(Minghui.org) Mr. Liu Rongping, 62, of Suihua City, Heilongjiang Province, was released on July 13, 2021, 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.
During his imprisonment, Mr. Liu was subjected to more than ten torture methods, including being shocked with electric batons, restrained with a straitjacket, forced to sit on a small stool, and starved. There was a period of time when Mr. Liu was unrecognizable due to the brutal torture.
Before he began practicing Falun Gong, Mr. Liu had several illnesses, including stomach disease, rheumatism, and arthritis. The illnesses all disappeared after he picked up the practice.
Mr. Liu later moved to Suzhou City, Jiangsu Province to be closer to his daughter. He was arrested there for distributing Falun Gong informational materials and was subsequently sentenced to prison. Below is an account of the persecution he experienced in prison.
Arrested and Released on Bail
Mr. Liu was distributing Falun Gong informational materials in a residential area in Suzhou City on April 21, 2017, when officers from the Taiping Police Station arrested him. They body searched him and discovered some Falun Gong materials on him. The police then took Mr. Liu to his residence. They forced their way in as they couldn’t find his house keys. Mr. Liu’s computer, portable hard disk, and printer were confiscated. The police wrote a list of confiscated items at Mr. Liu’s request, but took it back after asking him to step outside. Mr. Liu was detained at the Suzhou Detention Center.
On May 26, as the procuratorate refused to accept his case due to insufficient evidence, the police decided to release Mr. Liu on bail. Mr. Liu demanded that the police give him an explanation for arresting him and refused to leave. The police station then called his daughter and asked her to finish the bail release document for him.
Mr. Liu returned to his home in Suihua City two weeks later. Upon finding out that he had left, the Suzhou police sent him three letters and demanded his return. Mr. Liu refused to return.
Three officers later traveled 1,500 miles from Suzhou to Suihua on December 20, 2017. They asked their counterparts in Suihua to help arrest Mr. Liu. The latter deceived Mr. Liu into opening his door by claiming that they were there to inspect his home. They grabbed him and pushed him into a police car. He was taken to Xianfeng Police Station in Suihua, where the three Suzhou officers were waiting.
The Suzhou police accused him of violating bail conditions. They held him at the Xianfeng Police Station overnight and took him to Suzhou City the next day.
Sentenced to 3.5 Years in Prison
Mr. Liu was held at a residence rented by the police where nine people took turns monitoring him every day.
While trying to gather evidence to prosecute Mr. Liu, the police noticed that most of the Falun Gong materials they confiscated from him weren’t printed with the printer he had. His computer didn’t have any Falun Gong-related files either. Despite the clear indication that Mr. Liu didn’t print the materials himself, the police still accused him of doing so and submitted his case to the procuratorate. Some double-sided tape and a pack of toothpicks were also included as “prosecution evidence” against him.
The prosecutor issued an arrest warrant for Mr. Liu on April 18, 2018, and he was transferred to the Suzhou No. 2 Detention Center.
Mr. Liu went on trial on June 21 that year. The court gallery was filled with government employees but his family and friends weren’t allowed to attend the session. Mr. Liu’s daughter was listed as a witness by the police. She wasn’t allowed to enter the courtroom until the very end of the trial. The judge asked her a few questions just to go through the motions.
Mr. Liu tried to defend himself but was interrupted repeatedly and prohibited from talking. He mentioned that Falun Gong isn’t on the government’s list of cults, and that the Chinese Publication Bureau had already lifted the ban on the publication of Falun Gong books. He argued that it is his constitutionally-protected right to own Falun Gong books and distribute Falun Gong items.
The prosecutor read the indictment very quickly and Mr. Liu didn’t hear it clearly. When he asked to read the document himself, the judge claimed that it was the prosecutor’s intellectual property. The prosecutor refused to read it again.
At the conclusion of the trial, the judge sentenced Mr. Liu to 3.5 years in prison and fined him 4,000 yuan. Mr. Liu refused to sign the verdict and was later taken back to the detention center. He appealed to the Suzhou City Intermediate Court, but the judge ruled to uphold the original verdict.
Tortured in Suzhou Prison
On April 2019, Mr. Liu was transferred to Suzhou Prison and was subjected to various torture methods there.
Mr. Liu was subjected to physical punishment in the strict control team. He was forced to run and do half squats. If he couldn’t run or limped when running, the inmates would force him to squat for a few hours. As Mr. Liu was limping for over 20 days, he was forced to squat on one leg for half an hour each time.
The prison forced Mr. Liu to take antihypertensive drugs after seeing that his blood pressure was high. The officers checked his mouth to make sure that he had swallowed the pills. Mr. Liu refused to take any more medicine after his blood pressure had lowered, but the inmates continued to force him to take the drug until he was released.
