(Minghui.org) A woman imprisoned for her faith protested the forced labor demanded of her while in prison, only to be beaten and force-fed. Her family warned the prison authorities that they reserve their right to sue them for abusing inmates.

Ms. Zhou Yafang was arrested on November 13, 2014, for talking to people about the Chinese communist regime’s persecution of Falun Gong, a mind-body practice based on the principles of Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance.

The 49-year-old resident of Lingyuan City was sentenced to six years in August 2015 and saw her appeal rejected soon afterward. She was transferred to Liaoning Province Women’s Prison in early 2016.

Ms. Zhou was forced to do more than 15 hours of hard labor every day without pay. She endured this mistreatment for about one and a half years before deciding to protest. The prison authorities responded with more mistreatment. She demanded an apology but was never given one.

Brutally Beaten During First Hunger Strike

Ms. Zhou’s family received a phone call from the prison on July 5, 2017, saying that she had been on a hunger strike for seven days.

Her loved ones rushed to the prison the following day. Section chief Zhao briefed them on what happened. Ms. Zhou refused to do hard labor, so they sent her to solitary confinement. She went on a hunger strike in response.

Ms. Zhou told her family that she had been beaten and had bruises all over her body. Zhao denied that they had ever beaten her.

Noticing that she was bony and weak, Ms. Zhou’s family asked her to stop her hunger strike. She agreed.

Force-fed During Second Hunger Strike

The prison called Ms. Zhao’s family on January 4, 2018, saying that she was on a hunger strike again. Her loved ones visited the prison the next day and learned that Ms. Zhou was forced to stand for more than ten hours per day for refusing to do hard labor.

This time, Ms. Zhou refused to stop her hunger strike.

Ms. Zhou’s family came back on January 8, and she said to them, “I am being mistreated. Section chief Zhao and the team head must apologize to me. I didn’t break any law and I am not a criminal. I refuse to do hard labor.”

Zhao said, “I’ll never apologize to her! If she refuses to eat, we’ll force-feed her!”

Zhao proceeded to produce a waiver form for Ms. Zhou’s family to sign. They noted the possible consequences of force-feeding and firmly refused to give their signature.

When they returned on January 16, Ms. Zhou was already in a hospital with a feeding tube in her nose. They noted her hands were cuffed behind her back, and she looked extremely weak.

They immediately requested medical parole for her but were turned down.

The family came to the prison on January 23 with a prepared written statement, which detailed Ms. Zhou’s abuse at the hands of the prison guards. They gave the document to section chief Zhao and asked to see Ms. Zhou.

Zhao refused to grant a face-to-face meeting and only allowed the family to talk to Ms. Zhou on the phone.

Ms. Zhou said she had stopped her hunger strike a few days ago, and her family reminded her to write down names of guards and inmates who may abuse her during the rest of her imprisonment. They assured her that they would seek justice against her perpetrators.

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Ms. Zhou Yafang's Attorney: "The Evidence Was Falsified to Frame My Client"

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