(Minghui.org) Since the Chinese communist regime launched the nationwide campaign against Falun Gong, a traditional mind-body practice, in 1999, the Heilongjiang Province Women’s Prison has been actively participating in the persecution.
I witnessed and experienced the brutal persecution firsthand when I was imprisoned there a few years ago for practicing Falun Gong.
There were 14 wards in the prison during the time I was there, with the 9th and 11th wards specifically set up to "transform" Falun Gong practitioners. Both wards had a number of divisions for practitioners with different levels of persistence in upholding their faith. The other inmates monitored us all the time, including when we used the restroom. We weren’t allowed to talk among ourselves.
The inmates often played videos that defamed Falun Gong all day long. Any practitioner who refused to give in was forced to sit on a small plastic stool about three inches tall, with her body upright, hands flat on the legs, and eyes forward. Sometimes the blink of an eye would result in verbal abuse or a severe beating.
Lu Shuhua, the lead inmate of the 9th Ward, was in charge of deploying cruel persecution methods on Falun Gong practitioners. Many inmates followed her lead to participate in the persecution, in order to earn prison term reductions or a more relaxed living environment. They also extorted money from practitioners to buy extra food or daily necessities for themselves.
Here are a few torture cases that I witnessed.
Ms. Zheng Yingchun Brutally Beaten
During the first week after Ms. Zheng Yingchun was placed in the “Cracking the Tough Nut” Division (designated to target the most steadfast practitioners), she was not allowed to sleep in a bed or use the restroom. She was also forced to sit on a small stool for a long time which caused her buttocks to develop sores and bleed. The inmates monitoring her prohibited her from closing her eyes. They slapped her, pinched her, sprayed cold water on her face or beat her when they saw her closing her eyes. They sometimes even poked her head with toothpicks. The blood dripped down along her cheek and onto her neck.
Once, inmate Li Yingxiu saw Ms. Zheng’s body tilted to one side while sitting on the small stool. She went behind Ms. Zheng, pushed her knees against Ms. Zheng’s back, and then yanked her ears upward with force. Ms. Zheng trembled with pain, and the skin of her ears was rubbed off. When it scabbed after a few days, other inmates yanked her ears and made her ears bleed again. They repeated this torture many times for more than four months.
Later, they let Ms. Zheng sleep from 3 a.m. to 5 a.m., then increased her sleep time gradually, until three months later, they let her sleep at regular hours.
Inmates Lu Shuhua, Li Yingxiu, Huang Liyan, and Li Shumei often took Ms. Zheng to a small storage room and ordered her to renounce her faith. With no surveillance camera there, they beat her with no reservation. She suffered heart failure and low blood pressure as a result of the beatings. Yet the inmates still didn’t stop beating her, nor did the guards make any attempt to stop them.
Ms. Zheng was beaten every day during the four months she was held in the division. Her right leg from the knee down became swollen and bruised due to long-term sitting on the stool. She could not fit into her shoes and had to wear slippers. Her neck was also injured and she could barely lift her head.
Ms. Liu Yanhua Tied to a Pole for Eight Days
When Ms. Liu Yanhua refused to wear the prison uniform in protest, Lu Shuhua instructed inmates Huang Liyan and Ma Jingwen to drag her into a small storage room. She was beaten and verbally abused for a long time, with her mouth taped and hands and feet tied up.
The next day, the inmates tied Ms. Liu’s hands and feet to the metal pole of a bunk bed and ordered practitioners Ms. Zheng Yingchun and Ms. Li Zhanyun to feed her and help her urinate. Whenever they caught Ms. Liu closing her eyes, inmates Ma Jingwen and Wang Wei would beat and verbally abuse her, and slap her in the face. Ma once stomped on Ms. Liu’s feet repeatedly, causing her to tremble in severe pain. She was loosened from the pole after eight days.
Ms. Liu tried to report the torture to prison director Shi Gonghui when he visited her cell. Shi asked the inmates if they did it. As the inmates said no, Shi ignored Ms. Liu. In retaliation, Lu ordered inmates to strip off Ms. Liu’s clothes in December, and said to her, “You refused to wear the uniform? Then don’t wear anything.” Ma also opened all the doors and windows to have the freezing wind blow on Ms. Liu.
Torture Cases of Elderly Practitioners
Ms. Liang Cuirong, in her 70s, was monitored by inmates in their 20s and 30s. These young inmates forced her to squat by pulling her arms and dragging her legs. The long-term squatting rendered her unable to stand up straight. When Ms. Liang went on a hunger strike to protest, they force-fed her through a nasal tube for more than a month.
Ms. Zheng Yingchun and Ms. Li Guiyue tried to stop the torture by shouting in the hallway, “Stop persecuting Liang Cuirong!” Five inmates dragged them to their cell and beat them. Jing Shaoqin and another inmate pinned Ms. Zheng down with her belly against the bed rail so hard that she was unable to speak.
Ms. Zhao Chunyan, nearly 70 at the time, vomited after each meal and was emaciated. But the prison officials refused to release her until they extorted a large amount of money from her family. Ms. Zhao passed away 20 days after returning home.
Ms. Qu Shuxia, in her 70s, once demanded to talk to a prison guard, but inmate Jing Shaoqin and Guo Yang beat her with a broomstick, leaving red lash marks on her face. They warned her not to do it again. She was beaten two more times later on.
More Torture Cases
Inmates Jiang Mingqiu, Han Lijun, Tian Yanru, and Sun Shuhua abused Ms. Li Guiyue since day one of her imprisonment. Han used nearly 2,000 yuan on Ms. Li’s shopping card. Ms. Li reported Han for stealing her money, but the guards never looked into it.
Inmate Xu Wei saw Ms. Tan Yurui reading a Falun Gong lecture and reported her. Then, inmate Duan Heng and several others took Ms. Tan to the storage room and beat her. On another occasion, Ms. Tan suggested to an inmate who was sick that she might repeat some helpful phrases about Falun Gong (which has resulted in positive benefits for many people) but was reported. Lu Shuhua ordered a group of inmates to take her to the storage room again and beat her. They warned her not to talk to them about Falun Gong in the future.
Ms. Xiao Kun said to guard Wang Shanshan one night that it was her constitutional right to practice Falun Gong. Wang ordered Lu Shuhua to take Ms. Xiao to a solitary cell, where Lu and several inmates tortured her for more than a month.
Ms. Cui Huifang refused to memorize the prison rules in protest of the persecution. Guard Tao Shuping locked her in a solitary cell and abused her for more than 20 days. She was unable to walk afterwards and had to be carried out by the inmate.
Inmates Li Shumei, Huang Liyan, Li Yingxiu, and Bai Ronghuan took Ms. Li Yanfei to a room and ordered her to renounce her faith. The inmates verbally abused her so loudly that it could be heard in other cells. Ms. Li vomited blood shortly afterwards and was sent to a hospital. She did not return to the prison and her situation was unknown.
Ms. Zhang Haixia, who was in good health at the time of admission, was persecuted to the point of developing a mental disorder after about a year of incarceration.
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