Once, an inmate asked Mr. Liu what crime he had committed. Mr. Liu maintained that he didn’t commit any crime and was being persecuted. The inmate slapped him in the face on one side until it became swollen. Then he hit the other side of Mr. Liu’s face, saying he did it to make both cheeks look even.
When the inmate asked the same question again, Mr. Liu gave the same response and was dragged into a small room with no surveillance camera. Three inmates beat him, trying to break his arms and legs. One inmate sat on him. They tortured him for more than 30 minutes.
Shocked with Electric Batons
In an attempt to “transform” Mr. Liu, the guards shocked him with electric batons, and asked if he committed any crime, to which Mr. Liu said no. Four inmates then grabbed his arms and legs, while the guards shocked the soles of his feet.
Clamping Fingers with Toothbrushes
When Mr. Liu still refused to be “transformed,” a guard took three toothbrushes and placed them between each finger and then held his fingers tightly. Mr. Liu felt as though his bones were breaking.
Squashing the Toes
In their ongoing attempt to “transform” Mr. Liu, the inmates took a plastic stool and placed one leg of the stool on his big toe and had a burly inmate sit on the stool. Mr. Liu’s toe was immediately bruised and became black, and his toenail almost fell off.
Placing Clips on Legs
The inmates also used four big clips to torture Mr. Liu. With four clips clipped on one of Mr. Liu’s calves, the inmates forced him to squat on that leg so that the clips would tighten their grip on the skin, causing his skin to become irritated. The same torture was repeated on the other leg. If the inmates saw that Mr. Liu was able to endure the torture, they would arrange one inmate to press against him to increase the weight on his squatted leg. The inmates sometimes repeated the torture three times in one afternoon. The bruises on his leg were still visible a year later.
As Mr. Liu refused to be “transformed,” the prison gave him very little food—porridge in the morning and rice the size of a biscuit in the afternoon and at night. They gave him three to four pieces of carrot and salted vegetables and allowed him to drink only one sip of water. He was later allowed to drink two sips of water. He became emaciated from the starvation.
Forced to Wear Straitjacket
Mr. Liu was forced to wear a straitjacket for more than a month as he refused to renounce his faith. Afterward, he was hospitalized for two months. When he was taken back to the prison, the inmates forced him to wear the straitjacket again. As the straitjacket was very tight, Mr. Liu felt his arms aching after lying sideways for five minutes to sleep. As he couldn’t move, his body, hands, and arms became numb and ached.
Though Mr. Liu’s official sleep time was from 11 p.m. to 5 a.m., the inmates woke him up every half an hour to interrupt his sleep.
Pricking with Metal Wire
The inmates rubbed chili water on Mr. Liu’s face and made a needle using a metal wire to prick him.
Mr. Liu was later forced to write guarantee statements, sign them and then read them aloud.
Sitting on a Small Tool
Mr. Liu was forced to sit on a small stool that was custom made with many small bumps on the surface. When he was sitting on the small stool, the inmates forced him to hold a piece of paper between his legs and another piece of paper under his arms. If the paper dropped, he would be beaten. The torture caused Mr. Liu’s buttocks to become abraded and extremely painful. He also developed calluses.
Apart from the physical torture, Mr. Liu was also tortured mentally. Every night, he was forced to watch propaganda programs, and learn “Xi Jinping’s thoughts” (the philosophy of China’s current top leader) once a week; he had to write “thought reports” six to eight times a month, as well as statements to renounce Falun Gong and express his gratitude to the Chinese Communist Party once or twice a year.
As Mr. Liu was malnourished, deprived of sleep, and tortured, he became disoriented. After the initial two months of torture, he was emaciated and had severe anemia. At one point he was unrecognizable; his eyes bulged and his legs were swollen.
The prison wanted to send Mr. Liu to a mental hospital but the hospital didn’t accept him when they saw that he was still speaking logically. Later, Mr. Liu was sent to the prison hospital and hospitalized for two months.
Mr. Liu was released on July 13, 2021, after serving 3.5 years in prison. When he went to apply for his pension, he was told that he didn’t make his pension contribution in 2019. He later realized that the 4,000 yuan contribution his sister made for him was confiscated by the court to pay his fine.
As Mr. Liu’s daughter was harassed repeatedly by the police and the court and faced tremendous pressure, she sold her house and cut all ties with her family. Before moving away, she gave 10,000 yuan to Mr. Liu’s younger brother and asked him to give the money to her dad after he was released. Mr. Liu has now completely lost contact with his daughter.
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