March 09, 2014 | By Yan Guozhu from Jilin Province, China
(Minghui.org) My name is Yan Guozhu. I am 48 years old and work in the railway system in Meihekou City, Jilin Province.
I started to practice Falun Gong on August 1, 1996. Since 1999, I have been in detention four times, in forced labor camps three times, and sent to brainwashing centers three times. My home has been ransacked many times. My family has been fined and implicated.
I would like to recount the mental suffering and physical torture that I have endured over the past 14 years. This unjust persecution of Falun Gong practitioners is still going on in China.
1. The First Detention
In 1999, fellow practitioners and I went to Meihekou City Police Department to appeal for the right to practice Falun Gong. We were told to wait in the courtyard. Two or three hours later, police from different towns and townships came and took us back to our local police stations. I was detained in Tiebei Detention Center.
The guards in the detention center ordered the inmate head to watch me. I was forced to stand straight for more than ten days and not allowed to sleep. Later I was forced to wrap toothpicks. Wrapping toothpicks all day long in the same position, my back ached and I had difficulty getting up. My older brother, Yan Guowen, was told to pay 3000 yuan for me or I would be sent to the forced labor camp. I was released a month later, after my brother paid what they asked.
2. The Second Detention
My wife, Yu Jin, was swayed by the CCP propaganda and reported me to police. The head of Tiebei Police Station and another officer came to my home. They held my hands behind my back and pushed me forward. They kept slamming my face until we got to the police station. The beating made my ears buzz and I saw stars.
I was detained in Tiebei Detention Center for a month. Guard Yang Ye ordered the inmates to torture me. I was deprived of sleep for 25 days and forced to stand up straight every day. Whenever I was unable to stand due to lack of sleep, two inmates were ordered to hold me up. If I closed my eyes, Yang Ye would slap my eyes with a cold, wet towel. When I was released, I was ordered to pay 300 yuan for my food.
3. The Third Detention
I went to Beijing to appeal for Falun Gong in November 2000. At Tiananmen Square, I tried to stop a police officer from beating a female practitioner. A group of plainclothes officers came over, held me down, and beat me. Then they put me in a police van. Armed police sat in the window seats, and practitioners from all over China sat in the rest of the seats.
We arrived at a detention center an hour later. Two officers interrogated me that night. I refused to answer any questions. One held me by my hair and slammed my face five or six times. They searched my clothes and took away my veteran ID and 300 yuan in cash.
Three or four officers from the Beijing office of my hometown came and took me back to Tiebei Police Station. I was detained there for two days. They tried to make my wife pay 500 yuan, which she refused to do. Then they tried to do the same to my mother, but she didn’t cooperate, either. Right front of her, they handcuffed me and put me in a police car. I was taken to Tiebei Detention Center.
In the detention center, the guards instigated the inmates to beat me. They took off my pants and struck my bottom with their shoes until the soles wore off.
My wife asked the deputy of the detention center to “transform” me. When I refused, he ordered the inmates to beat me until my eyes were black and blue.
4. The First Forced Labor Camp
In the middle of March 2001, I was “sentenced” to three years of forced labor by the Meihekou City Police Department. They sent me to Tonghua Forced Labor Camp.
Torture re-enactment: Electric shock
As soon as I arrived, four or five guards held my arms, so that I couldn’t move. One of them held me by my hair and put an electric baton against my chin. He shocked me until the skin burned.
Then three of them with electric batons started to shock me all at once. They started from my neck and went all over my body. It lasted for more than 20 minutes, and I was in extreme pain.
Because I refused to wear the prisoner’s uniform, they made stand for two days. After detained in the cell for three to five days, I had scabies all over and many blisters on my feet and hands.
About three weeks later, other practitioners and I started a hunger strike to protest the illegal detention.
Torture re-enactment: Force-feeding
More than 40 practitioners joined the hunger strike. We were brutally force-fed. They put a rubber tube through our noses and deep into our stomachs, which made us nauseous and very uncomfortable.
Five or six people did the force-feeding. The doctor in charge inserted the feeding tube. Others immobilized us. They sat on our stomachs and held our arms, heads, and legs. At first, we were fed milk, then cold corn congee mixed with salt.
After being force-fed for two weeks, practitioner Gai Yongguang and I were sent to Changcun Police Hospital for a month. My hands and legs were cuffed to the bed. I was not released even I when needed to go to the restroom. For more than a month, I was unable to move my bowels.
6. Detained in Chaoyanggou Forced Labor Camp
A month later I was sent to Chaoyanggou Forced Labor Camp from the hospital. I was detained in the No. 4 Division and forced to sit on a small plastic stool every day. Some practitioners had been forced to sit on such a stool so long that their bottoms had festered.
Every practitioner was assigned an inmate or two to “watch” us. These inmates would kick our backs if we didn’t sit straight. The two inmates assigned to me would stand right next to me and hold my arms anywhere I went.
