Heilongjiang Woman Jailed Eight Years for Her Faith, Extorted 100,000 Yuan Before Getting Pension Again
(Minghui.org) Having served eight years for her faith in Falun Gong, a Daqing City, Heilongjiang Province resident in her 70s was extorted 100,000 yuan by the authorities before they could issue her pension payments again.
On September 12, 2019, the day when Ms. Shi Jianhua’s term expired, her family traveled nearly 100 miles from Daqing to Heilongjiang Women’s Prison in Harbin to pick her up. The prison authorities kept her family waiting outside for three hours and didn’t release her until staff from her previous workplace and residential committee arrived.
During Ms. Shi’s eight years in prison, the authorities froze her pension account and never issued her any payment. When her family applied to reactivate her pension account and asked for her pension of the past eight years, the authorities forced them to pay 100,000 yuan before they could start to make payments to her. However, the back payments of her suspended pension benefits were 2,100 yuan each month, 400 yuan less than guaranteed.
One Year of Forced Labor
Ms. Shi, a 71-year-old retired oilfield worker, began to practice Falun Gong, an ancient mind-body discipline, in April 1997. Many of the chronic diseases that had bothered her for decades disappeared.
Ms. Shi went to Beijing to appeal for Falun Gong in November 1999, four months after the communist regime ordered the persecution against it. She was arrested as soon as she arrived at the appeals office. The authorities held her in a hotel for one night, sent her back to Daqing the next day, and detained her for one and a half months.
Ms. Shi returned to Beijing in December 2000 and demonstrated a banner that said “Falun Dafa is good” at Tiananmen Square. She was arrested again and detained at Tianjin Detention Center.
On January 18, 2001, police officers in Daqing took her directly from Tianjin to the Heilongjiang Province Women’s Forced Labor Camp to serve a one-year term.
In the labor camp, Ms. Shi was forced to sit on a small stool without moving for long hours every day. She had to keep her legs closed, hands placed on her knees, and body upright. Meanwhile, the guards also subjected her to propaganda videos demonizing Falun Gong and forced her to sing songs praising the Chinese Communist Party. In addition to the physical torture, she was forced to do unpaid labor, including making paper boxes or books.
The police continued to harass her after she was released.
Sentenced to Eight Years
On the evening of September 13, 2011, a group of police officers broke into Ms. Shi’s home, arrested her and two other practitioners who happened to be visiting her. Ms. Shi was locked in a metal cage and forced to sit on the concrete ground in the police station for one night, before being sent to the Daqing City Detention Center around noon.
While Ms. Shi was detained, the police ransacked her home. Her Falun Gong books, photo of Falun Gong’s founder, printer, two computers and nearly 10,000 yuan in cash were confiscated. A cabinet was also taken away as her criminal evidence. Before leaving, the police sprayed her bed and pillow with colored ink and tore off the Falun Gong themed paintings on her wall.
Ms. Shi’s arrest was approved on October 20 and she was indicted on December 26. The prosecutor claimed that they talked with Ms. Shi and verified her case before the indictment, but Ms. Shi said she never met with anyone from the procuratorate.
Ms. Shi was tried by the Ranghulu Court on January 10, 2012. The presiding judge, Zhao Xuehan, didn’t allow Ms. Shi to talk during the 20-minute hearing.
Judge Zhao later sentenced Ms. Shi to eight years with the charge of “undermining law enforcement with a cult organization,” a standard pretext used by the Chinese authorities to frame and imprison Falun Gong practitioners. Ms. Shi appealed the verdict, but was rejected by the Daqing City Intermediate Court.
Tortured in the Prison
On June 6, 2012, Ms. Shi was transferred from Daqing City Detention Center to Heilongjiang Women’s Prison. She filed a motion to reconsider her case in 2014, but never heard back about it until she was released.
She was subjected to constant torture in prison, including sleep deprivation, sitting on a small stool, and hard labor. The guards often searched her bed for Falun Gong books and related materials.
On the day Ms. Shi was sent to the prison, the guards attempted to force her to renounce Falun Gong. On the first night, the guards forced her to sit on a small stool without moving and didn’t allow her to sleep. Eight inmates formed four small groups and took turns monitoring Ms. Shi.
During the day, the guards forced Ms. Shi to listen to recordings smearing Falun Gong. When she became sleepy and closed her eyes at night, the inmates assigned to monitor her whipped her thighs with clothes hangers and sprayed water into her eyes. The torture lasted for three days and Ms. Shi’s legs were covered with bruises.
Sitting on a Small Stool
Although the guards later allowed Ms. Shi to sleep at night, they still forced her to sit on a small stool during the day, while watching propaganda materials defaming Falun Gong.
When Ms. Shi refused to cooperate, the inmates beat her and verbally abused her. One inmate pulled her head and shoulder backward and hit Ms. Shi’s lower back with her knees. Ms. Shi’s lumbar spine became deformed as a result and it still hurts now. The long hours of sitting also caused enormous pain in her buttocks.
In March 2013, Ms. Shi was transferred to the 7th ward. The guards ordered her to serve as a night watch and to make cotton swabs during the day.
Ms. Shi sometimes took the time at night to hand-copy Zhuan Falun, the main text of Falun Gong. After the guards found out about it, they increased her workload during the day, up to 16 hours.