Chinese Name: 仲淑娟Gender: FemaleAge: 66City: DalianProvince: LiaoningOccupation: Employee of Dalian University of Technology Date of Death: December 24, 2021Date of Most Recent Arrest: June 28, 2016Most Recent Place of Detention: Liaoning Women’s Prison
A 66-year-old woman in Dalian City, Liaoning Province suffered long-term torture and developed breast cancer while serving time for practicing Falun Gong. Ms. Zhong Shujuan died in Liaoning Women’s Prison on December 24, 2021, three years after her request for medical parole was denied. Her body was cremated in the presence of the police, prosecutor and judge who were involved in her sentencing.
Falun Gong, also known as Falun Dafa, is a traditional spiritual and meditation discipline that has been targeted by the Chinese communist regime since 1999.
Over the past 22 years, Ms. Zhong was arrested seven times and incarcerated for a total of 12 years for upholding her faith. She was detained at the Dalian Detention Center for 18 days, a drug rehabilitation center for 28 days, Dalian Forced Labor Camp for two years and 40 days, and Masanjia Forced Labor Camp twice, for two years and four months the first time and two years and 16 days the second time. Additionally, Ms. Zhong was held in the Luotaishan Brainwashing Center for 21 days in July 2009, and in a hospital for 15 days in March 2016. She was sentenced to 7.5 years following her last arrest on June 28, 2016 and remained detained until her death on December 24, 2021.
Ms. Zhong was not the only person in her family affected by the persecution. Her daughter Ms. Li Xiuli suffered a mental breakdown in 2007, at the age of 27, as a result of long-term harassment by the authorities. She never recovered after a traumatic police raid when she was home alone. After one of her mother’s arrests, Ms. Li and her father Mr. Li Kuan were so traumatized that they did not leave their home for more than 40 days. They didn’t dare answer phone calls or open the door. People thought they had died and found out they were still alive only after using force to enter their apartment.
Following Ms. Zhong’s latest arrest in 2016, her husband was detained for half a month and later sentenced to three and a half years of probation. Their daughter’s mental health has further declined.
Ms. Zhong, who worked in the souvenir shop of Dalian University of Technology for 20 years, began practicing Falun Gong in 1994. She recovered from severe rheumatic arthritis and improved her temper as well. She was appreciated by her colleagues for her helpfulness.
In December 2000, several months after the suppression of Falun Gong began, Ms. Zhong and her daughter planned to take a long-distance bus to Beijing to appeal for the right to practice Falun Gong. With Falun Gong practitioners coming to Beijing from around the country, the Dalian police searched for practitioners by ordering all bus passengers to verbally slander the founder of Falun Gong. Anybody who didn’t do so would be taken away. Because Ms. Zhong and her daughter refused to comply, they were searched and taken to the Dalian Drug Rehabilitation Center for persecution.
The police extorted more than 4,000 yuan from Ms. Zhong’s husband, Mr. Li Kuan. They would continue to extort money from him each time they arrested his wife and he demanded her release. The police also threatened the couple’s daughter with incarceration if she refused to give up Falun Gong. When the young woman refused to renounce her belief, she was detained for 18 days.
At the Dalian Drug Rehabilitation Center, Ms. Zhong refused to recite the center rules as a way to peacefully protest her illegal detention. The guards handcuffed her and had her stand against the wall. They intimidated her and didn’t allow her to sleep until the early morning. A guard slapped her daughter in the face more than 20 times. They woke her up the next day at 5:00 a.m. and forced her to stand while bending over for a whole day.
Ms. Zhong was transferred to the Dalian Detention Center 28 days later. Not long after that she was given two years at Dalian Forced Labor Camp.
At Dalian Forced Labor Camp, an inmate surnamed Gao slapped Ms. Zhong in the face and tortured her because she said that she would continue doing the Falun Gong exercises. The guards had her bend over with both hands touching the back of her head and her head between her legs. They beat her if she moved. To protest the persecution, all Falun Gong practitioners detained at the labor camp started a hunger strike. They were taken to a room where they had to sleep on thin straw mattress on the ground.
