An Outstanding Teacher Suffers 21 Years of Endless Arrests and Tortures for Practicing Falun Gong
(Minghui.org) A 56-year-old English teacher from Tahe County was arrested 10 times, incarcerated for a total of 8 months, and was sentenced to a forced labor camp and prison for a total of 6.5 years over the past 21 years.
This all happened because she refused to renounce her faith in Falun Gong, a meditation practice that teaches its practitioners to follow the principles of Truthfulness, Compassion, and Forbearance in their lives. It's been persecuted in China since July 1999.
Ms. Gao Shuying’s health deteriorated; her teeth were pulled out and her hair turned grey as she underwent torture while incarcerated. At its worst, she fell to the brink of death a few times due to the intensity of the torture.
Outside of her sentences, she was fired from work and her husband divorced her, fearing for his own safety. The police constantly harassed and extorted money from her and her family as well.
Currently, she is held in Harbin Women’s Prison in Heilongjiang Province serving a 3.5-year sentence.
The following is a summary of Ms. Gao’s persecution accounts.
Benefits from the Practice
Ms. Gao’s various ailments, such as low blood pressure, anemia, low blood sugar, gynecological diseases, and headache gradually disappeared after she took up Falun Gong in 1996. Having more energy at work, she was elected as a model employee by her peers and had been recognized as an outstanding teacher for many years.
Long-Term Harassment and a Broken Family
The day the persecution started on July 20, 1999, the police rounded up the local practitioners in Tahe County and forced them to watch news reports that slandered Falun Gong. They had to write statements renouncing their faith. Because Ms. Gao refused to do so, an officer from Xinjian Police Station visited her home almost every day to harass her and seized her belongings without a warrant. This lasted several years.
Her husband, unable to withstand the pressure of the persecution, filed for divorce. The CCP secretary at her school once locked her and her child in his office, threatening to starve them if she didn’t write the statements to not practice Falun Gong.
Frequent Detention and Loss of Job
A local official broke into Ms. Gao’s home in early 2000 while she and other practitioners were studying Falun Gong teachings. The official reported them to the police; afterward, four officers came and arrested all the practitioners, along with Ms. Gao’s daughter. They were not given food that day.
At night, the police transferred Ms. Gao to Tahe Detention Center, leaving her young daughter alone without parental supervision.
Ms. Gao was detained for a month. During the detention, she was placed in a cell without indoor heating and suffered bitter cold. Every day, she was only given two bowls of cold soup as her meals. After she was released, she found out that she had lost her job.
Inciting Ms. Gao's Family to Turn Against Her
Seven officers broke into Ms. Gao’s home in the fall of 2000 without identifying themselves. They handcuffed her and held her at Tahe Detention Center for three weeks. When a male guard was on duty at night, he would suddenly smash the metal door of her cell while Ms. Gao wasn’t paying attention. He often shouted, “I’m going to scare you! Scare you and drive you crazy!”
Ms. Gao was terrified by the guard. She went on a hunger strike for six days. The head of the detention center released her after extorting hundreds of yuan for her food expenses.
Ms. Gao and another practitioner, Ms. Liu Shuqin, 63, went to Beijing in December 2000 to protest the persecution. Two male officers beat them and stuffed them in the trunk of a police car. They were taken directly to Jiagedaqi Detention Center in Heilongjiang Province.
The guards beat Ms. Gao so violently that they pulled off a bunch of her hair. She was given two sips of porridge in the morning and a small bun in the afternoon each day. The two practitioners were then transferred back to the Tahe Detention Center.
Ms. Gao’s mother and daughter came to see her many times but were denied visits. Eventually, they saw Ms. Gao during their visit, but a guard incited hatred against Falun Gong by telling the family that Ms. Gao abandoned the family because of her practice.
“If I were her mother, I would give her a good beating,” a guard said to Ms. Gao’s mother.
With tears in her eyes, the elderly mother raised her hand and almost hit her daughter, only to give up before her hand landed on Ms. Gao.
Ms. Gao went on a hunger strike for 15 days and was met with retaliation. The guards ordered other detainees to sit on her while they stuck a beer bottle filled with rancid buns and salty water down her throat. She nearly choked.
Ms. Gao and Ms. Liu were released about 3 weeks later. Ms. Liu sustained injuries from the torture and died soon afterward.
Drugged in Mental Hospital to the Brink of Death
Agents from Tahe County 610 Office kidnapped Ms. Gao from her home and put her in Bei’an Mental Hospital in Heilongjiang Province in January 2001. She was injected with unknown drugs on her way there. She lost consciousness and found herself tied down on a bed naked when she woke up.
