Teacher Ms. Li Xiumin Detained in Psychiatric Ward at Hebei Province Women's Prison and Forced to Take Drugs
(Minghui.org) After Hebei Women's Prison was established in 2005, many Falun Gong practitioners who were previously detained at Hebei No. 2 Prison, Taihang Prison, Chengde Prison and Baoding Prison were moved there.
The persecution against these practitioners is extremely cruel and abusive, but because they all have been given long sentences, many details about the torture and abuse they've endured have not been fully exposed.
The Prison Structure
Hebei Women's Prison was designed around four concentric rings. The first ring is the section for offices, guard dorms and armed police officers' dorms. The second is a 5-meter high prison wall, covered with a high voltage grid. There are six watchtowers on the wall, and fully armed police officers keep watch in the towers 24 hours a day.
The family meeting rooms and workshops are located in the third ring. The fourth ring holds the prison hospital, canteen, solitary confinement cells, inmate cells, and the "Education Building". The gate between the first and second ring is called the No.1 Gate. A detainee can pass through this gate only when she is released. The gate between the third and fourth rings is the No. 2 Gate. Detainees go through this gate for family visits and work. Whenever they pass the No. 2 Gate, the detainees have to number off and be body searched.
The Prison Brainwashing Center
The brainwashing center used to be on the first floor of the "Education Building". Before 2010, officer Du Lijing of the Education Division was in charge of the Brainwashing Center, and the guards from other wards sometimes participated in the persecution of Falun Gong practitioners at the brainwashing center. Du Lijing's superior was Yu Fuqi, who was the deputy head of the prison, specifically in charge of the brainwashing and the persecution of Falun Gong practitioners. Another officer in charge was Lan Qizhi, who was transferred from Taihang Prison in 2005.
All Falun Gong practitioners who are sent to Hebei Women's Prison have to first go through the body search at the No. 2 Gate. Their clothes are abusively stripped off leaving them only in their underwear. Afterward they are sent to the "Ward for New/Releasing Inmates", where all their clothes are marked with the words "Women's Prison", and they are forced to wear the prison uniforms, to have their hair cut, memorize and recite the prison rules, do forced labor and participate in military drills. Some of the detainees stay there for a month, some have to stay there for six months.
Then, after the initial brainwashing period, the practitioners are assigned to different wards for long-term persecution. After 2010, the brainwashing center was moved into the Ward for New/Releasing Inmates. All practitioners who refuse to renounce their belief are subjected to further persecution there during the last six months before they are released. They are also subjected to one more session of brainwashing.
All detainees at the prison, including Falun Gong practitioners, have to do forced labor every day. The detainees are never given enough food – only a small piece of steamed bread and a piece of pickle for each meal. They are not even given enough water to drink, much less, water for washing and rinsing. Each detainee is only allowed one basin of cold water per week for everything: drinking and washing.
The sewing machines in the workshop keep running 24 hours nonstop. The detainees can only nap for a short while by laying their head on the machine plate when they get too sleepy, and then continue to work. Due to exhaustion, detainees have trouble focusing, and several of them have been injured when their fingers were pierced by sewing machine needles. Using the bathroom is difficult, and many have diarrhea. The only sound in the workshop are the sewing machines. Nobody talks, and the atmosphere is very tense.
To the prison administration, human life is less valuable than dirt. One elderly lady detained in the Eighth Ward was very capable. One day she felt unwell and asked to go to the hospital, but the guard refused, saying that she was pretending to be sick. Two days later she felt worse, and the guards angrily had to carry her to hospital. Shortly afterwards, she died.
Ms. Li Xiumin Subjected to Years of Persecution
By 2007, Ms. Li Xiumin, a teacher at Hebei Science and Technology University, had been detained in labor camps two times, five years total, for practicing Falun Gong. In May 2007, she was arrested again for talking to people about Falun Gong and the persecution.
After she was detained for more than eight months at the Shijiazhuang No. 2 Detention Center, she began to have severe pain in her temples, face and eyes as a result of being tortured. She could not see clearly. Even in her condition, Ms. Li was sentenced to five years of imprisonment in the Hebei Province Women's Prison.