The practitioners were taken to the cafeteria the next day. As their names were called one by one, two male guards grabbed them and dragged them outside and forced them onto a bus. While the guards threatened to take them to the notorious Masanjia Forced Labor Camp, the bus only circled around the labor camp twice and stopped at another shabby building nearby.
After Ms. Zhong was later transferred back to Dalian Forced Labor Camp, the guards deprived her of sleep and continued to torture her. She was locked in solitary confinement three times.
When she started a hunger strike to protest, the guards force-fed Ms. Zhong with the same nasal tube used on another person without cleaning it. There was still cornmeal, dust, and hair on the tube. To increase her suffering, the guards repeatedly pulled the tube in and out of her nose, causing her to cry out in pain. The guards also arranged for young graduates from the police academy to watch the force-feeding, to demonstrate how to torture people.
As Ms. Zhong refused to start eating, the guards handcuffed her behind her back and locked her in solitary confinement. They opened the window and door to subject her to the cold winter wind.
Ms. Zhong was locked in solitary confinement for the third time because she didn’t wear the labor camp name tag. The guards searched her before locking her in the cell. Then they took off her clothes, stuffed her mouth with a dirty rag, and hung her up from a metal bar in the cell. Then they pulled her legs in all directions, causing extreme pain. They stabbed her feet with small scissors. They put a chair under her and kept hitting her private parts against the high corner of the chair. They also kicked her private parts and stabbed her with a pointed mop handle. Her private parts were torn, festering, and swollen. She bled profusely. It was so painful that she cried out and spit out the rag stuffed in her mouth. The rope used to tie her down broke during the struggle.
The guards then filled a used Coke bottle with water and poured it into her mouth. If she refused to open her mouth, they hit her with the bottle. Her mouth was swollen as result. The guards later brought a piece of paper and a pen and ordered her to write a statement to renounce Falun Gong. When she refused, the guards continued torturing her.
The torture started at 1:00 p.m. and lasted till 8:00 p.m. When Ms. Zhong was finally let down, she collapsed. Her legs and arms were very weak, and her pants were soaked with blood and urine. Three inmates who were torturing her ordered her to write, “It is wrong not to wear the labor camp name tag.”
Two guards later dragged Ms. Zhong to the “strict monitoring” room and tied her to the death bed. There were only a few wooden boards on the bed, and no blankets or sheets. Her private parts were bleeding, soaking the boards with blood. They also put a helmet-like torture device on her head.
She was later allowed to go to the toilet twice a day. Her hands were severely swollen from the death bed torture. When she went to the toilet or ate, the guards only opened the handcuffs on one hand. Ms. Zhong’s hands were so injured that she couldn’t grasp anything at the time. It took a long time for her to gradually regain some feeling in her hands.
Ms. Zhong was left on the death bed for eight days, and developed pressure sores. When the guards removed the helmet from her head, there was a painful bump on her head and her ears were red and swollen. Only then did the guards stop the round of torture.
Ms. Zhong couldn’t sleep at night because of the pain. Yet the guards still forced her to do unpaid labor without giving her time to recover. To prevent other inmates from seeing her injuries, the guards didn’t allow her to shower, and extended her term by 40 days.
In addition to the constant torture, the guards also body searched Ms. Zhong very often. She was fined 200 yuan once when Falun Gong teachings were found on her. When Ms. Zhong was released in November 2002, it took a lot of effort from her husband to get the labor camp to release the 2,000-yuan balance in her commissary account.
In March 2003, one month after Ms. Zhong was released from Dalian Forced Labor Camp, she was reported for talking to people about Falun Gong at Walmart and arrested. She was given two years at Masanjia Forced Labor Camp. There, she was forced to get up at 4 a.m. and was not allowed to go to bed until 11 p.m or midnight. The torture was escalated three months later as she still refused to give up the practice of Falun Gong. The guards verbally abused her, deprived her of sleep, and subjected her to cold temperatures.
