(Minghui.org) Once a child prodigy who graduated college at age 18, Ms. Xia Jiayan went on to become an award-winning teacher. She was voted the “most popular teacher” by students, won “Junior Teacher of the Year” at both the district and municipal levels, and named a “Model Worker in Education.”
Her promising career was cut short, however, after the Chinese communist regime launched its persecution of Falun Gong. Having regained her health after starting to practice Falun Gong in 1996, she eagerly told others about the practice, and later, the persecution. Her simple act landed her in police custody many times.
In particular, she was brutally tortured in a labor camp for one and a half years between late 2000 and early 2002. She was later forced to live away from home after constant threats and harassment by police.
Ms. Xia was arrested in September 2014 at her nephew's wedding, accused of marking paper currency with messages about Falun Gong. Because such information is heavily censored in China, some practitioners use this technique to tell the public about the persecution.
Though she was released after 15 days, her ordeal continues. Her school, which had fired her in 2006, now refuses to reinstate her. The school also refused to turn over the keys to the apartment she purchased, even though she had made all required payments.
When the communist regime officially launched the persecution on July 20, 1999, Ms. Xia was called to the local police station and interrogated for 24 hours.
On December 20, she was charged with “illegally gathering” and held at Xifeng Detention Center for 30 days. She was not released until after her family was extorted money for her “living expenses.”
Ms. Xia was tricked into going to Nanjie Police Station on July 19, 2000. She and a few other Falun Gong practitioners were then taken to a school and locked in a classroom for days. One police officer said they were kept there to keep them from traveling to Beijing to petition the central government.
When Ms. Xia went on a huger strike to protest the illegal detention, the police chief ordered her release. However, her pay was reduced for years after the incident.
To protest the unlawful treatment of Falun Gong practitioners, Ms. Xia went to Beijing in November 2000. She was intercepted, detained in her hometown for a month, and finally sent to Ping'antai Women's Forced Labor Camp for one and a half years.
Ms. Xia was released from the labor camp in March 2002 and resumed teaching in April. However, her employer deducted from her salary all expenses claimed by the police in transporting her back from Beijing.
In May 2004, another Falun Gong practitioner escaped from a police station. As a result, Ms. Xia was once again put under tight surveillance.
Every night, three officers would come to her home to carry out their “duty.” They stayed in her family room and watched TV all night with all the lights on, which made it impossible for her family to sleep.
She was followed everywhere by two plainclothes police officers. Even when she went shopping with her husband, the police tailed them on a motorbike. These intrusions continued until the escaped practitioner was recaptured.
In the following years, police often harassed her by knocking on her door at night or calling her in for questioning while she taught class.
In the early morning of August 3, 2006, police surrounded Ms. Xia's residence in an attempt to arrest her. She wasn't home that day. Officers ransacked her home and seized various personal belongings, including CDs, computers, hard drives, mobile phones, their family's phone book, and her children's MP3 players. One officer even complained that they couldn't find any money.
To avoid further persecution, Ms. Xia left home and lived a destitute life in another town.
Police took her husband and children to the station for questioning, while some officers stayed in their house and copied numbers from their phone book and mobile phone text messages.
Officers also went to Ms. Xia's parents' home and interrogated her younger brother for information about other relatives. They then went to these relatives' homes to search for Ms. Xia, who managed to avoid police arrest for the next eight years until she was captured at a wedding in 2014
Though Ms. Xia was soon released after her latest arrest, the relentless persecution evoked memories of her 2000-2002 labor camp ordeal.
Guards and inmates tried to outdo one another in abusing Falun Gong practitioners. For each practitioner “transformed,” or forced to renounce her belief, a guard would get a 5,000-10,000 yuan bonus, and an inmate could get seven days to one month in term reduction.
Practitioners were forced to do intensive physical labor with workloads three times that of typical male laborers. If one could not finish her quota in time, the whole group would be punished. This system was intended to sow discord and stir up inmates' hatred of practitioners.
During the day, practitioners were forced to work in the fields, digging, weeding, fertilizing, operating landfills, moving bricks, and paving the grounds. At night, they were not allowed to sleep and were forced to write “thought reports.” This abuse continued day in and day out, year after year.
Each dorm room held more than twenty people. Practitioners were allowed very little water for personal hygiene, so many of them developed scabies.
To obtain food at mealtimes, prisoners were forced to sing songs praising the Chinese Communist Party. The food was forever the same–dark steamed buns and thin soup with occasional pieces of vegetables.
Prisoners were allowed half an hour for meals and limited time for using the latrine. There was only one outhouse for each detachment of more than one hundred people. The outhouse had ten pits, each less than a meter in length. To finish in time, often three people had to squat down and urinate over one pit at the same time. One could hear constant swearing from prisoners when urine was inevitably splashed on one another.
As part of the “transformation” effort, three inmates were assigned to force Ms. Xia to write a “repentance statement” for practicing Falun Gong.
One winter, she was forced to stand still against a wall in thin clothes for three nights in a row with no sleep.
She was later taken to a dark room, where several inmates tied her arms behind her back and attached the rope to a ceiling beam. When they let go of her body, the drop caused excruciating pain in her arms, as if they had been torn apart. Beads of sweat dripped onto the floor.
A few minutes later, an inmate held her body up and asked if she would write the repentance statement. When Ms. Xia said no, the inmate let go of her body, causing her another round of indescribable pain.