A Battle of Life and Death—Former Education Official Recounts Her 10-Year Force-Feeding Ordeal in Prison (Photos) (Part 2)
(Minghui.org) This is the second part of Ms. Li Yushu's personal account of the horrific abuses she suffered in Heilongjiang Women's Prison for practicing Falun Gong. In the first part, Ms. Li recalled the force-feeding that she was subjected to throughout a ten-year hunger strike she held to protest the abuse of Falun Gong practitioners in the prison.
Below, Ms. Li recounts the other forms of torture she endured in the prison between 2005 and her release in 2014.
Cold, Damp Torture Cells (February 2005)
In February 2005, Yan Yuhua, division head of the No. 9 Ward, came to my cell. She said, “It's almost Chinese New Year. If you stay on your hunger strike, we're going to take you to the small cells. You have one day to think this over.” The next day, they followed through with their threat.
There were five such “small cells,” each holding several practitioners. They were cold and damp. The only heaters were in the hallway, and water from the heaters leaked from the ceiling and flooded the floor. Even the beds and quilts were wet.
Practitioners in the No. 3 cell recited Master Li's lectures to me. Because I had been held in isolation for a long time, being able to study the Fa was a precious opportunity. However, the guards transferred me to the No. 1 cell, where I couldn't hear those practitioners. When I started loudly reciting Master Li's poems in Hong Yin, the inmates assigned to monitor me tried to stop me. They shut the door to my cell.
This cell was a torture chamber fitted with rings on the floor. My hands and feet were shackled to the ring such that I sat bending forward and could not move. I endured this painful position for long periods of time, with the minutes going by agonizingly slow. The guards didn't release me from this position even at night, and each morning they first checked whether I was dead.
I was tortured in the small cell for 40 days.
Guards Used Family to Pressure Me (March 2005)
On March 14, 2005, guards and inmates took me to a mostly vacant building, where four inmates were assigned to monitor me. In this building, each floor held only a few people, and the doors and windows were covered with paper. No one was allowed to enter the building. Prisoners were held in isolation and not allowed to communicate with one another.
My older brother was called in by the prison authorities. They pressured him to sign a waiver releasing the prison from responsibility in case of my death. He refused. The guards also attempted to produce falsified documents and videos. In case I was killed during force-feeding or related complications, they could use these falsified materials to blame me. I refused to cooperate with them in producing such documents.
A few days later, prison officials brought in my husband and my son in the hopes that they could talk me out of practicing Falun Gong. I explained to them why I stayed on my hunger strike. They understood and did not pressure me to give in. I was grateful for their understanding.
Inmate Shang Xiaomei said to me on April 13, 2005, “You have to cooperate with us. If you die in the middle of force-feeding, it will be because you refuse to cooperate.” Of course, I refused this demand and instead wrote a note saying that if I died from force-feeding, it was because of their barbaric abuse.
Other Forms of Torture During Force-Feeding (2005-2006)
On June 2, 2005, Zhao Huihua, the vice president of the prison hospital, saw the brutal torture during my force-feeding and did nothing. Wang Xinhua tried to pierce my tongue with a chopstick, and used so much force that the chopstick broke. She then used the sharp spikes on a broken half to pierce into my tongue. Blood gushed out and ran all the way to the ground. Wang used toilet paper to soak up the blood.
The next day, my tongue and mouth ached. However, they continued to force-feed me. It was so painful that I was unable to resist the continued abuse. Reflecting on the scene several years later, even Shang Xiaomei, the vicious inmate involved in my abuse, admitted, “It was a battle of life and death!”
It was indeed a miracle that I survived such abuse from inmates instigated by the Communist regime's prison officials. It was a miracle only because of my firm belief in Falun Gong.
During that period, the inmates had reduced the frequency of force-feeding. Every two or three days, they would force-feed just a little liquid food. Shang Xiaomei sometimes appeared to worry about my survival. She checked my blood pressure, which read only 50-60 mmHg.
They couldn't even perform a blood test because there was not enough blood pressure in my veins. Shang said to me, “You won't make it this time.” Adamant that I did not get enough liquid food, Wang Xinhua wrongly attributed my staying alive to drinking water in secret. By then, my weight was down to 60 pounds. Yet, the torture never let up.
In 2012, the amount they force-fed me was reduced again for a month. The inmates talked the guards into force-feeding me just a little food every other day. Still, I refused to give in and often shouted, “Falun Dafa is good!”
