(Minghui.org) Ms. Zhou Yanbo, a 58-year-old Dalian City, Liaoning Province resident, was arrested at a restaurant on November 12, 2020 for her belief in Falun Gong. She has since been detained in Dalian Detention Center and is now facing trial by the Pulandian Court.

Ms. Zhou Yanbo

Since the Chinese communist regime started to persecute Falun Gong, a spiritual discipline also known as Falun Dafa, in July 1999, Ms. Zhou has been arrested seven times and suffered unimaginable torture at various detention facilities, including Dalian Drug Rehabilitation Center, Dalian Detention Center, Jinzhou District Detention Center, Tieling City Detention Center, Masanjia Labor Camp in Shenyang, Zhangshi Labor Camp, Shenxin Labor Camp, and Dabei Prison. Her husband divorced her due to the persecution and her mother died prematurely because of fear amidst the constant pressure.

Becoming a Better Person After Taking Up Falun Gong

Ms. Zhou graduated from the Affiliated Health School of Dalian Medical University in July 1986. She was assigned to work as a clinic nurse at Dalian Development Zone Hospital. Because of malnutrition in her childhood, she struggled with poor health as an adult. Taking care of her young son and the heavy workload further took a toll on her health.

When her health condition was at its worst, Ms. Zhou was introduced to Falun Gong. She learned the five sets of slow-moving exercises and began living by the principles of Truthfulness, Compassion, Forbearance.

Ms. Zhou used to have gastroenteritis, cholecystitis, pancreatitis, ovarian cyst, anemia, rheumatism, and neurasthenia. Two months after she started doing the Falun Gong exercises, the diseases that had plagued her for years disappeared. She gained weight and became energetic despite her busy work schedule. She suddenly experienced the feeling of being illness-free and she threw out all her medicines.

Her husband was happy to see her amazing health recovery and became supportive of her practice. He told everyone the benefit of practicing Falun Gong. To ensure she could be at the group exercise site in time, he always had dinner ready when she got home from work. She said she was the happiest person in the world. 

At work, Ms. Zhou put herself on the call as long as there was a need to work overtime, especially during shortage of nursing staff due to the expansion of her hospital. Working in the clinic for more than ten years, she has developed superb skills and never made any medical errors. She had the noble character that a healthcare worker should have to save lives and was honored as an excellent teacher and award-winning nurse.

Brief Recap of Her Arrests

On July 21, 1999, the day after the persecution started, Ms. Zhou appealed to Dalian City government and was arrested. She and other practitioners were first taken to the Sanli Automobile School and held there overnight. Officers of the Youyi Police Station interrogated her the next day and then released her.

Ms. Zhou went to Beijing to appeal for the right to practice Falun Gong on October 15, 2000. She was arrested three days later and given one year and ten months at a labor camp.

She was arrested again on October 31, 2001, after being reported for distributing Falun Gong materials. She was detained for 11 days.

Ms. Zhou was targeted in a police sweep and arrested at a practitioner’s home on October 8, 2002. She was released after two months of detention because of her heart and kidney problems. Her family was forced to pay 4,000 yuan in exchange for her release.

A month later, Ms. Zhou was arrested again at a friend’s home on January 11, 2003. She was held in the basement of Zhongshan Police Station for two days before being taken to Dalian Detention Center for 20 days. Because she was starved, her eyeballs were sunken in and she could hardly move her eyes. Her tongue was stiff and her body was very cold.

Although she managed to stay away from the police for the next decade, she was nevertheless arrested again on September 18, 2019. She was tortured at the Dalian City Detention Center. She developed multiple conditions, including heart failure, renal failure, hypertension, diabetes, hepatic lesions, and gallbladder stones. She was released on October 12 that year.

On April 3 and 7 of 2020, Ms. Zhou was summoned to the Jinzhou District Court and asked to pick up her indictment. When Ms. Zhou refused to go, the police ordered her to report to the local police station. To hide from the police, she decided to live away from home, only to be arrested one and half years later. 

Below are the details of the torture she suffered each time in custody.

Dalian Drug Rehabilitation Center and Dalian City Detention Center

Ms. Zhou was arrested on October 15, 2000, for speaking out for Falun Gong in Beijing. On October 20, she was taken to Dalian Drug Rehabilitation Center. The guards forced her to give up her belief by beating her, berating her, and shocking her with electric batons. She was also forced to stand and squat for long hours.

