(Minghui.org) Ms. Gu Li worked as a head nurse at Jinzhou Second People’s Hospital in Dalian City, Liaoning Province. After she took up Falun Dafa, an ancient spiritual and meditation practice in 1996, she became an optimistic and helpful person and improved her relationships with her family. She worked hard and attended to her patients meticulously.

For telling others about the brutal persecution of Falun Dafa that was started by the communist regime in 1999, Ms. Gu was arrested on December 6, 2016, and sentenced to four years on August 19, 2017. She was taken to Liaoning Province Women’s Prison three weeks later.

In order to force her to give up her faith, the guards instigated the inmates to torture her. They barred her from washing up and showering, which resulted in her developing skin conditions and permanent hair loss on a large area of her scalp. The guards also forced her to squat on her toes for long hours every day, causing her legs and toes to lose feeling. On other occasions, they sexually assaulted her and deprived her of sleep. She was released on December 5, 2020.

Arrest, Detention, and Sentencing

On the day of her arrest in December 2016, Ms. Gu was talking to a few soldiers about the ongoing persecution of Falun Dafa in China. They reported her, resulting in her arrest by officers from the Guangming Police Station.

Though Ms. Gu refused to cooperate with the police, they forcibly photographed and fingerprinted her before making her take a physical examination at a hospital. They transferred her to Yaojia Detention Center after midnight, and the guard's strip searched her before putting her in a cell.

The cell was overfilled with inmates. It had two beds, a toilet, and a sink. There was barely enough room for everyone to sleep on the beds. The air was filthy and she felt suffocated. The next day a guard told her that once she signed a statement to renounce her faith, she could go home. She refused to do so. She also refused to sign an agreement to do the forced labor.

The Jinzhou District Court held a hearing of her case on April 28, 2017, and the judge gave her four years in prison. She appealed with Dalian City Intermediate Court, which ruled to uphold the verdict on August 19 that year.

Tortured in Liaoning Province Women’s Prison

Ms. Gu was assigned to the 5th ward after she was transferred to Liaoning Province Women’s Prison on September 12, 2017. It was a ward specifically set up to torture Falun Dafa practitioners and force them to renounce their faith.

Inmates Instigated to Torture Ms. Gu

The guards had two inmates, Sun Yazhi and Peng Chunyan, watch and torture Ms. Gu around the clock. At first, they played “good cop, bad cop.” On the first day they took her to a brainwashing room after she came back from working all day. Peng verbally and physically abused her while Sun pretended to protect and care about her, while at the same time trying to persuade her to renounce Falun Dafa. “All other practitioners before you quit the practice,” she said.

Sun also talked her into doing labor-intensive work on the second day. After she refused to watch brainwashing videos in the evening, they made her squat and denied her from washing up and showering. A few days later, her skull started to swell and fester because of the bad hygiene in the prison. Her hair quickly fell off.

As the guards made Ms. Gu sleep in between Sun and Peng, Sun placed a cardboard between herself and Ms. Gu, as she was disgusted with Ms. Gu’s skin condition.

Sun and Peng became upset that Ms. Gu refused to renounce Falun Gong, and intensified the torture. One morning when all the other inmates went to work, Peng stripped her clothes, pinched her nipples, and hit her buttocks with a slipper, while Sun cursed at her.

Ms. Gu tried to report the sexual assault to the head guard twice, but the guard refused to see her. The tortures worsened. The two inmates forced her to squat on her toes. As soon as her heels touched the ground, they kicked her between her legs and at her lower abdomen. The squatting position stimulated her bowel movement, but the inmates would not let her use a toilet. From then on she tried to eat less to avoid the embarrassment. Her weight dropped quickly.

Vicious Beatings, Freezing, and Deprivation of Sleep

The head guard saw how the inmates tortured Ms. Gu but ignored it. The two inmates did not let her wash up and shower between September 12 and October 1, 2017. During that time, they forced her to squat on her toes every day after work and all day Sunday, while they tried to brainwash her. Sun showed Peng how to pinch Ms. Gu’s legs, as well as how to maximize the pain. Her inner thighs were covered in bruises the next day.

Sun beat Ms. Gu’s face and head with a high-heeled shoe until she got tired. She then repeatedly banged her head against the wall and punched her chest. Ms. Gu could barely breathe at night after the beatings.

As the weather became freezing cold at night in winter, the two inmates purposely left the windows in her cell wide open. She slept right next to the windows on a metal bed with no bedding and comforter. With only a thin prison jumpsuit on, she shivered all night and could not fall asleep. Her cellmates also suffered from the cold and blamed it on her. They verbally abused her and threatened to stuff hot pepper in her vagina if she refused to renounce her faith.

Squatting and Humiliation

During a four-day holiday, the two inmates came up with a new scheme to torture Ms. Gu. They first tried to please her by letting her shower for the first time after three weeks, and let her stay on her bed instead of making her squat. Ms. Gu knew their intention and still refused to renounce her faith. They had her squat the next morning, while her cell mates went to work. In the afternoon the two made all her cell mates squat with her because she would not sign the statement to give up Falun Dafa. One of her cell mates blamed her. Sun also instigated a prisoner to beat her.

A dozen inmates had to rehearse a performance for an event during the holiday. Peng took Ms. Gu’s clothes off and had her squat in front of them every day.

The two made her squat on her toes all day for three days. She could only stand up during meal times and when using the toilet. It took her a long time to walk to the restroom and she had a hard time standing up afterward. At night, her legs would not stop shaking. The cold air from the windows made her feel even worse. The inmates also longed for it to snow, so that they could freeze her even more.

Forced to Work and Stand in Cold Water

Because Ms. Gu could barely sleep at night, she dozed off when she worked during the day. Peng beat her to wake her up and made her continue to work.

Sun was replaced by another inmate Yu Jiaxin after the holiday because she failed to transform Ms. Gu. Peng, and Yu made her stand in two buckets of cold water all day. At night, Peng made her cell mates team up and work in shifts to stop her from sleeping. The head guard later added an additional inmate to watch her at night. The third inmate cursed at her every night because she had to watch her and could not rest.

Bullied and Threatened by Guards and Inmates

Ms. Gu contracted skin conditions and lost her hair because the inmates would not let her shower. However, Sun told her cellmates that she had an infectious skin disease that would pass on to them through the door knobs and doing laundry together. Sun then incited the inmates to verbally abuse Ms. Gu. One night the inmates made her take a cold shower and stand barefoot for a long time with only thin clothes on.

A head guard called Ms. Gu into the guards’ office every afternoon to verbally abuse and humiliate her. The first time she went in, none of the head guards in the office could stand the odor from her. The head guard thus ordered the two inmates monitoring her to let her wash up more often.

A head guard made another attempt to talk Ms. Gu into giving up Falun Dafa with the help of a division head. The division head threatened to put her in a different group, which would worsen her living conditions. The head also told her that her skin condition may worsen or lead to cancer if she did not get treated. Ms. Gu remained unmoved.

The head guard then deceived Ms. Gu that her husband abandoned her and had an affair and that her child was too scared to pick up any phone calls. Ms. Gu felt terrible and could not sleep that night.

Sun got upset because Ms. Gu still would not sign a statement to renounce her faith. She had Ms. Gu work on cold winter days with only the thin prison jumpsuit on.

One of Ms. Gu’s toes lost feeling and her legs were always cold at night, despite having socks on. The prison doctor said that she might have diabetes, but did not treat her.

Ms. Gu’s prison term ended on December 5, 2020. Before she left the prison, the division head said to her, “Next time you come in here, I’ll make sure the inmates treat you much worse.”