(Minghui.org) Chinese prisons are heavily involved in slave labor. When they work with companies, they often need a liaison from the enterprises to provide technical and managerial support. These liaisons interact closely with prison officials and prisoners, although they are not an integral part of the prison system.
One of them, Hua (a pseudonym), has good technical skills and management experience, so he has worked as a liaison for several different prisons over the past ten-plus years. Over time, he has shared some stories about what it is like in the prisons. After the pandemic started, he provided more thorough, astonishing information on how Falun Gong practitioners are mistreated in prisons.
Cruel and Secret
Reporter: In the past, you always talked about regular inmates and never mentioned Falun Gong practitioners in the prisons. Why do you want to bring up the topic of Falun Gong now?Hua: I have to use my best judgment to decide what to say and what not to say. I think the main reason is the pandemic. To be honest, without advice from a detained Falun Gong practitioner, I would have died last year in the pandemic. We won’t have time to talk about it now. But I do want to summarize my observations on the persecution of those practitioners in the prisons.
Reporter: I know you have worked as a liaison at several prisons for more than ten years. You must have seen a lot.Hua: Yes. And it seems to me it can be divided into two phases: Between 2000 and 2010, the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) mistreatment of Falun Gong practitioners in prison was flagrant. Later on, and especially since 2012, the mistreatment continues but now it takes place under the radar, in secret.
Reporter: After being released from jail, one practitioner produced pictures illustrating how badly practitioners are mistreated in prison. But the CCTV’s Focus Report claimed the pictures were false. Some people believed the pictures, though, since they know that the CCP and CCTV always lie.Hua: People may not realize how vicious and cunning the CCP is. When it openly suppressed practitioners at first, it called out “dictatorship of the proletariat” while claiming it was doing so just to warn people. The pictures that Focus Report mentioned told the real stories, and the CCP reported it to intimidate the general public—as a reminder that this is what you get when you don’t listen to the Party. If readers questioned the pictures, the CCP achieved its goal of misinforming them, and if readers believed the pictures, the CCP successfully intimidated them.
Reporter: I agree that, at that time, people both inside and outside of prison learned what was going on. How about now?Hua: The persecution is still ruthless, but it has become more secretive. Here is an example. About five years ago, practitioner Lei (pseudonym) was tortured by nearly ten inmates, who forced him to sit still for 15 days and nights without closing his eyes. It was terrible but Lei did not give in. Those inmates who tortured Lei knew me well and they counted on me to get things for them from outside, such as cigarettes, wine, cash, cell phones, etc. So they told me about this. During those 15 days, Lei was kept in the machine shop’s warehouse, so ordinary inmates would not realize what was going on, and they might have thought it was intensified unit detention. At night, they put him in the television room. After they drove the other inmates out, they made Lei sit up straight and not move or close his eyes the entire night.
Reporter: He couldn’t close his eyes for 15 days?Hua: No. If he did, they slapped him in the face or hit him on the head. There are also other types of torture. As an outsider, I felt bad about that. I sometimes walked around the machine shop looking at the inmates working there, thinking they would be witnesses in the future. Once I talked about this with Bai, a good friend of Lei’s.
“You know, what Lei endured was like being in hell,” I whispered to him when he had a short break, with the humming of the machines in the background. I thought Bai would agree with how terrible the CCP is. But to my surprise, he looked at me blankly and asked, “What happened?”I was shocked and responded, “Lei was not allowed to sleep for 15 days. You do not know he was almost driven insane?”“No I don’t,” Bai answered honestly. “Nobody has talked to me about it. Every night after watching television and doing roll call, I went to sleep. Every morning, we gathered in the machine shop to hurry and finish our quota. I really don’t know anything about that.”
Reporter: I see. Would practitioners detained in the same cell know what was going on?Hua: Not anymore. At first, practitioners were kept together and they were well informed. Later on, prison officials received many letters and phone calls (including from overseas practitioners), so they try to separate practitioners as much as possible—no practitioners detained in the same cell—and prohibit them from talking with each other.
Reporter: No wonder people are hardly aware of how practitioners are still being mistreated.Hua: True. The CCP is working hard to keep it quiet. That is why I recommend that practitioners talk about it and let other people know about it. Otherwise, no one will be the wiser. This is not something political. People in both China and the rest of the world have a right to know what is going on.
Reporter: You said practitioners are separated and isolated as much a possible. Is that only in one prison?Hua: No, all the prisons I have been to do that.
