(Minghui.org) After serving four years in Chongqing Women’s Prison, Ms. Zhu Yaohui, 69, has lost six teeth and some of her vision. She became disfigured with several festering open wounds on her head. Her family described her as “shrunken” and that she was incoherent and non-responsive.
The native of Huaying City, Sichuan Province, was tortured because she refused to renounce her faith in Falun Gong, a health-improving meditation practice persecuted in China since July 1999.
Ms. Zhu suffered repeated arrests and incarceration over the past 22 years of persecution. The authorities held her in a brainwashing center twice, in detention centers four times, and in a police station three times, adding up to nearly a year. She served two forced labor camp terms for a total of six years before being sentenced to four years in prison following her latest arrest in 2017.
Ms. Zhu was arrested by a plainclothes officer while she shopping in a market in the Hechuan District in Chongqing on the morning of February 27, 2017. Nanjinjie Police Station officers restrained her in a metal chair with handcuffs and shackles before ransacking her apartment.
Her dozens of Falun Gong books, photos of Falun Gong’s founder, five computers, and a TV media player were confiscated. Three practitioners who happened to come by to visit Ms. Zhu were also arrested and taken to the Wuzun Brainwashing Center. The police also went to Ms. Zhu’s nephew’s home to harass him.
When Ms. Zhu was later taken to the Hechuan District Detention Center, a guard drew a sample of her blood. She had her blood taken three more times between 2018 to 2020 after being transferred to Chongqing City Women’s Prison on September 5, 2018.
In the prison, the guards removed one layer of the warm liner from her bed and gave her a light blanket, knowing that winter was coming. They also barred her from purchasing winter clothes. The guards often beat and mistreated her. She sometimes didn’t get any sleep as the guards wouldn’t let her go to bed until after 4 in the morning and then woke her up an hour later. The guards threw all her underwear and socks away and denied her paper when she had to use the toilet.
Ms. Zhu developed hypertension and was always dizzy because of the constant abuse. Her limbs became severely swollen. One day the prison authorities called her husband and told him that she’d been rushed to a hospital for an emergency. When her husband came all the way from Shanghai (about 1,000 miles away) to the prison, the authorities wouldn’t let him see her. He deposited a few thousand yuan in her prison account for her to buy daily necessities and left.
After she was taken back to the prison from the hospital, the guards often spit in her face, assaulted her, and deprived her of sleep. They forced her to live in filth and didn’t let her change or wash her underwear. In the summer of 2019, she wasn’t allowed to wash her underwear once.
She was transferred from the 1st ward of the prison to the 2nd ward in September 2019. The head of the prison education division and the deputy chief of the 2nd ward tried to talk her into renouncing Falun Gong. She refused.
Infuriated, the guards made things even worse for her. She had to do intensive labor during the day and in the evening she had to sit in the hallway in the cold until late at night. She barely slept and wasn’t allowed to wash up. When she got hungry, the guards wouldn’t let her eat the food she’d purchased. The guards took turns berating her while recording the conversations. Her son-in-law came from Shanghai to see her one time and was also turned away.
Since her release on February 26, 2021, she has suffered from constant headaches and has difficulty walking.
During those four years, the authorities fined her 10,000 yuan and suspended her pension. Eight months later, her pension still hasn’t been reinstated.
Summary of Past Persecution
Before Ms. Zhu, a retired government official, took up Falun Gong, she suffered from bone disease, heart problems, arthritis, and a leg injury. She practiced several kinds of qigong but nothing worked until she came across Falun Gong.
Two days after the persecution started in 1999, officers from Huaying Domestic Security and Shuanghe Town Police Station in Sichuan Province broke into her home and took her to the police station. Her husband, a police officer at the time, had to use his connections to secure her release.
The next day, township officials and prosecutors went to her home and took turns interrogating her, until she became exhausted. She had to take days off work in order to recover.
Ms. Zhu went to Beijing to speak up for Falun Gong on October 15, 1999. Officers on Tiananmen Square arrested her and held her in the Beijing Detention Center for a week. Three officers traveled from Huaying City to Beijing to take her back and put her in a detention center. The police extorted 2,000 yuan from her and forced her to pay their travel expenses, which added up to 7,000 yuan. She was released about 4.5 months later on March 6, 2000.
While she was in Beijing protesting, the authorities suspended her husband from work. They also ordered him to work with the Domestic Security Office to bring her back. It’s not clear if he complied.
An officer from Huaying City Domestic Security Office and an official from Shuanghe Town went to Ms. Zhu’s home at the beginning of July 2000 to take her to a brainwashing center. Her husband defended her and fought with them. As a result, the Police Department threatened to discipline him. She was tortured in Huaying City Detention Center until the end of July.
The Huaying City Domestic Security Office and Shuanghe Town worked together again and arrested Ms. Zhu on August 16, 2000. They gave her three years in Nanmusi Women’s Forced Labor Camp in Sichuan Province and extended the term for six months. She was released on February 24, 2004.
Ms. Zhu was reported to the police while visiting the family of an illegally detained practitioner on June 5, 2004. Daishi Police Station officers beat her and put her in Guang’an Detention Center. Inside the detention center, a guard instigated an inmate to beat her until she vomited blood. She didn’t recover for a long time. They also placed her in a brainwashing center.
The authorities transferred her to Nanmusi Women’s Forced Labor Camp on September 2. She was detained there for three years and released in 2007.
The authorities suspended her pay for the six and half years she was in the forced labor camp. The head of the Huaying City Police Department pressured her husband many times to divorce her.
One time the chief police and a political commissioner told her husband, “The Chinese Communist Party has decided that you and your wife are getting a divorce.”
Her husband replied, “Practicing Falun Gong is her decision and she doesn’t have a behavioral problem. Getting a divorce or not is my business and you should leave the decision to me. I will complain to the People’s Congress that the two of you are trying to destroy my family.” That was the last time the police department brought up the issue of divorce to him.
The family moved to Shanghai but still could not escape the persecution. Puxing Police Station officers in Shanghai arrested Ms. Zhu on June 29, 2015, saying that she was promoting Falun Gong. They ransacked the home. Her husband and daughter went to the police station to take her home that night.
Ms. Zhu gave out Falun Gong calendars to people to celebrate the New Year on December 19, 2015. A plainclothes officer arrested her and detained her in Beiyangjing Police Station in Shanghai for 15 days.
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