(Minghui.org) Ms. Zhang Chuntao, 74, served an eight-year prison term after her arrest in 2006 for distributing materials exposing the persecution of Falun Gong. While incarcerated in Hunan Province Women’s Prison, she was subjected to savage beatings, force-feeding, hanging, sleep deprivation, denial of restroom use and various other torture methods.
Falun Gong, also known as Falun Dafa, is a spiritual discipline that has been persecuted by the Chinese communist regime since 1999.
The following is a partial account of the torture Ms. Zhang suffered.
42 Days of Torture during a Brainwashing Session
Ms. Zhang, a resident of Changde City, Hunan Province, was taken to Hunan Province Women’s Prison on July 7, 2006, and first stayed at the admission team for two days. Because she refused to answer the roll call, she was handcuffed to the window bars with both hands behind her back. When she shouted “Falun Dafa is good,” the guards taped her mouth shut.
She was sent to a brainwashing session on July 9. Three inmates were assigned to monitor her “study progress” so as to force her to renounce her faith in Falun Gong. The lead inmate was Li Xiaoping and the two helpers were Xie Yonghong and Yang Man’e. Ms. Zhang tried to tell them about Falun Gong and its principles of Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance, but they did not want to listen. When they realized that she had no intention to study the materials defaming Falun Gong, they became furious and began to curse her and smashed her head with books. She shouted “Falun Dafa is good” to protest. The three women swarmed her and tied her hands behind her back. Then they stuffed her mouth with a rag and tied a towel around her mouth and head, which lasted until the next meal time.
They also barred Ms. Zhang from using the restroom. Once they delayed her for so long that she had a hard time holding it. The three of them pushed her to the ground and beat her. They pressed her into a basin filled with sputum, and cut her hair into a mess. Ms. Zhang wet her pants during the torture. She was covered with sweat and urine, and her hair stuck together. But she was not allowed to wash her body for five days.
Ms. Zhang was tortured with long periods of standing during the following days. After getting up at 6:00 a.m., she was forced to stand inside a circle drawn by the guards on the ground, until 2:00 a.m. every day, including meal time. If she was spotted stepping outside on the circle line, she would be beaten.
She began to doze off after a few days due to lack of sleep. So they mixed the mint oil and safflower oil to pour into her eyes. The oil burned her eyes so badly that she was in great pain and tears gushed out. Whenever she dozed off again, they all quietly approached her and suddenly shouted loudly together. Just as she opened her eyes, they put the safflower oil into her eyes. Sometimes she collapsed to the ground due to the pain.
As days went by, Ms. Zhang’s legs began to swell. Soon she was unable to wear her shoes.
Later, she had to get up at 5:00 a.m. for brainwashing sessions and her sleeping time was shortened to only three hours. Videos slandering Falun Gong were continuously played all day long. The three inmates also wrote words insulting Falun Gong on pieces of paper and hung them up on their cell wall, but Ms. Zhang tore them down during their sleep. When they found out the next day, they held her down on the ground and beat her. Her head was swollen and her legs became worse. She had to hold on to the edge of the bed to slowly stand up.
Since she got up so slowly, the three inmates attacked her by jabbing her anus with a wooden stick that was two inches wide. Then they began to torture her this way every day afterward. She lost consciousness during bowel movements and her whole body was bruised badly, especially her private part.
Soon another inmate Yan Meiying, a murderer, was moved to her group to assist in torturing Ms. Zhang. On Yan’s first day, she ran over to Ms. Zhang and gave her a hard punch, knocking her to the ground. Then she grabbed the flesh of her armpits and pulled harshly. Ms. Zhang was in so much pain that she could barely get up.
On another day, Yan grabbed one of Ms. Zhang’s breasts, pulling it downward while pinching it hard. Ms. Zhang was so painful that she fell to the ground. Then they poured water on her. Ms. Zhang needed to go to the toilet but they did not let her. She eventually relieved herself in her pants and the urine flowed to the floor. They used Ms. Zhang’s bed sheets to mop it up, and forced her to wash it at night. Ms. Zhang was so weak at the time that she had a difficult time doing the washing. She almost collapsed.