In the autumn, the detainees were forced to husk corn. Ms. Zhong had a big lump on her wrist, which was so painful that she couldn’t pick up the tools needed for handling the corn. When Ms. Zhong refused to continue the work, the guards ordered her to mop the cafeteria and peel garlic.
After all the corn was husked, the guards started another round of “transformation” attempts. Practitioners were tortured and deprived of sleep if they did not renounce their faith. There was one time that Ms. Zhong wasn’t allowed to sleep for six consecutive days. The guards made her stand and she fell asleep while standing.
She was once humiliated by nine inmates who stuck notes on her face, nose, and neck. They put a tall hat on her and put a paper belt with words that slandered Falun Gong on her. They took off her clothes and wrote words that slandered Falun Gong on her body and clothes. She was forced to walk around and was beaten as she walked. The guards and inmates pushed, beat, and pinched her. This type of abuse continued for about three months.
Later, officers from the police department interrogated Ms. Zhong. They asked if she had been tortured and also what crime she committed. She replied that she didn’t commit any crime and went on to explain how she benefitted from practicing Falun Gong.
During the escalated persecution, practitioners were only given steamed cornbread and pickles for all three meals, every day for six months. The cornbread wasn’t fully cooked and was raw on the inside. Ms. Zhong was in solitary confinement for the 2005 Chinese New Year’s Eve. They extended her term by four months before she was released in July 2005.
In March 2007, Ms. Zhong was reported for distributing Falun Gong informational materials. She was arrested by officers from the Huadong Road Police Station and was given another two years of forced labor at Masanjia Forced Labor Camp. Every day, she was forced to do hard labor from 5 a.m. to midnight, carrying the workload of three people.
At the end of July 2007, guard Zhao Guorong ordered other inmates to make Ms. Zhong sign an evaluation form. They beat her when she refused to sign. They pushed her to the ground and beat her severely. Her clothes were torn and she was bruised all over. Her hands were bleeding. Zhao hit her head on a metal cabinet, resulting in a big bump on her head.
Zhao again ordered the inmates to make Ms. Zhong sign the evaluation form at the end of August. Another inmate shocked her with an electric baton. When Ms. Zhong resisted, one inmate twisted her right arm behind her back and pushed her against the table. Two inmates then grasped her hand and tried to make her sign.
As Ms. Zhong still refused to sign the form in October, Zhao beat her and dragged her to the office. Ms. Zhong’s shoes fell off and her clothes were torn as she was dragged. Zhao slapped her face and beat her with a stick covered with cloth. Ms. Zhong blacked out and her nose started bleeding. Another inmate hit her with a slipper until her clothes and face were covered with blood.
Another guard ordered the doctors to use the “Stretch Torture” on her. Her head was put under the upper level of a bunk bed, her hands were handcuffed to the two sides of the upper level, and her legs were tied to the lower level with the support of a metal tripod, forcing her to bend at the waist. A few minutes of this torture was unbearable, but she was stretched like this for two days.
Ms. Zhong was working in the workshop on November 30, 2007, when Zhao ordered her to sign the evaluation form again. When Ms. Zhong refused, Zhao slapped her in the face, pushed her to the ground and kicked her hard. Ms. Zhong vomited blood. Her mouth was ripped, her face was swollen, and she was bruised all over. It was tremendously painful for her to breathe or talk afterwards, and she had difficulty lying down and getting up. She hardly ate anything for more than ten days, yet she was forced to continue the labor despite her condition.
Ms. Zhong developed panic attacks from the torture. If a guard searched her cell at night and touched her, she would be terrified and scream, “Someone is beating me! Someone is beating me!”
Ms. Zhong was arrested by officers from the Zhonghualu Police Station on March 11, 2016, when she was talking to people about Falun Gong. She jumped from the second floor of the police station to escape and was injured. She was taken to Dalian No. 3 People’s Hospital, where she was monitored by police. The CT and MRI reports showed that her lower back was injured. Ms. Zhong insisted on returning home after being hospitalized for 15 days.
Once home, she studied Falun Gong books and did the Falun Gong exercises every day. She was soon able to sit, walk, and do housework again. However, after her health recovered, she was arrested again.
