Name: Bu GuoqinChinese Name: 步国芹Gender: FemaleAge: In her 60sCity: ChifengProvince: Inner MongoliaOccupation: BusinesswomanDate of Death: UnknownDate of Most Recent Arrest: May 2000Most Recent Place of Detention: Tumuji Forced Labor Camp
Ms. Bu Guoqin, a businesswoman in Chifeng City, Inner Mongolia, suffered many ailments and lived a very difficult life for many years. Her symptoms, however, soon disappeared after she started practicing Falun Gong, an ancient spiritual and meditation discipline, in 1997.
Guided by Falun Gong’s spiritual teachings, Ms. Bu also stopped resenting her husband for engaging in gambling and having an affair, but tried to be more considerate of him. As she progressed with the practice, her son, who was born with hydrocephalus (water in the brain) and still couldn’t walk by the time he was ten, also recovered and could go downstairs by himself.
Ms. Bu’s happy life came to a sudden halt, however, when the Chinese communist regime ordered the eradication of Falun Gong from China in July 1999 due to its unprecedented popularity. Ms. Bu was arrested and endured horrendous torture while serving two labor camp terms for upholding her faith. Fearing being implicated in the persecution, her husband forced her to sign a divorce agreement and took possession of all their property, including the house and her savings.
After she was released, Ms. Bu struggled with declining health and eventually passed away (date unknown). She was in her 60s.
Below is a review of the persecution Ms. Bu suffered.
Arrested for Appealing for the Right to Practice Falun Gong
Ms. Bu and another practitioner, Ms. Zhai Cuixia, went to Beijing to appeal for the right to practice Falun Gong in October 1999. The authorities refused to let them into the state council’s appeals office (where citizens have the right to appeal) and called the police on them. The police arrested Ms. Bu and Ms. Zhai and put them in the Xicheng Detention Center.
The guards forced Ms. Bu to squat in the restroom and instigated other inmates to pour cold water over her. If she shouted in protest, the inmates would pour more water over her. After the initial “shower” torture, the inmates beat her with a shoe. Her body was covered with bruises.
The guards also forced Ms. Bu to recite the detention center rules. When she refused to comply, citing that she had broken no law and was not a criminal, they forced her to stand or squat overnight. After 13 days, she and Ms. Zhai were taken back to Chifeng.
As soon as they were brought into the Yuanbaoshan District Detention Center, they were greeted by dozens of reporters, who photographed them and the escorting officers, asking why they went to Beijing. They told the reporters that the persecution was illegal and that the propaganda on television against Falun Gong was fabricated. An officer shouted at them and ordered them to stop. He threatened to beat them, but relented as the cameras were still on. After the reporters left, the detention center guards forced the women to stand in the hallway that was without heat until midnight on a cold winter day.
One day a guard caught Ms. Bu and Ms. Zhai doing the Falun Gong exercises. He took them to the deputy director’s office and beat them. When the practitioners accused him of violating the detention center rules, the director said they made exceptions for Falun Gong practitioners. “If you die, it will be counted as suicide. You are just like a chickling to us and we can do whatever we want,” he said.
The next day, the guards put shackles on the practitioners’ legs and handcuffed their arms behind their feet. They dubbed the torture “Reaching the Shackles.” This way, Ms. Bu and Ms. Zhai couldn’t sit with their backs straight, neither could they lie down or stand. The shackles and handcuff stayed on for days, which caused them unbearable pain. They went on a hunger strike until the torture stopped. In the next two months, they were forced to kneel and squat for extended periods every day.
Tortured in the Pingzhuang Detention Center
Thirteen days later, in May 2000, both Ms. Bu and Ms. Zhai were transferred to the Pingzhuang Detention Center. Another six practitioners were also held there, including Ms. Liu Xiaoxin, Ms. Xin Xiuying, Ms. Zhang Xiuqin, Ms. Wang Xiufang, Ms. Li Cuilan and Ms. Zhang Yuling.
When the practitioners refused to renounce Falun Gong, the guards deprived them of sleep and forced them to do the “Duck Walk.” In this torture, the practitioners were forced to squat in their bare feet, with both hands behind their back, while carrying 60 pounds of cornmeal. They were forced to walk back and forth in this position for a whole morning on hot summer days on sandy ground. As Ms. Bu couldn’t squat, she was forced to crawl carrying the cornmeal on her back, which ruined her kneecaps.
