(Minghui.org) A 70-year-old Tianjin woman was detained incommunicado following her arrest at home on April 23, 2019. It took her family two months to find out that she was undergoing emergency treatment at a hospital, yet the authorities still refused to allow them to visit her.

Ms. Yao Shilan was later secretly sentenced to five years in prison and taken directly to Tianjin Women's Prison. When her family was finally allowed to visit her in prison in September 2019, she couldn’t walk on her own and spoke in a weak voice.

Since the persecution of Falun Gong, an ancient Chinese spiritual and meditation discipline, began in July 1999, Ms. Yao has been subjected to detention, forced labor, imprisonment and harassment. She was also beaten, force-fed, injected with unknown drugs, and held in solitary confinement.

Benefiting from Falun Gong

Ms. Yao lives in a village in Dajianchang Township, Wuqing District of Tianjin. She took up Falun Gong in 1997. With all of her illnesses gone shortly afterwards, Ms. Yao, a skinny person who weighed only 90 pounds, reached a healthy weight of 120 pounds a month later. Her son's nephritis also gradually improved, and he got married. Her family of three generations lived a happy life.

Ms. Yao followed Falun Gong’s principles of Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance and did many good deeds around her village, including shoveling snow in public areas, repairing roads with her own money and labor, and taking care of the elderly living by themselves.

Repeatedly Detained

Right after the persecution of Falun Gong began in July 1999, Ms. Yao was on her way to Beijing to appeal for justice for Falun Gong but was intercepted halfway. Officers from Dajianchange Police Station brought her back and detained her in Wuqing Detention Center for 15 days. She was beaten in the detention center and had bruises on her face.

After her release, Sha Zhaoying, head of Dajianchange Police Station, forced her family to send her to the police station every day to do cleaning work for nearly two weeks.

In late 1999, she was arrested again for bringing materials with Falun Gong information to the Party secretary of the neighboring village who had harassed her before. She was detained for 15 days and force-fed.

Ms. Yao went to Beijing to appeal again in 2000 and was arrested and detained for two months. The police then took her to Tianjin Banqiao Forced Labor Camp. She was deprived of sleep during her first two months there, and when she held a hunger strike to protest her mistreatment, she was force-fed and made to continue her labor.

Eight month later, she was transferred to Jianxin Forced Labor Camp for another two months of detention.

The police arrested Ms. Yao in 2003 when she was telling people about Falun Gong and the persecution. She held a hunger strike in detention and was sent home about ten days later when she was on the verge of death.

Township officials went to Ms. Yao's home every day after her release to keep tabs on her. As she regained her health through Falun Gong exercises, the police took her back into custody and brought her to Banqiao Women's Forced Labor Camp to serve a two-year term.

Two Years of Forced Labor

In the labor camp, Ms. Yao was subjected to the torture of sitting on a small stool facing the wall from 5:00 a.m. to 2:00 a.m. for a total of over 100 days. Sometimes she was deprived of sleep. The flesh on her buttocks was torn as a result.

She held hunger strikes for more than 110 days to protest the arbitrary detention. Guards ordered inmates to force-feed her multiple times. The inmates tried to use a foot-long screwdriver to pry her mouth open. They always failed, but the prying broke her teeth and made her gums bleed. Then they took her to the labor camp hospital for force-feeding.

Ms. Yao was forced to do labor every day, even on some days of her hunger strike. The work included carrying bags of beans, sorting beans and sewing clothes. When she refused, she was placed in solitary confinement, where she was forced to sit on a small stool all day. She was confined there for more than two months.

For some time, the guards also ordered the inmates to torture her every night after dinner because she refused to renounce Falun Gong. She was forced to bend all the way down until she was too tired and collapsed to the ground. The inmates slapped her with a notebook and caused her mouth to bleed.

Because Ms. Yao was still steadfast in her faith at the end of her two-year term, her term was extended by ten months.

