(Minghui.org) Ms. Dong Ailing, a 71-year-old retired statistician in Taiyuan City, Shanxi Province, used to catch a cold every month and suffered from many illnesses, including severe anemia (only 7 grams of hemoglobin per deciliter when the normal range is between 12 to 15.5).

In 1997, her ailments disappeared after she chanced upon Falun Gong books at a coworker’s office and took up the practice; she started following the principles of Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance to be a better person.

Before practicing Falun Gong, Ms. Dong was a competitive person and helped her workplace win many honors issued by the Shanxi Provincial Department of Economics and Trade. She was also selected as a model worker and was promoted to an intermediate statistician in 1988. Having understood the true meaning of life after practicing Falun Gong, Ms. Dong took reputation and personal gain lightly; she also picked up money from the ground and returned it to the rightful owner, when in the past she would simply have pocketed the money herself.

However, after the Chinese communist regime began its persecution of Falun Gong in 1999, Ms. Dong was arrested at least three times, held in a detention center, and sentenced to prison for upholding her faith. She was also subjected to force-feeding, beatings, and sleep deprivation for over half a month while in custody.

First Arrest for Appealing for Falun Gong

On the morning of July 20, 1999, many Falun Gong practitioners were arrested by officers from the Taiyuan City police department. Ms. Dong went to the Appeals Office in Shanxi Province to appeal. That afternoon, police came and one officer used a loudspeaker and threatened the practitioners to leave. When the practitioners didn’t leave, two young officers grabbed Ms. Dong’s arms and pushed her into a big vehicle. She was taken to a stadium before being released later.

Arrested Again and Subjected to Force-Feeding

Ms. Dong traveled to Tiananmen Square to appeal again on January 23, 2001, and was stopped by a police officer. The officer ordered Ms. Dong to slander Falun Gong as a cult. She told him, “Falun Gong is not a cult. It teaches people to follow Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance to be a better person.”

The officer then told her to get into the police car. Inside the car, the police searched her body and bag before taking her to Tiananmen Square Police Station.

At the police station, Ms. Dong was body searched again and locked in a room filled with many other Falun Gong practitioners. She could hear the police interrogating people, and someone told her that a practitioner had been hung up and beaten by the police.

Afterward, she and other practitioners were transferred to Tiantan Police Station. They were searched and interrogated again. As Ms. Dong refused to provide her personal information, a young police officer took her to the backyard and instructed her to squat. He kicked her in the back when she refused. He then took her to the front yard and forced her to stand in the snow until the next morning.

On the first day of the Chinese New Year, the police saw that Ms. Dong was wearing more clothes, so he snatched her scarf and tried to remove her down jacket. They stopped after she told them not to humiliate her.

Ms. Dong was forced to stand in the snow for a few hours before being called into the meeting room to have her photo taken. For an entire day, the police starved the practitioners and didn’t give them any food or water. The practitioners were then taken to the Chongwen District Detention Center.

At the detention center, they were searched again and told to hand over any cash they had with them. Ms. Dong refused. The police then instructed the detainees to forcefully remove her clothes to search. A “Falun Dafa is good” banner was discovered and handed to the police.

When Ms. Dong was interrogated overnight by a section chief, she saw the officer removing an electric baton from his drawer. She asked if they were still shocking people. While the section chief replied that it was used on criminals, a 19-year-old female practitioner later told Ms. Dong that the police shocked her in the head with the electric baton.

As Ms. Dong refused to disclose her identity, the police took out a few files containing information about practitioners who were wanted and tried to find her. They tried to deceive her into revealing her identity by saying that they had found her file when they hadn’t. One officer also scolded her for not being able to celebrate the New Year with his five-year-old daughter.

When the police still could not find her identity, she was taken to a director's office that had a computer. The director and two detainees were in the office. The director asked her name and age, but she only disclosed her age. When they couldn’t find her on the computer, a detainee almost hit Ms. Dong but was stopped by the director.