On the first day, Ms. Li was sent to the Ward for New/Releasing Inmates. When the monitors tried to force her to recite the prison rules and to do forced labor, she refused. Ward head Fan Qingping talked with her twice. Ms. Li used the opportunity to clarify the truth to her, telling Fan Qingping how she benefited from the practice of Falun Gong , and told her how she witnessed more than 10 practitioners die as a result of the persecution. After hearing this, Fan Qingping said, "I will send you to be “transformed” immediately!"
In March 2008, Ms. Li was sent to the prison's brainwashing center. On the right side of the first floor of the so-called "Education Building" is the office of the head of the Brainwashing Center, Du Lijing. The hall is in the middle. Du Lijing checked all of Ms. Li Xiumin's clothes, and took the truth-clarification letter that she found in her pocket. Two cells and two empty rooms were on the left side, all with cameras installed. Practitioners who were “transformed” were kept in one cell, the practitioners being brainwashed were in another cell, and a group of monitoring inmates surrounded them. The practitioners being “transformed” and brainwashed were forced to sit in the empty rooms, from 6:00 a.m. to 11:45 p.m. Du Lijing talked to each of them, trying to find each practitioner's weak points in order to successfully “transform” her.
Ms. Li was held in the brainwashing center for over three months. The monitoring inmates always tried to confuse her into giving up Falun Gong but she was always able to see through their lies.
At that time, Ms. Li's eyesight worsened. She had severe pain in her eyes and temples, and had to keep her eyes closed. The monitoring inmates scolded her, claiming that she was pretending to be sick. Finally, Du Lijing and Lan Qizhi took her to the hospital. On the way there Ms. Li saw a practitioner shouting "Those who persecute Falun Gong will be punished by Heaven!" Afterward she heard that this practitioner was beaten.
After the examination in the hospital, the guards forced Ms. Li to keep sitting until 11:45 p.m. every day. One time, when deputy head of the prison Yu Fuqi made an inspection and went to the empty room where Ms. Li was sitting, Ms. Li told him that she could not stay up late due to the pain in her eyes. She was allowed to go to sleep at 10:00 that night, but the second night she was forced to sit until 11:45 p.m. again, with the excuse that she "had not been 'transformed'".
One month later, Ms. Li was transferred to another cell and assigned new monitoring inmates. There she experienced a new form of insult and persecution: when she was suffering severe pain, they still forced her to do heavy labor, for example, to clean the bathroom. Her abdomen was injured while she was being tortured, and it was extremely painful for her to bend down or squat. She had severe pain in her eyes. She also had pain and heavy bleeding during her menstrual periods, and sometime needed to use one roll of tissue (practitioners were not allowed to use sanitary napkins). In such a state, she still had to clean the two big water pools in the bathroom and to clean the toilet, which aggravated her pain.
Persecuted in the Psychiatric Ward
On May 30, 2008, Ms. Li was transferred to the "Ward for the Mentally Ill Inmates" – the psychiatric ward. This was a "prison-within-prison". There were 14 cells in this section. In each cell there were ten inmates, six or seven of whom were mentally ill, and three or four who were normal. Some inmates could not take care of themselves. Some could not even use the bathroom on their own, so all the cells reeked of human waste. Some inmates moved slowly and looked like walking ghosts, while some always tried to commit suicide or escape.
Detainees in this ward were abused by the guards. The yells, cries, sounds of beatings and electric shocks could be heard everywhere, at any time in the psychiatric section. The practitioners being tortured and “transformed” were detained among mentally ill detainees.
Ms. Li was forced to sit all day long, and was watched 24 hours a day. Even when she used the bathroom, somebody watched her and recorded the time and how long she took to use the bathroom.
During the first two days in the psychiatric section, Ms. Li could not fall asleep because of her severe pain. Section head Zhang Luhua took her to the prison hospital. The doctor described drugs used to treat mental illnesses. When Ms. Li refused to take them, Zhang Luhua was angry and forbade anyone to help her from then on.
The detainees were divided into three groups, subjected to various levels of control: rigorous control, normal control and loose control. Ms. Li was classified into "first grade rigorous control". In this category, monthly family visits, opportunities for shopping, calling and corresponding with family members could be deprived at any time.
Each time detainees' families visited, they were only allowed to talk for 30 minutes. A large glass partition separated them and they were monitored by the guards throughout the duration of the visit. The guards frequently ran out of the supervising room and yelled wildly at the detainees and their family members. One time, Ms. Li's son, who was studying in college in a distant city, came to visit his mother after he returned home for the winter holiday. They were only allowed ten minutes together. At the end of the visit, the son shouted, "Mom!" and he could do nothing but wave to his mother before leaving with tears in his eyes.
