to meet deadlines. This schedule was not changed until October 2009 when there was a camp inspection. But the newly adopted 8-hour work schedule only lasted a few days. As soon as the inspectors left we went to a 12-hour workday. Such heavy workloads resulted in injuries to the older people's backs, and deformity of several younger people's fingers. Since the electronic products we worked on contained toxic substances, more than two thirds of us had itchy skin with red bumps. Zhong Yuhua, one of the inmates who had asthma, had great difficulty breathing, and her face was swollen.

After the second round of brutal beatings, my spine, ribs, and lumbar vertebrae were injured. The spine was so much out of alignment that my head was out of place, always turned to the left. My teeth didn't line up for a while, and it was hard to chew and swallow. I placed a roll of toilet paper between my shoulder and my head to support it. For almost a year, my head was tilted like this until I had to lie down and couldn't get up.

The guards still had monitors watch me when half of my body was already numb. They beat me when I refused to do hard labor. Since I my left hand had no feeling and didn't work properly, I had to hold the yarn in my teeth while using my right hand to get the job done. When I failed to finish the assignment, they made sure I stayed up to complete the work. After two months of such grueling torment, all my bones hurt, and I often lost consciousness. In the beginning I moved around by holding onto a little stool. Later two people had to carry me around. In the end I couldn't move at all and lay on a wooden board for five months. At the time of my release, Xia Li, Li Xiuyun, and two other guards wrapped me up in a blanket and carried me out of the labor camp.

Reasons Why I Did Not Die at the Labor Camp

On February 4, 2010, just ten days shy of the Chinese New Year, I was an eyewitness to the beating death of Zhang Chengmei, one month after her arrival. She was a practitioner from Yeyuan Town, Linju County, Shandong Province who was in a cell just across from me.

I figured out that the following things helped me escape death, despite the brutal torture:

First, the torture I suffered was exposed on the Minghui website many times. "The World Organization to Investigate the Persecution of Falun Gong" issued an investigation report of my situation on April 1, 2010. Wang Qian and Xu Jin once told me, "Your case has been exposed online; and the guards' names were made known to the public." Xu Jin also revealed that Zhao Wenhui and Zhao Lili debated whether or not to still subject me to continuous beatings.

Second, all my family members were concerned about me, often called the labor camp and wrote letters to learn about my situation, which exerted some pressure on the labor camp.

Third, my husband has been working in a government organization for nearly 30 years and has developed some connections. As a result, the labor camp didn't dare to beat me to death.

Fourth, my daughter is studying in the United States, where her aunt is part of an upper-class family, with both her husband and father-in-law belonging to prominent international academic associations. If the guards beat me to death, they would be facing more pressure from the international community.

Lastly, my husband has a large extended family of more than 100 from the countryside, some of whom requested to see me in the labor camp. Guard Song Lijuan and other detainees had learned about our family background, so they were concerned about possible dire reactions should they be responsible for my potential death.

Zhao Lili once tried to persuade my husband to divorce me, but he refused. When the guards didn't dare to beat me to death but were afraid I would expose their crimes, they plotted to send me to a mental hospital. But my family firmly refused, so their plot was averted. After I was released, one local 610 Office head asked my husband if I had mental problems, which my husband firmly denied.