(Minghui.org) Mr. Zhou Xiangyang went on a hunger strike the same day he was arrested for practicing Falun Gong on March 2, 2015. He remained on hunger strike over the course of the next seven years until he was released on March 1, 2022. At one point his organs failed, but he survived and returned home alive to tell his story.
Inside Binhai Prison in Tianjin, the guards shocked Mr. Zhou with electric batons and sprayed his eyes with chili pepper water. The guards instigated inmates to commit more torture against him, including pinching his nipples until the tissue fluid came out, squeezing his genitals, fingering his anus, plucking his eyelashes, jamming his fingernails, pushing in his rib cage, prying out his teeth, and force-feeding him urine.
By the time Mr. Zhou finished serving seven years, he had become too weak to get out of a car. Currently he is with his parents in Matuo Village, Changli County, Hebei Province. He’s gained some weight and is mentally stable. The authorities installed 12 surveillance cameras in the village and continued to monitor him.
Upright Young Man Twice Imprisoned
Mr. Zhou has a bachelor’s degree from Beijing Jiaotong University and another bachelor’s degree in investment economics from Tianjin University. He became one of the first 60 modern cost engineers in China in 1998 and had a promising career at the Tianjin Third Railway Exploration and Design Institute. He worked hard and never took kickbacks from his clients.
After the Chinese Communist Party started the persecution in 1999, Mr. Zhou was given 1.5 years of forced labor for going to Beijing to appeal for the right to practice Falun Gong. He was arrested again in 2003 and sentenced to nine years in prison on May 31 in the same year. He was held in two detention centers and three forced labor camps before he was transferred to Gangbei Prison in Tianjin.
During his time in various detention centers and labor camps, the guards shocked him with electric batons overnight, deprived him of sleep for 30 days, locked him in solitary confinement, and force fed him. While in Gangbei Prison, he started a hunger strike in June 2008 to protest the persecution. During his more than one year of hunger strike, his weight dropped to 80 pounds and he was too weak to walk and take care of his daily needs. The authorities granted him medical bail on July 28, 2009.
The police seized him at his rental place in Tangshan City, Hebei Province and took him back to the prison on March 5, 2011.
His wife, Ms. Li Shanshan, also practices Falun Gong. Because of her efforts to rescue her husband, the authorities retaliated against her and put her in a forced labor camp twice for a total of over three years. She was released in 2013. She and her husband spent less than two years together, before both were arrested again on March 2, 2015. This time, Mr. Zhou was given seven years in prison and Ms. Li six. Mr. Zhou was sent to the same Gangbei Prison (now renamed Binhai Prison) to serve his second jail term.
The following is Mr. Zhou’s own account of his six years of ordeals in Binhai Prison in Tianjin.
I refused to renounce my faith in Falun Gong after the persecution started, and was given one forced labor term and two prison terms for a total of 17 years, during which time I experienced unspeakable torture, such as being shocked by electric batons, beatings, sleep deprivation, solitary confinement, and being chained to the ground.
The authorities in Binhai Prison set up a special division in the 10th ward to torture Falun Gong practitioners in May 2019. I was wheelchaired there (due to my weak physical condition after years of hunger strike in the prison) on November 20, 2020.
That day, guard Zang Haixu (臧海旭) had two prisoners push me to the prison hospital to force feed me. On the way back, Zang stopped at a blind spot of the surveillance cameras. He shocked me with an electric baton and sprayed my eyes with chili pepper water. He then threatened to torture me on a daily basis. After that day, often the inmates would roll me out of my cell in a wheelchair and spray me with chili water.
Liang Hanwen (梁瀚文), the guard in charge of torturing Falun Gong practitioners, was on duty two weeks later. The first thing he did was to spray me with chili water and arrange a group of inmates to monitor and torture me.
One of the inmates, Pan Xin (潘鑫), brought with him a series of perverted torture methods. The following tortures were done to me when I only weighed about 80 pounds after years of hunger strike. I had no strength left in me to fight back.
The most perverted way Pan used was to finger my anus while others held me down. He had a glove on and kept pushing his fingers into my rectum. When he removed his fingers, he would wipe them in my mouth. This happened four times, under both Zang and Pan’s orders. One time Zang first covered the glove with chili water, and said it was to “season it a little.” When I shouted due to the pain, the inmates covered my mouth.
Pan many times squeezed my genital so hard and caused it to swell and fester. The excruciating pain he caused by grabbing my testicles made me scream, yet the inmates told me that no one would come to help because the guards ordered them to do so. Sometimes the pain was so unbearable that I couldn’t catch my breath. They had to rush me to the prison hospital to get oxygen. At times Pan had the inmates hold me down and pinched my nipples until liquid came out.
Due to my hunger strike, I was force fed regularly. Many times the inmates urinated into the water to feed me in front of me on purpose. They also used force feeding as an excuse to pry my teeth with a dental flusher. This eventually broke and pulled out one of my teeth.
In another torture, they squeezed my ribs. Sometimes they pushed me against a metal bed until I heard my ribs cracking. I believe that they broke my ribs a few times. The pain would last several months and it was so excruciating that I couldn’t move when I slept.
My fingernails turned black because they pinched them so hard. The small finger on my left hand was permanently deformed as a result. They never stopped spitting on me, and wouldn’t allow me to wipe the spit off. In the winter, they poured water on me and had the windows wide open to freeze me.
They plucked half of my eyebrows and eyelashes, and wrote insulting words on my shirt.
Pan often warned me that he believed in violence when it came to forcing the practitioners to renounce their faith. The torture he described was so heinous that I didn’t want to repeat it. Other guards and inmates told me that as long as they didn’t leave scars or bruises on me, there was no evidence of torture.
I told a head guard how I was tortured, and quickly Zang found me and shocked me with an electric baton, saying that it was a warning not to report to the head guards again. The inmates later told me there was no point in complaining to the head guards because they were the ones who ordered the torture.
A guard once told me that they had to resort to violence because practitioners refused to transform, as the people above wanted to see high transformation rates. Speaking of those “above,” it reminded me that while I stayed in the prison hospital between April and November 2020, a prisoner beat me dozens of times and injured my ribs and tailbone. The prisoner poured cold water on me and my bed numerous times, and claimed that everything was ordered by those “above.”
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