May 28, 2013 | By Ouyang Fei
Below is a photo taken by an Associated Press reporter at Masanjia Forced Labor Camp in May 2001. The room was clean and organized. On top of the taut sheet was a square quilt. The caption said that Falun Gong practitioners were watching the “transformation” (brainwashing) program produced by the Chinese Communist government. Over the years this photo has frequently appeared in the Washington Post and other Western media that covered stories about China’s forced labor system.
May 22, 2001. Well-ordered Masanjia Forced Labor Camp (Associated Press, John Leicester)
The article “Walking Out of Masanjia” (the title was changed to “Uncovering Masanjia Women Forced Labor Camp in Liaoning Province: Tied to Tiger Bench and Death Bed” when re-posted over the Internet), published by one mainland Chinese media outlet on April 7, 2013, pointed out that the quilts were actually not used. The article said, “The quilts in the prison dorm were folded into squares. They are used for external inspections or visits. They could not be used. Prisoners referred to them as ‘prop quilts.’ The real quilts were packed inside the warehouse every morning and taken out at night.”
Actually it was not just the quilts. The plaid sheets were also not to be used. Ms. Wang Chunying, who formerly worked in the medical industry in Dalian City, Liaoning Province, was imprisoned in Masanjia twice, in 2002 and again 2007, in the same team as the three victims mentioned in the article “Walking Out of Masanjia.” She said, “Every night we had to go to the warehouse to pick up our bags, including the quilts and sheets. We were not allowed to use the ‘prop quilts’ or get them dirty. When we went to sleep, we had to carefully put the ‘prop quilts’ on a small bench near the bed.”
The “prop quilts” reflect how the CCP deceives the world. It first denies the truth, then covers up the truth, and lastly creates an illusion to try to fool the world. This is how Jiang Zemin’s regime and the CCP persecutes Falun Gong.
Attempt to salvage its ‘reputation’
In October 2000, Masanjia Forced Labor Camp stripped naked 18 female Falun Gong practitioners and threw them into the male prison to let criminals rape them, which led to five deaths and seven cases of mental disorder. After this heinous act was exposed internationally, in order to cover up their crime, Masanjia invited foreign reporters to visit the camp. The above photograph was taken by an Associated Press reporter at that time.
After the article “Walking Out of Masanjia” was published, the mainland Chinese media all reprinted it, and the public was in an uproar. But the article was quickly deleted. Two days later, the Liaoning Province CCP authorities announced that they had formed an investigation team made up of officials from the provincial justice department, forced labor bureau, and the local procuratorate.
The conclusions of the investigation were predictable. On April 19, the Xinhua News Agency came out to refute the “rumor,” saying that the article “Walking Out of Masanjia” seriously misrepresented the truth. But the director of the investigation team, Zhang Fan, is the head of the provincial justice department and the former head of the provincial prison administration bureau. The deputy director of the investigation team, Zhang Chaoying, is the head of the provincial forced labor bureau and the former director of Masanjia Forced Labor Camp! The criminals investigated themselves, so what else could we have expected? Would the forced labor camp save records of “tying people to the tiger bench and death bed” in their files? In addition, torture in the forced labor camp is carried out in parts of the camp that no visitors ever see. From the number of people who were interviewed, the investigator was much more interested in questioning the police than the prisoners. Would the police confess to committing crimes? Could the prisoners who were questioned give truthful answers without fear of being persecuted?
What was left out
The Xinhua article still exposed a corner of the brutal persecution. The article “Walking Out of Masanjia” deliberately covered up the facts that Masanjia Forced Labor Camp illegally imprisoned a large number of Falun Gong practitioners. It only used words like “specific type personnel” and “special group” to describe the tortures used on Falun Gong practitioners. However, the Xinhua article clearly mentioned Falun Gong four times.
The Xinhua article also admitted the fact that the forced labor camp pursued the maximum “transformation” rate, which meant that the Falun Gong practitioners were the primary victims of torture. This is also true for all the forced labor camps and prisons nationwide.
The “official rumor” said: “(The practitioners) refused to obey the rules … police officers took completely normal measures of restraint. (Practitioners) used hunger strikes to protest the ‘education’ and ‘transformation’… police had to use hospital beds during force-feeding.” This was an indirect way of acknowledging the existence of torture devices and the tactics of “hanging up,” the tiger bench, and the death bed, as well as the existence of persecution. These forms of torture were politely described as “restraint measures” and “force-feeding” to confuse people.