Several people surrounded her and asked her whether she still practices Falun Gong. She gathered all her strength and said “yes” before passing out again.
The staff in the hospital force-fed and injected Ms. Gao with drugs that caused her excruciating pain. She went on a hunger strike and was force-fed again. The feeding tube injured Ms. Gao’s stomach, nose and mouth during the brutal process, and she could not stop vomiting afterward. A nurse put her on IV but her condition only worsened. Her bones ached throughout her body.
After repeated injections, Ms. Gao’s hands, arms, legs and feet were so covered with bruises that it was becoming ever more difficult for the nurses to locate her veins for new injections.
A nurse in her 40s once said to Ms. Gao, “Now, I’m practicing my injection skills on you.” She stuck Ms. Gao more than 20 times and still couldn’t find a vein.
After 45 days of torture and injections, Ms. Gao couldn’t take in any food and was on the verge of death. Not wanting her to die in the hospital under their custody, the authorities called Ms. Gao’s family and asked them to come to pick her up. Her mother collapsed as soon as she heard about Ms. Gao's condition. Her father rushed to the hospital with his grandchild. He was ordered to pay the hospital tens of thousands of yuan before taking Ms. Gao home.
Lost Teeth Due to Force-Feeding; Sentenced to Labor Camp for 3 Years
Only a few months later, the police broke into Ms. Gao’s house in July 2001, ransacked her home and confiscated her Falun Gong books as evidence for her further persecution. They put her in Tahe Detention Center, where she went on a hunger strike and was force-fed. Meanwhile, the authorities slandered Ms. Gao's character, saying that she quit her job and neglected her parents and daughter after learning Falun Gong.
The guards force-fed her with bread soaked in salty water. The struggling resulted in blood all over her head. Her lips and tongue were covered with cuts and bruises.
During a force-feeding session, the guards tried to pry open her mouth with a piece of wood. A guard pulled out Ms. Gao’s front teeth as well as her dentures. After the torture, she only had one good tooth left in her mouth.
The police seized Ms. Gao’s daughter and drove her around Tahe county, forcing her to identify other practitioners’ residences. Not only was the daughter not given food that day, but she was also threatened and terrified throughout the ordeal.
At the end of August 2001, Ms. Gao was emaciated. Not wanting her to die under their custody, the guards had her family pick her up after extorting a thousand yuan from them.
Hair Turns Grey a Week after Intensive Tortures
A week later, while Ms. Gao was still recovering, the police arrested her again. The next day without due process, the police arbitrarily put her in Shuanghe Forced Labor Camp for three years for “inciting social instability.” Her money and personal belongings were stripped from her and never returned to her.
She was beaten and closely watched by six prisoners to prevent her from talking to other practitioners. She had to work from 5 a.m. to 7 p.m. each day, after which she had to sit on a small chair watching videos slandering Falun Gong until 1 a.m. If she refused to comply, she would be beaten and sent to solitary confinement.
Once, Ms. Gao meditated on her bed and a guard dragged her to the ground from the top bunk.
Nine practitioners, including Ms. Gao, hung up a Falun Gong banner from their cell and were put in solitary confinement. Ms. Gao was hung up on a big water tank. She wasn’t given water or allowed toilet use. The handcuffs cut into her flesh. The room was freezing at night and wind kept blowing on her; during the day, the room became baking hot and she kept sweating.
Five days later, Ms. Gao’s legs turned purple and were so swollen that she couldn’t stand anymore. The guards then transferred her to another room. Her legs gradually turned black with pus oozing out of many pustules. Another practitioner was paralyzed due to the beatings; one had bloody urine; one became incontinent; and one’s nose bled constantly due to other torture.
During a campaign aimed to force the practitioners to renounce their faith, the guards cuffed Ms. Gao’s hands and legs tightly together on February 16, 2004. The cuff was then attached to a rope so that a guard could pull her up and suddenly dropped her from a great height. This was done repeatedly until she fainted because of the sharp pains. The guards poured water on her and fed her unknown drugs to keep her conscious as they continued torturing her. It lasted days.
When she finally became unresponsive, a guard yelled “We’ve contacted the funeral home. You will be counted as a suicide!”
Ms. Gao was covered in open wounds and bruises because of all the vicious beatings. Her hair turned gray a week after the campaign started as she was deteriorating physically.
The prison extended her term for a month because she refused to sign a statement waiving the guards’ responsibilities from all the injuries she sustained.