Brainwashing, Sleep Deprivation and Stretching Torture (Early 2006)
One day, Zhao Yingling, the president of the prison hospital, told Xiang Shufen to read to me propaganda vilifying Falun Gong. I refused to listen and recited Hong Yin poems instead. Xiang stormed out. Officials then brought in Wang Xinhua and other inmates to brainwash me.
They played video tapes slandering Falun Gong and its founder. To force me to watch, they tied my hands to the back of the chair. The television set was only a foot and a half from me and played at the maximum volume. For a month, I was forced to watch the videos from 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.
Soon, an escalated round of abuse started.
Returning from the guards' office, the inmates told me, “You must eat and wear the uniform. You must give up practicing Falun Gong and obey orders from the guards. Otherwise, you're not allowed to sleep.”
On my third day without sleep, I kept falling to the ground when sitting on a small stool. Wang Xinhua sprayed cold water on my face to keep me awake. My clothes were completely soaked.
On the fourth day, Xiao Lin, a section head from the 610 Office, made a visit. When I told him of the sleep deprivation, he cursed me and urged the inmates on.
Wang Xinhua also wrapped my body in duct tape and lifted me off the ground by my limbs. I felt suffocated, and my hands turned blue. One night, Wang told Shan Yuqin to tie me to the television stand so that if I fell over, the TV would crash down on me.
Xiang Shufen urged me, “You just have to sign your name and agree to these conditions. As soon as you sign it, you can go to sleep.”
On the sixth night, Wang taunted Shan and egged her on to attack me. Angered, Shan slapped my face a dozen times and pulled on my ears. Wang then joined in and hit the left side of my face with all the force she could muster. I felt as if my cheekbone had fractured. Others told me that my face was deformed. I looked in the mirror, and indeed the left and right sides of my face were uneven.
By then, I had been deprived of sleep for six nights.
On June 2, 2006, Xiang and Wang forced me to sit on a stool to listen to their reading propaganda materials. I refused to sit or listen.
On June 28, I was held in solitary confinement for the fourth time.
Beaten to the Brink of Death (Late 2006)
As a Dafa practitioner, I persisted in doing the Falun Gong exercises. Yuan Anfen, one of the two inmates assigned to watch me, asked the division head Yu Yingmin to assign more inmates to force me to comply. Yu brought in Wang Xinhua.
When I sent forth righteous thoughts, Wang jumped over and slapped me, knocking me onto the ground. I shouted “Falun Dafa is good!” Wang kept beating me while asking if I was going to stop shouting. Tired of using her hands, she started hitting my face and head with a clothes hanger until it broke.
The beating lasted for an hour. I felt as if my bones were all broken. The pain was hard to bear. Yuan returned and joined Wang. The two kept beating me until I passed out.
That night, my head ached, and I fell into and out of consciousness. It wasn't until the next morning, when I went to the bathroom, that I found waste in my pants. Bloody and deformed, my face looked terrible.
Wang did everything she could to prevent others from finding out about my severe injuries. She watched me closely and did not allow even guards to come in, so that no one would know I had lost consciousness and was on the brink of death.
I continued to shout. When Yuan was not around, Wang would bend my arms and legs to their breaking point in order to make me promise not to tell others about her beatings. I told her plainly that I would not keep my mouth shut.
One day, she grabbed my arm and threatened, “Are you still going to tell others I beat you? If you do, I will break your arms and legs right now!” She also held me upside down to humiliate me. One winter evening, Wang dragged me into the restroom and opened the window to blast me with cold air. When I recited Dafa teachings, Wang and Yuan would hold me down and stuff a towel in my mouth.
In July, the hospital president and the guard in charge of persecuting Falun Gong practitioners in the hospital ward came by my cell. Upon seeing injuries all over my face, they scolded me for insisting on practicing Falun Gong and not obeying prison orders, no matter what extreme measures they resorted to. Zhao hit my face with a book and yelled, “We're all enjoying life, yet you're suffering. Our force-feeding you is just to make you suffer...”
More Beatings (2007-2012)
In August 2007, guards gave restraining belts to inmates Cai Lin and Yan Anfen. Whenever I practiced the exercises,Yuan would tie me up with one. Because I was so emaciated, another inmate named Xiu Shufen had to make new holes in the belt to tighten it around me.
On August 9, I was taken the No. 13 Team in the hospital ward. I continued to do the exercises and send righteous thoughts. Cai Lin sat on top of me. With her 200 pounds pressing down, I could hardly breathe. Cai then started beating me viciously.