After the practitioners came back from finishing the “Duck Walk,” the guards forced them to sit in icy cold water and had other detainees pour buckets of cold water on them. Even practitioners who were having their menstrual periods were subjected to this inhuman treatment.
When the practitioners remained unmoved despite the torture, the guards then ordered them to jump quickly with their legs lifted up high. If they slowed down, the guards whipped them with a 4-cm. diameter plastic pipe. Seeing that they could still jump after a while, the guards forced them to jump under the scorching sun and they emptied their water bottles. They were forced to jump for over an hour.
Later on, the practitioners were forced to do the “Frog Jump.” They were forced to squat together in a line, with the person behind holding the ears of the person in the front. They were forced to jump simultaneously without letting go of the ears. Some practitioners’ ears were torn and bled.
In another torture, the guards forced the practitioners to jump in circles on one leg, still holding each others’ ears.
Once, the guards aimed the hose used to water the garden on the practitioners, causing them to nearly drown.
One evening, a guard claimed to let the practitioners sleep and had them lie on their stomachs on the bed, after depriving them of sleep for days. Then they ordered the inmates to pour water on them. As the beds were connected, everyone’s clothes and daily necessities kept under the bed were all soaked.
The guards told the practitioners that once they renounced Falun Gong, the tortures would stop. Because they wouldn’t, the guards stripped them and whipped their backs with a leather belt, which was called the “Open Skin” torture. While whipping them, detention center director Zhang Haiqing shouted, “If I can’t straighten you out tonight, I’ll quit my job as director. I will give you a taste of the proletariat’s dictatorship. I will beat you into pieces or even beat you to death!”
They were whipped so brutally that some practitioners lost consciousness. The guards kicked them in the head to see if they were alive. After three hours of this, the practitioners managed to walk back to their cell at 2 a.m. A detainee told them, “We thought you’d died. The whipping noise sounded like firecrackers. We were all terrified and cried.”
The guards handcuffed two practitioners together. They were unable to fully lie down to sleep, nor could they take off their water-soaked clothes.
The next morning, a guard took the practitioners to director Zhang’s office. The director, after learning that they had been to Beijing to appeal for Falun Gong, kicked them. Other guards shocked them with electric batons.
After two months of detention, Ms. Bu was given one year of forced labor and taken to the Chifeng City Detention Center. The guards beat her and verbally abused her as she refused to recite the detention center rules. She held a hunger strike to protest.
Tumuji Women’s Forced Labor Camp
Ms. Bu was transferred to the Tumuji Forced Labor Camp in August 2000, after two weeks at the detention center. She and fourteen other practitioners were held in a big room. As they did the Falun Gong exercises on the first night, the guards rushed in and beat them. Guard Wu Hongxia slapped them with a shoe, while verbally abusing them. Some practitioners had nosebleeds and others had bruises all over their bodies.
The practitioners were forced to squat overnight. During the day, the practitioners were subjected to brainwashing sessions.
After the initial three-month torture, only six practitioners, including Ms. Bu, hadn’t renounced Falun Gong. The guards then ordered them to stand all day under the scorching sun. The torture eventually stopped after she and the others held a hunger strike to protest the persecution.
The practitioners were later assigned to the second ward of the labor camp, where they were forced to harvest corn buried in the snow. The winter in Inner Mongolia was always below freezing and when the wind blew on one’s face, it felt like being cut with a knife. If they took off their wet gloves, they would be frozen hard in no time. The work usually lasted for an entire day. They always had lunch in the field and came back in the evening.
Ms. Bu had never done hard labor before, so the intensive farming work she was forced to do took a toll on her health. She had trouble getting up each day and was always in pain.
Succumbing to Physical and Mental Despair
After Ms. Bu was released in May 2001, she faced a dire situation, having lost everything due to the divorce. She stayed with her sister for a while and later moved out, not wanting to bring an extra burden to her sister. She later stayed in a deserted house, which didn’t have heat in the winter.
When her daughter later gave birth to a child, Ms. Bu stayed with them to help take care of her granddaughter. Due to her continued effort to raise awareness about the persecution, she was arrested again and given another labor camp term at the Tumuji Forced Labor Camp. There, she was also subjected to intensive torture, brainwashing and verbal abuse. The inmates monitored her around the clock.
After she was released, Ms. Bu succumbed to the injury caused by the torture and the mental torment, and eventually passed away.
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