Extortion and Loss of Income: Family Falls into Financial Despair
Coming home from forced labor camp three years later, Ms. Gao looked much older than she was and couldn’t physically take care of herself. The police ruined her house after ransacking it twice and took all the cash she had stored. She had to live with her parents, who took care of her daughter while she was incarcerated. Her daughter, who was in elementary school, was traumatized by police brutality and Ms. Gao’s repeated arrests. The child barely spoke and couldn’t focus in class.
While taking his grandchild to school, Ms. Gao’s father was hit by a car. He was severely injured and broke his ribs.
Because of this injury, Ms. Gao's parents became unable to take care of her after she was released. She had to retire early, which left her with little pension.
Leg Broken in Qiqihar Detention Center
Ms. Gao only got to spend a few months with her parents and child before being arrested again on November 20, 2004. Six officers charged into Ms. Gao’s parents’ home with a camera on. They dragged Ms. Gao into a car, photographed her family, and confiscated her Falun Gong books and private letters.
Her mother, who was recovering from a heart attack, struggled to stop the police. Her daughter screamed out of terror. The police arrested her younger sister on the same day and locked both of them in Tahe Detention Center. Her sister was released on November 23 after paying 4,000 yuan.
Ms. Gao was handcuffed to a metal chair for 24 hours during an interrogation in Tiefeng Police Department. Refusing to give up information about other practitioners, she was transferred to Qiqihar First Detention Center. The doctor there refused to take her in because she looked sickly and pale, her eyes were dull and one of her legs was crippled. The police insisted that the detention center accept her anyway.
In the detention center, Ms. Gao was forced to memorize and sing brainwashing songs praising the Chinese Communist Party from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. every day. She was released two months later, after her family paid 2,000 yuan.
Repeated Arrests, Tortured to Heart Failure
On August 13, 2009, Ms. Gao was arrested while she was distributing Falun Gong literature. She was detained at Tahe Detention Center for five days and paid 200 yuan to the authorities there.
Ms. Gao and three other practitioners were giving out Falun Gong DVDs on July 10, 2014, when a dozen police officers from the Taergen Police Station arrested them.
The officers yanked the practitioners' hair and forcibly took pictures of them. They were then handcuffed together and not allowed to sit for many hours.
After the beatings during the interrogation, Ms. Gao was dizzy, nauseated, and had vomited – signs of a concussion. She was released on the evening of July 11, 2014.
While Ms. Gao was posting fliers and distributing Falun Gong DVDs in Tahe County on April 16, 2017, an officer arrested her. The police ransacked her home and confiscated almost everything, including her printer, Falun Gong books, printing paper, and cartridge.
Later, Ms. Gao was placed in an interrogation room and chained to a chair. She refused to answer questions, so the police fabricated her deposition document. In the evening, they brought Ms. Gao to the county hospital. At one point she began to have chest pains. The police then tied her to an iron bed, leaving her naked from the waist up for hours.
Ms. Gao was found to have hypertension and a lack of oxygen to the heart muscle. Despite her acute physical condition, the police put her in a detention center on April 17. She could no longer walk at that point and had not been given food or water since the day before.
On the night of April 18, Ms. Gao began to have a seizure and fell out of bed. Her life was in danger, and the authorities at the detention center asked the police to release her. The request was denied.
Ms. Gao was unable to sleep and experienced nausea. By April 21, she vomited vigorously and couldn't catch her breath. The authorities simply left her struggling in bed. It was only the next day that the police had her family take her home.
Given 3.5 Years and Admitted to Prison Despite Being Incontinent and Unable to Walk
A dozen officers broke into Ms. Gao’s mother’s home on April 20, 2018. They took Ms. Gao, giving the excuse that they wanted to examine her health in a hospital. She was so weak that she suffered two seizures there. She was injected with unknown drugs and later put in a detention center.
Ms. Gao did not have much appetite and her life was on the line at one point. The detention center refused to let her family see her and kept asking for money before giving her an IV.
Her family hired a lawyer on April 27. That same day, he tried to visit Ms. Gao but she was rushed to the local hospital earlier that day for resuscitation.
Four people carried Ms. Gao to the court on May 2. Her family and lawyer were not notified of her trial. She was sentenced to 3.5 years in prison. Neither she nor her family was given a copy of the verdict.
The court and detention center officials lied to her family, saying that they'd release her on medical parole once her prison sentence took effect. When her prison sentence was set to begin, the authorities said that the medical parole request had been turned down.
Ms. Gao was transferred to Harbin Women’s Prison on May 15, despite the fact that she was already incontinent and unable to walk.