Even some inmates thought it was too much and tried to talk Cai out of it. Ignoring their pleas, Cai grabbed me and threw me to the ground. New lumps formed all over my head, and new bruises appeared on my body before the old ones were gone.
Editor's note: Ms. Li stayed on her hunger strike throughout these years. Earlier reports detailed her plight between 2007 and 2011:Report covering years 2007-2009:Ms. Li Yushu Brutally Tortured in Heilongjiang Women's Prison
Report covering years 2010-2011Ms. Li Yushu Brutally Beaten by Inmates in Heilongjiang Women's Prison
Report covering year 2011Ms. Li Yushu Tortured Daily in Heilongjiang Women's Prison (Photos)
In March 2012, I was taken to the hospital ward, where a division head named Zhao Xiaofan ordered inmates to dress me in a prisoner uniform and keep me tied up.
On July 11, Dai Ying, another division head, showed up in my cell with a group of thugs. They dug through all of my personal belongings and took away copies of articles written by the founder of Falun Gong. They wrote the word “criminal” on my clothes and gave orders that Falun Gong practitioners were not allowed to use the restroom at the same time.
Other inmates also had to use the restroom at designated times. Basically, the rules of the “intensive transformation” division were applied to the hospital ward.
I defied these restrictions by meeting with other practitioners in the washroom. Other times, I went directly to their cells. Inmates often dragged me out. When the guards came on duty every day, I shouted to them, “Falun Dafa is good!”
One day, Dai Ying called Zhao Lina, an inmate leader, to her office and scolded, “If I ever hear Li Yushu shouting or see copies of Falun Gong articles, everyone in the inmate group would have their good behavior credits reduced.”
When Zhao relayed Dai's orders, the other inmates went crazy. They searched through my belongings and tore apart my quilts. They wrote the word “criminal” on my personal items before they held me on the ground, taped my mouth shut, and stomped on me. Zhao wrapped tape around my body and lifted me off the floor.
I picked that night's roll call to demonstrate resistance to this new round of persecution. The nightly roll call was carried out by Zheng Jie, chief of the prison affairs section. Inmates were intimated by Zheng. One was scolded for simply not replying loudly enough.
I shouted “Falun Dafa is good!” Anxious to curry the guards' favor, other rushed to beat me. Shao Zhongran and Zhao Lina slapped me as hard as they could while holding me down on the bed.
Family Visits Denied for Refusing to Wear Uniform (2012)
In March 2012, division head Zhao Xiaofan ordered inmates to dress me in the inmate uniform and tie me up with tape.
Bai Yingxian, head of the prison, came to inspect room 310. During her inspection, Li Rongli slapped me in the face. A dozen inmates then rushed in to put the uniform on me. I struggled and fell off the bed. Gao Fuyan stomped on my calf, twisted and pinched the inside of my legs, pulled my hair, and hit my head on the bed frame.
This went on for several months. Because I refused to wear the uniform, my family was not allowed to visit me. Some relatives in their seventies and eighties traveled hundreds of miles to the prison, but never got to see me during those twelve years.
Shouting “Falun Dafa Is Good!” While Held in Isolation (2013)
In August 2013, I was locked in solitary confinement for the seventh time for frequently shouting, “Falun Dafa is good!” Three officials took me to the in-patient section of the prison hospital, where several practitioners had been held for over a year. By then, my quilt was torn apart, and my clothes were gone. Hao Danjun, an inmate assigned to watch me, cursed and slapped me at will.
Hao and other inmates also forbade me to use the restroom. To counter this abuse, I often shouted, “It's illegal to set up this small cell and persecute kindhearted people!”
I demanded to meet with the inspectors stationed in the prison to expose this lawless act. An inmate Wang Weiqi poured water all over me and slapped me in the face as hard as she could. I continued to shout, and she did not stop hitting me until she was exhausted.
The head of the prison and higher officials often visited the hospital ward. Because my shouting exposed their illegal acts, the guards did not want me to be held there for long. One day, they took me to the No. 11 Group.
When I saw other Falun Gong practitioners there and had a word with them, a guard surnamed Wang immediately ordered inmates to drag me away. When they slammed my head into the ground, I started bleeding. I was carried to the hospital ward and received five stitches.
Even on the day of my release on May 18, 2014, guards force-fed me. A week later, half of my body became paralyzed, as did the lower half of my face. I couldn't see or hear clearly, and my body was swollen. I couldn't perform basic tasks like changing clothes and climbing into bed without assistance.
My family and friends suspected that the force-fed concoction contained harmful drugs.