Torture re-enactment: Shocked with electric batons

Ms. Dong and two practitioners went on a hunger strike when the police continued to starve them. On the fourth day of the Chinese New Year, the police force-fed them. They were taken to the restroom and forced to lie down. The police instructed two detainees to hold Ms. Dong’s arms and put a towel in front of her chest. A third detainee then inserted a tube through her nose. During the force-feeding, the food wouldn’t go down and came out of her nose, spraying all over her and on the ground. Ms. Dong used the towel to wipe her body and ground. The force-feeding couldn’t continue.

For the next few days, similar scenes played out again. Ms. Dong didn’t want to soil the detainees’ clothes, so she told them to stay away from her. Hearing this, the detainees placed the towel on top of her mouth, causing all the food to soil Ms. Dong’s own clothes.

The police later gave up on force-feeding Ms. Dong as they had failed each time.

On the seventh day of the Chinese New Year, all detainees were forced to watch the TV, and the Tiananmen Square self-immolation hoax was broadcast. The next morning, the detainees were made to read newspaper reports on the self-immolation.

When Ms. Dong was interrogated in the afternoon, she was asked if she would self-immolate too. She told the officers that the self-immolation was a hoax.

Ms. Dong and three other practitioners in their 20s were taken to Beijing Bo’ai Hospital for a physical exam after being detained for around eight days. As Ms. Dong had been on a hunger strike, she couldn’t urinate, and the doctor diagnosed her with a medical problem.

The detention center interrogated Ms. Dong again after a few days and tried to have her sign a blank criminal detention certificate. She refused and was punched by an officer.

Ms. Dong was released that night on February 5, 2001.

Tortured in Detention Center

On November 1, 2006, a woman in her 20s pretended to be a Falun Gong practitioner and knocked on Ms. Dong’s door. When Ms. Dong opened the door, a dozen police officers rushed in and started ransacking her home without showing ID.

Many items were confiscated from Ms. Dong’s home, including her laptop, hard disks, camera, voice recorder, printers, DVD, Falun Gong books and related materials, printing papers, several bottles of color ink, TV, bank book, cash, and ID. Ms. Dong later refused to sign the list of confiscated items and instead asked the police to return her belongings.

The police repeatedly tried to drag Ms. Dong away and only succeeded in carrying her out of her house. When Ms. Dong protested, an officer named Yue Yuzhong punched her mouth before stuffing her into the police car. Many people witnessed the arrest.

Ms. Dong’s son, who doesn’t practice Falun Gong, was also arrested when he returned home and asked the police to show their ID. He was pinned to the ground, handcuffed, and beaten before being carried into the police car.

Upon arriving at Sanqiao Police Station, Ms. Dong refused to alight and was carried out from the car. She was punched again in her mouth by Yue when she shouted “Falun Gong is good!”

Ms. Dong’s son was also taken to the same police station and beaten. He was handcuffed to an iron chair for a day and a night. After Ms. Dong was released, a practitioner, who was also held at the police station at that time, told her that her son could be heard screaming when he was beaten.

Torture re-enactment: Shackled on an iron chair

In November 2006, Ms. Dong was interrogated by officers from Taiyuan Police Department and handcuffed and shackled to an iron chair for a long time. The officers were split into three shifts and took turns resting. Ms. Dong was not allowed to sleep or rest; the police grabbed her hair or shouted in her ears when she dozed off. She was deprived of sleep for more than half a month in total.

The interrogation caused Ms. Dong to feel dizzy, and her body became swollen. She had dangerously high blood pressure.

The police extracted a “confession” from Ms. Dong after deceiving and torturing her. When the officers were changing shifts, Yue came into the room and slapped Ms. Dong a few times. An instructor then showed Ms. Dong an interrogation record that had been fabricated by police. Ms. Dong tore up the document when she saw that the statement was inaccurate. The instructor slapped her and handcuffed her more tightly to the chair. The instructor also told the police not to remove the handcuffs or let Ms. Dong use the restroom.

