(Minghui.org) Mr. Xie Yiqiang, 56, of Yinchuan City, Ningxia Province, was released on March 10, 2020, after serving 3.5 years in prison for his faith in Falun Gong (also known as Falun Dafa), a mind-body practice that has been persecuted by the Chinese communist regime since 1999. Since his release, he has been severely harassed as part of the Chinese regime's nationwide “zero-out” campaign to force every Falun Gong practitioner on the government’s blacklist to give up their belief.
Prior to his latest term, Mr. Xie, a senior engineer for Special Electromechanical Equipment Inspection, was given three years of forced labor in 2001 and sentenced to a four-year prison term in 2008. He almost died due to the torture in the forced labor camp, and was fired from his job. His mother passed away while he was imprisoned, due to worry and grief.
Arrested and Sentenced
I was walking on the street looking for a bus back to Yinchuan City on the night of September 4, 2016, when an oncoming police vehicle suddenly stopped beside me. Four police officers alighted and forcefully opened my bag for a check. They found a few DVDs about Falun Gong, and thus arrested me.
I was taken to the Jingui Town Police Station and interrogated for one hour. An officer from the Domestic Security Division came to interrogate me for a while before leaving. I was handcuffed to a metal chair for the entire night, and transferred to the Helan County Detention Center the next day.
At the detention center, I went on a hunger strike, and was force-fed at a hospital a few days later. After I was taken back to the detention center, the police used the excuse that I would pull out the feeding tube to justify handcuffing me to the metal chair. I couldn't sleep that night.
Two months later, I was transferred to the Yinchuan Detention Center, as the Helan Detention Center was demolished. I refused to cooperate with the guards during roll call, and a deputy director threatened to punish me. I was sent to No. 8 ward. Despite this, I refused to cooperate and a warden kicked me while a guard violently pulled my clothes, causing my new padded jacket to be torn.
I wrote an appeal while at the detention center but the warden said that there was a section in the document that was not appropriate for submission, and confiscated it. I told him that the court would be the one making the decision, not the detention center. He refused to listen and threatened me when I meditated at night.
The warden placed me under strict control in July 2017, as I was meditating every night. The strict control room was about five square meters in size, with three fixtures on the ground—one was for holding the legs in position and the other two were for the hands. After being restrained to the fixtures, I could only lie straight on the ground and couldn't turn over or sit up. The cuffs were opened once every morning and at night for a few minutes to eat or use the restroom. I was given half a bun and a small cup of water for each meal. A few minutes later, I would be handcuffed again. Those few minutes were the only time I was allowed to use the restroom. During other times, I was forced to relieve myself in my pants.
While handcuffed, I told the warden the principles that good is met with good rewards and evil is met with evil returns. He kicked my body and hit my face. I was later sent for a physical exam before admission to the Shizuishan Prison. As I was covered in bruises, the prison admission center refused to accept me. They accepted me on the second time.
Late Mother's Belongings Used as Prosecution Evidence
When I was still detained at the police station following my latest arrest in 2016, the police took away my house keys and ransacked my place without the presence of my family or neighbors. They also damaged my door and changed my lock.
During my first court hearing, the Procuratorate used my late mother's belongings that were left behind as evidence against me.
My mother was also a Falun Gong practitioner. When I was first sentenced to four years in prison in May 2008, I was detained at Yinchuan Detention Center. The center was very far from home, but my mother, who was in her 70s, still came to visit me at least once a week.
As she was not allowed to see me, she used several white bed sheets to copy down the whole Zhuan Falun book. She might have thought that she could give the bed sheets to me. However, overwhelmed with worry and grief, she passed away later.
The bed sheets became the most cherished thing in my life. But they were used as prosecution evidence against me in the hearing since they contained Falun Gong information.
I was sentenced to two years and four months by the trial court. After I filed an appeal, the judge of second instance court increased my term to three years and six months.
Persecuted at Shizuishan Prison
I was taken to Shizuishan Prison on October 30, 2017 and sent to the strict control room upon arrival. The room was lighted around the clock, and I was stripped of my winter clothes, leaving only a single layer of clothing. My socks were also removed and I had to wear slippers.
There was a urinal in the room and the smell and spooky environment would increase a person's fear. To use the restroom, I had to report first.
There was no daily breakfast. Each lunch and dinner consisted of half a bun and a small cup of water. If I wanted to drink more water, I had to use my hands to scoop up water from the urinal.
I was cold and hungry every day. When the guards saw that I didn't change my attitude after four to five days, they opened up the windows. I was freezing at night due to the cold wind.
