Sichuan Woman Recalls Years of Persecution and Torture for Refusing to Renounce Her Faith in Falun Gong
(Minghui.org) “I was tied up and taken to the labor camp. At the camp, they unbuttoned my coat and handcuffed my hands behind my back before cuffing me to the window frame for four days and four nights. I was not allowed to close my eyes. If I did, they would grab my head and bang it on the window frame, and kick and punch me. They used torture tactics in their interrogation, which caused me to faint twice; a lot of my hair was also ripped out and my hands were swollen to the point of becoming numb...”
These harrowing experiences are only a part of what Ms. Tan Xiaorong, 53, of Suining City, Sichuan Province, experienced in 2004 when she was arrested simply for refusing to renounce her faith in Falun Gong.
Ever since Ms. Tan started practicing Falun Gong in February 1997, she strived to be a good person by following the practice's principles of Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance. She changed from an unreasonable and cranky person who was suffering from several illnesses including Meniere syndrome, oral ulceration, and gynecological diseases, to an even-tempered, healthy, and energetic person.
However, Ms. Tan was arrested and detained multiple times after the Chinese communist regime started persecuting Falun Gong in July 1999. Below is her personal account of the persecution that she suffered:
Inhumane Persecution at Brainwashing Center
On February 23, 2000, I went to a market fair in Baosheng Township with a few other practitioners. We were arrested by officers from the Nanqiang Police Station. We were detained for three days in a room filled with feces. We didn't sleep for those three days.
A few weeks later, on March 4, during the communist regime's national conference, my husband and I were returning home from working in the field when officers from the Nanqiang Police Station and village officials stopped us and told me that I had to go to a “meeting” at the police station. When I refused to go with them, a few of them forcibly stuffed me into a car and took me to a brainwashing center.
There were over 20 practitioners in the center and some were released after writing guarantee statements, leaving only 16 practitioners behind, including me. Of the people left behind, 10 were female and 6 were male, with the eldest in their 70s and youngest in their 30s.
For every meal, 500 grams of rice water were given to 16 of us to drink and those sitting in the back would be left with nothing when it was their turn. They had to drink plain water to alleviate their hunger. We were told to pay 10 yuan for living expenses every day while the officials ate and drank to their hearts' content.
The next day, Kang Jialiang, secretary of the Political and Legal Affairs Committee, came to lecture us.
He said: “You were arrested under Jiang Zemin's instructions and are not allowed to practice Falun Gong. You must follow the rules and not practice since you are here. We will transform you using all means, be it beating or starving. We will defame your reputations, bankrupt you financially, and destroy you physically; you have to give us money after we hit you. There is a policy from above: beat them to the point of disability but don't beat them to death. Those beaten to death will be counted as suicides and be cremated. You won't be able to go after us; we receive money from Jiang and do what he tells us to do. If you want to file a complaint, go to Beijing and file a complaint against Jiang.”
Shen Changxing, head of the labor camp said, “No one cares if you steal a chicken or a duck, but you will be punished for practicing Falun Gong.”
Two days later, nine female practitioners and I were locked in a room and beaten. When I tried to protect another practitioner, I was dragged out in the rain barefoot to be kicked and beaten. Afterwards, I was dragged from the ground floor up to the third story.
Meanwhile, the six male practitioners, with the youngest in his 50s and the eldest in his 70s, were forced to stand in the rain, barefoot and shivering, for nearly three hours.
On March 9, the police hired two gangsters to torment us. They dragged two practitioners, Ms. Yang Sizhen and Ms. Zhang Xiurong, into the rain and kicked them around like a ball for more than an hour. They were later dragged to the third floor to be beaten for over three hours.
One officer kicked my abdomen and punched me in the mouth, causing my front teeth to become loose and my lips to tear.
I was detained at the brainwashing center for 23 days before being released. I was forced to pay 230 yuan as my living expenses and had an additional 1,200 yuan confiscated.
Arrested for Going to Beijing to Appeal
I was out one day in April 2000 when officers from the Nanqiang Police Station went to my husband's workplace and told him to return home so they could ransack our house. They confiscated one copy of Zhuan Falun, the main text of Falun Gong, and also a tape recorder used for playing the exercise music.
Three months later, on July 18, officers from the Nanqiang Police Station and several village officials broke into my home and arrested me. They took me to the brainwashing center. I was detained for five days, during which I went on a hunger strike for three days and had to pay 50 yuan as living expenses.
On December 20, several practitioners and I decided to travel to Beijing to appeal for justice. When we reached Yanjiao Township on December 31, the police arrested us and took us to the Sanhe Public Security Bureau. There, our clothes were stripped off and we were body searched.
Afterwards, the police drove us and many other practitioners who had also been arrested to a remote place in Tianjin and left us there. We had to walk for a night before reaching Beijing, where we were surrounded by police at Zhongshan Park. The police ordered us to swear at our Master, which we ignored. We were arrested and taken to the Xidan Police Station and detained for over 10 hours.
We were sent back to our local police station on January 7, 2001, where we were met with beatings and swearing from Chen Hui of the military department. The next day, we were taken to the Wujiawan Detention Center and detained for two months.
Sentenced to a Year of Labor Camp
On February 23, 2001, all the officers from various police departments were mobilized to take 40 practitioners, including me, from the detention center to a field where officers from the Justice Department and other government agencies, along with some middle school students, were already seated.