To put it in plain language: “If the practitioners refused to be ‘transformed,’ the police hung them up and forced them to sit on the tiger bench. If the practitioners went on hunger strike to protest the persecution, the police tied them on the death bed and force-fed them.” Force feeding in this context is not used to save the victim–it is used as punishment and a form of torture. On the Minghui website there are many descriptions of how practitioners have endured terrible suffering from brutal force feeding.
Three types of prisoners
Ms. Wang Chunying told me that there are three types of prisoners in the forced labor camp. The first are the criminals such as drug addicts and prostitutes. The second are petitioners that have appealed for help from the government. The third group are the Falun Gong practitioners, who account for a large percentage. In 2004, up to 4,000 practitioners were imprisoned in Masanjia. All the prisoners were forced to do the slave labor, which generated huge financial income for the camp. The former deputy director of Masanjia, Peng Daiming, told the reporter of the article “Walking Out of Masanjia” that during the peak years, there were over 5000 prisoners in the camp, and they generated nearly 100 million yuan a year in unpaid slave labor.
Ms. Wang said the number of petitioners has grown in the past few years. A vulnerable group, they appeal to the government because they have been unfairly treated by their local authorities, but in the end they are arrested and imprisoned. They are opposed to forced labor and readily disobey the guards, leading to brutal torture.
For the imprisoned practitioners, besides being subjected to the torture described above, they are also pressured to give up their belief (become “transformed”). They are leaned on to sign the guarantee statement giving up Falun Gong. “Transformation” is the regime’s basic policy to persecute Falun Gong, and it runs from the central government all the way down to the local level. The success rate of “transformation” directly affects the labor camp’s performance results, bonuses, and promotions.
Ms. Wang said the practitioners were forced to listen to brainwashing propaganda every morning while doing slave labor. The propaganda slanders and lies about Falun Gong. The forced labor camp also had some “specialists” come and give lectures to confuse the practitioners and torture them mentally. Ms. Wang said that during the first month she was detained in Masanjia Forced Labor Camp in 2002, the prison instructors arranged for two brainwashed collaborators to watch her. The collaborators bombarded her with strange ideas every day in order to confuse her into giving up her cultivation. This kind of mental torture is no less severe than physical torture.
Falun Gong practitioners
Falun Gong practitioners cultivate Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance and only do good and no harm to the society. Why are they imprisoned and forced to give up their belief? Why does the CCP want to “transform” practitioners who only want to be good people? Ms. Wang said the forced labor camp had a monthly examination form with the words “admitting guilt” written on it. They ordered all the prisoners to sign it. Many practitioners resisted, refused to cooperate, and did not “transform.” So this became what the Xinhua News Agency meant by “not cooperating with the education” in their “official rumors.” Then the CCP started to use “hanging up, the tiger bench and the death bed” to torture practitioners and called it “ordinary restraint measures.”
Ms. Wang was brutally tortured in Masanjia many times. Once, she was “stretched with handcuffs” for 16 hours. One of her hands was handcuffed to the upper bed and the other hand was handcuffed and tied to the lower bed. Then her feet were tied together. She was not allowed to eat, drink water, or go to restroom. She could not stand straight or squat. It was extremely painful. The muscles in her hands shrank, and it took a long time for her to recover.
Torture Reenactment: Stretched with Handcuffs
There is absolutely nothing wrong with Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance and nothing wrong with being a good person. That is why Falun Gong practitioners do not cooperate with the CCP to give up their belief and be “transformed.” No one dares to openly deny that there is nothing wrong with being a good person. The practitioners with their mortal bodies and strong hearts in Masanjia Forced Labor Camp show indomitable spirit as they safeguard the principles of Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance and secure a bright future for humankind.
Instead of stopping the persecution, the CCP actively tortures practitioners, claiming that they disobey the administration. They brainwash practitioners and even used the results from their so-called “investigation” to continue discrediting Falun Gong.
The persecution of Falun Gong reveals the CCP for what it really is. No matter what rumors it spreads, people should no longer have any illusions about the CCP.
Chinese version available
CATEGORY: Opinion & Perspective