(Minghui.org) For upholding her faith in Falun Gong, Ms. Zhang Jianhua, an 80-year-old in Lanzhou City, Gansu Province, was given one year of forced labor following her arrest on October 23, 2008, and detained for ten days following her other arrest on September 9, 2015. 

She was arrested again in 2017 and sentenced to three years. During her latest prison term, she was subjected to savage beating, starvation, and sleep deprivation. She was also forced to drink her urine.

Falun Gong, also known as Falun Dafa, is a spiritual discipline that has been targeted by the Chinese communist regime since 1999.

Below are the details of Ms. Zhang’s latest persecution.

Four officers from the Lanzhou City Police Department broke into Ms. Zhang’s home on July 17, 2017. Without showing their police IDs or a search warrant, they confiscated her computer, two printers, some office supplies, over 50 Falun Gong books, 5,200 yuan in cash, her bank card, and 500 yuan banknotes printed with information about Falun Gong.

Due to strict information censorship in China, many Falun Gong practitioners use creative ways to raise awareness about the persecution, including printing messages on banknotes.

Ms. Zhang was held at the Xiaoxihu Police Station for a day and then transferred to a local detention center the next afternoon. She was released on bail 14 days later.

Ms. Zhang was summoned by prosecutor Zhang Guoxiu of the Qilihe Procuratorate in October 2017. After she was indicted, the Qilihe Court informed her son in December that year that she was scheduled to appear in court. As Ms. Zhang was unable to walk, the judge postponed the hearing until February 28, 2018. The hearing only lasted for half an hour and Ms. Zhang returned home afterward.

The police took Ms. Zhang back into custody on July 18, 2018. Her family later learned that she was sentenced to three years. She was first held at the Lanzhou City No.1 Detention Center and transferred to the Gansu Province Women’s Prison on September 10. 

The prison is notorious for its persecution against Falun Gong practitioners. For most practitioners on their arrival at the prison, the guards dragged them to places without a surveillance camera, beating them and pulling their hair in an attempt to force them to renounce Falun Gong. 

For the first ten days, the guards restricted Ms. Zhang’s restroom use and didn’t allow her to wash her hands after using the restroom. Inmates threw Ms. Zhang’s comforter into the toilet, poured water onto it, and then forced Ms. Zhang to use it at night. 

Before she went to bed, the inmates forced her to recite prison rules, or they wouldn’t allow her to sleep or wash herself in the morning. 

Some guards forced the practitioners to curse the founder of Falun Gong. Others wrote the founder’s name on the stool and forced the practitioners to sit on it. Some guards wrote the founder’s name on the practitioners’ clothes, in order to increase their mental distress.

As Ms. Zhang refused to renounce Falun Gong, the guards starved Ms. Zhang by giving her only one-third of the food for each meal. Her weight dropped quickly. Two months later, she was unable to lift her head or stand straight due to starvation. Fearing that she might develop a life-threatening condition, the guards took her to the prison hospital for treatment.

Most of the inmates assigned by the guards to monitor and torture the practitioners were felons or repeat offenders. They often spared no efforts in torturing the practitioners in order to earn a reduction of their terms. Some inmates forced the practitioners to wash their feet, socks and underwear for them. They beat and verbally humiliated the practitioners at will. 

On one occasion, the inmates forced Ms. Zhang to write down how she verbally abused her family members. Ms. Zhang said she never verbally abused others. The inmates accused her of lying and dragged her to the restroom, where they used the toilet brush to brush her mouth several times.

When the prison doctor saw that Ms. Zhang’s legs became swollen (after being kicked by the inmates), he ordered her to drink more water. Using the doctor’s note as an excuse, the inmates forced Ms. Zhang to drink lots of water and then forbade her to use the toilet. They instead forced her to use a chamber pot. The next morning they made her drink her own urine. 

The prison guards later extended the terms of the inmates who forced Ms. Zhang to drink her urine, but the inmates still constantly caused trouble for Ms. Zhang.

Outside of the prison, Ms. Zhang’s family was implicated in the persecution as well. Her grandson, who was serving in the military, was forced to be demobilized and not allowed to work in any state-run enterprise. Her other grandson wasn’t allowed to take the qualification exam for government jobs, which are stable with high income in China. One officer once revealed that they did so in order to turn Ms. Zhang’s family against her and to put pressure on her to stop practicing Falun Gong.

After Ms. Zhang was released on June 17, 2021, the local police and residential committee staff members went to her home and videotaped her.

Related reports:

77-Year-Old Woman Held at Detention Center, Facing Possible Sentencing

Four Falun Gong Practitioners in Gansu Province Sentenced to Prison Since January 2018

Gansu Women's Prison Authorities Abuse and Humiliate Falun Gong Practitioners

Chinese version available

Category: Torture of Women