We were tied up, with a 60-cm-wide sign hanging from each of our necks with “Stubborn member of Falun Gong” and our names written on it. We were put on trucks with two armed police guarding each practitioner as the truck paraded us through the streets for everyone to see before sending us to a field that had banners slandering Falun Gong hanging around the building.
All of us, including those in their 70s, were put on trial and sentenced. I was sentenced to one year of forced labor.
Seven practitioners and I were sent to the Nanmusi Labor Camp in Sichuan Province a few weeks later on March 9. There, we were stripped of all our clothes and searched; our hair was also roughly snipped off and we were laughed at by the guards and other inmates for our ugly hairstyle.
The guards forced us to face the wall every day with our hands raised and feet together from five in the morning for over ten hours until the officers clocked out.
Officers from the Nanqiang Police Station broke into my home around midnight on September 26, 2002, and dragged me out of bed. My home was ransacked. They left when they couldn't find anything to confiscate.
On October 31, during the 16th National Congress of the Chinese Communist Party, village officials came to my home in the afternoon with a few documents stating a list of things I was not allowed to do and told me to sign. They threatened that if I refused, I would be arrested that night. Out of fear, I signed the document unwillingly.
However, the next day at five in the morning, police and village officials broke into my home and arrested me. They took me to the brainwashing center again. I was detained for 13 days, and my husband was forced to use the “building permit” for our home as a guarantee to make sure I would not go to Beijing to appeal, or our home would be confiscated.
I was home alone on April 17 when five police cars carrying over 20 police officers and some village officials came to my yard and called for me to open the door.
When I refused, a police officer started kicking the door and threatened to break it if I still refused to open.
I said, “If you dare damage the door, I'll call the police and sue you for breaking into my home to steal things.”
Hearing this, they softened their tactics and tried deceiving me into opening the door. I then went to lock the doors on the second and third stories and noticed that the commotion had attracted many people, who gathered in a crowd around my house. Some villagers even scolded the police for persecuting good people.
I sat on the windowsill and started to tell the villagers about Falun Gong and how I had been persecuted for many years simply because I refused to renounce my faith.
After an hour had passed, a police officer called his higher-ups for instructions, which resulted in the arrival of a dozen more police officers.
I was trapped in my home for over five hours.
When the police left around midnight, leaving only about 7-8 officers behind on guard, I jumped over the wall and left my home to avoid further persecution.
Sentenced to Four Years of Imprisonment
I was out on November 29, 2004, when police broke open the door of my rental house. When I returned and was about to open the door, the officers rushed out from my neighbor's home and arrested me. I saw that my husband, who had come over earlier to deliver my living allowance, had been forced by two officers to kneel on the ground. After arresting me, an officer called his higher-ups to inform them that they had finally arrested me.
Shortly afterward, a dozen more officers came and handcuffed me then surrounded me to beat and punch me. A female officer grabbed my hair and slapped my face, causing my nose and mouth to bleed and my face to become swollen. The blood soaked my clothes. All of this was done in front of my husband for him to see.
The police dragged me from the sixth story to the ground floor and took me to the Yucailu Police Station. There, the police used a heavy rope to tie me to a bench with one hand tied to each end of the bench and searched me. When I refused to have my photo taken, a police officer grabbed my hair.
My bag, which included over 100 yuan in cash and a set of keys, was confiscated.
Afterwards, I was tied up and taken to a labor camp. There, they unbuttoned my coat and handcuffed my hands behind my back before cuffing me to the window frame for four days and four nights. I was not allowed to close my eyes. If I did, they would grab my head and bang it on the window frame, and kick and punch me. They used torture tactics in their interrogation, which caused me to faint twice; a lot of my hair was ripped out and my hands were swollen to the point of becoming numb.
My husband, who did not practice Falun Gong, was taken to the Wujiawan Detention Center and detained for a night. The police were afraid that he would return home and contact other practitioners to inform them of my arrest. Hence, he was sent to the Lingquansi Detention Center the next day and held for seven days. They also confiscated the 1,100 yuan that he intended to give me as a living allowance.
On December 1, I was sent to the detention center and detained for a year and a half. While detained, I was tortured: a police officer grabbed my hair and hit me for nearly half an hour, resulting in my right leg being bruised for more than a month; I was force-fed twice and was nearly suffocated by the feeding tube; I was forced to sit on an “emperor seat,” a torture tool, twice – once for six days and nights and another time for four days and nights. I also had to bathe with cold water during the winter.
I was put on trial on February 23, 2006, while at the detention center. The next day, I was told that I had been sentenced to four years of imprisonment.
On April 17, 2006, while en route to the Chengdu Women's Prison, I shouted “Falun Dafa is good, Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance is good.” In retaliation, the guards ordered six inmates to stuff my mouth with towels used in the restroom and carried me to the cell. However, the prison refused to accept me when I didn't pass their physical exam.
The police swore at me while taking me back to the detention center. When we arrived back at the center, a police slapped me a few times and kicked me before handcuffing me to an emperor seat for four days and four nights.
I was once again sent to the Chengdu Women's Prison on May 8. For 43 days, I was not allowed to leave the cell, talk to others, use the restroom without permission, buy daily necessities, or dress in my own clothes. I could only take a shower once every two weeks and was subjected to brainwashing tactics day and night.
I was also forced to do sweatshop labor from eight in the morning to 12 midnight. Due to the tremendous pressure, I started having memory loss and could not even count properly. I only recovered a year after returning home.
As a result of the many years of persecution, my family was left penniless and my son was forced to drop out of school when he was just 13 years old. However, what I experienced due to the persecution is only the tip of the iceberg.