After five or six days, I was transferred to another strict control room. Though I was given normal meals and allowed to wear thicker clothing, there was a speaker playing continuously every day for 16 or 17 hours in the small room. The audios were all propaganda materials praising the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and slandering Falun Gong. The speaker would sometimes play around the clock, and I couldn't sleep. I felt groggy every day. I was also often made to sing the CCP’s songs. Later, I was told to answer “yes” during roll call and afterward turn around and squat down with my hands holding my head. I was sometimes made to stand and reflect on my attitude toward Falun Gong.
I was told that practitioners who refused to renounce Falun Gong would be denied visitations and calls with families, and not allowed to buy daily necessities. Thus, each time I needed to defecate, I would have to use water to clean myself if I didn't meet any kindhearted inmate who would share their toilet paper. I reported this to the guards and was told that I was only allowed to buy daily necessities four months after being placed under strict control.
Due to the physical and mental torture, my health declined and my main consciousness became weaker. On one occasion I looked outside the window and thought it was snowing, but it wasn't.
On March 28, 2018, I was transferred to another place that was even worse than the strict control ward. The authorities had emptied a few rooms in the prison to be used specifically to persecute practitioners.
Each practitioner lived in one big room with black tape covering the door and windows. The room was well-lit. Two inmates were on duty to watch me each time and rotated every three or four days. I was told to sit in a fixed position on a small stool (no bending over, stretching legs, swinging the body, leaning on the bed, or standing up) from morning to night, except for toilet breaks. Sleeping time was also controlled by the inmates or guards.
During night time, one inmate sat beside my head and another at the feet. I had to face the light when sleeping. If I accidentally turned over, the inmates would immediately turn me back to position. The inmates were also instigated to interrogate me. There was an inmate who was given a suspended death sentence for murder. He was appointed as the head of the inmates, and educated me and other practitioners about the meaning of life.
After a period of time, I was told to sit on a ten-inch-tall stool. This stool was said to have come from Yinchuan Prison. I was made to sit on the stool, which caused my buttocks to fester after six days.
I was later made to sit on a small bench, but the sitting time was extended and I was not allowed to sleep, even though it was late. An inmate told me quietly that a practitioner next door was so sleepy after sitting on the bench for a long time that he got sprayed with water from a plastic bottle with small holes in the bottle cap. A guard named Yang Libing often kicked that practitioner's calf.
Yang came and talked to me on May 18, 2018. When talking, he kept hitting my head with his hand. During that period, the prison even prepared a stretcher, to get ready to send me to the hospital at any time. I became healthy after practicing Falun Gong and my blood pressure was normal. But during those days, my blood pressure was very unstable. I also felt dizzy all day and my teeth became loose.
I wrote a solemn declaration to repeal all the statements I was forced to write to renounce Falun Gong. I handed it to the prison before my term ended. However, I was placed under strict control until I was released on March 10, 2020.
In addition to my latest persecution I just listed above, the following is a summary of the persecution I suffered before.
I was arrested in March 2001 and held at the Yinchuan No. 1 Forced Labor Camp for three years.
On my first night there, the inmates used clubs to beat two criminals severely in order to scare me. One of them still limped after a few months.
A few days later, I was meditating at night when an inmate discovered me and woke up everyone in the cell so as to swear at me. The inmate also jabbed my head a few times and threatened other inmates to swear at Falun Gong.
While I was detained at the forced labor camp, my body started to rot, and was covered with blisters due to the persecution and unhygienic conditions. I had to use toilet paper to clean up all the pus from those blisters, and an entire roll of toilet paper was not enough. I could not wear underwear because my clothing would easily stick to my flesh. Finally, I could not walk normally.
Before I could walk, I had to support myself with my arms, and wait for my legs to regain some feelings. When walking, the blisters on my legs and feet bled. Afterward, my body gave off a bad smell, waking up everyone in the cell. I was then transferred to another room with no heat. I shivered because of the low temperature.
One day, the police handcuffed me and forced me to go out to work. They stopped upon realizing that I could not stand.
After I recovered a little bit, I was handcuffed to a pole outside all day long.
I was later transferred to a concrete factory and made to do slave work. It was difficult to wash off the cement. After ending work, I had to use laundry detergent to wash myself. The water once stopped flowing when I was showering, so I scooped up the last bit of water to rinse my mouth. When the water tank was opened up for inspection, a dead rat was discovered inside. I started to vomit while others gloated at me.