Tortured in Prison

Officers from Dajianchang Police Station and Wuqing Domestic Security Division descended on Ms. Yao's residence on March 15, 2006. They pried open a window, broke in, ransacked the place, and took her to Wuqing Detention Center.

When Ms. Yao went on a hunger strike for 45 days, she was force-fed. As a result, she fainted multiple times and suffered stomach bleeding and loss of sensation in her lower body. She became emaciated and weighed only 80 pounds. She was then released on medical parole.

The same police officers harassed her two more times on August 18 and September 4, 2006. They returned on April 4, 2007, arrested her and held her in the Wuqing Detention Center. The Wuqing District Court then sentenced her to three and a half years in prison.

At Tianjin Women’s Prison, Ms. Yao held a hunger strike for about seven months. To force Ms. Yao to renounce her faith, the guards confined her in a small, dark room with four inmates watching her around the clock. During Ms. Yao’s hunger strike, guards and inmates handcuffed her and tied her to a bed. They pried open her mouth and force-fed her with highly concentrated salt water.

Later, they inserted a tube into her nose to force-feed her with stir-fried flour and milk powder. Sometimes, they force-fed her eight times a day. After a few days, Ms. Yao's hand began to cramp and she started to lose consciousness. The force-feeding lasted 10 days with her being tied to the bed at all times.

She was later taken to the hospital and given intravenous injections for over ten days. Soon after that, Ms. Yao developed a fever and fell into a coma. Doctors force-fed her and gave her oxygen for two days.

As a result of the torture, Ms. Yao could not speak and often lost consciousness. Once when she was comatose, the guards put her fingerprints on a prepared document to renounce her belief and to waive the prison of any liability should she die.

The police sent her home on a stretcher along with her IV on medical parole on November 23, 2007. Her son could not help crying when he saw her. She could not take care of herself and relied on her daughter's care for some time.

Before long, Ms. Yao was arrested one more time on July 16, 2008, at her rental residence and had her Falun Gong books confiscated. She was released shortly afterwards.

She was reported to police on August 12, 2009, while talking to people about Falun Gong and the persecution. She was detained in Wuqing Detention Center, where she was beaten, forced-fed, and left in a cold room with the air conditioner set at a very low temperature to freeze her.

She was taken back to Tianjin City Women's Prison on September 4, 2009, and imprisoned for a year to finish up her previous prison term.

Repeatedly Detained and Harassed

After being released from the prison, Ms. Yao continued to tell people about the persecution of Falun Gong, but the local police did not leave her alone.

They went to her home to take away her Falun Gong-related materials. When she ran into the police on the street a couple of times, they took away her bicycle, cell phone, and Falun Gong materials. Once they chased her and forced her to retreat into a deep ditch.

Officers from Houxiang Police Station in Cuihuangkou Town came to Ms. Yao's home on May 13, 2014, in several cars. They arrested her and turned her home upside down. They confiscated her Falun Gong-related materials and electric bicycle.

Ms. Yao was detained in Wuqing Detention Center for 43 days. She was force-fed once and had IVs for several days. When Ms. Yao was given her last IV the day before her release, she felt dramatically different compared to the previous ones. Just after the injection, her heart burned so badly that she could not stop rolling around in bed.

After returning home, her mind reacted slowly, her memory was weak, and she was confused easily. She had to pay 200 yuan to get her electric bicycle back.

Ms. Yao's family was harassed again shortly after her release. She was forced to leave home for two months to avoid persecution.

Her family was harassed twice in 2015, on May 13 and June 9, respectively, by a prosecutor, local police and village officials.

Related reports:

Seventy-Year-Old Tianjin Woman Incarcerated a Second Time Following Tenth Arrest for Her Faith

Tianjin Prisons’ Systematic Use of Drugs in Persecution of Falun Gong

Ms. Yao Shilan from Tianjin City Tortured to Disability in Tianjin Women's Prison