One week later, Ms. Zhou was transferred to the Criminal Police Brigade in the Development Zone. The police interrogated her for five days straight. They tried deception, intimidation, and verbal abuse to force her to give up her belief, but failed. They sent Ms. Zhou back to the Dalian City Detention Center on November 11.

Ms. Zhou was locked in a small cell with about seventeen inmates. They were forced to sort bags of beans every day. Each bag weighed about 200 pounds and needed to be carried in and out by two people. Ms. Zhou lost more than 20 pounds during her 51 days of detention there. 

Masanjia Labor Camp

On December 21, 2000, Ms. Zhou was taken to Masanjia Labor Camp without any due process. This now-defunct labor camp, notorious for persecuting Falun Gong, housed more than 1,000 inmates. Ms. Zhou shared a 300-square foot room with 30 people and a twin bed with another inmate. 

The food she was given often contained sand and insects. On one occasion, the prison guards told the prisoners to make dumplings for dinner. They then videotaped the scene. In the end, no dumplings were served. But a TV news program the next day reported that the inmates were given dumplings.

Compared to the physical suffering, the mental torment was more destructive. 

As soon as Ms. Zhou arrived, the inmates talked to her for two consecutive days without letting her sleep. When Ms. Zhou was in a delirious state due to fatigue, they asked her to sign statements to renounce Falun Gong. 

Ms. Zhou refused to comply and argued that she couldn’t be "transformed" for being a good person. As a result, she was beaten, kicked, and forced to squat for long hours, often into the night, while everyone else had already gone to bed. 

Ms. Zhou was forced to stand still for two days and then squat on the third day, after which she was unable to walk. She was beaten by four guards when she protested the inhuman torture. They said, “You are a prisoner and you should know there is no law here.”

During a labor camp-wide conference on January 17, 2001, nearly 1,000 people, including Liaoning Province secretary Wen Shizhen and several media outlets, attended it. After Wen praised Masanjia for the excellent results of forcing Falun Gong practitioners to renounce their faith, a detainee surnamed Wang, who had given up the practice, gave a speech. Wang said, “There is no persecution in the labor camp. Masanjia is like a spring shower that makes the greens grow and the guards are like mothers who take good care of the inmates.” 

As she was talking, Falun Gong practitioner Ms. Zou Guirong stood up and confronted her, “You are a liar!” Ms. Zou was pinned down on the ground and beaten by the guards. She was then dragged away by her hair. The meeting was quickly ended. 

Female Practitioners Taken to the Male Ward

Together with nine other female practitioners and two male practitioners, Ms. Zhou was transferred to the Zhangshi Forced Labor Camp, a male facility, on April 19, 2001. Two of the female practitioners, including Ms. Zou Guirong and Ms. Su Juzhen, were later tortured to death. 

Awaiting for the female practitioners were a row of male inmates in their 30s or 40s. After roll call, one strong-built guard read the labor camp rules, saying that any practitioner who refused to be “transformed” would be considered to have committed suicide if persecuted to death. They then locked the practitioners into the notorious “Small White Building” in the labor camp.

Each practitioner was assigned one room and they were not allowed to see or talk to each other. One of the practitioners, Ms. Qu, disappeared the next day. 

When Ms. Zhou entered her room, two men and one woman were already inside. Their job was to transform her. They forced her to sit on the floor and kept her awake without even a nap for six consecutive days. They vituperated Falun Gong and its founder. 

Ms. Zhou stayed firm in her faith. Her mind was not swayed by their nonsense talks, and she refused to slander Falun Gong against her will. Her righteous faith restrained the perpetrators and they didn’t go further to torture her. But she could constantly hear the scream of other practitioners in nearby rooms. 

When Ms. Zhou was finally allowed to sleep on the seventh day, two men stayed in the room and watched her. When she asked them to leave, they gloated and said that they were just doing their job. Although the two men didn’t do anything to her, another practitioner, Ms. Yin Liping, was gang-raped by the inmates. Ms. Zhou also learned that before they were taken there, the labor camp had successfully forced over 200 practitioners to renounce their faith.

(To be continued.)

Chinese version available

Category: Accounts of Persecution