Reporter: That would be more expensive than keeping them together.Hua: Correct, because the CCP is more focused on achieving its goal than saving money. Having witnessed this for nearly 20 years, I have found that the CCP’s goal is not necessarily destroying Falun Gong practitioners physically. Rather, it intends to ruin their spirit—at any cost. If you think about it, besides prisons, there are many facilities throughout China where practitioners are detained. How much money has been spent on this persecution over the past 20 years? If that were ever made public, it would be eye-opening. And it is still going on!
Reporter: The CCP propaganda said prisoners are well treated—they can read and do hobbies in their leisure time. Is that true?Hua: Not at all. If so, it would be called a charity house, not a prison. The reality is that for ordinary inmates, “reading” means being forced to read the CCP propaganda, while doing “hobbies” means forced labor. For practitioners, “reading” means brainwashing. But merely brainwashing is doomed to fail—practitioners were arrested for practicing Falun Gong. How can you detain them while telling them to give up their belief? Plus, detained practitioners in general are better educated than the prison officers.
Reporter: So how do officials handle this?Hua: That is where a “jail-in-a-jail” comes in. Inmates who fight or use drugs are put in solitary confinement, sometimes for two weeks and sometimes for months. But when practitioners are mistreated, it is often enforced on the same day and lasts for at least a month. There is no legitimate reason to keep practitioners in solitary confinement. Plus, the number of practitioners detained exceeds available solitary confinement spaces. As a result, prisons came up with this unspoken rule of a “jail-in-a-jail.”
Reporter: How does work? Is it a small room like solitary confinement?Hua: There are all kinds of settings. It could be part of a cell, where a section of the room is isolated with a curtain. People would know this area was set up to mistreat Falun Gong practitioners. In the daytime, it could be one corner of the machine shop or a section of the warehouse.
Occasionally, officials pick a vacant spot outside the machine shop and order inmates to stack up product cardboard boxes around an area of about two square meters to box in a practitioner. One or few inmates are assigned to watch the practitioner the entire time and write down his or her every movement. This could last as short as a month or as long as a year. When the session is over and the boxes are removed, there is nothing left to see.
Reporter: I remember intellectuals were sometimes kept in cowsheds during the Cultural Revolution. This seems to be similar.Hua: I agree. Some inmates are aware of this, too. When the time comes, they will probably step forward and testify.
A Hierarchy Network
Reporter: Are these types of torture, such as a jail-in-a-jail, handled by ordinary inmates?Hua: They are carried out by ordinary inmates, but officials give the orders.
Reporter: Are any incentives offered to the inmates?Hua: Mainly reductions in their prison terms. One “administrative” inmate was sentenced to ten years. By helping out with the persecution of Falun Gong, that inmate had four years erased from that term.
Reporter: I have heard about “administrative” inmates before. Do they manage other prisoners?Hua: Yes. Inmates need to give bribes to get those positions. In the past, purchasing those positions was pretty flagrant. Later on, it became more secretive. For example, when a ward manager is in the office by himself, an inmate might ask if he could pass on a letter and then give the manager an envelope with money in it. Because of recent anti-corruption campaigns, that is now a risky thing to do. Alternately, an inmate might ask for a ward manager’s phone number so that his or her family could bribe the manager outside of work. But if the inmate does not know the ward manager well, he has to go through an intermediary, who of course also needs to be bribed to make it happen.
Reporter: Only ward managers are bribed?Hua: No, all the officials and guards are open to bribes in exchange for favors. This is an open secret. It is unimaginable that these corrupt officials could “educate” Falun Gong practitioners who follow the principles of Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance, as the CCP claims. In fact, the CCP knows that. So the paper exercise of brainwashing usually is very short before being replaced by the “delicate management” of torture.
Reporter: What is that?Hua: Mistreatment of Falun Gong practitioners in prison spreads across four levels: the team, the ward, the education office, and the director of the prison. In contrast, the mistreatment of ordinary inmates starts and ends with the team and never goes beyond the ward level.
Why are four levels of hierarchy needed to deal with detained Falun Gong practitioners? Each level has different authority and power, but their goal is the same—pressing practitioners to renounce their faith in exchange for higher bonuses and political gains. It is especially the case with the director and education office staff members—sitting in quiet and decent offices, but directing vicious deeds that put victims in hell.
Reporter: How many administrative inmate positions are there?Hua: Normally there are eight per ward, including monitor of the production line, raw material custodian, quality inspector, propagandist (in charge of “learning”/brainwashing materials), health care provider (for medical issues), anti-riot coordinator, janitor, and guard (watching who comes in and goes out of the dorm entrance).
All these administrative inmates are also actively participating in the persecution of Falun Gong practitioners. Together with inmates, guards, and officers at all levels, they form a vicious network that exposes the worst of mankind against innocent practitioners in today’s China.
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