The police barged into Ms. Zhong’s home on the morning of June 28, 2016. They confiscated dozens of copies of Falun Dafa books, photos of Falun Gong’s founder, a computer, a printer, and a CD burner, among other items. Her family of three was taken to the Chunhai Police Station. Her husband and mentally disabled daughter were released that night and placed under residential surveillance.
Ms. Zhong was transferred to the Yaojia Detention Center in Dalian. Her arrest was approved on July 22, and she was later sentenced to 7.5 years. Ms. Zhong was held in the detention center for more than two years and transferred to Liaoning Women’s Prison on August 28, 2018.
Even though the law allows prisoners to appeal their verdict, Liaoning Women’s Prison blocked Falun Gong practitioners from filing appeals and also forced them to write guarantee statements renouncing their faith. Those who refused were not given toilet paper or sanitary pads. Ms. Zhong and several other practitioners had their belongings confiscated upon arriving at the prison. They were not given any toilet paper for half a year and were forced to clean themselves with a small amount of water instead.
After being imprisoned for 3.5 years, Ms. Zhong was diagnosed with breast cancer. Her family requested medical parole, but their request was denied. She passed away on December 24, 2021.
The persecution claimed Ms. Zhong’s life, but also caused irreparable damage to her husband and daughter.
Ms. Zhong’s daughter Ms. Li Xiuli, was an obedient child at home and a top student at a technical school affiliated with Dongbei University of Finance & Economics. She was 20 years old when she graduated from college in 1999. Her father used his connections to find her a job, but she insisted on finding a job herself.
It was 2003 when Ms. Zhong’s home was ransacked by officers from the Huadong Road Police Station. The young Ms. Li, then 24, tried to stop them. The police dragged her from the fourth floor to the first floor and later to the police station. She was frightened and became depressed. When their home was ransacked for the second time in 2007, she was the only one at home and was traumatized. She suffered a breakdown and has been mentally ill ever since. She frequently left home and wandered about. Her father, Mr. Li Kuan suffered tremendous pressure from the persecution and his daughter's illness and his health deteriorated, causing him to lose all of his teeth.
After one of Ms. Zhong’s arrests, her husband and daughter didn’t dare to leave home for more than 40 days and only had rice porridge for meals. They were so traumatized that they didn’t answer phone calls or open the door if someone knocked. Her husband’s workplace, the Dalian Petroleum Chemical Company, thought that the father and daughter had died at home and entered their home by force, to find that they were still alive.
Ms. Li was later taken to a mental hospital and after some treatment, wanted to see her mother. Her father took her to Masanjia Forced Labor Camp, but their request to see Ms. Zhong was denied. Ms. Li knelt down and begged the guards, but the guards still refused to allow them to see her. Ms. Li cried and left. After that, she became irritable and uneasy, and her symptoms worsened. She often left home and ran far away. Mr. Li had to look everywhere for her. Her condition worsened each time her mother was arrested.
Ms. Li kept crying in 2017, after not seeing her mother for more than a year following her last arrest. Mr. Li had no choice but to take his daughter to the detention center. She cried when the guards told her that visitation was not allowed.
The authorities kept Mr. Li in the dark after holding a secret hearing for his wife on April 10, 2017. When he went to the court a few months later to inquire about her case, the judge refused to provide an update, but ordered him to sign a statement to renounce Falun Gong. Mr. Li was summoned by the same judge in early February 2018. The judge told him to sign the guarantee statements but he again refused.
Mr. Li received a phone call from the same judge on March 7, 2018. He went to the court, only to be arrested on the spot. While he was detained, the neighborhood committee ransacked his home. His daughter’s health quickly declined after Mr. Li’s arrest and she couldn’t sleep at night.
As Mr. Li refused to sign the guarantee statements, he was not allowed to return home. The officers showed him videos of his daughter crying at home. With no other choice, Mr. Li signed the statements. Afterwards, he learned that he’d been sentenced to 3.5 years’ probation. He was released after half a month but was forced to wear an electronic tracking device and was prohibited from traveling to Shenyang City to visit his relatives.