Elderly Woman Imprisoned for Her Faith Loses Hearing after Vicious Beating
(Minghui.org) Six weeks after 68-year-old Ms. Zhao Xiru from Harbin City, Heilongjiang Province, was admitted to Heilongjiang Women's Prison to serve a seven-year term for her faith in Falun Gong, inmates, following guards’ orders, beat her viciously. Her hearing was permanently damaged and she’d been punched in the ribcage in several places. No inmate has been investigated or held accountable for her injuries so far.
Falun Gong, also known as Falun Dafa, is a meditation practice whose adherents follow Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance. It has been persecuted in China since 1999.
Ms. Zhao and 12 other practitioners were targeted in January 2017 during a group arrest. She was sentenced to seven years with a 40,000-yuan fine on December 14, 2017, and transferred from a local detention center to Heilongjiang Women’s Prison on May 18, 2018.
Because Ms. Zhao had gone on a hunger strike during her 16 months in detention, she weighed just 80 pounds when she landed in prison. Nonetheless, the prison authorities ordered prisoner and cell lead Cao Fengping to torture and try to brainwash her into giving up her belief. Cao forced her to sit still on a small stool for a long time, deprived her of sleep, made her watch videos slandering Falun Gong, and ordered her to write reports to detailing her thoughts.
At one point, Ms. Zhao wrote a statement to void all her reports and announce that she remained a steadfast practitioner. That angered Cao, who later ordered other prisoners to punish Ms. Zhao. On the evening of June 29, 2018, three prisoners tried to drag Ms. Zhao out of her bed and make her sit still on a small stool all night. Ms. Zhao held onto the bed frame as the prisoners beat her viciously.
Yang Xu, another prisoner Cao had bribed in the past with personal favors, then wandered in. Yang was in prison for dealing drugs and had a history of assaulting a Falun Gong practitioner. Yang was supposed to remain with her own group at night but seemed to have had permission to wander that night. She helped the other prisoners beat Ms. Zhao into submission and signing a paper agreeing to follow orders.
In the next few days, Ms. Zhao was bedridden and pale. Three places on her right rib cage were caved in, which Ms. Zhao said was from Yang kicking her repeatedly.
Eventually people began to realize that Ms. Zhao couldn’t hear anything in her right ear. She accused one of the prisoners many times in public: “You slapped me so hard that I am now deaf in my right ear!” The prisoner said nothing when Cao shushed her.
A few months later Cao had Ms. Zhao transferred to another group.