In July 2009, Ms. Li's mother passed away. Before that, Ms. Li's father asked the prison to allow his wife see their daughter for the last time. However, the prison refused. Overwhelmed with grief, Ms. Li's father developed heart disease and died. Ms. Li was unable to see her father for the last time either. During her five years of incarceration, besides the agonizing persecution in prison, Ms. Li also suffered the anguish of losing both her parents.
The guards also used other means to try to “transform” Ms. Li, including lying to her. They enticed other inmates to participate in helping “transform” her by offering them a six-month reduction of their sentence. They forced Ms. Li to watch TV, attend "classes", sing, play games, or even to be sad or happy, along with the mentally ill inmates.
Other Persecution Cases against Falun Gong Practitioners
Ms. Guo Xiuhua, a practitioner in her 60s, was imprisoned with her younger sister. Because she refused to be "transformed", she was beaten many times in front of the inmates. A monitor in her cell, Ji Kuanrui, often pinched her arms and inner thighs. As a result of being tortured, she sometimes could not walk but only crawl on the ground. Later she was locked in a solitary compartment for a long time.
Ms. Xie Xiugai, a practitioner from Hengshui City, was sentenced to ten years of imprisonment in 2001. She remained steadfast in her belief. In January 2008, when the Ward for Mentally Ill Inmates was founded, she was moved there. After she refused to wear the prison uniform, she was subjected to the torture, "tearing the limbs" (being dragged in four directions by four inmates holding onto her arms and legs). Several times she had symptoms of heart disease due to the tortures. In the summer of 2009, she was locked in a solitary compartment. The inmates cursed at her, insulted her, deprived her of sleep and food, limited her bathroom use, and fed her psychotropic drugs. During the last six months that she was detained, in early 2011, she was moved to the brainwashing center again for further brainwashing to force her to “transform”. But she never gave up her belief.
Two other practitioners were also persecuted in the Ward for Mentally Ill Inmates. They were forced to take psychiatric drugs three times a day. Afterwards, they had dull expressions and moved slowly. Other practitioners detained there included Wang Haiying, Zuo Junlian, Liu Ruilian, Wang Xiu, Hu Zhimei, He Lanhua, Chu Lianrong, Wang Yuhua, and others.
Ms. Wan Hongxia, a disabled practitioner, was sentenced to three years of imprisonment and was detained in the Eighth Ward. She developed a big lump on her neck which was diagnosed as cancer. She was sent to the hospital to receive oxygen several times a day, but the hospital refused to release her unless she signed her name to slanderous materials against Falun Gong. She refused to sign and the monitoring inmates forged her signature. When the prison finally released her, Ms. Wan was dying.
Some detainees who were non-practitioners but understood the truth were also persecuted. If they began to practice Falun Gong, they were tortured as well. They were locked up in solitary confinement cells and deprived of food.
Ms. A began practicing Falun Gong while she was detained in the Eighth Ward. Afterward, she was repeatedly beaten, shocked with electric batons, and subjected to other forms of torture. Once, while she was being shocked, she kept shouting, "Our Master is good!" "Falun Dafa is good!" until they stopped shocking her. Her mouth was shocked and her lips became seriously swollen.
Ms. A went on a hunger strike to protest the abuse. When she practiced the Falun Gong exercises in the cell, inmate Liu Fang grabbed her from the bed and threw her into the corridor. Later, Liu realized her mistake and apologized to Ms. A.
Ge Shuguang, head of the Educational Division, is directly responsible for the persecution of practitioners at Hebei Women's Prison. She directed the well-known horrific persecution of Falun Gong practitioner Chen Yanyu in Taihang Prison in 2000, after which she was transferred to Hebei Province Women's Prison. Ge Shuguang has never stopped her crimes and is still persecuting practitioners now.
We call on people who know what's going in Hebei Province Women's Prison to expose more details about the persecution taking place there.
Personnel responsible for the persecution: Head of Hebei Women's Prison: Li (李) (last name) Deputy head: Yu Fuqi (于福歧) Head of the Educational Division: Ge Shuguang (葛曙光) Head of the Ward for Mentally Ill Inmates: Zhou Chunyan (周春燕) Political head of the Ward for Mentally Ill Inmates: Ma Guishuang (马桂双)