We were forced to write a “thought report” every day until 1 or 2 in the morning for over a month. It made us dizzy and confused. I was not even sure if it was day or night or which day, month, or year it was.
All of us had scabies. Those who refused to have the medicine put on would be stripped. After our clothes were soaked in salt water, we were forced to put them on again. The salt in our clothes was indescribably irritating.
During the hottest days in summer, we were forced to stand outside for several hours. I was brutally beaten by those who tried to “transform” me.
I became extremely weak, and my eyesight got so poor that, from a meter away, I was even unable to tell it was a man or a woman.
7. Caught after a Successful Escape
In July 2003, another inmate and I had to clear a field. I took the chance and escaped from the labor camp.
I decided to visit the place where I had served in the military. Just after I got off the bus, someone grabbed my shoulder and yelled, “You cannot go anywhere!” It was Fan, head of the No. 4 Division. Several people came up and beat me until I passed out.
I came to and felt cold water on my head. I was taken back to Chaoyanggou Forced Labor Camp.
Wang Jianwei, head of the labor camp, told me that they had spent more than 150,000 yuan over 11 days to catch me. They even forced my wife to go where I had been in the military. Four guards were sent to my home and stayed for nine days.
8. Force-fed Salt Water
My successful escape encouraged more people to do the same. Some were successful. Practitioner Peng Gang and I were regarded as big threats, and Wang Jianwei wanted to extend our terms, so I started a hunger strike to protest.
Wang ordered the inmates to force-feed me salt water. Some of them stamped on my face, some sat on my back, and some held my arms and legs.
They force-fed me three times. I vomited so hard afterward that even those who did the force-feeding were scared.
I was released in July 2004.
9. The Fourth Detention
When I was in work in October 2007, Zhang Jifa, Party director of my work unit, and others searched my home. I was arrested and sent to Tiebei Detention Center.
10. The Third Forced Labor
After I was in the detention center for a month, I was again sent to Chaoyanggou Forced Labor Camp, this time for two years.
I refused to wear the prisoner’s uniform and refused to do hard labor. I was detained in isolation for over a month. Later two “personal assistants” took me to the workshop every day. I was forced to sit there all day and not allowed to move. Five or six times the inmates had to work until 2 a.m., so I had to stay that late, too.
My health stated to decline. My skin turned yellow, including my eyes. I was in extreme pain and unable to eat or drink for a month. Finally I was sent to the hospital and diagnosed with gallstones.
My family was told they had to pay the bill if I was going to get treated in the labor camp, which they didn’t agree to. I was finally allowed to be bailed out for medical treatment.
I did the exercises at home and soon recovered. I asked to return to work, but was told I had to first sign an agreement to give up my practice, which I refused to do. I lost my job.
My wife wanted to divorce me because I was unable to support the family. I left home and found a temporary job in Changcun City. Half a year later, I was allowed to return to my original job, and my wife agreed to stay with me.
In March 2012, my son, Yan Polin, wanted to join the military. He encountered difficulty because I practiced Falun Gong. My wife again asked for a divorce. Considering my son’s future, I agreed.
11. The First Time in a Brainwashing Center
In June 2012, three officers from Tiebei Police Station came to my home and took me to the brainwashing center in Meihekou City. There were five practitioners there, and each was assigned two personal “assistants.” We were forced to watch video programs that slandered Falun Gong from 8 to 11 a.m. each day. In the afternoon, we were forced to sit in a lecture designed to “transform” us. We were required to pay 100 yuan per day per person. The class lasted seven days. We were then released.
12. The Second Time in a Brainwashing Center
In July 2012, I was apprehended at work and taken to a brainwashing center in a guest house in Tonghua City. There were seven or eight practitioners and more than ten collaborators. We were forced to watch slanderous video programs from 8 to 11 a.m. and listen to 610 Office “lectures” in the afternoon.
I was held in the brainwashing center for over two weeks. On the last day when Zhou Jun from Jilin Province 610 Office came and learned I was the only one that refused to be “transformed,” he gave the order to Luo Zhi, head of the Meihekou Political and Legal Affairs Committee, to send me to Changcun Brainwashing Center.
13. The Third Time in a Brainwashing Center
I was sent to Changcun Brainwashing Center on September 2, 2012, and stayed there three and half months .
About 30 or 40 practitioners were there at the time. In the end, only six didn’t write the guarantee statement.
I was threatened as soon as I arrived that I would be sent to a forced labor camp or even prison if I refused to be “transformed.” They played video programs and lectures that slandered Falun Gong to eat away at our resolve.
We were detained alone and had to eat and wash in the same room. Since we were not allowed to take a shower, the room got very smelly. We were not allowed to meet or talk to other practitioners.
A week before the brainwashing center was closed, Zhang Jifa, director of the Political and Legal Affairs Committee where I worked, and Zhang Libo from the security section came to see me. They threatened to fire me if I still refused to be “transformed.” They claimed that, if I was fired, I would only get the basic living fee for the first month and nothing after that.
On December 17, 2012, I returned to work.
Category: Accounts of Persecution