Ms. Zhang was sometimes not allowed to bathe, change clothes, or go to the toilet and the hottest season of July and August made it worse for her. She often starved because her bowl was frequently taken away before she finished eating during the short meal time. The bruises and cuts were all over her body from routine beating. Li Xiaoping lashed Ms. Zhang’s face with a rope tied with copper wire, punched her eyes, mouth, and head. Her legs were so swollen that she could barely squat down to use the toilets.
On the 42nd day, the last day of the brainwashing session, the inmates tried harder to get Ms. Zhang to give in. Li and Yan knocked Ms. Zhang to the ground, kicked her back, legs, face and throat. She had difficulty breathing. Then Li pulled her up and kicked her on her chest. She immediately lost consciousness. When she woke up, Li hit her head with a wooden stick a few times and asked her if she would study the slanderous materials. Ms. Zhang shouted with her last strength, “No.” Li threw the stick away. The 42 days of brainwashing session came to an end.
Force-feeding and Hanging Up
Ms. Zhang was taken to the hospital the next day where several doctors suggested to send her to a large hospital and they did it the following day.
When she was back from the hospital, her cellmates were changed. She was pressed against the ground and force-fed with medicine every day by four to five people. It lasted about 29 days.
Then the guards forced Ms. Zhang to stand for a long period of time but she refused to do it. The lead guard Tang Ying took out the handcuffs and several people together hang her to the top of the bed frame, leaving her toes barely touching the ground.
About 5:00 p.m., they force-fed her drugs. When she resisted, they tightened up her handcuffs and she was in so much pain that she was soaked in sweat. They did not let her down during dinner but force-fed her by pitching her nose. Her face was covered with rice and vegetable afterward. After eight hours of hanging, she was put down to go to the toilet. But she was hung up again afterward, in higher position with feet off the ground. She was in more pain.
After a long period of daily hanging torture, Ms. Zhang could no longer bear the pain and compromised. They put her down and made her sign the statement of renouncing Falun Gong. But she felt pain in her chest. They ordered her to write a “thought report” after watching a video that slandered Falun Gong’s founder and copy slanderous materials, but she cried and refused to do it.
Around the beginning of 2007, Ms. Zhang was forced to do unpaid labor, peeling 25 pounds of broad beans daily. Meanwhile, she had to write “thought reports” every week with slanderous words about Falun Gong.
Ms. Zhang managed to obtain some Falun Gong teachings, but some inmates found out on August 30, 2007. They first sent her to the lead guard’s office, then handcuffed her to a bed in a study room with a rag stuffed in her mouth. She was left there alone. Since the handcuffs were too tight to bear, she constantly hit the wall to get their attention. She showed no sign of backing off, so they released her after 11 days.
However, they increased her work load to 60 pounds of broad beans, though the maximum work load for young inmates was only 52 pounds. She had to get up at 6:00 a.m., began to work after breakfast, and wasn’t allowed to rest until midnight. When the winter season came at the end of 2007, her hands were too frozen to hold the beans and were covered with cuts. Her frozen legs were unable to move and became swollen.
Another practitioner, Ms. Jiang Pingtian, was assigned to her cell in February 2008. She saw Ms. Zhang’s condition and reasoned with the guards for her. Finally Ms. Zhang’s quota was reduced, but she still often had to work overtime to finish her task.
Ms. Zhang was not allowed to shop at the prison’s convenience shop and had to ask others to buy things for her. During the last few years of her prison term, she was not allowed to go out of her cell.
Bearing so much torture and pain, Ms. Zhang never bore hatred toward the guards or inmates that persecuted her. Instead, she felt sorry for them and always did her best to let them know the truth about Falun Gong and urged them not to participate in the persecution anymore.
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