During the interrogation, the officers tried to deceive Ms. Dong by saying that they would release her if she cooperated with them.

Ms. Dong refused to memorize the prison rules or do slave labor. When she refused to wear the prison uniform vest, an officer wanted to hit her but stopped when Ms. Dong looked at the officer. As she refused to memorize the prison rules, the same officer instigated inmates to beat, humiliate and threaten Ms. Dong.

The officer also handcuffed Ms. Dong for half a month, rendering her unable to change her clothes at night. This caused many difficulties for her. When some kindhearted inmates tried to help Ms. Dong, the officer forbade them from doing so.

Ms. Dong went on a hunger strike to resist the persecution. However, the guards forbade inmates in her cell from eating if she continued the hunger strike. Not wanting the inmates to be implicated, she soon started eating.

The detention center had poor living conditions—everyone was served corn batter in the morning and a bun and vegetable soup that contained mud and worms in the afternoon and at night. Everyone was made to eat while squatting beside the bed. Each room was about 20 square meters and could hold 16 to 22 people. The room had a big bed that was 6 meters long and 2 meters wide, a restroom that was about 2 square meters, and a balcony of about 5 square meters. Fourteen to eighteen people slept on the big bed, sometimes leaving only 5 inches for each person to sleep on her side.

The difficult environment caused Ms. Dong’s teeth to fall out in a short time. She also suffered from coughs, diarrhea, and swelling. She was emaciated.

At night, Ms. Dong started doing Falun Gong exercises while other inmates watched TV. She stopped coughing that night, and an inmate commented that Falun Gong is really good. Afterward, Ms. Dong exercised every day, and her body recovered a little. She was later assigned to distribute hot water for the inmates and do some light work, such as making lighters’ wicks or making foil for packaging.

On April 29, 2007, Ms. Dong was indicted. During the first hearing held at Xinghualing District Court on June 5, 2007, she was sentenced to five years. She appealed the verdict, and the Taiyuan Intermediate Court reduced her term to three years on May 26, 2008.

On June 16, 2008, a few police officers handcuffed and shackled Ms. Dong and two other practitioners and took them to the Shanxi Women’s Prison. En route to the prison, they stopped at a hospital, where the practitioners had a large amount of blood drawn and underwent physical exams.

Torture Continued after Transfer to Prison

Ms. Dong was imprisoned at the Shanxi Women’s Prison from June 16, 2008, to November 2, 2009.

When Ms. Dong first arrived at the prison, she was sent for a physical exam again and her belongings were searched. She was body-searched after her clothes were removed. She was then forced to wear the prison uniform.

The prison wanted to give each inmate a badge with their photo. Ms. Dong refused to have her photo taken. Instigated by the prison instructor, two inmates held her arms and another inmate took her photo. When they wanted to take her photo again, Ms. Dong told them to take a photo of her back. They couldn’t take her photo in the end.

When Ms. Dong was imprisoned, the instructors forced her to sit on a small stool and watch videos slandering Falun Gong. Due to sitting on the stool for a long time, her buttocks festered. During the period when she was to be “transformed” (forced to renounce her faith), she was not allowed to see her family, talk to others, buy daily necessities, or do the Falun Gong exercises.

Ms. Dong refused to be transformed and was threatened with solitary confinement. When she used a towel to hold her face, an inmate reported her to the guards, saying that she was doing the Falun Gong exercises. The police then took away the towel. Another time, Ms. Dong was sitting on the bed with her legs crossed, and an inmate reported her again. She was not allowed to sit with her legs crossed.

The inmates, mostly young people, were forced to do unpaid work such as manufacturing clothes for the military or police every day from 6 a.m. to 12 midnight. However, Ms. Dong refused to participate in most of the work. She would help carry water, clean the restroom, and cut off loose threads on the clothes.

Chinese version available

Category: Accounts of Persecution